Comment by cumbong420 on Solomonoff induction and belief in God · 2019-01-29T00:26:07.459Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think I'm missing something here, but if the Universal Dovetailer implies the existence of this universe (among great amounts of junk), I don't understand the need to switch to a more sophisticated "god" algorithm. Shouldn't Occam's Razor tell us that the UD is more likely?

Comment by cumbong420 on [Link] Did AlphaStar just click faster? · 2019-01-28T23:54:12.961Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Inhuman burst APM allows AlphaStar to win stalemates far better than a human can with crazy micro, and it also uses strange, normally illogical strategies that capitalize on that ability (such as some Zerglings defeating a tank with superior micro). The AI no doubt has learned strategy and has a high level of intelligence in the game, but I don't think AlphaStar would be nearly as competitive if it had perfect simulation of human APM, enough to the point where it may not be safe to say that AlphaStar has outplayed any pro players so much as out-tech'd them. To parrot ESRogs, it's not evident to me that AlphaStar could beat humans under any symmetric APM cap.

Comment by cumbong420 on Is there a standard discussion of vegetarianism/veganism? · 2019-01-10T02:12:52.788Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Since the calculator specifies "animal foods", that may be reasonable. Hunted foods are a distinct argument, but when talking about animal products in the general sense, I think it's safe to refer to the common case, which is a factory farm. An argument could be made that the lives of animals on factory farms have negative value to themselves. On the other hand, calculating suffering seems sort of silly since there's no way to measure it or many of the other categories on the calculator. I think that website's convincing but I'm not sure it proves anything or presents a real argument.

Comment by cumbong420 on Is there a standard discussion of vegetarianism/veganism? · 2019-01-09T21:53:31.030Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The preferences of a deer as far as I can reasonably assume are probably A: avoid death, B: avoid pain, and C: seek pleasure. Deer might (and probably do) have more complicated understandings of the world, but in the absence of a deer psychic I can't really base anything off that assumption. I think it's safe to assume a deer would prefer not to be shot by a hunter in the vast majority of situations. Furthermore, it should be noted that younger animals are often hunted rather than ones approaching death, so the difference between getting killed by a hunter or dying as they would in their natural habitat is also a difference between a huge part of their lifespan. It's reasonable to assume deer would prefer to extend their lifespan in most cases. I think these questions have ethical significance, but in the context of discussing whether it's acceptable to kill and eat animals, I think it distracts from the primary disagreements. Sure, death by bullet is probably preferable to death in nature, but at no particular point should we assume that a healthy, young deer would like to be shot. Similarly, I would prefer to die by a bullet than in a hospital bed, but at no particular point as a healthy person would I like someone to shoot me.

I don't consider cannibalism to be wrong. I don't practice it and it sort of ekes me out, but I have no problem with ritual or cultural cannibalism so long as no sacrifice is made. In this particular way, my views on cannibalism are analogous to my ones on carnism. I have no problem with someone eating their pet dog, for example, after they die. If that person were to start slaughtering dogs to satiate his tastes, however, I'd have an objection. When comparing eating meat to eating humans, I'll almost always imply that a human is being killed against their will in the process.

Comment by cumbong420 on Is there a standard discussion of vegetarianism/veganism? · 2019-01-09T21:43:07.848Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Ah my bad, fast typing forgot the right name. Animal Liberation is book which obviously specifically covers animal ethics while Practical Ethics has a wider breadth. I'd suggest Animal Liberation for your purposes

Comment by cumbong420 on Does anti-malaria charity destroy the local anti-malaria industry? · 2019-01-06T23:49:24.134Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm inclined to believe it's a rational reason. In one of the links, it's mentioned that the same effect found with the nets being sold at market price was seen when trying a similar technique with anti-worm medication. Worms are a much more tangible and wrenching threat than mosquitoes, so if people were neglecting to buy these nets out of an irrational understanding of their effectiveness, we might not see the same results with a product that's much easier to see work. Since we do, it looks plausible to me that people just can't afford these things at market price.

Comment by cumbong420 on Is there a standard discussion of vegetarianism/veganism? · 2019-01-03T22:51:04.518Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The longer the animal lives, the longer it must spend on a factory farm. Extended lifespan ceases to be a positive thing when annihilation becomes preferable.

Comment by cumbong420 on Is there a standard discussion of vegetarianism/veganism? · 2019-01-03T22:49:47.857Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I suggest you read Peter Singer's book, "Animal Ethics", which goes into great detail on the ethics of consuming animal products within the framework of utilitarianism. Singer is often thought of as the father of veg*ism, so he's a great place to start. I don't know a great deal on the topics of environmental impact or health, but I think I can start some discussion on your questions.

"Can you rank animals by how bad eating them is?"

That depends on your personal views on the sanctity of life or lack thereof. This is a very easy question for me to answer - of course, for humans are animals and I place the value of their lives over others. Similarly I care much more for a pig than I do for an ant, but not so much that I disregard the ant entirely. It makes perfect sense to have a scale for which animals' lives have more worth than others, but I'm wary to do so in fear of being dishonest, since there's no way I'd put myself below top.

"Is it more ethical to eat wild animals because they have a good life before dying?"

I suppose, but it doesn't warrant discussion. This is merely a question of whether the life of an animal in its natural habitat is better than one on a factory farm with killing and eating them as a given. The answer there is obvious and I just reject the idea that killing and eating is necessary to begin with. I also believe a wild hunted human would be a more ethical meal than a factory farmed one, but I believe neither are acceptable. My views on factory farm and wild hunted animal flesh are roughly analogous to my ones on human flesh.

"The ethics of offsetting" (can I offset myself into ethically eating meat?)

The author of the article in question says here that they made some mistakes -

(12/30/16) In Vegetarianism For Meat-Eaters, part 2 suggested that donating to animal welfare charities could save 3 – 11 animal lives per dollar. Based on critiques like those in this essay, I now think those numbers are heavily exaggerated, maybe by several orders of magnitude. I don’t know what the right numbers are or whether the point is still somewhat valid.

That aside, I do not. In order to be ethical agents, we are obligated to do no harm. Regardless of what good you do in the world, you cannot act ethically and also intentionally do harm. Assuming imprisoning and killing animals is harmful, you cannot engage in it and consider yourself ethical in your treatment of animals if you believe that factory farming or meat at all is wrong.

These are of course my opinions, feel free to disagree with them or let me know with any questions or problems you spot.