- Probabilistic. Reality rarely lets us be absolutely sure of anything – especially the world’s hardest and most complicated problems. It’s our job to wade through conflicting evidence and limited data, do the best we can to find the truth, and be honest about the uncertainty that remains.
- Transparent. We care less about telling our readers what we think than showing them why we think it. Every part of the process – from our reasoning to our raw data – will always be out in the open.
- Obsessively curious. Our favorite question is “wait – but why?” Asterisk is by and for the kind of people who aren’t satisfied until they’ve tested all their assumptions and chased every claim back to its source. We’re constantly noticing things in the world that surprise and confuse us, and we won’t stop until we understand them.
- Ready to treat our readers like adults. A key question for any media outlet is: what do you do when the truth might undermine public health advice or encourage risky decisions? At Asterisk, the answer is: tell it. We believe that the truth, whatever it is, is less dangerous than lying, and we trust our readers to approach big questions with nuance and clarity.
- Open to all perspectives. Our editorial perspective is shaped by the philosophy of Effective Altruism, but not limited to it. We’ll feature writing by anyone who shares our standards of epistemic rigor.
- Excited. We believe the future is going to be very big and very weird. We can’t wait to get there, and we’re working hard to see what it might look like.
- Terrified. We think that technologies developed in the next century will place humanity at unprecedented risk of destroying itself. Asterisk is a place to talk about the tools and strategies we need to make it to 2100.
- Christopher L. Brown on the abolitionist movement, learning from history, and how selfishness is necessary for social change.
- Kelsey Piper on how we can (and can’t) affect the distant future.
- Fred Kaplan on why the way we talk about nuclear weapons policy is totally irrelevant to the way things really work.
- Zeynep Tufekci on the pandemic and public reasoning under uncertainty.
- And much more.
We’re for Bayes’ theorem, acknowledging our uncertainty, wild imaginations, and well-constructed sentences. We’re against easy answers, lazy metaphors, and the end of life as we know it.