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Yale Professor 'Embarrassed' to Discover Tea Party Members are Scientifically Literate

By Matt Vespa | October 17, 2013 | 1:42pm EDT

You know that line liberals love to lob at the Tea Party: you're stupid.  Well, obviously that's not the case, nor has it ever been true.  Now, a Yale professor has released some new research showing that the so-called "Tea Party radicals" are actually scientifically literate.

Professor Dan M. Kahan of the psychology department at Yale says he was surprised to discover a positive correlation between science comprehension and members of the Tea Party:

"Identifying with the Tea Party correlates positively (r = 0.05, p = 0.05) with scores on the science comprehension measure."

"I've got to confess, though, I found this result surprising. 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."

"But then again, I don't know a single person who identifies with the Tea Party.  All my impressions come from watching cable tv -- & 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)."

"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."

Well, perhaps some of those previous opinions could've been dispelled earlier when the New York Times wrote in 2010 that Tea Partiers are more educated - and financially better off - than the rest of the public.


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