If this news article is accurate, then I have now seen everything. I can close down the blog.
Why, you ask? Because of this (emphasis mine):
The massacre of Jewish people during the Holocaust was “scientifically impossible,” according to an article published by an Iranian satellite channel on its Web site.
The article was written by Nicholas Kollerstrom, an academic specializing in astrology and crop circles, who had his fellowship terminated by University College London last month after he said there were never any gas chambers at Auschwitz.
This is what UCL said:
“The views expressed by Dr. Kollerstrom are diametrically opposed to the aims, objectives and ethos of UCL, such that we wish to have absolutely no association with them or with their originator,” the University College said in a statement. “We therefore have no choice but to terminate Dr. Kollerstrom’s honorary research fellowship with immediate effect.
Amazing. What was UCL thinking when they gave him money in the first place? If he’s studying astrology and crop circles, he’s already well off the path of reality. Saying the Holocaust didn’t happen isn’t too far of a stretch when you’re used to ignoring facts, evidence, observations, and an entire Universe surrounding you.
I guess it’s only when publicly embarrassing things get noticed that they decide to take action. It makes me sad they don’t consider astrology and crop circles embarrassing enough. They’re not in the same league as Holocaust denial, but c’mon.
A point: of course the Holocaust occurred, and of course there were gas chambers at Auschwitz. Holocaust deniers are every bit as irrational as any other type of fringe conspiracy theorist. And I do not deny the utter and grotesque nature of the Holocaust, and how sensitive an issue it is.
But at an academic level, a level where you try to be dispassionate when you investigate something so as not to bias yourself, Holocaust denial is not much different than belief in astrology or crop circles. There are mountains of evidence, an overwhelming tsunami of evidence, against these things, yet people cling to them despite all that.
On an emotional level, on a personal level, I would not equate astrology or crop circles with the Holocaust, of course. In general, having a University investigate them, or at least fund someone to do that, is simply throwing money away*. Here’s a hint to folks at UCL: the evidence is in, and has been for a long, long time. The Holocaust happened. Astrology doesn’t work. Crop circles are hoaxes.
Got it? Can we now please investigate things that are actually perhaps, y’know, real?
*The psychology of such beliefs would make a good study, and there are some things that tie in with, say birth date. But these are generally understood and not related to some mysterious force from the planets and constellations.