The Black Swan by Scott Alexander – Key concepts from the Black Swan and why it remains popular.
EDT vs CDT by Paul Christiano – “Causal decision theory (CDT) evaluates expected utilities under causal interventions, while evidential decision theory (EDT) evaluates conditional expected utilities. Humans tend to have strong intuitions in favor of CDT, but I’ll argue that CDT is only reasonable insofar as it is an approximation to EDT that degrades more gracefully given certain kinds of reasoning errors.”
Is It Better To Be A Wild Rat Or A Factory Farmed by Joey – “We looked at a lot of different systems to compare welfare and ended up combining a few common ones into a weighted animal welfare index (or welfare points for short). We think this system captures a broad range of ethical considerations and should be applicable across a wide range of both farm and wild animals in a way that allows us to compare interventions.”
Politics and Economics:
Allow Covert Eye Rolls by Robin Hanson – Authority figures who refuse to allow ‘eye rolling’ or try to police their subordinate’s attitudes too strongly provoke resentment and appear weak. The modern social justice movement is extremely intolerant of even indirect ‘eye rolls’. This is clear from their focus on ‘dog whistles’.
History Philanthropy Case Study Campaign Marriage Equality by Open Philanthropy – Literature Review of the campaign for marriage equality in the USA. Discussions of which lessons can be can be applied to other initiatives.
Getting To A Fifty Fifty Split Of Parenting Duties by Ozy – Making 50/50 parenting work. How to choose a partner who authentically wants to parent equally, a warning many relationships degrade after having children and advice to give the right amount of criticism.
The More The Merrier by Everything Studies – Abstract visual graphs depicting how various ideologies relate to truth.
Literature Review MDMA by Aceso Under Glass – “MDMA (popularly known as Ecstasy) is a chemical with powerful neurological effects. Some of these are positive- the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) has shown very promising preliminary results using MDMA-assisted therapy to cure treatment-resistant PTSD. It is also, according to reports, quite fun. But there is also concern that MDMA can cause serious brain damage. I set out to find if that was true, in the hope that it wasn’t, because it sounds awesome. Unfortunately the evidence is very strongly on the side of ‘dangerous’. Retrospective studies of long term users show cognitive deficits not found in other drug users, while animal studies show brain damage and inconsistent cognitive deficits.”
Psychedelic Intensity Scale by Aella – Descriptions of six levels of psychedelic intensity.
On Proofs Of The Existence Of God by Ben Hoffman – Why did so many philosophical systems try to prove the existence of God: “I think that most such proofs still fail, in part because the people engaging in them are somewhat confused about what they’re doing, but they fail a bit more sympathetically than I used to think; they’re not explanations for why everyone should buy into their system, they’re explanations for why their system can’t help but talk about God, despite the obvious problems this presents.”
Link Post For August by Ozy – Link Post: Effective Altruism, Parenting, Civil Liberties, Misc.
The Edge Of Humanity by Waking Up with Sam Harris – “Sam Harris speaks with Yuval Noah Harari about his new book ’21 Lessons for the 21st Century.’ They discuss the importance of meditation for his intellectual life, the primacy of stories, the need to revise our fundamental assumptions about human civilization, the threats to liberal democracy, a world without work, universal basic income, the virtues of nationalism, the implications of AI and automation, and other topics.”
Paul Bloom On Cruelty by EconTalk – “Paul Bloom talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about cruelty–what motivates cruelty, the cruelty of small acts that accumulate into something monstrous, and the question of whether the abuse of a robot is a form of cruelty.”
The Problem Of False Biased by Rationally Speaking – “Aviv Ovadya, an expert on misinformation, talks with Julia about the multiple phenomena that get lumped together as “fake news.” For example, articles that are straightforwardly false, misleading, or artificially created (think “Deepfakes,” videos that make a politician appear to say something he didn’t say). Which of those problems are more dangerous for our civilization? Are any of them tractable? And what might a solution look like?”