Ghent uni bans prof from using his own book!

Following an investigation that took several months Ghent University has decided to ban the use of Prof Mattias Desmet’s book "Psychologie van het totalitarisme" (Psychology of Totalitarianism) in its lessons.  A university commission found the tome contained sloppiness and was based on antiquated science.  The professor’s appearance in “Infowars”, a programme fronted by American conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, was instrumental in triggering the investigation.

On Infowars Prof Desmet said he had witnessed open heart surgery in Belgium conducted under hypnosis and without sedation.  At the request of the Faculty Council the training commission of the Psychology and Pedagogical Sciences Faculty at Ghent University analysed the material Prof Desmet was using for the course Culture and Social Criticism. The university’s Commission for Scientific Integrity also looked into the matter and decided to ban the use of the tome "Psychologie van het totalitarisme" in the professor’s lessons.

The university is allowing the professor to use several chapters on condition corrections are made. Responsibility for the course is being entrusted to a co-lecturer.

Since the pandemic Prof Desmet, a lecturer in psychology, has become one of the faces of the movement questioning corona measures.  Such movements often unite opponents of a particular set of measures and bring them out onto the street to protest.  Adherents are often influenced by dysinformation and conspiracy theories. The Belgian state security service has labelled the movement in which Prof Desmet plays an important role “a Countermovement”. His book looks at the development of totalitarian regimes and similarities to what happened during the pandemic. Prof Desmet is a popular figure among followers of the movement against corona measures and his book can count on a lot of support. At the same time, many scientists are critical of his work.

Prof Desmet rejects the university’s decision saying accusations haven’t been thoroughly examined and that the decision was taken based on a couple of negative reactions without any thorough analysis of his book.  The professor promises to defend his writings in public and in the first place during an interview with the popular UK comedian Russel Brand.

Top stories