[EDIT: This partial retraction has been updated and itself partially retracted, see here]
Commenter Tibbar used Mechanical Turk to replicate my survey on how people thought about the moral weights of animals.
After getting 263 responses (to my 50), he reports different results:
On the one hand, Mechanical Turkers sometimes aren’t a great sample, and some of them seem to have just put the same number for every animal so they could finish quickly and get their money. They also probably haven’t thought about this that much and don’t have much of a moral theory behind what they’re doing. This makes them a different demographic than the people I surveyed, who were a mix of vegetarians and principled non-vegetarians who had thought a lot about animal rights. For example, 80% of my sample answered yes to a question asking if they were “familiar with work by Brian Tomasik, OneStepForAnimals, etc urging people to eat beef rather than chicken”.
On the other hand, this makes it pretty hard for me to claim my results are some kind of universal intuitive understanding of what animals are like. So I am partially retracting them (only partially, because of the consideration above) and adding this to my Mistakes page.
The best thing to do here would be to re-run my survey with a larger sample of a similar population, but unfortunately I’ve lost my chance to do that now that I’ve told you all this, so darn. Maybe I’ll include it on next year’s survey anyway and hope you’ve forgetten by then.