In a recent, sobering study funded by the National Science Foundation through the Cultural Cognition Laboratory at Yale University, researchers found that even people with quite good math skills ended up flunking an objective math problem simply because it went against their political beliefs.

In other words, two plus two equals four — unless your beliefs lead you to calculate this differently so that you end up with a math answer more to your liking.

People “were more likely to correctly identify the result most supported by the data when doing so affirmed the position one would expect them to be politically predisposed to accept … than when the correct interpretation of the data threatened or disappointed their predispositions,” researchers Dan Kahan of Yale University, Ellen Peters of Ohio State University, Erica Cantrell Dawson of Cornell University, and Paul Slovic of the University of Oregon wrote in a paper submitted to the Social Science Research Network.