Suggested Answers to the Second Short Quiz

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Suggested Answers to the Second Short Quiz

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Suggested Answers to the Second Short Quiz – Our Author William MacAskill’s Thinking (aka Philosophy)


Question A-1

Does William MacAskill begin his Chapter 3 entitled “Moral Change” with the following first paragraph (p. 47) –

“Despite its abhorrence, slavery was almost ubiquitous historically. In one form or another, slavery was practised across Europe, Africa, the Americas, and Asia. It existed in almost all early agricultural civilisations, including Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, and India. People were enslaved for a variety of reasons as a result of conquest or kidnapping, because of inability to repay debts, as punishment for crimes, or because their family sold them. In the Roman Empire, probably at least 10 percent of the population was enslaved. The Arab world, stretching from modern-day Morocco to modern-day Oman, also had a long-standing and extensive slave trade that lasted until the twentieth century. People were bought or raided from Africa, Central Asia, and Christian Europe and typically forced to work as soldiers or personal servants, or enslaved for sex. Estimates vary, but in total about twelve million people were enslaved in Africa alone in the trans-Saharan and Indian Ocean slave trades.”

Answer A-1


Question A-2

Does William MacAskill's next paragraph say –

“Slave trading reached its apogee in the transatlantic trade, fuelled by Europeans’ desire to exploit abundant land and natural resources in the Americas. Over twelve million enslaved people were taken from Africa, including 470,000 to British North America, 1.6 million to the Spanish colonies, 4.2 million to the Caribbean, and 5.5 million to Brazil (Reading Liberally Editorial Note – Brazil is listed separately because it was Portuguese rather than Spanish). Though Europeans sometimes enslaved people by raiding, most often they bought them from African leaders who had enslaved them from other communities.”

Answer A-2


Question A-3

Has William MacAskill never heard of the United Nations???

Answer A-3

Apparently not!!!

Question A-4

Didn’t our 9/18/2019 meeting focus on the UN’s then-22-year-old “War on MODERN SLAVERY” in which we learned that there are more slaves today than ever throughout history!!!???

Answer A-4


Question A-5

And indeed, at least TWICE AS MANY people are CURRENTLY TRAPPED in some form of slavery as were traded throughout the 350 years of the transatlantic slave industry!!!???

Answer A-5


Question A-6

As well as many facts that should rivet everyone’s attention, including --

(1) Trafficking human slaves is more profitable for organized crime than illegal guns or illegal drugs!!!???

(2) Virtually all of the slaves come from refugee camps where they are easily enticed by the false promise of a better life!!!???

(3) Indeed, the retail price of a slave delivered in the U.S. is only $5,250 as a result of which the average price of a sex act is only $27.50 which has unleashed incredible demand!!!???

(4) And the average sex slave performs 3,296 sex acts per year for $90,648 of gross income which means that the net return after expenses (meals, bribery of officials, etc.) is an ANNUAL net profit of MANY TIMES the initial investment – with no workforce training!!!???

(5) Of course, you can use your slave for anything you want including working in your vineyard or on your farm under whatever inhumane working conditions you like and, of course, for no remuneration other than enough calories to keep the slave alive!!!???


(7) The average sex slave is dead by age 35!!!???

Answer A-6

(1) Yes.
(2) Yes.
(3) Yes.
(4) Yes.
(5) Yes.
(6) Yes.
(7) Yes.

Question A-7

Were our Reference Materials for our 9/18/2019 meeting –

(1) The UN’s biennial reports on “Trafficking in Persons” AND

(2) “Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery” (Columbia U Press) by Prof. Siddharth Kara who, at the time of our 9/18/2019 meeting, was the Director of the Harvard U Kennedy School of Government’s “Program on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery” and also a Visiting Scientist on Forced Labor for Harvard’s School of Public Health???

Answer A-7

(1) Yes.
(2) Yes.

Question A-8

Although Prof. Kara has gone on to greater things, does the Harvard U Kennedy School of Government’s “Program on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery” still persevere???

Answer A-8


Question A-9

Do Prof. Kara’s “greater things” referenced in the previous question include becoming a “British Academy Global Professor” and splitting time with the U of California – Berkeley and the U of Nottingham (U.K.) while remaining on the faculty (though no longer Director) of the Harvard U Kennedy School of Government’s “Program on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery”???

Answer A-9

Yes, Prof. Kara has become a “British Academy Global Professor.”

And yes, Prof. Kara is splitting time with the U of California – Berkeley and the U of Nottingham (U.K.) while remaining on the faculty (though no longer Director) of the Harvard U Kennedy School of Government’s “Program on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery.”

Question A-10

How can our author William MacAskill be so blind that he appears to think slavery has been eliminated, rather than flourishing now more than ever???

Answer A-10

What do you think??? Let’s discuss!!!


Question B-1

Is combatting “climate change” (aka “global warming”) one of the major themes of William MacAskill’s “What We Owe The Future”?

Answer B-1


Question B-2

Does he ignore the fact that the Paris Climate Accord does NOT solve “global warming” since its stated goal is ONLY to keep the rise in mean global temperature to well below 2 °C (3.6 °F) above pre-industrial levels, and preferably limit the increase to 1.5 °C (2.7 °F)?

Answer B-2

What do you think??? Let’s discuss!!!

Question B-3

Does he ignore the fact that of the only four “carbon free” energy sources, hydro is severely limited due to the world’s paucity of dammable rivers, wind and solar are and will continue to be much more costly than fossil fuels and must be heavily subsidized, and only nuclear is cheaper than fossil fuels?

Answer B-3

What do you think??? Let’s discuss!!!

Question B-4

Has the Paris Climate Accord continued the policy of the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 in NOT requiring China or India, the world’s largest carbon polluters, to do anything until the distant future???

Answer B-4


Question B-5

Are the facts that China continues to bring on stream a new monster-size coal-fired electric-generation plant every week and is given a pass until the distant future, the reasons why we have always asked participants in our many meetings focusing on Climate Change/Global Warming since our 4/3/2011 meeting on Fukushima Daiichi for a show of hands by anyone who would favor invading China militarily in order to force it to do its part in combatting Climate Change/Global Warming???

Answer B-5


Question B-6

In our many meetings since 4/3/2011 that focused on Climate Change/Global Warming, has anyone ever raised her/his hand in favor of military action against China???

Answer B-6


Question B-7

Wouldn’t this strongly imply that a “thinker” (aka philosopher) should favor nuclear energy so that everyone, including China, will solve Climate Change/Global Warming by acting in their economic self-interest???

Answer B-7

What do you think??? Let’s discuss!!!

Question B-8

On page 25 of “What We Owe The Future” does William MacAskill display a graph purporting to show “Deaths per TWH of Electricity Production” as –

Brown coal – 32.72
Coal – 24.62
Oil – 18.43
Biomass – 4.53
Gas – 2.82
Nuclear – 0.07 to 0.08
Wind – 0.035
Hydropower – 0.024
Solar – 0.019
Biofuels – 0.005

Answer B-8


Question B-9

FIRST, why should “Deaths per TWH of Electricity Production” even be a consideration??? If the only way to “save the planet” were to adopt a fuel source whose attainment had the highest rate of deaths, wouldn’t “saving the planet” be worth “paying the price” of the highest rate of deaths???

Answer B-9

What do you think??? Let’s discuss!!!

Question B-10

SECOND, does William MacAskill’s “catch all” category in his B-8 graph for “nuclear” imply that he has never heard of thorium???

Answer B-10

So it would appear!!!

Question B-11

After all, don’t his comments included with the graph betray the fact that it comprises SOLELY statistics on uranium-fission??? And NOT thorium-fission that is INCAPABLE OF EXPLODING which is why President Nixon caused the U.S. to turn away from thorium and toward uranium and plutonium???

Answer B-11

So it would appear!!!

Question B-12

Does William MacAskill appear aware of the facts that the LARGEST THORIUM REACTOR IS THE EARTH ITSELF which is why molten lava billows from any rupture in the earth’s thin surface AND WHY THE CENTER OF THE EARTH IS 7,000 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT WHICH IS HOTTER THAN THE SURFACE OF THE SUN???

Answer B-12

No, he does NOT appear aware!!!

Question B-13

Does William MacAskill appear ignorant that proven thorium/fission has the following advantages over conventional uranium/fission –

[These advantages are virtually identical to those listed by Dr. Victor Stenger in The Huffington Post – ... _b_1192584.]

(1) LFTR’s (Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors) require minimal containment chambers because meltdowns are physically impossible since LFTR’s operate near atmospheric pressure (this is both a safety and cost factor).

(2) LFTR’s do not require elaborate cooling systems because they operate well below the boiling point of molten salt and can be passively cooled (this is also both a safety and cost factor).

(3) Thorium is so stable that, as mentioned above, it is impossible to make a nuclear weapon from thorium which is why the U.S. turned to uranium and plutonium instead of thorium.

(4) Thorium has such an incredibly-high “burn-up” that there is virtually no long-lived radioactive waste.

(5) LFTR’s can safely consume uranium from decommissioned nuclear warheads and from spent uranium-reactor fuel rods. Indeed, the Oak Ridge MSRE in the 1960’s was able to use U-235, Pu-239 and U-233 at the same time as thorium. [NB: Since former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of NV prevented the opening of Yucca Mountain NV as the repository for our spent uranium-nuclear fuel rods, the spent uranium-nuclear fuel rods have been left on site at each uranium-nuclear plant to remain cool in the equivalent of home swimming-pools even though many of those uranium-nuclear plants are situated in high-volume air corridors!!!]

(6) Because LFTR’s are economically practical in small sizes, they can be mass-produced in factories and assembled near electrical demand so that the huge energy losses during electricity transmission are virtually eliminated -- though to replace huge uranium reactors, it would only be necessary to assemble several of the small modular thorium reactors into a larger plant.

(7) In addition, thorium is so plentiful that proven thorium supplies are capable of supplying 100% of the world’s energy (not just electricity) for more than 1,000 years. Indeed, virtually all of India’s “sand” beaches comprise thorium.

[Our calculation was 80 years of “proven” reserves of uranium for current (electricity only) usage multiplied by 3 (the minimum abundance factor of “proven” thorium reserves vs. “proven” uranium reserves) multiplied by 99 (usable thorium energy content vs. usable uranium energy content) multiplied by 5.8% (the percentage of total worldwide energy including transportation fuels, that comes from nuclear plants) = 1,378 years.]

Answer B-13

(1) Yes, he appears ignorant of this.
(2) Yes, he appears ignorant of this.
(3) Yes, he appears ignorant of this.
(4) Yes, he appears ignorant of this.
(5) Yes, he appears ignorant of this.
(6) Yes, he appears ignorant of this.
(7) Yes, he appears ignorant of this.

Question B-14

Does William MacAskill appear oblivious to ThEC15 which was a worldwide conference on thorium research that was held in Mumbai, India, in 2015 by the Government of India and two of its agencies, BARC and NPCIL, along with HBNI and IThEO (the ThEC15 website contains 127 papers and speeches by 46 speakers from 30 different nations)???

Answer B-14

Yes, he appears ignorant of this.


Question C-1

Is another of William MacAskill's major foci the extinction of human beings due to pandemics?

Answer C-1


Question C-2

Although William MacAskill’s Ch. 5 entitled “Extinction” contains many valuable insights regarding pathogen research and humankind’s ability to cope with pandemics, wouldn’t we be better able to address this subject by selecting from’s Sec. 3 (“Possible Topics for Future Meetings”) the 8/3/2022 proposal of the NYC Harvard Club Book Promotion “Warp Speed: Inside The Operation That Beat COVID, The Critics and The Odds” by Paul Mango (Republic Book Publishers 6/14/2022 – 175 pages sans notes & index)?

Answer C-2

What do you think??? Let’s discuss!!!

Question C-3

Does Paul Mango’s bio per the book’s dust jacket say –

“Paul Mango was the Deputy Chief of Staff for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 2019-2021. During this time, he was instrumental in advancing a number of important policies regarding consumer empowerment in the health care sector. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, he also served as Secretary Azar’s formal liaison to Operation Warp Speed where he was involved in nearly all strategic, operational and financial aspects of the program, and facilitated its day-to-day activities among the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Defense and the White House. He was also instrumental in rebuilding the Strategic National Stockpile in the early days of the pandemic. Prior to his role as Deputy Chief of Staff, Paul served from 2018-2019 as the Chief of Staff at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. He currently serves on six private health care company boards and advisory councils. He received his B.S. in General Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1981, where he graduated as a Distinguished Cadet. He received his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1988 where he graduated as a Baker Scholar.”

Answer C-3


Question C-4

Does that bio omit Paul Mango’s most-important qualification??? That the 29-year bulk of his career was spent at McKinsey, the world’s foremost consulting firm, where he progressed from associate to partner to McKinsey’s U.S. Healthcare Practice Leader to McKinsey’s Global Healthcare Practice Leader?

Answer C-4

Yes, it omits Paul Mango’s most-important qualification.

Viz., that the 29-year bulk of his career was spent at McKinsey, the world’s foremost consulting firm, where he progressed from associate to partner to McKinsey’s U.S. Healthcare Practice Leader to McKinsey’s Global Healthcare Practice Leader.


Question D-1

Is decrying nuclear weapons one of William MacAskill’s main themes?

Answer D-1


Question D-2

Is this “reprise” what Yogi Berra would call “déjà vu all over again” because this issue was already addressed in Q&A-21 thru Q&A-24 of the First Short Quiz?

Answer D-2


Question D-3

BTW, what is the Doctrine of MAD???

Answer D-3

The Doctrine of MUTUAL ASSURED DESTRUCTION – that neither the USSR (and, later, China) nor the US would use nuclear weapons because the other side would retaliate with nuclear weapons, DESTROYING THE WORLD AND ALL OF ITS LIFE (PLANT OR ANIMAL).

Question D-4

Did Yours Truly learn the Doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction during the 1960’s at the feet of the master, Henry Kissinger???

Answer D-4


Please see the material contained in the Expired 4/19/2018 Topic Proposal of the NYC Harvard Club’s Book Promotion of “Kissinger The Negotiator - Lessons From Dealmaking at the Highest Level” (Harper Collins 5/8/2018 – 448 pages) at viewtopic.php?f=150&t=1737&sid=712f42f1 ... ff596d4c88.

Question D-5

Did MAD bring both the USSR and the “Cold War” to a successful conclusion without any nuclear weapons being employed???

Answer D-5


Question D-6

Even though the 1967 Arab-Israeli War was a de facto “proxy war” between the USSR and the U.S. to ascertain who had the “best toys”???

[Please forgive the callousness of referring to weapons as “toys”!!!]

Answer D-6


Question D-7

As a result of which Pax America was extended for an additional 3 decades because everyone wanted American, rather than Soviet, “toys”!!!???

Answer D-7


Question D-8

Is the “Twilight of the Humans” nonetheless virtually guaranteed by Pres. Biden’s groveling his way back into the JCPOA which guarantees nuclear weapons by 2030 for Iran –

(1) which is the world’s “No. 1 State Sponsor of Terrorism” (the State Department’s long-time, and still current, designation required by U.S. law);

(2) which is headed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khomenei who loves to proclaim at every opportunity that Israel is a “one-bomb state”;

(3) whose inter-continental ballistic missiles (whose perfection is not addressed by the JCPOA and which are only needed to attack the U.S. and NOT Israel) often feature “DEATH TO AMERICA” painted on their sides during test launches;

(4) etc., ad nauseum.

Answer D-8

What do you think??? Let’s discuss!!!

Question D-9

And does D-8 not even take into account Russian Pres. Putin’s War on Ukraine in which he has already threatened to use “tactical nukes” numerous times???

Answer D-9


Question D-10

And not even take into account Putin, in a final “fit of pique” typical of bullies who don’t get their way and decide to exit this world with a “blaze of glory” suicide, taking all humanity with him in a nuclear holocaust???

Answer D-10

What do you think??? Let’s discuss!!!


Question E-1

Does William MacAskill make a big deal out of the dangers of AI?

Answer E-1


Question E-2

Even though he doesn’t explain, isn’t the principal danger of AI the equipping “robot soldiers” with on-board AI???

Answer E-2

What do you think??? Let’s discuss!!!

If you want to investigate this further –

(1) This morning’s (9/4/2022) Washington Post contained an OpEd by Michael Duffy (WaPo’s Opinions Editor-At-Large) entitled “AI Could Accidentally Extinguish Humankind” at ... linktot=75.

(2) The current issue of Foreign Affairs Magazine (September-October) contains an article by Professors Henry Farrell (Johns Hopkins), Abraham Newman (Georgetown) and Jeremy Wallace (Cornell) entitled “How AI Distorts Decision Making and Makes Dictators More Dangerous” at ... -%20112017.

(3) From’s Sec. 3 (“Possible Topics for Future Meetings”) the 4/23/2022 proposal of the NYC Harvard Club Book Promotion “Future Peace: Technology, Aggression, and the Rush to War” (U/Notre Dame Press 3/1/2022 – 200 pages by Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Robert Latiff at viewtopic.php?f=150&t=2188&sid=712f42f1 ... ff596d4c88.

Re the third item, the book description from the dust jacket says –

Future Peace urges extreme caution in the adoption of new weapons technology and is an impassioned plea for peace from an individual who spent decades preparing for war.

Today’s militaries are increasingly reliant on highly networked autonomous systems, artificial intelligence, and advanced weapons that were previously the domain of science fiction writers. In a world where these complex technologies clash with escalating international tensions, what can we do to decrease the chances of war? In Future Peace, the eagerly awaited sequel to Future War, Robert H. Latiff questions our overreliance on technology and examines the pressure-cooker scenario created by the growing animosity between the United States and its adversaries, our globally deployed and thinly stretched military, the capacity for advanced technology to catalyze violence, and the American public’s lack of familiarity with these topics.

Future Peace describes the many provocations to violence and how technologies are abetting those urges, and it explores what can be done to mitigate not only dangerous human behaviors but also dangerous technical behaviors. Latiff concludes that peace is possible but will require intense, cooperative efforts on the part of technologists, military leaders, diplomats, politicians, and citizens. Future Peace amplifies some well-known ideas about how to address the issues, and provides far-, mid-, and short-term recommendations for actions that are necessary to reverse the apparent headlong rush into conflict. This compelling and timely book will captivate general readers, students, and scholars of global affairs, international security, arms control, and military ethics.

And also re the third item, the author’s bio is –

Robert H. Latiff attended the University of Notre Dame on an Army scholarship and received a B.S. in physics. Offered a research grant by the National Science Foundation, he stayed at Notre Dame and earned an M.S. and PhD in materials science. He is also a graduate of the National Security Fellows Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He retired from the U.S. Air Force as a Major General in 2006. His last active-duty assignment was at the National Reconnaissance Office where he directed advanced research, development, and engineering. He has also served as the commander of the NORAD Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center. Dr. Latiff now teaches, and speaks and writes frequently about issues of technology and war. He is also a consultant, providing advice on advanced technology matters to corporate and government clients and to universities. Dr. Latiff is an Adjunct Faculty Member and chairs the external advisory board of the Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values at the University of Notre Dame and is also a Research Professor at George Mason University, with interests primarily in technologies to support the U.S. Intelligence Community. He is a member of the Intelligence Community Studies Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and the Committee on International Security and Arms Control of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. General Latiff is a recipient of the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal and the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal.

Question E-3

Isn’t this really a danger that pales in contrast to nuclear warfare???

Answer E-3

What do you think??? Let’s discuss!!!


Question F-1

Does William MacAskill decry the unnecessary (ignoring cost considerations) pain inflicted on livestock???

Answer F-1


Question F-2

Are all of us who own pets appalled by William MacAskill’s descriptions of such animal cruelty???

Answer F-2


[I trust I am speaking for everyone!!!]

[Hopefully this is NOT what is taught by our American “land grant” colleges whose names typically end in “A & M” (i.e., "Agricultural & Mechanical”)!!!]

Question F-3

Why do you think that in the U.S., the SPCA has not long since prosecuted the agricultural industry???

Answer F-3

What do you think??? Let’s discuss!!!

Question F-4

Would all this be unnecessary with the implementation of our recommendation to replace farms (which use plant chlorophyl and solar power to combine carbon dioxide and water to create sugar, the oxidation of which provides the energy for all animals whether human, farm livestock, etc.) with nuclear power to combine carbon dioxide and water???

[Please see the report of our 5/12/2021 meeting entitled “Nuclear-Powered Food Factories That Make Farms Obsolete” at viewtopic.php?f=639&t=2062&p=2820&hilit ... f17e#p2820.]

[NB: the U.N. reports that 5 billion hectares, or 38% of the world’s land surface, is used for farming which means that 38% of the world’s land surface could be returned to forests/meadows/etc. that, like the Amazon Rainforest, will once more be concentrated on eliminating greenhouse gas (6CO2 + 6H2O > C6H12O6 + 6O2).]

Answer F-4

What do you think??? Let’s discuss!!!

Question F-5

How does “factory farming” relate to “longtermism”?

Answer F-5

What do you think??? Let’s discuss!!!

Question F-6

Is the lack of such a relationship why we have labelled this issue “Misc-2”?

Answer F-6


Question F-7

And BTW does William MacAskill, in addition to the laudable goal of eliminating/minimizing animal cruelty in agriculture, propose to eliminate/minimize animal cruelty in nature where animals/fish higher in the food chain routinely kill/eat animals/fish lower in the food chain?

Answer F-7

Unfortunately not.


Question G-1

Does Ch. 10 of “What We Owe The Future” focus initially on individual action such as selection of priorities and career choice?

Answer G-1


Question G-2

Does Ch. 10 then focus on “Doing Good Collectively” (pp. 240-242) and “Building a Movement” (pp. 243-246)?

Answer G-2


Question G-3

Does Reading Liberally – Salt Lake rate "FULL MARKS" for both “Doing Good Collectively” and comprising a “Movement”?

Answer G-3

What do you think??? Let’s discuss!!!

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