Pot Interferes with Math Skills (of Drug Warriors)


Iain Murray catches another howler in a government funded drug use study I wrote about earlier this month. Intimating that kids today are using drugs at younger and younger ages, the report says:

Among youths aged 12 to 17 who have ever tried marijuana, the mean age of initiation is 13 and a half. The mean age of initiation among adults aged 18 to 25 who have ever tried marijuana is 16.

But of course, as Murray notes, that proves precisely nothing:

It should come as no surprise that the mean age of first use for a younger group is less than that for an older group. What about all those in the 12-17 group who haven't tried marijuana yet but will do when aged 18 or older? This is a meaningless finding, yet it is advanced seemingly in support of CASA President James A Califano's assertions about the dangers of the drug.

NEXT: Iraq's My Lai?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Dude,
    Was posting this twice some kind of subtle stoner joke?

  2. Dude,
    Was posting this twice some kind of subtle stoner joke?

  3. I don’t think that stoner jokes are commonly subtle.

  4. I don’t think that stoner jokes are commonly subtle.

  5. so, was posting twice some kind stoner joke?

  6. Most stoner jokes require you to have some kind of insider experience, so most of them are subtle.

  7. I have no idea what’s going on..

  8. I’ll bet the the mean age of initiation among youths aged 11 to 12 is close to 11 and a half. Maybe I can get the gummint to give me money to do a thorough analysis to find out for sure.

  9. ha ha ha ha ha ha haa haaaaa…dude…stop it. stop it! Ahhhh…huh.

    Um…what was I just saying?

  10. How about this: After my graduate studies are done, instead of going for a lucrative industrial R&D job I’ll accept a much lower wage to teach basic math and science to drug warriors. Call it a libertarian version of “Teach for America.”

    Maybe the Cato Institute and the Marijuana Policy Project will co-sponsor these teaching fellowships for people with degrees in science and math. I’d be happy to accept a very low salary (say, graduate student wages) in exchange for the opportunity to pound some common sense into the brains of our drug warriors.

  11. Jennifer, if you’re reading this, would you be willing to teach a critical thinking skills class for the drug warriors, to complement my intro to statistics class?

  12. Never happen thoreau. The whole point of having drug warriors, is to wage war against sense, common or otherwise.

  13. I’m really going out on a limb here, but I’d guess that, among children five years old or under who have tried pot, the average age of initiation is somewhere under five.

  14. So, like, what’s with everybody posting twice, anyway? Uh, huh huh, huh huh huh.

  15. Shocking new statistics:

    The average income of rich people is high.

    The average income of poor people is low.

    The average age of people repeating 8th grade is 15.

    The average age of new military recruits without college degrees is younger than the average age of military recruits with college degrees.

    The average life span of smokers who die before age 65 is lower than the average life span of smokers who die after age 65.

    The average life span of people in third-world countries is higher if you exclude infant mortality.

    The average income of American citizens is greater if you exclude prison inmates from the study.

  16. Stat could be legit if 18-25 group who have toked. is restricted to those who toked at age 17 or earlier prior to averaging….went back 2 links, couldnt determine if it was or not…
    almost need to see raw data to know
    assuming the compilers are being honest & are competent…I know, I know..its all a conspiracy

  17. if data restricted as i said in prev post…the stat does say something, but by itself, not much…just that if you are going to start stoning before you are 18, chances are that you will probably do it an earler age now

    maybe half the kids starting now are one hit wonders?? If so, then the stat is again rendered meaningless, in terms of predicting a generation of Spicolis.

  18. The average income of rich people is high.
    The average income of poor people is low.

    Well duh, that’s reported all the time in the New York Times. However, they use a slightly different form:

    1. The rich have benefitted most from the current/last economic boom.
    2. There is a positive difference between mean incomes of rich and poor people.

  19. MikeK, no, it wouldn’t legitimize the resutl if you restrict the 18-25 group to those who smoked before they were 18, because the surveyed 12-17 group includes 12-16 year-old kids.

  20. Hey there, Thoreau. I’d be happy to attempt to teach drug warriors the basics of critical thinking, but I’m afraid it would be like trying to teach earthworms the basics of chess-playing.

  21. I think that they are a proate because they are just jokes

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.