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Scientists face jail over prediction failure


Posted on Tuesday, 23 October, 2012 | Comment icon 28 comments | News tip by: Professor Buzzkill


Image credit: CC 3.0 USDOI

 
Six Italian scientists face up to six years in prison because they failed to predict an earthquake.

The seismologists were part of the National Commission for the Forecast and Prevention of Major Risks when a court found them guilty of providing "inexact, incomplete and contradictory" information regarding an earthquake that occurred at l’Aquila in April 2009. The ruling has prompted a significant international outcry including an open letter to the Italian president from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

"Years of research, much of it conducted by distinguished scientists in your own country, have demonstrated that there is no accepted scientific method for earthquake prediction that can be reliably used to warn citizens of an impending disaster," read the letter which was signed by 5,000 scientists.

"Anyone who has been feeling that life these days is not sufficiently medieval need look no further than the Italian seismologists just sentenced for manslaughter for failing to predict an earthquake they had no scientific basis to believe was coming."

  View: Full article |  Source: Washington Post

  Discuss: View comments (28)

   


 
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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #19 Posted by Wickian on 23 October, 2012, 16:43
If his statement was incompetent if compared with the available data then fire him, but I don't think a scientist should be jailed for being wrong about something unless he can somehow be proven to intentionally said it to try and hurt people.
Comment icon #20 Posted by Abramelin on 23 October, 2012, 16:49
It's just the Italian government that needs a scapegoat because of their own incompetence. As soon as they get rid of that Mafia mentality, things will change for the better, but I don't expect that to ever happen soon.
Comment icon #21 Posted by ancient astronaut on 23 October, 2012, 17:26
witch hunt.
Comment icon #22 Posted by minera on 23 October, 2012, 17:55
They should be hauling in the Pope. After all he has a direct line to God so he should have predicted the earthquake. Only God knows what is to happen. Those idiots are looking for a scapegoat for something that is beyond the control of man.A bunch of dumb peasants.....
Comment icon #23 Posted by Professor Buzzkill on 23 October, 2012, 20:15
If they are, our politicians are in BIG trouble. Doug [/quote] "Before you speak, you should know that anyone, even a scientist, is held accountable for his words" THIS IS ITALY!
Comment icon #24 Posted by MJNYC on 23 October, 2012, 20:54
This was the DUMBEST thing I've ever heard. Who would ever attempt to predict anything again in Italy? You'd have to be nuts.
Comment icon #25 Posted by Raptor Witness on 24 October, 2012, 7:17
On the day a great shadow crossed the epicenter of the darkest day in Japan's history ...Tuscany shook, and I broke my silence. A man can raise the dead one day, and be murdered the next, but the Lord of the Earth can do anything, for the sake of repentance.
Comment icon #26 Posted by tipsy_munchkin on 24 October, 2012, 8:01
They can give advice based on the information they have. They arent all knowing mystic oracles and can of course be wrong. It reminds me somewhat of when people sue over events that most would chalk up to an unfortunate accident. The need to blame rather than asses how better to avoid similar in future.
Comment icon #27 Posted by Ryegrog on 25 October, 2012, 0:56
I live in Tornado Alley and Meteorologist can't even be certain if a tornado will form or predict it's path. You can't predict Mother Nature.
Comment icon #28 Posted by whitelight on 25 October, 2012, 2:40
Maybe we should be stupid and incompetent. We'd never have to account for anything and other people would be responsible for our well being.


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