The grades are back, and the professor was shocked to learn that the "smart" kids aren't nearly so smart as the ones he had pegged as imbeciles.
It doesn't happen too often that a dyed-in-the-wool liberal has the tenacity, skills or attention span to actually question his own assumptions and admit that they're wrong.
But that's what happened in the case of Yale psychology professor Dan Kahan, who conducted a survey of political affiliations and scientific literacy.
Kahan found that not only are members of the Tea Party knowledgeable about things scientific, but they are more scientifically literate than most of the population.
What makes Kahan's research most noteworthy, however, is the rare honesty with which he discusses his findings.
"I've got to confess, though, I found this result surprising," Kahan said. "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."
Kahan's comments also support the notion many Tea Partiers hold that liberals base their opinions mostly on what the liberal media tell them.
"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 -- & 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."
Kahan might have saved himself some time if he had referred to a 2010 study, published in the New York Times that found Tea Party members were smarter and wealthier than the average.
If liberals like Kahan ever bothered to attend a Tea Party event, they would find that Tea Party members are bright, engaged people who are concerned about this country's future based on their detailed knowledge of history, economics and politics. So it's no surprise Tea Partiers ace science tests as well.
Still, you can lead a liberal to facts, but you can't make him think.
Kahan, in his original posting talking about his findings, turns right around and dismisses his figures as "trivially small," and he rushes to reassure his liberal readers, "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."
Maybe Kahan will continue to be honest and explain what part of lower taxes, constitutionally limited government and free markets -- specifically -- he finds morally repugnant.