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-Italy: Scientists Get 6 years in Jail for Failing to Predict Earthquake? Really?

by Dr. D ~ October 23rd, 2012

L'Aquila earthquake damages

                    (L’Aquila earthquake damages: Wikipedia)

From the Christian Science Monitor:

An Italian court sentenced scientists to jail time for not having a functioning crystal ball ahead of the 2009 earthquake in L’Aquila. The arguments of science and reason fell on deaf ears. …

Today, a court in the central Italian city of L’Aquila, … sentenced six scientists and a government bureaucrat to six years in jail on manslaughter charges for their failure to predict a 2009 earthquake that left more than 300 people dead. …

The scientific consensus has been clear on this for some time. As much as the world would like the ability to predict earthquakes, it’s eluded the best efforts of scientists for decades.

<Read the whole article>

Response: Wow, coming from California where we experience earthquakes all of the time I just could not ignore this strange story. I usually write about religion and culture and this is really a stretch but I do believe there is a tie-in here in this case. In Western countries we have placed scientists and engineers on a level that use to be occupied by religious leaders in the past. In our faraway past we use to imprison, burn or behead failed religious leaders and heretics. In ancient times, many failed prophets went down to their final reward with a cascade of rocks and stones. In this case the scientists did not have to face The Inquisition but merely a ‘modern’ court in Italy and an angry mob who lost relatives in the quake.

The sentence is ridiculous and should not be allowed to stand.  Here in California we have the top scientists in the world studying quakes at Cal Tech in Pasadena, but none have ever been able to really predict one yet. But a court in Italy sentences their scientists to 6 years in jail for manslaughter in failing to predict the 2009 earthquake in  L’Aquila that took 300+ lives?

Maybe they should include the contractors that made all of the unsafe buildings that collapsed? Since most of the buildings in the town were built years or centuries ago, maybe the building inspectors should be held responsible for not insisting that all of the buildings be brought up to code in order to withstand a quake?

Look for this miscarriage of justice to be overturned. If not, than these scientists have been elevated to a new level and have joined the ranks of the martyrs that were solely reserved for religious leaders in the past.              *Top

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