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Astral Codex Ten Podcast

Sep 29, 2018

Grand Prize ($1000): Does The Education System Adequately Serve Advanced Students?

Editor’s Choice ($500): Should Transgender Children Transition?

Honorable Mentions ($250): Should Childhood Vaccination Be Mandatory?Are Islam And Liberal Democracy Compatible?

I’m sorry for jerking the number and value of the prizes around so many times, but I wanted to balance my preferences, the contestants’ preferences, and readers’ preferences – and this was the best way I could think of to do it. Nobody has gotten less money than they expected, although some prize categories have gotten more money than I originally said. In the end I could not in good conscience let any of these escape without getting a prize. Thanks to this blog’s Patreon supporters for making this possible. All winners should email me with their preferred form of payment (I can do Paypal, Bitcoin, or donations to a charity of their choice).

The overwhelming winner of the popular vote was the collaboration on education. I agree this one was excellent. It cited a lot of research, analyzed it very well, and mostly came to conclusions. Its only flaw from my perspective was a lack of focus; it discussed many different educational interventions, some of which were similar enough that it was hard for me to keep track of what was going on.

I chose the collaboration on transgender children. I thought it did an exceptional job of addressing a specific hot-button issue many people are concerned about, presenting all the evidence on both sides, and mostly coming to conclusions. My strongest complaint was that it ignored some of the potential side effects of puberty blockers which commenters pointed out, and sort of trivialized bone problems that are not trivial; given that the side effects of puberty blockers was a major crux of this question, I found that to be a major weakness. I was still very impressed with the piece’s ability to break down and navigate such a controversial question.