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Yale Prof.'s Honest Reaction to Finding Tea Party Members Score Well on Science Comprehension

"I'm a little embarrassed..."

Tea Party activists attend a rally on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, June 19, 2013. (Photo: AP)

A Yale University professor says he was surprised by the results of a survey measuring "education, religiosity, ideology and science comprehension," when he found that identifying with the Tea Party actually correlated positively with science comprehension.

"As I pushed the button to run the analysis on my computer, I fully expected I'd be shown a modest negative correlation between identifying with the Tea Party and science comprehension," Yale University Professor Dan Kahan wrote in a report.

Tea Party activists attend a rally on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, June 19, 2013. (AP)

"But then again, I don't know a single person who identifies with the Tea Party," Kahan admitted. "All my impressions come from watching cable TV -- and I don't watch Fox News very often -- and reading the 'paper' (New York Times daily, plus a variety of politics-focused internet sites like Huffington Post & Politico)."

The professor went on to say he's glad to have shaken the "mistaken" view -- though he still has a "very negative" view of the Tea Party:

I'm a little embarrassed, but mainly I'm just glad that I no longer hold this particular mistaken view.

Of course, I still subscribe to my various political and moral assessments--all very negative-- of what I understand the "Tea Party movement" to stand for. I just no longer assume that the people who happen to hold those values are less likely than people who share my political outlooks to have acquired the sorts of knowledge and dispositions that a decent science comprehension scale measures.

Glenn Beck and his radio co-hosts Pat Gray and Stu Burguiere discussed the poll on Thursday.

"Doesn't that say everything you need to know about a Yale professor?" Gray said of the professor's statement, that all he knows of the Tea Party is what he has learned from the media.

"He thought we were, you know, witch hunters," Beck added sarcastically.

All three agreed that it was a "positive" development to find someone "honest enough to go through and run the data."

"I hope you have tenure, Dan, because Yale's not going to keep you around, dude," Beck said.

Kahan's full report, "Some data on education, religiosity, ideology, and science comprehension," is available here.

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