The Independent (UK) reported Friday on a study of 8,000 people born in 1970.
The study, published in the British Medical Journal, was based on more than 8,000 people born in 1970 whose IQ was measured at age 10. Now aged 36, the researchers found 366, just under one in 20, said they were vegetarians (a third of these ate chicken or fish but none touched red meat).
As well as being brighter, the vegetarians were better educated and of higher social class but the link with intelligence remained statistically significant even after adjusting for these factors. Despite their intelligence they were not wealthier and more likely to be working for charities or in education. "It may be that ethical considerations determined not just their diet but also their choice of employment," the report said.
Let me state right up front that I eat meat. And I'm smarter than a third of the "vegetarians," who think that chicken and fish are vegetables.
From a statistical standpoint, this sample is large enough to produce fairly reliable results. I don't have quite as much faith in the interpretation, though.
Were the meat-eating "vegetarians" the more intelligent ones, or were the no-meat vegetarians more intelligent? And of the people who said they're not vegetarians, did they check the IQ differences between the red-meat eaters and the non-red-meat eaters? I would expect the non-red-meat-eating non-vegetarians to be more intelligent than the chicken-and-fish-eating vegetarians, because at least these non-vegetarians know they're not vegetarians.
I don't know why, but my grade school tested my IQ when I was in fourth grade, but because I wasn't born in 1970 or in the UK, my results were never included in this study. The results of my test were high enough that they took notice at the time, but not enough that anybody ever worshiped the ground I walked on or treated me any differently after that. Just as well.
The main problem I have with this study is that IQ really doesn't tell you much about how people live their lives. Too many intelligent people have too easy a time in school and never learn how to work hard. So when they're adults, they can tend to take the easy road, not apply themselves, and end up in mediocrity.
I don't see the researchers taking this into account. They seem to view high IQ as the be-all and end-all in life. And that's just stoopid.