I came up with a new plan for changing the world. I’m seeking initial feedback and discussion. This is a brief summary which assumes familiarity with some of my relevant articles (particularly about topics like debate methodology and paths forward).
Plan: 20 advocates spread rational debate method ideas on the web and social media for a year. (Averaging over 3 posts per day means over 20,000 total posts.) Elliot writes relevant essays, gives some guidance, and is available for debates.
Key question: What results could we expect assuming there were 20 advocates who all did their job well? I think it’d have a significant effect on the world. Basically, not everyone would ignore these ideas, and they’re very powerful so they’d spread once some influential people or groups took interest and started doing them. Once people were having more rational discussions and debates, it would advantage good ideas (conclusions would be better on average) and people would learn more, and it’d become easier to differentiate rational thought leaders from people no one should listen to.
What ideas should be spread? In short, that intellectuals (including amateurs who want to do better) should be open to debate but currently aren’t. They should have written debate policies and methodology, transparency, anti-bias policies, and ways to be corrected on errors that other people know about. They should write some information down, and be held accountable for it, which gives critics predictability about what will get them attention and responses. They should make more organized, documented, transparent efforts not to allocate attention by social status. They should participate in organized debates, reasonably often, using either CF’s methodology with debate trees or else some alternative that is written down which they believe is better. (If someone says they’re available to debate, but no one wants an organized (methodology-following) debate with them, that’s fine too. Anyone popular would easily get some debates, but anyone who isn’t popular might not.)
Biggest advantage of this plan: Advocates don’t need to be great philosophers. They don’t need to catch up to my skill and knowledge. (This is much easier and more concrete than my old plan, which was basically that people learn to be great philosophers and then we figure out a plan after that. I thought fewer than 10 great philosophers would be enough to first make a bunch of progress, then do something that utilizes that progress. I still believe that, but this new plan is more accessible.)
What is required of advocates? Learning the CF ideas related to debate.(Besides current articles, I’d create some training materials for this and for how to do advocacy.) Being competent, smart and reasonable. Not posting anything tilted. Staying on message. Not fighting with people. Learning some basic media training skills. Being open to debate some. (Losing debates is OK but you have to do a good job, explicitly follow rational methods, and come off as reasonable.) A year commitment and being consistent not flakey. (People are welcome to be involved without any commitment or consistency. They just don’t count towards the goal of having 20 advocates.)
This plan requires low resources for a plan to make the world better. It’s efficient. Besides me, it just takes 20 volunteers spending under 10 hours per week (they can have a full time job too) for a year. Many think tanks, non-profits, hobby projects or small businesses have over 20 people, last for many years, and accomplish much less than this plan would.
I do not plan to recruit other than writing on my own websites as usual. I’ll post a CF article explaining this plan in the future. If you like the plan, you can prepare to be an advocate and/or recruit people. You can also criticize and debate the plan. If people don’t refute the plan or even claim it’s wrong, but don’t care enough enough to become advocates and recruit enough other advocates, then it won’t happen, and I will not blame myself. In that scenario, I will think that I did more than enough. I don’t expect this plan to happen soon (there are currently fewer than 20 active CF forum posters) but I wanted to give people the option; people may find it inspiring to have an easier way to do something important that requires less philosophy learning first. I know some people really care about changing the world. (I’m open to changing the world but if others don’t choose to help then I can also be content with the more indirect plan of researching and writing.) This plan offers a focus point other than just learning philosophy and could clarify the CF advocacy situation. It’s a goal that people can work towards or express disinterest in, which can be clarifying. I think the existence of the plan can make the CF community better, for many years, even if it doesn’t start. Whether it’s implemented or not, it’s good to have a plan and to have an understanding of what changing the world would involve.
There are other details but this should give people the general idea of the plan. I found it difficult to write a finalized document for the CF site and realized I should get some feedback first which will help guide me on e.g. what issues to emphasize and what objections or misunderstandings people have.
What do you like about this plan? Does it make any sense to you? What doubts or objections do you have? What questions do you have? Please discuss.