Leading Italian Scientists Convicted Of Failing To Predict 2009 Earthquake

In a blow to science and rational thought, Italian prosecutors have succeeded in convicting seven of that country’s leading scientists of manslaughter for failing to predict the 2009 earthquake that struck central Italy. Despite objections from the world’s science community that such accurate and consistent predictions are still impossible, the government blamed the scientists for failing to alert the public that an earthquake was coming.

The earthquake killed more than 300 people. The scientists were given six-year-prison sentences for their failure as members of a national “Great Risks Commission.” The scientists were accused of giving “inexact, incomplete and contradictory information” about small tremors in the weeks and months before the earthquake.

At best, scientists insist, they can make low probability forecasts not true predictions. Yet, the court still convicted the defendants, including Enzo Boschi, former head of the national Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology. The scientists stood in disbelief at the verdict. To make matters worse, the trial was held in an Apennine town devastated by the earthquake. As a fundamental measure of due process, one would have thought a change of venue would have been in order. Instead, the Italian judiciary held the trial on the site of the 2009 L’Aquila earthquake in L’Aguila.

The verdict is an outrage to both science and the law. It will now go on appeal in the Italian system.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/science/2012/10/22/italian-court-convicts-7-scientists-for-failing-to-predict-earthquake/?test=latestnews#ixzz2A3q4H5mO

53 thoughts on “Leading Italian Scientists Convicted Of Failing To Predict 2009 Earthquake”

  1. Scientists found guilty of not being omniscient.

    Okay, I will comment on my comment.

    I spent from 2nd grade to graduating high school under the authority of catholic educators. Today in my 58th year I with clear conscience say, “I am an atheist, I only pray that I’m wrong.”**
    I have felt..thought this for years. Fear of total and complete ending of “me” was fueled by the environment of my birth. I have grown, experienced, learned and chosen the path I have walked behind me. My next footstep is the sum of all the footsteps behind me. I can not change what is past. I can angle my “now” step in a direction new, or slightly new. or I can choose to circle my old paths, laying new footprints above past foot prints.
    ** Actually I don’t even pray too hard these days. The concept of
    eternal bliss probably gets boring after half an eternity.

    Now I to my point. I could have chosen to be a good catholic, or become a born again christian, a moonie, a rastafarian, etc. I grew away from my absorbed faith and found nothing “magical” to replace it. The cliff of no belief is intimidating, humbling, dark and empty. …. Until I took a step off it. WOW I did not plunge immediately into hell and eternal fire.
    I have been personally told by numerous “true faith” followers of various sects that I have doomed myself to eternal punishment. So be it. That concept is false in my reality. I will perish, I have no doubt. This realization has opened up more value in my life of the moment. I see more value and wonder in the life of “others” We are all equal during our brief candle flame of existence. We can choose to lighten ourselves and others with our individual illuminations of values…..or we can choose to outshine, diminish other brief flames. We can blow out the unique glow of candles we disagree with. My cynicism with organized religion I relate this way. My church told me my flame is nothing if I do not shine my light on the only true truths of the catholic faith. If I choose to wander away, my light will extinguish and die. I wandered I will die. I am free. My brief flame still flickers, till it out out.

    Accepting science is very different than believing in god. When science disproves religious dicta, what is a believer to do? Deny science? That worked at first with Galileo, but Galileo was right, the church was wrong. Oops too bad for those mistakenly burned at the stake. Science is becoming peskier every year. The church has had to retreat on more and more dicta as science becomes more and more revealing. I see a trend here.
    My cynicism with jailing these scientist I relate this way. The “true” believers that give all their faith and belief to established traditional dogma, are incapable of half belief. Science offers some answers but not all answers. Science has cliff edges of unknown. Scientist stare over these precipices and try to figure them out. They spend their brief candle light shining into the unknown, trying to extend the map of knowledge. These scientist were not wrong, they are incapable of predicting all things. AHHH but a true believer in the “true god” knows better. God is always right, often works in mysterious ways, and when thing goes bad it is the believers fault. Pray harder supplicants, believe more fully, give your entire soul and being to the bible and gods word, that is the only true path.
    The straw man here is that scientists have omniscience. They don’t (obviously) But true believers have a tendency to be all or nothing. They are incapable of anything less than 100% certainty. How can they possibly have faith in scientific knowledge that does not have the answer or explanations to everything.
    The deaths and injuries from the quake are devastating. So much loss and pain so quick and final. Belief in God has and does offer comfort to many.
    Spanking scientists just fuels ignorance.

  2. “I categorically and ineluctably reject any and every appeal to authority”

    Then quit rambling on about your credentials as if they make any difference. They are irrelevant to the quality or lack thereof of your idea(s).

  3. I categorically and ineluctably reject any and every appeal to authority, because I exclude authoritarianism from my actual life, My work is evidence, and demonstrated-lack-of-evidence based.

    No one is ever born bad, no one is biologically or genetically defective. As late psychologist, Alice Miller put it, “The child is always innocent.”

    Neither are judges bad, nor is false judgment bad, nor is anything that actually happens ever bad, this being the simple result of the tautology that what happens is what happens, and what do not happen is what does not happen.

    Trauma scrambles the temporal sense of the human brain, resulting in such travesties as hindsight bias and a plethora of its ilk.

    Your alleged “fact” that “some people are born bad” is a classic psychotic defense against a person being consciously aware of their own childhood traumas.

    My work is authoritative, in that its validity is verifiably and objectively independent of the person who understands it.

    I herewith state, and unequivocally stipulate, that my approach has worked without “forced eugenics,” and has worked as though flawlessly in the lives of very real people who were, in childhood, severely traumatized by the sort of belief system I suspect that you, Gene H. are espousing.

    I have done the work of my bioengineering research. My best guess for now is that you have not had the life circumstances which would have permitted your doing the work I have accomplished.

    I find no fault with you, as I find no fault with any real person.

    That you apparently neither know, or am familiar with, or understand any better than you demonstrate about the neurobiology of trauma and its effects on human society is, to me, a simple matter of situational factors that I suspect have always been outside your actual locus of control.

    Whose actual life is not the process result of the person’s interactions with inner and outer environments?

  4. Appeal to your own authority all you like.

    Barring forced eugenics, your solution to the human nature in re the corruption problem will not work. Some people are born bad. That’s simply a fact.

    None of which changes that your original statement was the fallacy of composition. Because some judges are bad doesn’t mean all judges are bad. That’s simply good logic and a simple fact as well.

    Carry on.

  5. RE: Gene H.
    1, October 24, 2012 at 7:40 am
    Logic is logic.

    It’s still the fallacy of composition.

    And unless you intend to set up eugenics camps and force people to have genetic engineering done on them, any plan to modify human behavior in the way you suggest en masse simply will not work.

    Your intentions are irrelevant.

    * * * *

    Alas, I allow that you are no less entitled to your opinions than I am entitled to my scientifically demonstrated facts.

    Suppose you eventually come to accurately recognize that I have learned to be a scientist a few orders of magnitude more competent in biology than you have ever imagined possible?

    The nifty thing about the Daubert v. Merrill Dow Phamaceuticals decision is that, unless you are a bioengineer with established competence in the areas of bioengineering of my work, you totally lack valid standing to testify against my work.

    I find that I agree with the view of the late Walter M. Elsasser to the effect that biology is the pinnacle science, and I find that I agree with Henry Petroski, that engineering is essential for the solving of the global problems of humanity because science alone lacks the required rigor of the relationship of theoretical biology to practicable social applications.

    I find that the enigmatic internal tragedy of the Anglo-American Adversarial System of Law and Jurisprudence, in its contemporaneous form in the United States of America, is its being of the form and function of a delusional authoritarian unconstitutionally-established religious cartel. This tragedy came about over apparently-tens-of-thousands of years of human social evolution, in steps so individually small and insignificant as to totally elude human conscious attention until the onset of the “Autism Epidemic” and the arrival of people whose accuracy of mental processes brought forth the inextricable deception of adversarial interpretations of human conduct.

    As much as my life, my life work, and my life intentions are irrelevant within your Weltanschauung, your life, work, and intentions are profoundly relevant within my Weltanschauung.

    Whereas the legal establishment has tended to treat me, as an autistic person, as I have experienced my encounters with the legal establishment, much in the proper manner of treating “putrid, reeking filth,” I regard every person as being totally valid regardless of a person’s circumstances.

    The problem with your assertion that the method I use does not work is simply that it has worked, and has worked without failing throughout the whole of my life. You are making a claim about something that you, at least to me, obviously do not understand.

    The totality of my life experience regarding the legal system in the United States of America is the legal system attempting to coerce me to be dishonest in accord with the dogmas and doctrines of the legal system in stark violation of the directives of my conscience.

    I live in the State of Wisconsin, and the State of Wisconsin has a Constitution, wherein the text of Article I, Section 18, reads, as printed in my copy of the Wisconsin Constitution Updated Through June 30, 2010:

    “The right of every person to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of conscience shall never be infringed; nor shall any person be compelled to attend, erect, or support any place of worship, or to maintain any ministry, without consent; nor shall any control of, or interference with, the rights of conscience be permitted, or any preference be given by law to any religious establishments or modes of worship; nor shall any money be drawn from the treasury for the benefit of religious societies, or religious or theological seminaries.”

    I find, as a Wisconsin Registered Professional Engineer, that the University of Wisconsin Law School is, in fact and in process, a religious seminary.

    My conscience has only one dictate, that dictate being that it does not dictate; it guides my life regarding how to learn to understand and avoid what is harmful.

    My inborn conscience guides me to the recognition that “Almighty God” may be a pseudoscientific anthropomorphic-fallacy-based name for what is, in terms of viable biology, what may be more usefully named as “the directly-observable value of the meaning of the existential process of life itself.”

    Absent a demonstration of the existence of one or more actually avoidable mistakes having been made, I shall surmise that the set of all actually avoidable mistakes is a proper empty set of the null set.

    I have been bullied by people, in particular, to name one, Mrs.Edith Knudsen. who was the principal at Marshall School, in Eureka, California, during the first about-three-quarters of second grade during the 1946-47 school year. Mrs. Knudsen, as a public employee, has no entitlement to her employment being confidential, nor any entitlement to her paddling me until I was forced against my will and conscience into states of shattering agitated catatonic terror for being padded because I would not tell lies on command of my teacher, Miss Josephine Hanson.

    What repeated torture by Miss Hanson and Mrs. Knudsen I went though to retain intact my inborn conscience so as to be able to have learned of the experience of torture which seems to me to make, by contrast, the Abu Ghraib interrogation malfeasance as though an inconsequential triviality, is a significant aspect of the substance of what gives me the courage to confront the unconstitutional authoritarian coercive tyranny of the Adversarial System with objectively demonstrated biological truth.

    Truth, so I observe, is that which eventually, in its time, invariably prevails.

    Lo siento.

  6. “My work is, in truth, as I understand it, purely pro-bono-publico.”

    Well they say you get what you pay for.

  7. Logic is logic.

    It’s still the fallacy of composition.

    And unless you intend to set up eugenics camps and force people to have genetic engineering done on them, any plan to modify human behavior in the way you suggest en masse simply will not work.

    Your intentions are irrelevant.

  8. In my work in bioengineering as a Wisconsin Registered Professional Engineer. I find that my work is “answerable” to the Code of Ethics of the National Society of Professional Engineers far more than to any other aspect of human social invention.

    Beyond all else, I have observed, for almost the whole of my life since being born in 1939, that the proximate, ultimate,and everywhere-between causality of child abuse is the delusion that one or more mistakes actually made could have been avoided through some sort of actually-achievable process.

    I find that the belief that the making of an actually avoidable mistake is actually possible is the actual cause of every identifiable form of child abuse that it appears to me can ever exist.

    As part of my work in bioengineering, I have been involved in four court cases that were centered around child-abuse-based social issues. I have recently become involved as a professional engineer in yet another child-abuse-based court case, the second such case to involve two states and conflicting laws of two states. I find that I already properly qualify for membership in the National Academy of Forensic Engineers (NAFE), based on the four court cases in which I have already been involved; however, I find it wise to wait until the present case is resolved before actually asking to join NAFE, so as to establish beyond rational doubt in the courts the scientific validity of my research and its findings.

    What appears to be of the fallacy of composition to a person who has been traumatized in childhood through what neurologist Robert C. Scaer has described, in his book, “The Trauma Spectrum,” (W. W. Norton, 2005) as “imprisonment of the mind,” may appear starkly contrasting to a person who has never internalized imprisonment of the mind at any time during a life of more than 73 years, such as is true for me.

    While, as a person who never internalized imprisonment of the mind, and therefore never believed that any mistake ever made either could or should have been avoided, I tend to very nearly agree with the letter of Robert E. Baier, P.E., Ph.D., as published on page 3 of the March, 2012, issue of PE: The Magazine for Professional Engineers, which is published by the National Society of Professional Engineers.

    The last paragraph of Baier’s letter reads, “LIcensed bioengineers should accept full legal and moral responsibility for client/professional interactions and acknowledge their susceptibility to malpractice claims for their designs and implemented structures. Bioengineering is not the place to hide behind an industry exemption.”

    As I explained to the Door County Sheriff Deputies, what I am doing, setting out to inform Homeland Security of the sociobiological cause and prevention of terrorism puts me at risk of properly being convicted of obstructing an officer as an exercise of national security endangerment as I understand the Patriot Act. It seems to me that, if my work is significantly in error from a scientific/biological/neurological/bioengineering standpoint, it is as though I am asking the federal government to seek my being imprisoned as a risk to national security for the remainder of my life.

    I suppose it might be useful to reflect upon the possibility that my life has led me into whistle-blowing regarding child abuse and terrorism in a plausibly significant way.

    I recall a story associated with the Baha’i Faith, in which, people living on a mountain at the dawn of a new day, there will be one person who first sees the first ray of light seen on that new day; yet neither that person nor ray of light is any more nor less special than is any other person or ray of light. I imagine that mountain to be nearly spherical, named “Earth” in English, and also imagine that this is the dawning of that new day.

    My doctoral dissertation was peer-reviewed by my committee members with more stringent attention to scientific accuracy and originality than is characteristic of any peer-reviewed scientific journal paper. In contrast with peer-reviewed scientific papers published in scientific journals, the people who peer-reviewed my dissertation are named in it, and they signed it.

    My dissertation has been shared by me with hundreds of people and has been quietly self-published on the Internet on a web site that I own for a number of years. I have spoken with, and shared in writing with many people, my dissertation, without anyone who decently understood it having ever informed me of finding anything wrong with it in terms of its scientific validity.

    Until someone can scientifically and reproducibly actually demonstrate that something is actually wrong with my research, research methodology, and research findings, and that has not yet happened, I shall persist in accord with my conscience to share what I have learned with other people. If ever someone does demonstrate, scientifically and reproducibly, that my work is notably wrong, I shall act as though such error as exists regarding my work is the simple result of the ignorance that is an inextricable aspect of living in a universe or set of universes, that is incessantly and inextricably creatively evolving, and I shall further act as though my work is the work of the remediation of such error.

    In my work as a bioengineer, child-abusing hypotheticals are,at best, merely temporarily-unavoidable socially-tragic fairy tales when they are of violation of the law of identity, and are enforced upon innocent children through adversarial sociocultural traditions and purportedly-legal adversarial processes.

    The irony of my work, if there be irony, just might happen to be the simple fact that I am here to help the legal profession accomplish its necessary task more effectively, economically, and efficiently than has apparently been heretofore attainable.

    My work is, in truth, as I understand it, purely pro-bono-publico.

    The accuracy of that understanding of mine of my life work i am putting to the most stringent for of test that I have yet been able to imagine accomplishing.

    Attempting to understand my bioengineering work on child abuse from the stance of an adversarial interpretation will, I have invariably observed, massively distort the work, and may lead people who view it adversarially to misinterpret the work as adverse to the human social need for a viable structure of law regarding human conduct.

    Regarding my work as antithetical to the members of the law profession(s) and their value to humanity is of the nature of misinformation.

    I last studied Latin in school in 1954. I last studied German in school in 1960. Vielleicht bin ich ein schrecklicher Schüler von Latein, sondern:

    Impossibile non existit, ergo, impossibilium nulla obligatio est.

  9. It’s still the fallacy of composition, Brian.

    And no one disputes that it is flaws in human psychology that feed into the problem of corruption, however, absent forced eugenics and genetic engineering you are not going to change human nature in a meaningful timescale to remove that contributory component to systemic error in the legal system. Ergo, your next best choice is to modify both system and enforcement to mitigate corruption better until humans evolve into primarily cooperative beings instead of competitive beings.

    That is all.

  10. Since the Vatican is right there, staffed by God’s own Holy mouthpiece, let the Italian government rely on them for predictions next time. Then when the predictions don’t pan out, let’s see how far they get trying to prosecute anyone.

  11. RE: Gene H.
    1, October 23, 2012 at 2:56 pm
    The fallacy of composition.

    Because one set of judges is psychotically ignorant of science does not mean all judges are psychotically ignorant of science.

    * * * *

    The fallacy of composition has many variants.

    The essence of my doctoral thesis and dissertation is an apparently impossible to refute experimental demonstration of the law of non-contradiction as embraced by the notion of an avoidable accident, said demonstration being unambiguous from a neurological stance, to the effect that any claim to the effect that any neurological event and its muscle-activtion-generated consequences that actually happened was actually unavoidable; and any view to the contrary is inextricably psychotic from an accurate understanding of neurological processes.

    This form of psychosis has, so I gather from anthropology, been coercively instilled in children, typically around the age of 18 months, in many societies and cultures, for what may be in the range of 50,000 years.

    My doctorate contains the non-psychotic fact, readily demonstrated, that no mistake ever made either could or should have been avoided, and this is true regardless of the nature of the mistake made or its consequences.

    For me to bring out to public attention the findings of my doctoral work required, as I understand, that Daubert become law in Wisconsin, as happened February 1, 2011, and also required that the Engineer’s Section of the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services find that my work is professional engineering by not objecting to the information I provided them about my bioengineering work and the need for me to obtain relevant interactive continuing education professional development hours by attending psychoanalytic psychiatric/psychological conferences which are properly accredited by the American Psychological Association. That response, effectively a form of “without objection” happened on September 4, 2012.

    Google Books scanned my dissertation, and the HathiTrust Digital Library has a copy of the scan. I have requested that both HathiTrust and Google Books make my dissertation available worldwide under the least restrictive of the Creative Commons “Culture-Free) licenses.

    Earlier today, I was talking with two Door County Sheriff Deputies regarding my work and severe child abuse, as I find I am a mandatory child abuse reporter under Wisconsin statutes.

    Any form of the telling of a child to do something or to not do something and the child not acting in accord with what the child was told, and faulting the child for not doing as told is, child abuse.

    The “Anglo-American Adversarial System of Law and Jurisprudence,” in its present form and function, would be a crime against humanity if crime actually could exist, and an atrociously brain-damaging form of child abuse.

    One of the Door County Sheriff Deputies asked me what the remedy is, and i replied that removing corruption from the interpretation of laws will completely solve the problem of the dishonesty and deception of adversarial law and law enforcement. There is no need to re-write any laws; the written laws are just fine as they are. The predicament is interpreting written laws through corrupt understanding of the temporal process of procedural learning as a neurological process.

    In 1993, I described what I intended to do as a bioengineering thesis and dissertation to Dr. Irving F. Miller, then the head of the Bioengineering Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Miller observed, in 1993, that the scientific success of my thesis research “could undermine many established views.”

    I find his observation has turned out to be correct. My work undermines the scientific validity of adversarial law itself.

    My work was properly peer-reviewed my my thesis committee. It has been quietly published on the Internet for several years. Now, I plan to effectively bring it to worldwide attention.

    Having worked for a newspaper years ago, and having worked as a contract engineer in broadcasting, I surmise that I know very well how to get the attention of the news media.

    Will my research work turn into the “completely new paradigm,” as one of my committee members described my work to me, for the structure of a non-violently-destructive forthcoming human epoch? That is the question I have set out to definitively test.

  12. Oh well, I can find ignorance anywhere. Italy is still the only country I really want to visit. Tex’s health prohibited it this year but thus far plans are moving along nicely for next year. We are going with our favorite chef and staying at his farm/villa. He’ll do the driving.

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