TakeOnIt
Compare opinions of world leading experts and influencers.

the27th's TakeOnIt

About Me

I'm a private person.

Contribution Stats

42 up votes minus down votes on comments.
0 questions, experts, and expert opinions added.
0 expert opinion suggestions made.

Contents

the27th's Opinions

Is creativity overrated?      Disagree      16 Jul 2010      1 Point
True innovation is rare, I think. There's far more incremental change. Most new technologies are incremental. Most science and art is incremental. So it may look like "innovation" is mostly not about "creativity."

BUT -- incremental improvements depend on a few genuinely original ideas. The one paper that creates a new field supports two decades of frenzied incremental activity. We do not all have to be creative, but we would be in deep trouble if nobody was.

Can abortion significantly reduce crime?      Mostly Disagree      03 Jul 2010      0 Points
Steve Levitt uses doubtful methodology.

Does economic inequality cause crime?      Mostly Disagree      03 Jul 2010      1 Point
People cause their own actions.
Inequality correlates with crime. Poverty very plausibly makes crime easier and other ways of making money harder. And childhood poverty harms brain development, in particular decision-making. But I do insist on being persnickety about this: short of very serious brain damage, one's actions are chosen, so no, environmental factors do not cause crime.

Are the core truths of science and religion complementary?      Mostly Disagree      03 Jul 2010      1 Point
When religion makes claims that can be interpreted in the language of science ("The Red Sea parted") and the best evidence weighs against them, then, yes, science and religion conflict.

Religion's ethical claims are not reducible to science or refutable by science, though. I have my quarrels even with some religious ethical precepts -- I wouldn't go as far as the Feynman quote -- but a good chunk of Judaeo-Christian ethics is noble and enduring. And I'm not even sure that the part of me that quarrels with religious morality isn't itself influenced by religion (think of Abraham bargaining with God.)

Then there's what I'd call the aesthetic or psychological aspects of religion: the experience of awe and the art and poetry inspired by it. Science, once again, doesn't make this "false."

Is not bothering to vote acceptable?      Mostly Disagree      03 Jul 2010      1 Point
I understand the sentiment that politics is a farce. And it sort of is.

But you only make it more of a farce by not participating. Perhaps you don't have much agency -- but not voting gives you LESS agency. You think anybody will notice low voter turnout in your county and say "Wow, people here must be really outraged with the political system"? If you think voting is ineffective, then by the same token, not voting is at least as ineffective.

If you don't like the major-party tickets (and who could blame you?) vote third party or write in. Write in Mickey Mouse if you have to. But, on the margin, you're better off using your franchise rather than throwing it in the garbage.

Is politics a waste of time for ordinary citizens?      Mostly Disagree      03 Jul 2010      1 Point
I do think we spend too much time on red team-blue team politics, and national politics. We make national politicians too powerful and too important, and we forget that it's absolutely ridiculous to care about the President's personal opinion on things like oil spills or gays, as though he's some kind of mascot or monarch. I'm not interested in polls and supermajorities any more. I don't follow it as a spectator sport much.

But it's also politics to be concerned about how money is being spent in your home town, and whether cops are protecting or abusing the citizens. It's very practical to be involved and aware about that. War is politics, and that matters. Civil liberties are politics, and if nobody is keeping an eye on that, "ordinary citizens" will suffer for it. Poverty, education, wildlife preservation: all legitimate things to care about. Basically, I think, if you actually know what you're talking about on an issue, if it's close to you personally, then it makes sense to do something about it. Even if it's not voting or writing your congressman, if it's setting up a volunteer group, it's still "political" in the sense of being publicly involved. This kind of politics is better, I think; it's "cultivating our own gardens," acting locally, on issues that are close to you as an individual.

Ideological politics -- sometimes that's a waste of time, yes, but I do like sussing out the political views of people I meet because that's a good way to get to know them. When you know someone's politics, you know a little bit about how they see the world. One friend of mine is a moderate liberal, and that actually fits in seamlessly with her personality: cheerful, practical, generous, expects the people around her to behave responsibly and doesn't mind bossing them around a bit for their own good. Another friend is a hard-line conservative and that fits in with his personality just as seamlessly: rather sad, old-fashioned, always trying to revive lost arts of courtesy, is disheartened when people think they can just do as they please. And, of course, there's me, a libertarian, which means that in ordinary life I tend to chafe against authorities, I'm optimistic about the future, and my ideal is an individual striking out on his own.

Should robots always be used instead of humans for space exploration?      Neutral      30 Jun 2010      1 Point
Robots are cheaper and better for science.
But humans want to go to space -- it's psychologically appealing.
I think a lot of this will sort itself out when private spaceflight gets off the ground... but in the meantime, it's the sort of thing we should arbitrage. Robots for data-collecting missions, humans for space tourism and inspiring gestures.

Is it ethical to eat meat?      Neutral      25 Jun 2010      1 Point
I don't really know.

I'm not sure if the right not to be killed attaches to creatures based on their capacity for suffering (that would suggest vegetarianism) or their capacity for reason (that would mean meat-eating is OK) or their membership in the same species as oneself (also means meat-eating is OK -- and it's also okay to eat Chewbacca.)

I was vegetarian for a year for ethical reasons. It felt like no hardship but I wasn't getting enough protein so I quit, and my new carnivorous diet was much healthier. Maybe the less flattering truth is that I'm not too troubled by doing things that society doesn't punish me for.

Should the world embrace nuclear energy?      Mostly Agree      20 Jun 2010      0 Points
We know how to make it, and it's not a fossil fuel.

Are biofuels good?      Neutral      20 Jun 2010      1 Point
They can be.
Corn-kernel ethanol is a boondoggle. Cellulosic ethanol -- or, even better, algal biofuels -- have impressive energy output/input ratios, if they ever become cheap enough to be practical.

Are politicians' children "off-limits" to media scrutiny?      Neutral      18 Jun 2010      1 Point
I'll agree that politicians' kids begin life with a lot of resources and shouldn't be the main recipients of our pity. They're not the main recipients of mine. For personal reasons -- partly for my own self-interest -- I don't like negative gossip and I avoid participating in it, and don't get any special thrill from consuming it. I didn't need any scandal to tell me I wasn't a Palin voter.

Is free will an illusion?      Disagree      18 Jun 2010      1 Point
I believe in Chisholm-magic. I am the cause of my actions. I am a prime mover. Small-l (philosophical) libertarianism.
Why? Subjective experience, a rather convincing argument that doesn't ignore the existence of neuroscience, and a personal commitment to live according to my own deliberate choices.

Are computer games a significant cause of violence?      Disagree      18 Jun 2010      1 Point
God no.
First of all the evidence is against it.
Second of all, video games are a fictional representation of violence -- are you a serial killer if you read Macbeth? Sometimes the people who are interested in fictional representations of violence have what I'd call a writerly imagination... they want to look at human nature at the extremes. I know people like that and they're actually intensely non-violent. It's not actually a wish-fulfillment fantasy.

Does the media distort our perception of beauty?      Mostly Disagree      18 Jun 2010      1 Point
Wrong way to think about the question.

The media affects the perception of beauty -- the media and everything else. Conversations with friends, your neighbors, the books you read, your own deliberate efforts all affect what you perceive as beautiful. Perception is manipulable. It depends on the environment in which you immerse yourself. (Personal example -- since I started hanging out with jocks more, I began to find athleticism more attractive, in men and women.)

To talk about "the media" determining beauty, as though it's a monolithic entity, is particularly stupid right now, when we don't have a monoculture, and old media is actually on the wane. We're really not all passively influenced by the tastes of three magazine editors, if we ever were.

And as for eating disorders -- the genuinely ill are ill. Taking away the magazines won't make them well.

Are politicians' children "off-limits" to media scrutiny?      Neutral      18 Jun 2010      0 Points
Nothing is off-limits in a legal sense.
Picking on children, though, is a low blow, and I don't like people who do it.

Is cryonics worthwhile?      Mostly Disagree      18 Jun 2010      0 Points
I wouldn't do it...
partly because I want one successful demonstration of a technology before I'll spend a cent on actually purchasing it.

Is a technological singularity likely?      Mostly Disagree      27 May 2010      0 Points
"Smarter than human" is a vague concept. We don't consider powerful calculating machines to be smarter than us. For the purpose of the Singularity, to get accelerating technological growth, we must mean inventing a an AI that is better at inventing new technologies than we are.

I think we are far away from inventing a machine that can invent its own machines. AI research today focuses on getting machines to accomplish the same tasks of perception and learning that humans (and animals) do. I think it's clear that we'll get much better at machine perception. In my lifetime we may well get a machine that comprehends language the way humans do. But I don't know if anyone's even working on machines that can innovate. That may be a severely hard problem.

Does Cap and Trade beat carbon tax for reducing emissions?      Mostly Disagree      27 May 2010      1 Point
Well, I've seen several cost-benefit analyses -- Nordhaus did one, Stern did one, the Pew Institute did one -- and they projected a net benefit for emissions reduction. Nordhaus and Stern were looking globally; Pew was looking at the US, on a much shorter time scale with more specificity. Of course if you look at the very long term you run into philosophical complications with discounting.

Pew found that reducing emissions by the UN's recommended amount would be, barely, a net economic gain for the US, but that some states would take losses. It's in Ohio's best interest to just let climate change proceed; it's in Louisiana's best interest to halt climate change. (I note ruefully that the states with the most to lose from climate change -- coastal and desert states, mostly -- are not necessarily more likely to have representatives who voted for cap-and-trade. It may be too much to hope that politicians actually think about cost-benefit.)

Is self-deception a fault?      Mostly Agree      27 May 2010      1 Point
Here's what I've come to believe.

If you're afraid to abandon a belief that's already starting to look like a self-delusion, it's probably because you're afraid that changing your mind will cause you to lose something you value. If I don't believe in God, I'll become wicked! If I don't believe I'm brilliant, I'll be unhappy! If I don't believe my boyfriend is perfect, I won't love him any more! Wouldn't it be horrible to abandon such delusions?

But here's the thing. I don't want to be wicked, I don't want to be unhappy, and I don't want to be loveless. If I really value being happy for its own sake, for instance, I'll find a way to still be happy, even when I know depressing truths. If you still hold those values even when half-doubting your delusions, you'll be able to hold them even when you reject your delusions altogether.

Does relative wealth make us happier than absolute wealth?      Mostly Disagree      26 May 2010      0 Points
Up to a point, happiness rises with GDP among different countries. Absolute wealth matters. There's evidence that relative wealth matters as well, but as I understand high relative wealth can't compensate for a sufficiently low absolute wealth.

Are pickup artist strategies morally acceptable?      Mostly Disagree      26 May 2010      0 Points
Hmm, maybe. It's true that women are pretty flawed and that men look silly if they don't realize that; I'm not sure if anyone really acquires that balance through reading pick-up philosophy, but who knows, it's possible. Mostly, anyone who actually spends time with women knows that we don't belong on a pedestal -- the cure is exposure, not hours reading internet screeds.

But the point is not that PUA is unflattering -- it's that it advocates being deceptive about the goals of a relationship. I'm not sure there's a modern word for it, but it's being a cad. Don Giovanni was a creep. It's cruel to make a woman think you care about her when you don't. I don't believe in cruelty.

Is optimism rational?      Neutral      26 May 2010      1 Point
I once saw the argument that depression is tied to higher cognitive function, better critical thinking, etc. A little like Forgas' theory. It's astounding to me, because my personal experience tells me that depression produces the inability to think clearly at all. Despair is a fog.

The thing is, humans have optimistic biases -- we tend to be overconfident in our assessments and our self-evaluations. Pessimism acts in the opposite direction, so it can appear to make people more rational, but that's a canceling effect. Pessimism is just a bias of its own, and it's a particularly nasty one when it's so extreme that it doesn't seem worth while to do anything. You need a certain degree of optimism to make any plans or actions at all.

Does God exist?      Disagree      26 May 2010      2 Points
No. The existence of God really doesn't make sense if you hold it to ordinary standards of belief. And I do, for better or for worse, think in terms of evidence and reason; that is my language, as a scientist, and it's the only standard my mind will now accept.

Sometimes I still ask for God's forgiveness in case I'm being a fool.

no, of course not.

Does Cap and Trade beat carbon tax for reducing emissions?      Mostly Disagree      26 May 2010      1 Point
Of course, they're theoretically identical.
The carbon tax is much simpler to administer, though, and less vulnerable to corruption. (See the most recent cap-and-trade bill -- it was a porky monstrosity.) However, it's less politically feasible than cap-and-trade. So some would say we should do what we can, however imperfect. I don't think so.

Myself, I think we haven't done the homework on climate change yet, and we don't know if aggressive carbon pricing is good for the US or the world in cost-benefit terms. A less-than-ideal pricing scheme, which is what we'd probably get -- not aggressive enough, too soft on industry -- would be a waste of money with negligible effect on emissions. I really wouldn't touch it.

If we have public money to spend on climate change, we should spend it on clean energy R&D, and infrastructure and humanitarian aid to cope with the effects of climate change. We don't have the political will to drastically reduce consumption in the US; we don't have the power to make other countries drastically reduce consumption; and we don't have enough evidence to believe that such aggressive efforts are a net economic gain.

Are pickup artist strategies morally acceptable?      Mostly Disagree      26 May 2010      1 Point
It all depends what you mean by pickup artist strategies.

If it's just good self-presentation, confident manner, teasing, flirting, and so on -- then it's just fine. That's not really even "PUA", it's social skills.

But I don't think it's moral to have a romantic or sexual relationship with anybody if you don't have good will towards her. All relationships require good will; even financial transactions require a limited form of trust, and more personal relationships require a greater level of trust. You should mean her well -- which includes trying to make the relationship fulfilling for her. If she wants to be loved, and you just want to "pump and dump," and you're not honest about that, then you're treating her unethically.

Are pickup artist strategies misogynistic?      Agree      26 May 2010      0 Points
Yes, it's misogynistic.

What is misogyny? I think it's best described as ill will towards women. An attempt to harm women, qua women, is misogynistic.

The theory of pick up artists is based on trying to make the dating world less favorable to women -- conning them into sleeping with a man they would otherwise dislike. The language is usually to the effect that women have the upper hand, and it's time to cut them down to size. This is really tautologically anti-woman.

Here's what bothers me particularly. I think one of the worst ways to harm a person is to weaken his or her character, to sabotage his or her good qualities. PUA tells men to manipulate women into being their worst selves -- impulsive, emotional, gullible, petty. That's a very nasty kind of ill will.

Is status seeking a good explanation for much of our behavior?      Mostly Disagree      26 May 2010      0 Points
No, not really. There are communities where status is not a big deal; I come from one, in fact. The wider world is different, and a bit crueler, and it can be a culture shock. Status seeking explains a lot of behavior, but not everyone's, and not all the time.

Is living forever or having a greatly extended lifespan desirable?      Neutral      09 May 2010      1 Point
I don't know what I would do with more life. I don't even know where I'll be in ten years. It's worth it for someone who has something worth living for. I don't know if that would be true of me.

Is Barack Obama more likely to be assassinated than other US presidents?      Mostly Agree      09 May 2010      0 Points
It's a worry. God forbid.

But he's also the most powerful man in the world, and I'm sure he and his wife haven't forgotten that he's black, so he's probably quite well taken care of.

Should the United States have Universal health care?      Mostly Disagree      09 May 2010      1 Point
My position is a bit complicated.

Do I support Obama/Pelosi's health bill? No, absolutely not.
Do I think health care needs reform? Yes, and badly.

Essentially, the health care market is broken. Insurance comes with perverse incentives that make health care unnaturally expensive and poor quality. Reforms to bring health care closer to a free market -- mainly, ending the subsidy for health insurance -- would make health care much cheaper and more easily available. With the savings from reform, we could afford to subsidize health care (perhaps in the form of vouchers or health savings accounts) for low-income Americans, and I think we should do so. That's "universal health care" of a sort, but it's definitely not universal health insurance.

Is affirmative action fair?      Neutral      09 May 2010      1 Point
It's a blunt instrument. But I think it's largely harmless. College admissions and employment decisions aren't meritocratic anyhow. There's chance, prejudice, favoritism, and caprice in the whole business. If we need to make school and employment decisions "fairer" then fine, let's work on making them fairer; but don't pretend that racial preferences are the worst offender. It should be the least of our worries.

Should abortion be legal?      Mostly Agree      09 May 2010      1 Point
My grandmother was a nurse before Roe v. Wade. She saw horrible things. Any pro-life advocate must be able to stomach consequences that I suspect most don't seriously consider.

On the other hand I'm a little shaky about moral justifications for abortion. I haven't seen good reason to believe that a fetus isn't a person. The best bet for pro-choicers is J.J. Thompson, and I'm with her, but not with enormous confidence.

Was George Bush a good president?      Disagree      09 May 2010      0 Points
Nope.

Periodically the US lurches away from its democratic tradition and does things that dramatically upset the rule of law. We've had the Alien and Sedition Acts, we've had the suspension of habeas corpus, we've had detainment camps, we've had two red scares. The presidency of George Bush was one of those lurches in the wrong direction.

Should the United States invade Iraq?      Disagree      09 May 2010      1 Point
based on faulty intelligence, horrendously destructive, unnecessary.

Should there be a ban on models that are too skinny?      Mostly Agree      09 May 2010      1 Point
People are looking at this wrong.

It's a worker safety issue when modeling contracts are unclear and require models to maintain a physically dangerous body weight. Models are quite young and often immigrants. There's a potential for exploitative working arrangements here.

It's not about whether non-model women are harmed by being exposed to photos of thin women. (Don't we all choose what media we consume? I hardly ever pick up a fashion magazine.) It's about worker safety.

I'm not a big regulation fan, but I do think the industry should self-regulate, out of compassion. If I were an editor or agent in the industry, I wouldn't want to be personally responsible for a model's illness (or, occasionally, death.)

Is morality objective?      Mostly Disagree      09 May 2010      0 Points
No. But this does not mean I don't have strong moral values, or that I won't act rather consistently according to my values, to the best of my ability. I just don't expect to find them written on the Eagle Nebula.

Is torture ever justified?      Disagree      09 May 2010      1 Point
I'm with Shue on this -- and in fact got my position from Shue.

I would accept a risk of death if it meant the US would maintain some basic moral principles. Most people I know would as well.

Are gun control laws a serious breach of civil liberties?      Mostly Agree      09 May 2010      1 Point
The 2nd amendment is a precaution. I never like to dismantle precautions.

Political dictatorship is a highly unlikely occurrence, of course -- but it is not vastly more unlikely than catastrophic global warming, or nuclear attacks, or any of the other unlikely dangers that we do guard against.

Were the atomic bombs dropped on Japan justified?      Neutral      09 May 2010      1 Point
I've been told that the bombs saved lives. We did kill more people in urban firebombings than in the nuclear attacks. But I have my doubts that exterminating a city can be justifiable.

Honestly war horrifies me to the point that I have no appropriate moral framework to apply to it.

Is God on our side in war?      Disagree      09 May 2010      0 Points
Well, I don't think there is a God. For the theists out there: remember Abraham Lincoln. "We must endeavour to be on God's side."

Should the US privatize Social Security?      Mostly Agree      09 May 2010      -1 Point
It's not as simple a solution as Bush made it out to be -- fixing Social Security won't solve our fiscal problems without fixing Medicare too -- but a well-designed privatization could be a good thing.

Is masturbation morally acceptable?      Agree      09 May 2010      1 Point
Of course. But then I believe that you own your body.

Do breast implants make a woman happier?      Neutral      09 May 2010      1 Point
It's up to her. But they do have to be replaced periodically for the rest of your life. For myself, repeated surgery wouldn't be worth any gains in beauty.

Should prostitution be legal?      Mostly Agree      09 May 2010      1 Point
The problems with prostitution are mainly problems of danger for the prostitute. Those could best be solved by legalization. Also, to help people you have to listen to them -- and sex workers do speak on their own behalf and think their work should be legal.

Do ghosts exist?      Disagree      09 May 2010      0 Points
No evidence.

Were divorce rates in the 1950s lower because marriages were happier?      Disagree      09 May 2010      1 Point
There wasn't no-fault divorce in those days! It was legally more difficult to get divorced.

Is it worthwhile to die for your beliefs?      Mostly Agree      09 May 2010      0 Points
If dying serves those beliefs better than living. I think that's true less often than most imagine.

Should marijuana be legal?      Agree      09 May 2010      0 Points
Current law is insane.

Will genocide occur if the US pulls its combat troops out of Iraq?      Mostly Disagree      09 May 2010      0 Points
I suspect it's not quite that bad.

Can the US military presence in Iraq help create democracy?      Mostly Disagree      09 May 2010      0 Points
No. There's no imposing freedom by the sword. I hope they become democratic, but it will be their doing, not ours.

Should gay and straight couples have the same legal benefits?      Agree      09 May 2010      0 Points
This is more obviously true than practically anything else I know.

Should the federal government ban gay marriage?      Disagree      09 May 2010      1 Point
Apart from questions of morality --where I think gays and lesbians should enjoy full social equality -- this is such an obvious constitutional overreach that I'm surprised conservatives can stomach it.

Does homosexuality have a significant genetic component?      Mostly Agree      09 May 2010      0 Points
I've seen the papers. Heritability is practically undeniable, genetic origin is pretty likely, X-linked is plausible.

Are people getting stupider?      Disagree      09 May 2010      0 Points
No. IQ is rising dramatically.

Could rising health and retirement costs bankrupt the US?      Neutral      09 May 2010      0 Points
Anything that can't go on forever, won't, so I think we'd pull up in time. With no change to taxes and benefits, though, then we'd be in trouble.

Does minimum wage help the poor?      Mostly Disagree      09 May 2010      1 Point
Like all price floors it creates a surplus; it necessarily creates unemployment. I don't know how much, but it can't be helping.

Is the US Federal Reserve to blame for the 2008 financial crisis?      Mostly Disagree      09 May 2010      0 Points
To the best of my knowledge, Ben Bernanke was the single greatest actor in mitigating the effects of the recession. He did what Ben Strong would have done.

Are prediction markets the most accurate way to aggregate expert predictions?      Neutral      09 May 2010      0 Points
It's interesting when the parties have something at stake; more often, though, people who participate in prediction markets are a biased subset and are participating for a hobby.

Is free trade generally beneficial for a country?      Agree      09 May 2010      1 Point
Yes. Wealth. Cultural diffusion. Major driver of development.

Is substantially reducing CO2 emissions worthwhile?      Mostly Disagree      09 May 2010      0 Points
Great mysteries here: not least that we don't know if political and diplomatic mechanisms can reduce carbon emissions.

Is global warming caused primarily by humans?      Mostly Agree      09 May 2010      0 Points
It seems there's more evidence for this than the contrary.

Does homeopathy work?      Disagree      09 May 2010      0 Points
As far as I know, no.

Is peak oil imminent?      Mostly Disagree      09 May 2010      0 Points
When oil becomes scarce, the price will rise. We won't run out of oil; it will become expensive enough that we're forced to conserve and use alternatives.

Should the US Government bail out car companies?      Mostly Disagree      09 May 2010      0 Points
Probably not. Why cars and not something else? It favors one sector over another, which is likely inefficient.

Can you put a price on life?      Agree      09 May 2010      0 Points
Yes. We put a price on life whenever we accept some probability of risk in exchange for money.

Should atheists directly challenge religious beliefs?      Mostly Disagree      09 May 2010      0 Points
No. It's disruptive and it can be quite cruel.

Should the burka be banned?      Disagree      09 May 2010      0 Points
No. This is a restriction of religious freedom.

Is "ought" derived from "is"?      Mostly Disagree      09 May 2010      1 Point
No; people with equal knowledge about the world disagree on first principles of morality. "Is" can never tell you what to value.

"Is" statements can tell you when you're factually mistaken and need to update your morality to keep it consistent -- that is, if you believe in preserving human life, learning about the existence of genocide in Burma will make you more concerned with ending it. If you value human life to begin with, then you should value Burmese life. But if you don't value human life, no "is" statement can persuade you to.

Are spiritual experiences evidence of the supernatural?      Disagree      09 May 2010      3 Points
An internal sensation doesn't prove the truth of historical miraculous events. It can't. It can prove only your own capacity for reverence and awe, which does exist. I respect Andrew Sullivan, and I think his faith drives his most admirable qualities, but I suspect that his experience was of loving and forgiving himself.

Comparisons with Experts and Influencers

The similarity between the27th and each expert and influencer is calculated by looking at how the same questions were answered. These figures are used to calculate conforming, nonconforming, and projected opinions. The accuracy of the analysis depends on the27th's coverage, which grows with the number of their opinions entered into TakeOnIt.

Agree
Milton Friedman
Iconic Economist of 20th Century
85% agreement / 5 opinions

Robert Todd Carroll
Philosophy Professor
87% agreement / 4 opinions

Amanda Marcotte
Blogger, Author, Feminist
87% agreement / 4 opinions

Wikipedia
World's Largest Encyclopedia
91% agreement / 3 opinions

Albert Einstein
Physicist, Icon of the 20th Century
83% agreement / 3 opinions

Peter Singer
Philosophy Professor
83% agreement / 3 opinions

Mostly Agree
Robin Hanson
Economics Professor
65% agreement / 19 opinions

The Economist
Politics and Business Magazine
65% agreement / 11 opinions

Ayn Rand
Philosopher, Novelist
70% agreement / 11 opinions

Eliezer Yudkowsky
Artificial Intelligence Researcher
71% agreement / 7 opinions

Richard Dawkins
Evolutionary Biologist, Writer, Atheism Activist
66% agreement / 6 opinions

Paul Z. Myers
Biology Professor
66% agreement / 6 opinions

In-Between
Barack Obama
United States President
56% agreement / 22 opinions

John McCain
U.S. Senator, Republican
57% agreement / 13 opinions

Hillary Clinton
US Secretary of State 2009-, Democrat
42% agreement / 7 opinions

Ron Paul
U.S. Politician, Libertarian
60% agreement / 5 opinions

Kevin Rudd
Australian Prime Minister, 2007-2010
50% agreement / 5 opinions

Sam Harris
Writer, Speaker, Atheism Activist
55% agreement / 5 opinions

Mostly Disagree
Sarah Palin
Former Governor of Alaska (Republican)
31% agreement / 8 opinions

The Catholic Church
Largest Christian Church
32% agreement / 7 opinions

Heartiste
Pickup Artist
33% agreement / 6 opinions

Conservapedia
Christian Encyclopedia
29% agreement / 6 opinions

George W. Bush
United States President 2001-2009
25% agreement / 5 opinions

Donald Trump
American Business Magnate
37% agreement / 4 opinions

Disagree
Bill Maher
Political T.V. Host, Comedian
8% agreement / 3 opinions

Peter Joseph
Movie Producer
12% agreement / 2 opinions

Ralph Nader
Politician, Consumer Activist
12% agreement / 2 opinions

Liz Greene
Pioneer in Modern Astrology
0% agreement / 2 opinions

Michele Bachmann
US Politician, Republican
12% agreement / 2 opinions

Deepak Chopra
Inventor of Quantum Healing
12% agreement / 2 opinions

Conforming Opinions

the27th's conforming opinions are opinions that align with the group of experts and influencers the27th typically agrees with.

Coverage Answer Question
High Disagree Does God exist?
High Disagree Does astrology work (is personality correlated with the positions of celestial bodies at birth)?
High Agree Is free trade generally beneficial for a country?
High Agree Should marijuana be legal?
High Mostly Disagree Does minimum wage help the poor?
High Disagree Does homeopathy work?
Medium Mostly Disagree Is cryonics worthwhile?
Medium Agree Can you put a price on life?
Medium Mostly Disagree Is a technological singularity likely?
Medium Neutral Is optimism rational?
Medium Disagree Are people getting stupider?
Medium Disagree Should the burka be banned?
Medium Mostly Disagree Can the US military presence in Iraq help create democracy?
Medium Neutral Do breast implants make a woman happier?
Medium Mostly Disagree Is substantially reducing CO2 emissions worthwhile?
Medium Agree Are pickup artist strategies misogynistic?
Medium Disagree Is creativity overrated?
Medium Disagree Is torture ever justified?
Medium Mostly Disagree Does the media distort our perception of beauty?
Medium Disagree Do ghosts exist?
Medium Disagree Are computer games a significant cause of violence?
Low Agree Should gay and straight couples have the same legal benefits?
Low Disagree Should the federal government ban gay marriage?
Low Disagree Was George Bush a good president?
Low Mostly Disagree Is status seeking a good explanation for much of our behavior?
Low Disagree Were divorce rates in the 1950s lower because marriages were happier?

Nonconforming Opinions

the27th's nonconforming opinions are opinions that contradict the group of experts and influencers the27th typically agrees with.

Coverage Group Answer Contributor Answer Question
High Agree Mostly Agree Is global warming caused primarily by humans?
High Neutral Mostly Disagree Should atheists directly challenge religious beliefs?
High Agree Mostly Agree Should abortion be legal?
High Agree Mostly Agree Is self-deception a fault?
Medium Disagree Mostly Disagree Does Cap and Trade beat carbon tax for reducing emissions?
Medium Agree Mostly Agree Should prostitution be legal?
Medium Agree Mostly Agree Does homosexuality have a significant genetic component?
Medium Disagree Mostly Disagree Can abortion significantly reduce crime?
Medium Mostly Agree Neutral Is living forever or having a greatly extended lifespan desirable?
Medium Mostly Disagree Disagree Is free will an illusion?
Medium Mostly Disagree Disagree Should the United States invade Iraq?
Medium Neutral Mostly Disagree Is "ought" derived from "is"?
Medium Neutral Mostly Disagree Is morality objective?
Low Neutral Mostly Disagree Will genocide occur if the US pulls its combat troops out of Iraq?
Low Mostly Agree Neutral Is it ethical to eat meat?
Low Neutral Mostly Agree Are gun control laws a serious breach of civil liberties?
Low Neutral Mostly Disagree Does relative wealth make us happier than absolute wealth?
Low Agree Mostly Agree Should the world embrace nuclear energy?
Low Disagree Mostly Disagree Are pickup artist strategies morally acceptable?
Low Disagree Mostly Disagree Are the core truths of science and religion complementary?
Low Mostly Agree Neutral Are prediction markets the most accurate way to aggregate expert predictions?
Low Mostly Agree Neutral Is affirmative action fair?
Low Agree Mostly Agree Should there be a ban on models that are too skinny?
Low Mostly Agree Neutral Should robots always be used instead of humans for space exploration?
Low Mostly Disagree Disagree Are spiritual experiences evidence of the supernatural?
Low Neutral Mostly Disagree Is not bothering to vote acceptable?

Projected Opinions

the27th's projected opinions are opinions the27th is expected to have if their opinions align with the experts and influencers that they typically agree with.

Coverage Answer Question
High Mostly Disagree Can science prove or disprove the existence of God?
High Agree Did complex life evolve through the process of natural selection?
Medium Neutral Does money make you happy? (specifically: absolute spending power)
Medium Disagree Is God just?
Medium Mostly Disagree Does religion encourage good behavior?
Medium Disagree Do we have an immaterial soul?
Medium Mostly Agree Could a computer ever be conscious?
Medium Disagree Is the unconscious philosophical zombie possible?
Medium Agree Is capitalism good?
Medium Mostly Disagree Does government spending help mitigate a recession?
Medium Mostly Agree Should the US close Guantanamo Bay?
Medium Agree Should psychoactive drugs be legal?
Medium Mostly Agree Do the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks?
Medium Mostly Disagree Is the war on drugs good policy?
Medium Agree Is truthfulness a characteristic of a politician who is good for the people?
Low Mostly Agree Would invading Iraq result in a quagmire?
Low Mostly Agree Is development aid to Africa effective?
Low Mostly Agree Does Iraq possess weapons of mass destruction?
Low Disagree Are psychic powers real?
Low Disagree Should pickup artist strategies be considered good education?
Low Neutral Is there life after death?
Low Neutral Should flag burning be legal?
Low Neutral Is the IPCC objective?
Low Agree Should the US president talk face to face with Iran's president?
Low Mostly Disagree Have solar cycles significantly affected earth's recent climate?
Low Agree Would a rise in global temperature catastrophically increase sea levels?
Low Mostly Disagree Should the Kyoto protocol be adopted?
Low Agree Can reductionist methods help explain consciousness?
Low Mostly Disagree Does everything happen for a reason?
Low Mostly Agree Does sun exposure cause skin cancer?
Low Mostly Disagree Is Yucca mountain the best place to store nuclear waste?
Low Mostly Agree Can we handle the truth?
Low Disagree Is trying to "change the world" foolish?
Low Mostly Disagree Is information-theoretic death the most real interpretation of death?
Low Disagree Do negative feedback loops mostly cushion the effect of atmospheric CO2 increases?
Low Neutral Is the death penalty acceptable?
Low Disagree Have aliens from outer space visited Earth?
Low Mostly Agree Does belief in God have a significant genetic component?
Low Mostly Disagree Does cosmic radiation significantly affect earth's climate?
Low Disagree Can poor eyesight be improved with eye exercises?
Low Neutral Is Geoengineering a good strategy to combat global warming?
Low Disagree Do Gödellian arguments refute a computational model of the mind?
Low Mostly Agree Is it plausible that we're living in a simulation?
Low Mostly Agree Is nuclear energy safe enough to justify its use?
Low Disagree Is rebirth/reincarnation plausible?
Low Mostly Disagree Is the health risk of a psychoactive drug a legitimate reason to make it illegal?
Low Disagree Is truth relative?
Low Disagree Must God exist to explain how the universe began?
Low Mostly Disagree Would the world be better off without the Catholic Church?
Low Mostly Disagree Are politicians generally good people?
Low Neutral Is abortion morally acceptable?