6 Scientists Sentenced To 6 Years In Jail [Pic+]

Submitted by: Draculya 4 years ago in Science

... for *not* predicting what was a deadly 2009 earthquake in Italy.
There are 69 comments:
Male 5,413
Even if they did, why would we listen to them? We don`t listen to them regardless of what they say.
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Male 15,832
I hope every scientist and engineer in that country goes on strike. It`s time that Atlas shrugged.
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Male 4,099
that`s sad sight all-around.
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Male 2,332
Preposterous.
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Male 7,123
@madest,

You usually make sense, what happened ere. They didn`t ignore the readings. They read them and concluded that there was no evidence of raised probability of a major event. The political appointee may have presented that as `no probability` but that isn`t the same.

It is a high risk area with a lot of low level activity. There was a high probability of a major even at some time, but nothing indicated it was imminent. So `no raised risk` was accurate.
The Concordia comparison does not work; the seismologists did not increase the chance of a major event. The captain did.

If you ask a scientist to predict the future you are asking the wrong question. At best they can provide the best odds available given the data and the state of the science. At the moment seismology is still just getting started, if you bang up scientists every time the reality goes against the odds they gave you, then who the hell would work for you?

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Male 159
cmon! Italy makes the USA look like a first world country!
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Male 2,357
Only in Europe... (not so funny when the American does it, is it?)
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Male 10,855
Yeah, "view it as a camping experience" very low brow but it only says he was seriously out of touch.
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Male 1,216
"How is ignoring seismic readings any different"

Because seismic reading doesn`t tell them when an earthquake is going to happen, and not how strong. It doesn`t tell them anything, therefore it`s out of their control, and not their fault.
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Male 10,855
[quote">Government officials at the time arrested one of the scientists who accurately predicted the major quake for inciting panic[/quote">

Radon predictions have MAJOR caveats
Of course now this makes the government all more absurd, it will prosecute people for warning and NOT for warning people.
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Male 1,268
@Cajun Government officials at the time arrested one of the scientists who accurately predicted the major quake for inciting panic. Also, what Quackor said. There IS fault to find here if one digs deep enough. Problem is it happened during a notoriously corrupt government. Read some of Silvio`s quotes around the time of the quake. Greaseball to the extreme.
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Male 15,261
@temp4comment so you think it`s your God`s fault? Or was it one of the other gods from one of the 4,200 recognised religions around the world?
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Male 10,855
The scientists did their job, but now the Italian government is moving the goal posts in order to save face. Shame on them, the prosecutor in this case is the one who should be fired and charged with obstruction.
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Male 613
The Spanish inquisition had the excuse that it was long ago.
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Male 5,811
[quote]Maybe they should be fired, but manslaughter charges are ridiculous.[/quote]
This has been my point from the beginning, although even being fired is a little much, at least for the scientists, who did absolutely nothing wrong.
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Male 10,855
[quote]He`s not entirely wrong though, flagrant mismanagement requires punishment.[/quote]

What mismanagement occured? Are you suggesting that officials should start creating panic over could very well be a minor tremor and nothing else?
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Male 79
The increasing lack of scientific understanding in this world is troubling, and this verdict is more evidence of it. The seismic activity leading up to the quake wasn`t significant enough to predict a major quake. Maybe they should be fired, but manslaughter charges are ridiculous.
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Male 2,988
if you go to the link i provided you can see that there have been 556 earthquakes greater than Mag 4 in the last 30 days. now tell me how easy it is to predict when a major earthquake will happen and where
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Male 5,811
@securitywyrm: Ha, nice, but I think it`s more like this:

Government: "Will there be a blizzard today?"
Weatherman: "It`s not likely."
*blizzard happens*
Government: "It DID happen. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200."
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Male 17,511
madest: No scientist can predict the time and place of major earthquakes, it`s just not possible. The best scientists can do is offer risk assessment to certain regions. This prosecution of 6 Italian scientists is idiotic.
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Male 89
It`s like this...
Government: "What are the odds this pair of dice will come up with a six?"
Scientist: "A bit less than three percent."
*Rolls dice*
Government: "It came up a 12! You were wrong, it was 100%"
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Male 2,855
so if your mom tells you to jump into a well, will you jump?
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Male 5,811
[quote]How is ignoring seismic readings any different?[/quote]
Who said they ignored the seismic readings? Here`s what Enzo Boschi, one of the defendents, said March 31, 2009: "It is unlikely that an earthquake like the one in 1703 could occur in the short term, but the possibility cannot be totally excluded."
Sounds to me like he said nothing wrong here, and even acknowledged the possibility of a quake, but YOU CANNOT PREDICT EARTHQUAKES IN THE SHORT TERM. You`re making up stuff as you go, @Madest.

[quote]Did they do their job? No.
Did not doing the job endangered the population? Yes.[/quote]
But they DID do their job. If anyone is even remotely at fault it`s the politician who makes the policy decisions. Why blame scientists who did exactly what they were supposed to?
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Male 2,988
@madest: earthquakes happen all the time. small and big. you can view earthquakes here and as you can see they are very common. trying to predict them is far from easy or accurate. but scientists try the best they can. not all small tremors result in a major quake to follow. in fact most dont as they happen all the damn time.

as far as your captain goes he made a choice to put people in danger instead of doing his job. these scientists were trying to do their job the best they can to prevent danger if possible, not put them into danger by being reckless like the captain
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Male 1,268
"Did they do their job? No."

They did their job. Berlusconi`s administration told them what not to say, so they didn`t say it. Heh. Oh, guess who ISN`T going to prison for six years...
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Male 89
This is how corrupt Italy is. The people who built sub-standard housing that collapsed in the earthquake won`t face any charges, while the scientists for whom `predict when earthquakes will happen` was NOT in their job description will spend time in jail.
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Male 2,855
they can tell the population how to better protect themselves, not to panic everyday. and lets stop calling them "scientists" they are members of the Major Risks Committee, the job usually is "assisting the city in assessing the different types of risk to which they are exposed"
Did they do their job? No.
Did not doing the job endangered the population? Yes.
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Male 2,216
Why don`t they arrest clerics for not praying hard enough?
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Male 7,378
It was the job of the Captain of the Concordia to not sink the ship. He did and will do time. How is ignoring seismic readings any different? There was one guy in Japan that warned the builders of fudgeushima that their sea wall was too small. He was ignored and the people who ignored him will do time. We can`t deny the human condition to place blame. These guys aren`t scapegoats, they`re scientists. They are supposed to be experts in their field. I`m certain the next scientists will warn the populace when their seismic readers go off.
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Male 2,988
@LordJim: agreed. trying to bring atheism into this is silly. science and religion are not mutually exclusive. a lot of great scientists were religious.
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Male 1,216
@LordJim, You are wasting your time, he doesn`t respond to good argument.
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Male 7,123
Incredibly stupid verdict. They calculated the odds based on information available and that is there job. The odds of rolling a 6 on a dice is 1 in 6. If you roll a 6 several times in succcession that does not make that statement false.

Now any scientist involved in risk prediction will either try to move out of the field, or hit the panic button every damn time.

As for dragging atheism into this, that makes as much sense as claiming that living next to a seismic centre confers some measure of expertise. I live next to a dentist, would you like me to do your root-canal?
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Male 5,811
@Quackor: Actually it was the reporter who said "relax with a glass of wine" to which the man replied with a vintage. Even if this guy`s communication was poor, why blame the scientists? The assessment of risk as low was accurate.
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Male 1,216
Honestly, nobody is at fault, this is an act of nature. Nobody instructed the ground to move, and nobody could tell it would.
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Male 1,216
@Quackor, but they can`t just tell the citizens to be afraid every time, because the chance that large seismic activity would occur was the same as any other day, month and year. They also can`t risk warning them.
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Male 2,988
"atheists owning up to their faith in science and only science"

any scientist will tell you that they don`t know everything. in fact scientists like finding things that are wrong in science so they can study it more and find out more about the world we live in. punishing a scientist for not predicting the future correctly is silly. its not about trying to dodge guilt. they used the information they had available and made a conclusion based on the evidence. it just so happened to be wrong. but lets look at the alternative. what if they predicted it and it didnt happen? do they still deserve punishment? should they still have to face this guilt of their actions? what if they were correct about an earthquake but wrong on the exact location? what then?

without science then the opportunity to predict earthquakes at all wouldnt be possible. as a theist what do you offer as an alternative?
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Male 1,268
"I`m not justifying one way or the other the Italian government`s actions. There isn`t enough information."

HAHAHAHA. Now THIS is funny. This guy HAS to be an Italian himself to be so utterly blinded. No, they fraked up royally. Is this a piper alternate account? Seems a bit too coherent for it to be so.
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Male 1,216
"it`s forcing scientists and engineers to take responsibility for the lives of those they design for"

But that`s the thing, they can`t take responsibility because they can`t predict an earthquake until it happens.

When scientists drated up at Chernobyl, they were all responsible, it has nothing to do with faith. If it is possible to avoid a fck up and you still fck up, you are responsible, but in this case you can not tell what is going to happen, and things are gonna get fcked up, it`s not their responsibility.

I doubt you are even going to respond to this.
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Male 5,811
[quote]they used the information they received to tell the people not to worry. [/quote]
Because the evidence didn`t support the notion of an impending quake. That region is prone to quakes, and you`re upset because they can`t predict *exactly* when one will happen? They did the best they could with the data at hand.

[quote]My point is the atheists are the ones who would fight tooth and nail against any such responsibility.[/quote]
But why should legal responsibility be theirs to begin with? They are an advisory panel, and they don`t make the decisions. To hold them to be 100% responsible when they cannot ever be 100% certain is simply unreasonable.
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Male 1,268
So where is the hang up then, Cajun? Temp clearly feels everyone who calls themselves experts should be held accountable for any wrong decisions they make. You feel it may(?) not have been a wrong decision based on their information, but feel the state officials went beyond their scope in stating "Nothing to worry about."? I feel someone, perhaps not all six, should definitely be going to prison for this. Temp is clearly just trying to troll "intellectuals" why bother responding as he`s not going to change his perspective. He`s not entirely wrong though, flagrant mismanagement requires punishment.
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Male 2,988
"you are exposing yourself as a guilt-fearing atheist, too" LOL, i`m sorry but thats just too funny. thanks for the laugh bro. :-D
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Male 2,855
ahh the morons in the news and the morons who believe them...
They are NOT on trial for not predicting a quake, they are on trial for being asshats. Instead of reviewing safety measures, they encouraged the citizens to "sit comfortably and drink a glass of wine" (Check out a non-moronic news site), even when SOMETIMES small tremors are the precursors of a big one. Another one of them assured the citizens there was no danger. Hello? Quakes CANNOT be predicted, how can they inform the public there is no danger??
They are on trial because they are morons whose information led to larger casualties, NOT because they couldnt predict an earthquake, but because they did NOTHING to warn the citizens of POSSIBLE danger and to have preparations ready (memorize where a "triangle of life" could form in your home for example)
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Male 7,378
Yeah but you`re wrong. Send those scientists to jail this atheist says because they used the information they received to tell the people not to worry. Those seismic readings do mean something. It`s their job to know the meaning.
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Male 5,811
[quote]patchgrabber I`m not referring to the scientists, but to all the atheists on these sites who are defending them.[/quote]
So they`re to blame for evidence not supporting an imminent, large seismic event? These scientists are scapegoats, plain and simple. Should we sentence a weatherman to jail because he didn`t predict a flood that kills people? Or a blizzard or the severity of plow winds? Give me a break.
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Male 10,855
Scuzoid that was a response to temp4comment`s comment. I`m your side, what government did was PROFOUNDLY stupid.
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Male 1,268
"Someone obviously has little clue about the field of seismology.`

I feel like you have far less of a clue about the field of seismology than you`d EVER let on. Meanwhile, do you have any recollection of the absolute idiocy taking place in the Italian government four years (and more, and fewer) ago?
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Male 10,855
[quote]Or someone who lives next door to a seismology center, like me?[/quote]

...and Sarah Palin cites her state`s proximity to Alaska as foreign policy experience.
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Male 10,855
[quote]but to all the atheists on these sites who are defending them.[/quote]

Me: agnostic
panth753: Christian

Both of us have criticized the government`s actions here. Which are demonstratably idiotic.
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Male 10,855
[quote]but when it comes to holding themselves responsible like this for a real human failure in the field of science[/quote]

Someone obviously has little clue about the field of seismology.
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Male 2,988
@temp4comment: would you rather people call an earthquake an act of god? whatever god you have chosen to follow? and when you blame it on your god and his/her master plan that you "just want to avoid guilt of any kind."
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Male 1,268
I`m with Madest. I don`t remember all the particulars of this incident, but from what I recall, Silvio Berlusconi played a significant part in the press release the government officials made. Of the six sentenced, only two said there wouldn`t be another quake, I think, while the other four were hesitant to state one way or another. As I`m sure everyone is aware, Berlusconi is easily one of the most disgusting people on this planet, so demanding his talking heads to say "Everything is kosher." sound right up his alley.
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Male 2,988
Next we can sue the weather man for not accurately warning me to move my car away from that tree that got struck by lightning. He is the expert, he new it was possible yet did nothing!
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Male 10,855
Once again government busybodies making life miserable for people.
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Male 159
in this case i want the chick working at 7/11 arrested for not giving me the winning lottery ticket numbers....
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Male 5,811
[quote]Atheists just want to avoid guilt of any kind.[/quote]
Funny how theists claim someone to be atheistic when he says in court

"I believe myself to be innocent before God and men." -Bernardo De Bernardinis

Swing and a miss, God-boy. Besides, as I stated before, you can`t predict quakes with 100% accuracy. I bet you`d be the first to deride them if they had instigated a panic and there wasn`t a quake.
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Male 1,216
The captain of Concordia should have known his mistake prior, because the place was known to be rocky. He also abandoned his passengers. These scientists are being blames for something they are 100% not responsible for, they couldn`t predict the earthquake, nobody could, and they didn`t cause the earthquake. This is absolutely ridiculous. It would be like arresting someone for animal abuse, because he couldn`t predict his dog is gonna get run over.
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Female 9,572
Finally, a country more stupid then the US.
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Male 3,445
` It`s like saying the Captain of the Concordia shouldn`t be jailed for sinking a ship because he only wanted to go over there....`

It`s not at all like this.
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Male 3,445
`Funny how atheists are all about the science, but when it comes to holding themselves responsible like this for a real human failure in the field of science, no way. Atheists just want to avoid guilt of any kind.`

You`re making a huge leap here. What does this have to do with atheism? This is about predicting earthquakes, not about a deity.
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Male 7,378
@temp4comment, I`m atheist. I think their sentence is just. There goes your theory.
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Male 1,216
The thing is, earthquakes can`t be predicted. It`s chaotic movement, you can`t possible predict it.

Madest you are drating stupid, this ruling is extremely harmful, and your comparison has nothing to do with this situation. They couldn`t predict an earthquake, because it`s simply impossible, at least for now.
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Male 5,811
"It was a huge mistake and now they have a price to pay."

Really? Just because there was tremor activity doesn`t necessarily mean there would be a major quake. This is nothing new, look at the wiki page on earthquake prediction and you`ll see that:

1) False positives cost a lot of money and discredit quake prediction to the public, so they are careful about inciting panic.
2) They don`t even know for sure if it is even possible to accurately predict quakes.
3) People are quick to rush to blame when one does happen, even if the evidence is spotty at best.
4) Just because they`re on an advisory panel doesn`t mean they can divine the future, they can only go with what evidence they have, and they didn`t feel it was enough to justify a panic.
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Male 7,378
This is good, It`s not ridiculous at all. The government in Italy spends millions on scientists and monitoring equipment that was telling the scientists there was tremor activity. They used that information to tell people not to worry. It was a huge mistake and now they have a price to pay. It`s like saying the Captain of the Concordia shouldn`t be jailed for sinking a ship because he only wanted to go over there....
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Male 39,893

So there is a level of stupid we have not yet reached in the US.
Well done Italy for setting a new standard.
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Female 2,525
This demonstrates a gross misunderstanding of what scientists do and are capable of doing.
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Male 3,445
I read about this yesterday. And I thought we were backwards about science in the states.
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Male 411
Yeah, fark Italy
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Male 5,811
This is ridiculous. So now scientists have to fear releasing their results to the public because they may be sued or imprisoned? As good as science is, it cannot be 100% accurate in matters such as this. These data could show that it was not likely a big earthquake would result, but that doesn`t mean that it *definitely* won`t.
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Male 15,261
Link: 6 Scientists Sentenced To 6 Years In Jail [Pic+] [Rate Link] - ... for *not* predicting what was a deadly 2009 earthquake in Italy.
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