Sunday Links #6

I’d like to get better at debating charitably. This guide is a good place to start.

Just a reminder that Immanuel Kant had non-progressive atypical-by-modern-standards views; like women don’t have rights; children born out of wedlock don’t have rights; homosexuality and masturbation are abhorrent; and organ donation (and even hair donation) is basically partial suicide (and suicide is very wrong, by the way). I’m not sure how much of a reductio ad absurdum this is for Kantian deontology, but it is a prime example of how easy it is to make your moral theory conveniently confirm the standard cultural practices and biases of your time. (I don’t think utilitarianism is off the hook for this, but it certainly has a better track record.)

80,000 Hours tells me about two things that are dangerous that I didn’t think were dangerous: charity fundraisers (because they tend to shift donations around rather than outright raise donations, though see many caveats and clarifications) and attractive people (because they’re more persuasive when they shouldn’t be, though my girlfriend should be excluded from this).

It’s really sad to see how much animal abuse in farming is caused not by people eating meat, but people wasting it. I remember one girl I met who ate meat, but took very special care to never waste any meat she ate and never to take more meat than she was planning on eating, because she wanted to respect the fact that an animal died for her food.

The concept of being careful not to generalize from one example (i.e. from you, to other people) must be important because I like it. One of the reasons you should be careful of (my) advice.

This is a very strange and enlightening view of the mind as an apologist and a revolutionary, coming out of strange and enlightening findings in neuroscience like split-brain studies.

A good practical guide to becoming happier, rooted in positive psychology research.

A bit on adapting artificial intelligence to play games without being specifically programmed for them. I like the part on how the program solves Tetris: “It can’t win[…], but it figures out that, if it pauses the game and doesn’t restart, it won’t lose.”

I don’t read much on atheism-religion arguments anymore, but I really like this analysis of Lewis’s Lord-Liar-Lunatic trilemma. Though, perhaps Jesus could be a lunatic after all

One of my favorite essays of all time: The Twelve Virtues of Rationality.

An analysis of the proper use of doubt.

A good question to get in the habit of asking: it’s for charity, but is it for a good cause?