Transhumanists ignore low hanging fruit, because it’s not sexy

Paul Graham Raven says:

Well, I have good news: it turns out that technologies which extend, augment or otherwise improve human life are already here! You may have heard of some of them: clean water; urban sanitation; smokeless cooking facilities; free access to healthcare; a guaranteed minimum income; a good, free education. There are more – and you’d be surprised how many of them have been around in one form or another for decades, even centuries! But they’re unevenly distributed at the moment, so the first agenda item for all transhumanists should be looking for ways to get these technologies to everyone on the planet as soon as possible… because if you don’t, by your own logic, you are wilfully and consciously permitting millions if not billions of people to suffer totally avoidable misery, poverty, illness and death. Better still, you can start close to home; after all, what better test-case could there be for the even distribution of longevity improvement than the ~17 year lifespan differential between the wealthy and the poor in the United States itself? [link]

Discrimination against Asians, North American edition

The study found that job applicants in Canada with Asian names — names of Indian, Pakistani or Chinese origin — were 28 percent less likely to get called for an interview compared to applicants with Anglo names, even when all the qualifications were the same. Researchers used data from a previous study conducted in 2011 where they sent out 12,910 fictitious resumes in response to 3,225 job postings. The previous study, also in Canada, similarly found that applicants with Anglo first names and Asian last names didn’t fare much better than applicants with Asian first and last names…

A two-year study published in the Administrative Science Quarterly Journal found that Asian job candidates in the U.S. were almost twice as likely to receive a call back if they whitened their resumes by changing their names and excluding race-based honors and organizations. (The same was true for African-American candidates). [npr]

The contact hypothesis and islamophobia

Betsy Cooper analyzes PRRI survey results and finds:

Fully two-thirds (67 percent) of people who talk with Muslims at least occasionally agree that Muslims are an important part of the American religious landscape. In contrast, fewer than half (45 percent) of those who have never spoken with a Muslim in the last year believe that American Muslims are an important part of the religious community here.

Social interaction with Muslims also influences views on U.S. refugee policy. Among Americans who have had at least occasional conversations with Muslims, nearly six in ten (58 percent) say the U.S. should allow refugees from Syria into the country provided they go through a security clearance. Americans who report no interactions with a Muslim are split: 46 percent are in favor of allowing Syrian refugees into the U.S., while 45 percent believe that they should not be allowed into the country at this time. [link]

I’m actually surprised at how low the high end of that scale is and how high the low end is. That is, I would think that more people who know Muslims would believe they are an important part of the religious landscape. And I am surprised that people who don’t know any Muslims like Muslims like them this much. In feels like this is a partial criticism of the contact hypothesis, at the same time that it is a confirmation.

chart