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Thread: Italian scientists convicted of manslaughter for not predicting earthquake

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    Italian scientists convicted of manslaughter for not predicting earthquake

    Six Italian scientists and an ex-government official have been sentenced to six years in prison over the 2009 deadly earthquake in L'Aquila. A regional court found them guilty of multiple manslaughter. Prosecutors said the defendants gave a falsely reassuring statement before the quake, while the defence maintained there was no way to predict major quakes. The 6.3 magnitude quake devastated the city and killed 309 people. It took Judge Marco Billi slightly more than four hours to reach the verdict in the trial, which had begun in September 2011.


    BBC News - L'Aquila quake: Italy scientists guilty of manslaughter


    Holy. Crap. People are so ****ing stupid. Aside from the injustice and the human tragedy associated with this case, this verdict will have a chilling effect on science. What has happened to Italy? It used to be a modern country, but over the past decade it has devolved into a banana republic.
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    Re: Italian scientists convicted of manslaughter for not predicting earthquake

    The article is pro-defendent and really doesn't tell us much. Didn't even include the text of the statement. These fellows were in "Risk Assessment", if they softballed the risk and people died because of it, they'd be charged in any jurisdiction.

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    Re: Italian scientists convicted of manslaughter for not predicting earthquake

    Quote Originally Posted by clownboy View Post
    The article is pro-defendent and really doesn't tell us much. Didn't even include the text of the statement.
    I'm not sure where to get the text of the statement (or if it has even been translated into English), but The Economist and Ars Technica both have good writeups on the background of this case:

    L'Aquila's earthquake: Scientists in the dock
    Italian scientists convicted of manslaughter for earthquake risk report | Ars Technica

    These fellows were in "Risk Assessment", if they softballed the risk and people died because of it, they'd be charged in any jurisdiction.
    Basically what happened was that after a few smaller quakes in the area, these scientists conducted a risk assessment based on the information they had. The scientists studied it and concluded that smaller quakes are not necessarily a harbinger of larger quakes, and that based on the available information the area was no more at risk for a large quake than it normally would be. A political figure then went on television and concluded that there was no risk. The earthquake happened a few days later.

    There's not really any reason to think that the scientists were softballing the risk based on the information they had (their conclusions were at least arguably accurate)...and in any case manslaughter seems like a rather excessive crime to charge them with. The danger here is that this kind of intimidation will make people reluctant to go into science at all if there is a possibility that they will be charged with a crime if their predictions do not pan out.
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    Re: Italian scientists convicted of manslaughter for not predicting earthquake

    Idiots in lower courts.. Will be appealed and turned over at some point.
    PeteEU

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    Re: Italian scientists convicted of manslaughter for not predicting earthquake

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    I'm not sure where to get the text of the statement (or if it has even been translated into English), but The Economist and Ars Technica both have good writeups on the background of this case:

    L'Aquila's earthquake: Scientists in the dock
    Italian scientists convicted of manslaughter for earthquake risk report | Ars Technica



    Basically what happened was that after a few smaller quakes in the area, these scientists conducted a risk assessment based on the information they had. The scientists studied it and concluded that smaller quakes are not necessarily a harbinger of larger quakes, and that based on the available information the area was no more at risk for a large quake than it normally would be. A political figure then went on television and concluded that there was no risk. The earthquake happened a few days later.

    There's not really any reason to think that the scientists were softballing the risk based on the information they had (their conclusions were at least arguably accurate)...and in any case manslaughter seems like a rather excessive crime to charge them with. The danger here is that this kind of intimidation will make people reluctant to go into science at all if there is a possibility that they will be charged with a crime if their predictions do not pan out.
    Oh, I agree with that last, just wasn't seeing anywhere near the unbiased story, or any detail, in the OP reporting. If what they say is true, it's the politico who made the announcement that should be up on the manslaughter charges, not the folks compiling the data.

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    Re: Italian scientists convicted of manslaughter for not predicting earthquake

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post


    Holy. Crap. People are so ****ing stupid. Aside from the injustice and the human tragedy associated with this case, this verdict will have a chilling effect on science. What has happened to Italy? It used to be a modern country, but over the past decade it has devolved into a banana republic.
    Italy sure likes charging people with murder/man slaughter charges even if there ain't enough evidence to do so. There are many times I find myself thankful to live in the US. The Italian Police make me thankful.
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    Re: Italian scientists convicted of manslaughter for not predicting earthquake

    This is one of those instances where people simply don't understand science. The general populace are the same idiots we expect to understand simple concepts like "evolution" beyond a theistic interpretation of facts. How can we expect them to understand something like geology?
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    Re: Italian scientists convicted of manslaughter for not predicting earthquake

    did I miss some important breakthru in seismology that enables us to now predict with specificity when large earthquakes are going to occur?
    If so, I suggest they get their butts over to Yellowstone and the San Andreas faults posthaste.
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    Re: Italian scientists convicted of manslaughter for not predicting earthquake

    I saw the title of this thread and thought it was a joke. Imagine my shock. This kind of lunacy passes for "justice" in Italy nowadays? Mama mia!!

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    Re: Italian scientists convicted of manslaughter for not predicting earthquake

    Apparently, the geologists in question didn't understand geology very well either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hatuey View Post
    This is one of those instances where people simply don't understand science. The general populace are the same idiots we expect to understand simple concepts like "evolution" beyond a theistic interpretation of facts. How can we expect them to understand something like geology?

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