AS unbelievable as it may seem, less than five years after two airplanes struck and destroyed the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, there are those who deny that it was an attack by Islamic extremists.
The 9/11 conspiracy theorists contend the U.S. government was behind the attack.
Not only do they not believe the U.S. government's version of events, but they do not believe Osama bin Laden, who was filmed gloating over the carnage.
The crackpots' denial comes from a twisted political belief that the federal government is more evil than Islamic terrorists. And so they close their eyes, place their hands over their ears, and sing la-la-la to drown out any words of reason.
The nation has survived all sorts of kooks over the years. But what makes this group disturbing is that it includes 75 professors and college instructors who formed a group called "Scholars for 9/11 Truth."
They make up a small slice of the people across the land who teach either part-time or full-time at colleges or universities, but parents and students should be wary nonetheless.
The most famous case involves Kevin Barrett, who will teach a class on Islam at the University of Wisconsin this fall.
Wisconsin is a fairly liberal state known for its good universities and colleges. But Barrett's views are so far from reality that more than 60 legislators in that state have protested his continued employment.
Professors need academic freedom. They should not be fired for expressing personal opinions outside the classroom. The path to knowledge often leads through unpopular ideas.
But as Roger Bowen, general secretary of the American Association of University Professors, said: "With academic freedom comes academic responsibility. And that requires them to teach the truth of their discipline, and the truth does not include conspiracy theories, or flat Earth theories, or Holocaust denial theories."
Lending one's good name to junk science raises legitimate questions about the quality of one's instruction. Holocaust deniers really have no place on campuses.
And this denial of the reality behind Sept. 11, 2001 -- it was the work of Islamofascists -- is just as bad.