Elliot Temple and Corentin Biteau Discussion

Yeah, that would be trying to change things a lot, and probably lead you into conflict with lots of people who don’t like your proposed changes.

Similarly, new laws or novel uses of existing laws is trying to change things in big, hard ways instead of using pre-existing consensus.

When they do this stuff, they commit fraud, including false advertising and lying to the public. You could theoretically do some of this stuff without fraud, but in practice they use lots of fraud when doing it. It’s the same in other major industries. It’s nothing to do with animals, farms or food specifically.

In some ways, anti-fraud laws are some of the oldest, best-established and least controversial laws we have, after e.g. anti-violence and anti-theft. They’re favored by non-anarchist libertarians who want a minimal government and see preventing fraud as one of the very few legitimate jobs of government, and they’re also favored by socialists, big government advocates, moderates, etc. A poll question like “Should fraud stay illegal or be legalized?” could easily get you over 90% saying keep fraud illegal.

I think you’re right that a lot of the public partly agrees with you. I think they’d buy less factory farmed meat if they understood the situation better.

So one thing you might consider is educating the public. But they’re passive, have other things to do, and there are a lot of people in the public. So that’s hard. (It’s good to have some unbiased, non-tribalist, non-propaganda information online for anyone who cares to go looking for it, which is different than actively trying to spread the information to people who weren’t seeking it out. IMO there isn’t enough of that, but that’s a tangent.)

But why does the public have the wrong idea about this stuff? They aren’t fully passive. They get some information from media, government, companies they buy from, etc.

The companies lie to them. If the companies had to stop lying, consumers would form different beliefs and change their meat purchasing behaviors.

The government is complicit in some of the fraud (e.g. it has a lot of control over ingredients lists and nutritional information on food packaging, and, at least in the US, makes some terrible rules that pretty egregiously lie to consumers). It’d probably be easier to start with fraud that the government is not complicit in. There’s plenty of both types.

Some fraud is kinda vague and debatable. Some isn’t. Factory farms do plenty of both types of fraud.

Does this, in broad outline, sound plausible to you? Like it might be true? And if it is true, it’d be important? And does it sound like a way of proceeding that involves way less tribalist fighting, and more consensus? Do you see the distinction there?

There are some difficulties, but I think it could be pursued in a productive rather than counter-productive way, and in more peaceful, less fighting-oriented way. Does that make sense to you?

Also, do you think this has already been tried?

I think this belief and attitude, by you and many other activists, is counter-productive. You’re legitimizing them and helping them. Even if you don’t emphasize it, it comes across to people that you don’t view or treat them like a bunch of lawbreakers.

Apparently, even their greatest enemies like you think they are innocent of lawbreaking. That is pretty convincing to people that they are in fact innocent. But they aren’t.

And I think it shows a broad lack of reasonable planning, research and analysis by many activists.

I said that more in the way that current laws are allowing some pretty immoral stuff (like the surface a chicken allowed to live on is equivalent to a sheet of paper).

The law also doesn’t ban imports from meat that comes from deforested areas.

But I showed some stuff where they break the law too - so you can consider that they do illegal stuff, then.

Educating the public is a very large part part of what animal activists do. Like undercover research and publishing videos of what happens in factory farms.

There is some unbiased info but it’s not of much importance - since people don’t see it and it has basically no impact (indeed, if there were such info, how would you find it? Why would you bother finding it?).

And you’re right that ignorance is a big problem here - because most people would change if they could see the impact of what they buy in supermarkets and restaurants when they make the choice of buying it.

Please stop dealing such broad judgements.

It’s pretty obvious from the above that you don’t know very well what tactics animal activists have tried - and where they succeeded and failed. That’s okay to not know what has been done or not in a movement - but the attitude to adopt is to admit you don’t know much, and to stop being judgemental when you’re not that knowledgeable.

While there is a lot of fraud, there is a difference between fraud and fraud specifically prohibited in the law. Most of what factory farms falls in the former.

As you said, advertisement contains a lot of lying (fraud) - it’s a very basic thing in marketing. Most advertisement, however, is absolutely legal, as long as you make broad and non-specific statements.

The goal of advertising is to picture yourself as positive and ignore negative stuff you do.
Picture yourself positively is easy - just make good musics, pictures of fields and how great you taste.
And you can’t force companies to disclose in advertising the bad stuff they do.

So I don’t see a good pathway here.

Overall, I think that what can be done (like suing companies for specific stuff they did bad) has already been done. So yeah, it’s been tried.

You can see a very large outline of what’s been tried or not here : Sentience Institute | A Summary of Evidence for Foundational Questions in Effective Animal Advocacy

It’s hard to get answers to direct questions from you. Do you consider it plausible that they might actually be breaking fraud laws, or do you consider that implausible?

It’s hard to talk to you when I try to share my perspective and share what I think is useful information about how I see the world, and you get offended and defensive instead of listening and trying to understand the intended usefulness of what I’m saying.

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Oh, that was the question? It wasn’t formulated that way in the post above, so I didn’t catch that.

I find implausible that they are directly breaking fraud laws. They are in doing things in ways where they won’t get sued.

When they are doing specific things considered fraud (like getting a veterinarian to approve the living conditions of their animals when it clearly shouldn’t), and there is proof (usually from an insider investigation by animal activists), they get sued.

I though it would be useful to point out that the sentence you used, “I think it shows a broad lack of reasonable planning, research and analysis by many activists”, is the fastest way to get disliked and written off as someone annoying you shouldn’t talk to. If you want to speedrun to an abrupt end to the conversation, fine, but I don’t think it is your goal.

For someone so focused on the value of being non-confrontational and of harmony, I find that odd.

Sharing your perspective is fine, but I’m sure you are well aware that there are ways to convey such information in a much better way.

For instance, using questions to rephrase that, or being more specific (“maybe XXX could benefit from doing XXX, what do you think of that”). But your statement is so broad here that it’s really easy to read as "you didn’t do research or reasonable planning ".

To be precise, what I didn’t like isn’t that you made a judgement on me or other people. If it’s justified, I like feedback. I also got the intended usefulness of what you ried to convey. I actually think that there are many activists that do not do a lot of research, it’s pretty common.

What I didn’t like is that you made such a judgement when the rest of the conversation made it pretty clear that you don’t know very well what animal activists are doing. Especially when the ones in EA spend a lot of time on research !

So I’d refrain from such statements in the future - I suggest this might benefit you.

The way I formulated it above was:

The text prior to that was about the factory farms committing fraud.

Suppose hypothetically that you’re wrong about that. Then would it have been counter-productive for you and many others like you to incorrectly believe in the innocence of the factory farm executives?

I do not believe in the innocence of factory farms executives. I think they commit a large array of immoral acts.

Their entire business model is based around breeding animals in a way that harms them, and the workers in factory farms have pretty poor working conditions. The environmental toll is horrendous, and it competes with human food.

However, there’s a pretty broad mismatch between “not committing immoral acts” and “doing legal things”. Being hard to sue does not mean it’s innocent.
I can right now go into a store and buy stuff made by a children working in terrible conditions, or which imply a lot of mining pollution - all of which perfectly legal.

My whole point was that the law has very law moral standards when it comes to this topic (as I said, chicken are legally allowed the surface of a sheet of paper to live on). There’s also some strong cognitive dissonance - all of that would be forbidden for cats and dogs.

Moreover, a worrying point is that when what factory farms go against the law and there is proof, that requires a lot of investigation work by animal activists, so it takes time. And in many cases, the fees are small and there is no strong political reaction to improve things.

Btw, I think I should warn you that I will soon opt out of this discussion - I’ll have a strong schedule next year, and I feel I am learning less on this topic than in the previous one. Hope this is okay with you! :slight_smile:

You believe in the legal innocence of these companies and their executives. I don’t. If you’re wrong, you’ve been counter-productive.

I’m trying to understand why your views are so much more favorable to big companies than mine (when my views are much more favorable to capitalism than yours). Do you also believe in the legal innocence and fraud avoidance of large companies and their executives in other industries, too? Like in tech, finance, pharma, food (e.g. Kraft, Nestle, Pepsi which is separate than farming), cigarettes, retail, media, mattresses or clothing? (Those are all industries where I believe I have pre-existing familiarity with widespread, ongoing fraud.)

Could you define “fraud” without looking it up? Do you think that we disagree about what actions the companies do? Or would we take the same action and disagree about whether it’s fraud?

It’s not OK with me that, as far as I can determine, no one on your side wants to talk enough to resolve much of anything, and there’s little interest in seriously trying. But that’s nothing personal about you.

Purpose: Say some of my thoughts about the legal system, controversy, and effective activism.

I think what’s controversial about uncontroversial laws is their enforcement. This isn’t just for fraud - it applies to ~all laws though in varying degrees.

The most steelman example I can think of is murder. There is nominally a super broad consensus of no murder, if you murder we’ll try really hard to catch you and prosecute you and put you in jail for a long time so you can’t murder any more people cuz we really disapprove of murder.

Except if the victim is unknown, especially if they’re from a low social class and the cops are busy we won’t try so hard to investigate so lots of murders will very predictably remain unsolved. Serial murderers can go for years and many victims without being caught if they target victims people care about less.

Or if the murderer is smart and patient they can figure out ways to do murder that are hard to detect and prosecute, and get away with murders for years. That includes things like setting up systems that get other people to do the physical murdering on your orders and take all the punishment if they’re caught. Lots of murderers are caught only because they did something dumb but if you are the type of murderer who can avoid doing something dumb your chances of not getting caught go way up.

And even when a murderer is caught, the system is overloaded enough that we often let the murderer plead down to something less than full murder, like manslaughter / negligent homicide that lets them get out of jail relatively soon.

Or if the murderer is rich and can hire good lawyers and jury consultants they may get off on a technicality or through skilled jury selection and presentation.

And if they do go to jail the jails are run in such a way that murderers can and often do still murder other inmates or guards. Or if they’re connected to crime organizations they can and often do still issue orders that result in murders outside the jail.

I think all other laws have much bigger enforcement problems than murder. Including fraud.

These enforcement problems exist for reasons lots of people think are good like: due process, preventing abuse of power, personal privacy, keeping taxes low, letting accused people put on the best defense they can, and humane treatment of prisoners. The balance between the things people like which cause enforcement problems and effectively enforcing laws people also like is controversial both in general and in most specific cases.

CAVEAT: I don’t think animals can suffer or that fraud is OK. I’m not trying to argue for either of those positions.

Often it takes lots of people caring enough to push the system to actually effectively enforce particular laws. Especially if the targets for enforcement are rich and well connected. The practical problem here isn’t figuring out that some companies broke the law (in this case, committed fraud), but getting enough people to care enough to push the system hard enough to overcome the enforcement problems and get effective enforcement done.

People have lots of things to care about. Getting their attention and care is hard. It’s also controversial. Other people will oppose you and say people should care about their thing rather than your thing. Even given very widespread anti-fraud consensus I don’t think simply convincing people that some fraud has been committed is anywhere near enough.

So to sum up so far: I don’t see a way to avoid the controversies about legal system tradeoffs required for effective enforcement of fraud laws, and I don’t see a way to avoid the controversy about what laws & cases people ought to spend their limited time and attention caring about enough to ensure adequate enforcement.

The two main levers I can think of to get people to care enough about the case of factory farm fraud are either that they were personally harmed a lot by the fraud, or that animals are suffering a lot by the fraud.

There are two problems I can think of with using personal harm as a lever. The first is it’s hard to prove harm in the amounts people will care about. I’m convinced enough that it’s possible to keep looking into it, but still not convinced it’s significant, and I think I know more about it than most people. I think the hurdle is pretty big.

The second is people who you do manage to prove it to will often just defect: become non-users of the fraudulent product. That’s a good and recommended strategy for minimizing personal harm but one that removes a lot of incentive to care much about the legal cases going forward which in turn makes building a broad public consensus to care a lot pretty difficult.

A good example is cigarettes. People knew they were bad & the tobacco companies were fraudsters for years (I think, but don’t know, maybe decades?) with nothing much being done about it. The people who cared enough about harm to themselves just stopped smoking or never started and then cared about other things rather than cigarettes. The people who didn’t care that much about harm to themselves kept smoking and called them cancer sticks or coffin nails or whatever. My personal opinion is that we only really developed any sort of consensus around smoking and tobacco companies when second-hand smoke became a widespread consideration. Second-hand smoke is a personal harm it was a lot harder to just personally defect out of, so a lot of non-smokers cared. And still it was pretty controversial! And it’s still not fully over. I don’t know details but I think the cigarette companies and vape companies are still doing some bad things.

I don’t know of a direct equivalent to second-hand smoke for food. If you personally stop eating factory farmed meat it’s hard to see a non-controversial way that someone else eating factory farmed meat cases you harm.

On the other hand, if you believe animals can suffer, then stopping eating factory farmed meat yourself doesn’t fix that. So from an activist’s perspective I think it’d be a better lever for consensus building.

If I was an activist, and thought animals could actually suffer and factory farms commited fraud, then suffering would be a more effective lever to get enough people to care about the fraud and get it stopped. Not because animal suffering is uncontroversial, but because controversy seems unavoidable and someone who is convinced of animal suffering will find it much harder to defect from the cause than someone who is convinced of personal harm.

After a few years of taking holiday joy away from poor workers who were formerly oppressed by the USSR, these fish activists decided their campaign was counter-productive.

They didn’t and still don’t care that they were fighting with people, causing people to dislike them and their case, making enemies. They also didn’t and don’t care that I could have told them their campaign was a bad idea before they started; they wouldn’t have listened then or now, and they aren’t changing how they listen.

They only care about how their campaign was bad for animals, not how it was bad for people:

we are now concerned … net negative result for the lives of animals

In addition to not following my idea of rationality, they hadn’t followed their own:

The real mistake, of course, would be to never investigate our impact in the first place.

They just assumed they were doing good without investigating. Now they’ve realized they didn’t even consider: if we take this away from people, what will they do instead? One of the answers is buy and eat different fish instead.

So looking only at the effect on fish, they’re now worried their actions were counter-productive. So they’re stopping.

They still aren’t recognizing and factoring in negative effects on humans from their campaign.

The world is full of poorly thought out activism – on both sides, leading to tons of fighting between people – and empty of effective intellectuals.

There are things these companies do which is often illegal. I provided examples.

I’d define fraud as “not respecting the legal rules, through secrecy, disinformation, cheating, getting unfair advantages”. Examples include tax avoidance.
Not sure we define fraud the same way (especially as I have the French version of the word in mind).

There is also fraud that is very hard to actually sanction, that factory farms do. For instance, “68% of all investigated foreign capital to nine focal companies in the soy and beef sectors in the Brazilian Amazon was transferred through one, or several, known tax havens”. But fighting tax heavens is very hard.

I’d say that factory farms fraud about as much as in other sectors, through lobbying or marketing or regulatory capture.

I certainly wouldn’t say that the large companies you quoted are avoiding fraud. I’d rather argue that’s it’s very hard to sanction them for fraud, which is different

We probably differ about definitions here.

Their core business, like the part about breeding animals in cramped spaces without sunlight or access to outside, is mostly legal.
Which would mean that the law authorizes very immoral things. No contradiction here.

Well, you require high standards to even have a conversation with you (I mean that not just by talking with you, but exchanging in a way that you think would be enough to change your mind). For animal suffering, you require a lot of stuff (knowledge of programming, knowledge on Popper, knowledge on how to refute abstract philosophical arguments… None of ). To simplify, you require other people to fight you on your ground (with a lot of philosophy, programming, abstract concepts…).

So I expect few people to really debate with you, in general (at least in a way you’d find satisfying).This means few people can talk to you in a way that would allow you to change your mind. Worryingly, I fear this would be the case no matter whether you are right or wrong on the topic at hand.

If my discussion standards were so high, I’d be worried, because it would cut me off from a lot of stuff I could learn from.

Anyway, if you want people from effective activism to listen to you, you need a track record. A published paper approved by peers, an history of having done stuff that works in the field, something like that.
So far, I feel like I haven’t seen much more than abstract concepts - but it’s easy to talk with abstract concepts (even if they can make logical sense). I have no way of knowing if your abstract concepts are better than the next guy - at least not unless there is actual data to back that up.

Thanks, this is spot on :+1:

Even if there is fraud, it’s hard to get a change out of that.

People won’t be convinced that they get harmed by factory farming - although arguments that meat is bad for the environment and can have adverse health effects (vegetarians live about 3-4 more years in the US) can be useful, and are already used.

I agree with that. This why showing how animals suffer is often used as a lever.

As you know, I don’t require that and am perfectly willing to talk with people who don’t know all that stuff, such as you. You’re being unfair to me and saying untrue things that make me look/sound bad.

If people are missing some relevant knowledge, how to handle that can be discussed. If they disagree about what’s objectively relevant (not what is my ground), that can also be discussed.

Track records are interpreted by theories. People who disagree about ideas often disagree about what results are impressive or even positive. You interpret success differently than I do, and that’s true even when we agree on goals or values.

Evaluating people by track records in this way is irrational, turns the world into social hierarchies, and perpetuates many of the problems that EA fights against.

But you did say that. You claimed that my belief that they’re committing fraud is implausible to you. I was going to talk about what fraud they do, with examples, but I never got a chance because you denied what I was saying before listening.

You’re now drastically changing your story and contradicting yourself. This kind of behavior is one of the reasons it’s hard to have productive, quick discussions. This discussion isn’t hopeless or stuck, but your behaviors slow it down to the point that you get bored, get impatient, think the value per time is low, etc. You don’t seem to accurately keep track of what either of us said earlier in the discussion. To reiterate:

But now, contradicting all that, it’s:

You seem to have changed your story because you didn’t want to defend all industries as fraud-free, and also realized that calling the meat industry particularly good at avoiding fraud would be unreasonable. So you were wrong and lost the argument. Then you contradicted yourself without admitting it.

This kind of irrational, biased behavior means you’re potentially vulnerable to being tricked by charismatic leaders or ineffective causes. That wouldn’t concern me much if you donated normal amounts, but it’s a big deal when the donating is very unusual and drastic, and the motive for such large donations is basically high confidence that you’re right. Your discussion behaviors show many signs that you shouldn’t be so confident.

You also apparently made claims about fraud before disclosing your belief that:

We probably differ about definitions here.

You’re seeking excuses to defend what you said. Also the definition you gave for (legal) fraud is wrong (but you made the preemptive excuse that it’s French). You appear to simply not know what fraud means legally, and instead of finding out you’ve been dismissive of an opportunity (that you know little about) to improve animal activism, and help both animals and people simultaneously. The biased motive appears to be that you want to defend activists as having already tried every good idea, or at least every good idea that an enemy critic (as you see me) could think of.


Frankly, yeah. I’m getting rather tired by the conversation, not bothering to check what’s been said.

A big issue I have is that I really don’t see where the fraud thing is getting us to. There are too many back-and-forth, and it’s too long.

It seems to depend a lot on definition of the term (fraud), and it’s a word that I find really blurry. So yeah, if you had a specific definition in mind, I certainly contradicted myself, and I used it poorly.

If you have an opportunity for me to improve animal activism, can you just tell it to me?

What is the thing you’d recommend doing? That’s just what I want to know.

It’s disrespectful of me, my time, and my forum to make careless posts.

I outlined an opportunity, regarding fraud, and you were dismissive.

You’re trying to solve very large, hard problems. I don’t have a short, easy answer.

You’re trying to solve complex problems. I don’t have a simple answer that you will immediately see is great. To accurately evaluate activist projects requires complex concepts and abstract thinking.

I can give you a concrete example: I looked at Tyson’s website and quickly found red flags for likely fraud. I don’t currently advise starting a lawsuit, contacting a regulator or doing a PR campaign about Tyson. More research, planning and conceptual understanding are needed before deciding what actions to take.

In summary, Tyson advertises that they have unbiased, independent beef audits, but actually uses a single auditor with deep ties to the meat industry. The auditor is so biased that they have anti-animal-activist propaganda on their public website. I don’t know how biased/corrupt/false their actual audits are, but I think activists could find out if they cared enough.

Fraud is a widespread problem accross all large companies, and improving fraud enforcement in society could potentially make many things better at once. It’s also an approach which an 80% majority of people could easily be in favor of. There are difficulties too, but if you understood the upsides you would be willing to look into it more and consider ways to overcome those difficulties. You’d also be more interested if you better understood how counter-productive the drawn-out, tribalist, polarizing fighting is, so you cared more to find an alternative. You’d also be more interested if you learned the classical liberal perspective on fraud – what it is, how bad it is, why it matters, etc.

You give up on root cause solutions because they seem too hard. You’d be better off reading political philosophy books instead of pursuing local optima solutions. Or, in the alternative, you could listen more to people who did that reading and studying. I can study books and then figure out what approaches they imply. Then you don’t have to do a bunch of work as a scholar. But that division of labor doesn’t work if you and other activists won’t listen to my conclusions. Expecting me to explain the books to you, so that you can understand for yourself (but keep it far shorter than the books, and make it intuitive and easy for you), is unreasonable – if you want personal understanding, you have to do more of your own study. (The division of labor approach also requires you to have a good approach to figuring out which experts to listen to and how to handle disagreements between experts.)

Tyson also has a heavily greenwashed sustainability website which likely contains lots of fraud. (Getting Tyson to make a greenwashed site where they claim to favor sustainability is an example of something activists might think is a victory, but which I have several reasons to think is counter-productive.)

Thanks, things are more clear this way.

It turns out I was wrong, as you suggested: I misrepresented the extent to which factory farm companies were committing fraud.

You might be interested in this report by The Humane League that I had not read yet:

It asserts that:

This report focuses on the USDA’s slaughterhouse inspections records from a span of six months in 2021, which document regulatory noncompliance at 300 of the 320 federally inspected poultry slaughterhouses in the US, including plants operated by industry giants like Tyson Foods, Pilgrim’s Pride, Sanderson Farms, Perdue Foods, and Koch Foods

This report dwelves into some detail about the laws regulating slaugterhouses, and how factory farms companies are breaking it.

So indeed animal activists have had some interest on the fraud done by factory farms, recorded things and took action on the topic.

I also found other actions related to fraud, like filling lawsuits to stop false advertising, or to overturn laws that criminalize whistle blowing.

Of course, I mentioned fraud relating specifically to animal welfare - I fail to see how getting Tyson to be sued because of greenwashing on its website would change much for the lives of animals. Fighting Tyson on corporate campaigns to adopt reforms that aren’t controversial (like no cages for chicken) appears to be as hard as fighting Tyson over fraud on another topic. But the former would yield more results for animals.

As for improving fraud enforcement in general, I understand the rationale behind it, and why it could in theory lead to good outcomes. But many, many groups of people have tried to change things in that regard, so I don’t think it is that neglected - it’s just extremely difficult to obtain serious results here (especially as it requires going against very big companies and entrenched interest). The fact that there is still widespread fraud in many sectors of the economy, despite the fact that fighting fraud is uncontroversial, is indicative of that.

Moreover, even if it were easier to fight fraud, that would not guarantee that the living conditions of animals would significantly improve - that would still require strong laws in favor of animal welfare.

But on this topic I redirect toward @Lebowski’s answer which I think is very good. Fighting fraud is uncontroversial, but actually making laws to enforce it is controversial and often involves people fighting, if only to get people to care about the specific law.

Of course, I may change my mind if I see ways of fighting fraud that actually led to some results for animals. This may be linked to my personality, but in general, I prefer joining forces with something that has a good track record, instead of building something from the ground up with highly uncertain chances of success.

On your side, you seem to care more about fraud specifically and are more well versed into political philosophy, so you may be more motivated than me at taking action on this issue. If you manage to get a good track record at fighting against fraud (relying on the uncontroversial nature on the topic) and getting laws adopted, then I would be interested. That would be promising.

In the meantime, I think I will leave the conversation for now. Thanks for your time, and I wish you a good year 2023. :slight_smile:

You were wrong. Now you’re leaving before you can be corrected about anything else.

Your position is basically “I was wrong about step 1 in this line of reasoning, but Elliot is wrong about step 2”. You say this before I’ve spoken about step 2. You prevented me from speaking about step 2 yet by incorrectly fighting me on step 1. Now you’ve rushed ahead to speak a little on step 2, before me, then quit before I got to say anything about it.

You should expect that, given you were completely wrong about step 1, you might also be wrong about step 2. Instead, you’re confident now that step 2 goes your way, just as you were confident before that step 1 goes your way. You’re immediately repeating the same arrogant error.

Any activist who truly cared would not give up the opportunity to potentially be corrected again, by a smart person with a different perspective who has ideas to share, after you were just corrected. You said you wanted to see results, see a track record, etc. I succeeded. I was right and you were wrong. That’s a result. I’m better at discussion and reasoning than you. We just had a practical demonstration. But instead of being impressed and wanting more of the same, you’re leaving.

Not caring about your errors, and not wanting more corrections, shows you don’t respect your own intellect and judgment, which is actually fine and reasonable – you don’t know what you’re talking about. But in that case you shouldn’t be donating half your income based on your poor judgment and your trust in certain leaders. You’re being exploited. You should set aside the money and potentially donate it later instead of rushing to give it away now when you’re so ignorant and irrational.

There are approaches to fraud that have been tried, and other approaches that haven’t. You’re dismissive and leaving before you can find out about opportunities and fix some of your ignorance. Just when we made a major breakthrough, you rush to make a bunch of fresh assertions, then quit, showing you don’t actually care about the breakthrough. That means most of what you said in the conversation were dishonest excuses, not your real reasoning. That’s why instead of a breakthrough being useful and impressive to you, it’s just a hassle for you – you don’t want your excuses to be torn down and are running away as you run out of them because you don’t want to ever get to the heart of the matter about what is going on with your motivations and reasoning.

Just so you know, I disagree that @Lebowski’s answer is good. I think it is actually very bad & misleading social posturing.

This is something he has a history of doing on this forum. He writes misleading posts that mis-frame the conversation and what the other person has said so far. It can be very hard to unwind what he has said, and point out all the parts where he has mis-framed or misrepresented another person’s words or point. There are some examples in the history of the forum, but it is a lot of work to even read through them and understand all the parts and all the dishonesty in his posts. Because of this, I try not to talk to him directly at all.

I think the post that you are talking about is another example of him mis-framing a discussion.

I also disagree with what I take to be the main points in his post, but I don’t want to get into discussions with him, so I didn’t try replying to it. (For example, he called murder a “steelman” example, but it’s actually a straw man example, imo. There are really big issues with prosecuting murders which don’t come up at all with fraud violations. One big issue is that murder was a one time act which was usually not recorded or even witnessed and was perpetrated by an unknown individual. It is very hard to catch murderers. But the corporations are openly committing fraud in ways that are recorded and witnessed by multiple individuals, and they are often committing it openly over and over again on a daily basis, in a way that would be very easy to catch if anyone cared. We have so much more evidence of fraud happening than we do of actual murders happening.)

Prosecuting fraud that corporations commit is something that we could get agreement on right now from a lot of different people, not just animal activists. And it would be beneficial to a lot of different causes, not just to animal rights. Overall, it would be able to do way more good to society than just fighting for animal rights. It would help with such a huge number of things, including malnutrition, homelessness, building fires, building & infrastructure collapses, medical mistreatment, sexual assault & rapes, airplane crashes, car crashes.

It doesn’t make sense to me to avoid putting effort into something that could do so much good for humanity, and so much good for so many different causes, and instead have all these causes insist on individually putting their effort into only very small, parochial things, which will only help their very specific cause. (And in some instances don’t help their overall cause at all, and instead just move people from doing one type of harm to doing another type of harm.)

Yeah, I didn’t respond to Lebowski partly due to ongoing problems and his disinterest in self-improvement. And partly because the post was such low quality and so misleading. It’s just nasty office politics. The post basically agreed with me and backed up my claims, but presented itself as disagreeing (partly by jumping ahead to issues I hadn’t yet spoken about, and then expressing some initial difficulties involved, which I already knew about and agree are real problems that need some solutions, but which I don’t react to by immediately giving up).

Partly, the post acted like it was disagreeing with me, then said my ideas (including some parts I was going to say but hadn’t gotten to yet), which is a typical office politics way of taking credit for other people’s ideas.

Instead of presenting himself as agreeing with me and backing me up, he mostly reached my conclusions while framing it like they were his own new ideas and I was somehow wrong. Saying some of my ideas that I hadn’t said yet was also interfering in a discussion where I was purposefully trying to go step by step. (Also what enabled Lebowski to jump ahead and predict some of the ideas I would have said next? Because he’s been reading my articles for many years, is familiar with my perspective, and is able to pick up on where I’m going with my arguments more than most people. I’ve already talked about a lot of the same stuff elsewhere, and he’s read it.)

The worst example of low quality was:

This was said after @CorentinBiteau was very clear that he denies they’re breaking the law. It’s either completely disrespecting CB and denying he and his ideas exist, or an accident due to not paying any attention to the thread before joining in (but even just skimming my recent posts would reveal CB’s position, which I’d been talking about too, so there’s no way there could be a reasonable accident).

Basically, Lebowski was saying here that obviously I’m right, and it’s uncontroversial and no one disagrees. That was his comment regarding the current issue I was debating with CB. So that’s strong agreement with the thing I was claiming, not with CB!

But CB responded based on the social vibes Lebowski was putting out, rather than the specific text that mistreated him. CB is vulnerable to office politics, and that kind of stuff is one of the way EA is able to trick and exploit him and others.

It’s hard to argue with Lebowski because he put out social vibes and framing that I’m wrong, but the actual substance of his post basically agreed with me. So to reply, I’d have to argue with stuff he said between the lines or by implication, rather than the primary text, which is way harder.