Osiris

Posts

Sorted by New

Comments

Singleton: the risks and benefits of one world governments

There are as many ways to run a one-world government as there are countries on this Earth today, and possibly more. No single democracy is the same as all the others, and then you get the various dictatorships and plutocracies that hide behind the name... Even now, a global government is forming from international treaties, fear of nuclear death and terrorism, as well as from trade--it would seem the trend cannot be stopped just by saying one does not want a global government. So, what am I worried about? That the global government that evolves will make my birthplace, the USSR, look like a utopia. The sheer number of USEFUL solutions needed to PERFECT a global government (that is, to create one that we would all agree is competent and beneficial) requires, I think, that we fix up the governments doing the negotiating for a world government FIRST. A good tree is much less likely to produce a bad fruit, to use a Biblical reference. I am not arguing for ignoring world government development, but I would like to point out that scaling up would work a lot better by concentrating on removing issues we see in our governments today...

Four Focus Areas of Effective Altruism

Honesty in one's dealings is always important. As a member of ROTLCON staff (brony convention in Colorado), I am often asked difficult questions about helping people through our charity auction. Lying is not an option, if one expects to donate, or to accept donations. Kindness? Given how the show seems to show it off in Fluttershy, I would guess that kindness includes one's understanding and acceptance of other people. Saving a people by destroying something else means knowing exactly what you destroy, and seeing its value--perhaps, the destruction can be avoided. Only one example of kindness as shown in the show, of course. Loyalty--uncertain. Laughter--as a convention, the thing I'm working on is about fun. But, it is also an attempt to throw money at the problem in the best way possible (something we're just figuring out, by the way, so we will be applying the above article and related advice to altruism). So, also uncertain, but there is a connection for me and my fellow con staff.

[This comment is no longer endorsed by its author]Reply
Rationality Quotes June 2013

Not everyone who speaks about morality automatically sinks down into nonsense and intuition, into the depths of accusations and praise for particular persons, however strange the language they use. Sometimes, speaking about morality means speaking about rationality, surviving and thriving, etc. It may be a mistake to think that Asimov was entirely ignorant of the philosophies this website promotes, given his work in science and the quotes one finds from his interviews, letters, and stories.

Rationality Quotes June 2013

"Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right." --Isaac Asimov

All too often, an intuition creates mistakes which rationality must remedy, when one is presented with a complex problem in life. No fault of the intuition, of course--it is merely the product of nature.

Rationality Quotes June 2013

Would it benefit the children more than being raised by the parents? Then the answer would be "yes." Many people throughout history attempted to have their children raised by experts alone, so it is not without precedent, for all its strangeness. Nobles in particular entrusted their children to servants, tutors, and warriors, rather than seek to provide everything needed for a healthy (by their standards) childhood themselves. Caring about one's offspring may include realizing that one needs lots of help.

By the way, I did not intend to cut off an avenue of exploration, here--merely to point out that the selection processes for business, government, and mating do not have anything to do with getting a better teacher or a person good at deciding what should be taught. If that does destroy some potential solution, I hope you forgive me, and would love to hear of that solution so I may change.

Some reservations about Singer's child-in-the-pond argument

Thank you. I had no idea you posted that! Does cast some light on what was once unclear...

The issue is in HOW one does something as much as WHAT one does, it would seem--I am a personal care provider (and volunteer) as well as an organizer for conventions, so I do understand where you are going with this. I am both working to improve the world in some small way and to get money so I can later give people money when I am wealthy, and I did not even consider my own approach (personal as it is) until your comment made me realize how limited (and un-diverse) it is to exclude one method in favor of another.

Some reservations about Singer's child-in-the-pond argument

Something I noticed when a friend told me about this (some terms have been altered):

Suppose there are a hundred ponds, with ten children each drowning, ALL THE TIME. Wearing a clean suit will earn you enough money to save more of them by hiring people using your large paycheck (I shall assume this suit is good enough to get you a decent job) to fish children out of ponds. In the mean time, you'd ALSO be living a comfortable life, which will further allow you to buy job-getting suits for saved children and divers, thereby increasing the number of people that will impact the situation. You would run out of drowning children pretty quick, then, and even supposing you never do, will be able to dive in to save any that DO fall in with no fears about your suit (since you can just buy another one later).

We do not live in a world of one pond and one child. I suspect we live in a world with considerably more ponds and more children than even the one above. Currently, the world we live in is full of divers (if only in potential, since people are willing to do ANYTHING for money these days), but may need some more suit-wearing investors into charity. Therefore, keep walking, get a decent job, THEN come back to the ponds with a team of divers.

PS: Would be interested to know how much money would be needed to solve the WHOLE World Hunger problem, WHOLE Poverty Problem, and so on. I suspect it will help determine just how many people are needed to fish EVERY child out of EVERY pond, and thereby show what the proportion between divers and suit-wearing investors should be. Before then, I'll keep on working on getting that suit (or them blue suede shoes), and dive only when I can afford to.

Rationality Quotes June 2013

A question: How many people are so attached to being experts at parenting that they would rather see children jobless, unhappy, or dead than educated by experts in a particular field (whether biology or social studies)? Those are the people I worry about, when I imagine a system in which parents/government could decide all the time what their children learn and from what institution. For every parent or official that changes their religion just to get children into the best schools, willing to give up every alliance just to get the tribe's offspring a better chance at life, and happy to give up their own authority in the name of a growing child's happiness, there are many, many more who are not so caring and fair, I fear.

Experts in a field are far more likely to want to educate children better BECAUSE the above attachment to beliefs, politics, and authority is not, in their minds, in competition with their care for the children (or, at least, shouldn't be, if those same things depend upon their knowledge). So, rather than saying we trust business, government, or one's genetic donors, shouldn't we be trying to make it so that the best teachers are trusted, period? Or, am I missing the point?

Rationality Quotes June 2013

Just because your enemies will not always be your friends does not mean it is useless to TRY to convert them to be one's friends. It is, as most things, a bet. One must know, beforehand, if it is WORTH it to try.

I would say it's a useful quote because it provides an alternative to the usual "smash them as soon as they oppose you" deal going on.

Effective Altruism Through Advertising Vegetarianism?

I'm not a very well educated person in this field, but if I may:

I see my various squishy feelings (desires and what-is-right intuitions are in this list) as loyal pets. Sometimes, they must be disciplined and treated with suspicion, but for the most part, they are there to please you in their own dumb way. They're no more enemies than one's preference for foods. In my care for them, I train and reward them, not try to destroy or ignore them. Without them, I have no need to DO better among other people, because I would not be human--that is, some things are important only because I'm a barely intelligent ape-man, and they should STAY important as long as I remain a barely intelligent ape-man. Ignoring something going on in one's mind, even when one KNOWS it is wrong, can be a source of pain, I've found--hypocrisy and indecision are not my friends.

Hope I didn't make a mess of things with this comment.

Load More