I think it’s useful to split up plans into two parts:

  1. Trying to achieve some observable goals, where we can make many attempts and improve each time.
  2. Hoping that achieving these goals will lead to a positive impact. […]

So I think the upshot is to choose plans for which the arguments supporting step (2) are as simple as possible. Arguments without many moving parts, particularly which are substantiated by a direct appeal to historical regularity, may hold up even if you never get to check them. Conversely, load as much of the difficult work as possible into step (1).

Paul Christiano, Guesswork, feedback, and impact, Rational Altruist, 6 December 2012

Added to diary 28 March 2018