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My post from a parallel thread that was just killed:

I think the matter has more to do with wealth and access to information than any kind of cause and effect.

I'd also question the level of confidence we should have in the study - seriously - how many vegans are you going to get out of 8,000 people? By the rates I can find they had around 40 vegetarians and 2 vegans. Hardly enough to warrant even a suggestion.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by nigel View Post

I think the matter has more to do with wealth and access to information than any kind of cause and effect.
I have to agree. Though it's still interesting, even from that perspective.

Quote:
I'd also question the level of confidence we should have in the study - seriously - how many vegans are you going to get out of 8,000 people? By the rates I can find they had around 40 vegetarians and 2 vegans. Hardly enough to warrant even a suggestion.
They claim it's statistically significant.

Just to clarify for everyone: the link they found was between "high childhood IQ scores" and the "claim to be a vegetarian."

A much larger study would have to be done to see if there is any link between intelligence (which is difficult to measure) and actual vegetarianism (which is also difficult to measure because it relies on self-reporting).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Indian Summer View Post

It seems you didn't notice this part of the article then:

This is known as the error of not reading things carefully.
I have another error. Its called confusing correlation with causation.

Oh, nigel beat me too it.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by remilard View Post

I have another error. Its called confusing correlation with causation.

Oh, nigel beat me too it.
where's the causation? i totally missed it when i read the article.
 

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Vegetarians were more likely to be female, to be of higher occupational social class and to have higher academic or vocational qualifications than non-vegetarians.

When I lived in England I knew four vegetarians. Three of them were men who left school at 16 and who were very much working class. Maybe that was unusual, I dunno.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by gaya View Post

where's the causation? i totally missed it when i read the article.
The whole chicken vs egg thing that Indian Summer quoted suggests that it is only a question of which way the causation runs. For reasons delineated by nigel I think most reasonable hypotheses would include no causation either way. We already know that IQ and vegetarianism are correlated with wealth and whiteness, among other things.

I also agree that this is probably not a great example of sampling.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by remilard View Post

The whole chicken vs egg thing that Indian Summer quoted suggests that it is only a question of which way the causation runs. For reasons delineated by nigel I think most reasonable hypotheses would include no causation either way. We already know that IQ and vegetarianism are correlated with wealth and whiteness, among other things.

I also agree that this is probably not a great example of sampling.
Well, maybe Indian Summer was suggesting causation by hand picking a quote but i didn't really get that feeling from the article itself, which is only an interpretation of the study as far as I can tell and probably by a journalist, not a scientist...so who knows.
 

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I can see getting appropriate samples as problematic in general. Veg*ns are a minority any way let alone finding a substantial sample of them with dated IQ records etc. Tho hopefully there are longitudinal studies already in the making for years to come.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by gaya View Post

I can see getting appropriate samples as problematic in general. Veg*ns are a minority any way let alone finding a substantial sample of them with dated IQ records etc. Tho hopefully there are longitudinal studies already in the making for years to come.
More important than sampling, IMO, is the design of the experiment. If you don't block for at least wealth and gender you are wasting your time.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by remilard View Post

More important than sampling, IMO, is the design of the experiment. If you don't block for at least wealth and gender you are wasting your time.
well stats aren't my thing but didn't they or wouldn't they account for these variables in the statistical analysis?
 

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Originally Posted by lachry View Post

I wouldn't get too excited.

I haven't looked into this at any great depth but it seems to accept that 'meat avoiders' are vegetarians.

"More than 33 percent of the men and women in the study described themselves as vegetarians but said they ate white meat and fish."

This, obviously, renders the study mostly useless. I have a huge problem with meat-eating 'vegetarians'. Don't get me wrong - it's good that there are some animals they are not eating. But they are not vegetarians and they should stop calling themselves that. (Likewise, scholars should stop allowing people to "self-define" themselves as vegetarians. Most of the academic papers I have read do allow too much leeway on this.)

It's entirely objective: if you eat meat, you are not a vegetarian.

Nobody claims to be teetotal because they do not drink bear - but drink vodka, etc - so why should scholars allow such inconsistencies when it comes to diet?

Just over 4 percent were "strict vegetarians" and 2 percent vegans. Well, is that all? If we take 'strict vegetarians' to be ACTUAL vegetarians then obviously we're not able to conclude anything from the study.

It's conclusions should be that meat-avoiders are more intelligent etc - because it isn't actually studying real vegetarians, only fake ones.
First off, any step towards vegetarianism is the right step. I fully agree that the best way to go about it is to avoid meat entirely, no chicken or fish. But for years I avoided certain kinds of meats, and if I hadn't started in that direction perhaps I wouldn't have continued my education that led me to decide to become vegetarian. Of course, when my main meat choice was ground turkey I didn't consider myself vegetarian then. I agree that those people shouldn't be part of the survey, but perhaps those with higher IQs who are seeking out healthier diets will turn full vegetarian later on.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by gaya View Post

well stats aren't my thing but didn't they or wouldn't they account for these variables in the statistical analysis?
the link suggests they controlled for "occupational class" and "level of education".

As a trained statistician I would recommend that wealth is superior to the above characteristics and that you must also confound race. I suspect that they captured much of the wealth effect but what remains can be explained by race.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by remilard View Post

the link suggests they controlled for "occupational class" and "level of education".

As a trained statistician I would recommend that wealth is superior to the above characteristics and that you must also confound race. I suspect that they captured much of the wealth effect but what remains can be explained by race.
race...good point! another one.
 

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I also think it's crud that the author didn't list the journal volume or study title. it's a pain in the rump to find the study now but i'm looking.

nothing in medline or psyinfo at my uni, eh
 
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