Weird Science – Six Italian Scientists Found Guilty Of Manslaughter For Not Predicting An Earthquake

Jeromie Williams Eats The Internet For Breakfast

An Italian judge has sentenced six scientists to six years in prison each for failing to accurately predict a 2009 earthquake in L’Aquila that killed at least 300 people.  Yes, you heard that right, these guys are going to jail for not being able to predict earthquakes.

Here’s a quote from NPR that should start to get your eyes rolling and head your head spinning.

The BBC reports that prosecutors said the scientists, who work for the National Commission for the Forecast and Prevention of Major Risks, “gave a falsely reassuring statement before the quake, while the defense maintained there was no way to predict major quakes.”

According to NBC News, what happened is that L’Aquila had been feeling tremors in late March. One local man, who was not a scientist, made the prediction that a big one was on its way. Responding to the man on March 31, the group of scientists concluded it was “improbable” that the area would experience a major earthquake, “although they stopped short of entirely excluding the possibility.”

Unfortunately for these scientists, less than a month later a 6.3 earthquake came rolling through the area and killed at least 300 people.

As far back as June of 2010, the American Association for the Advancement of Science wrote Italian President Girogio Napolitano a letter on behalf of its 5000 members insisting that the charges against the scientists were both “unfair and naive” and that when it comes to predicting an earthquake there is no way the scientists “could have done that with credibility.”

Should scientists be held accountable for not being able to predict earthquakes?  Is a sentence of six years in jail for manslaughter a fair judgement?  Leave a comment a below and let us know.

Jeromie Williams Eats The Internet For Breakfast


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