Should scientists be tried for their failure?

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Should scientists be tried for their failure?

Postby relaxin » Sep 20 2011 1:19 pm

Seven seismologists are brought to court for manslaughter charge for their failure in the warning of devastating earthquake that killed more than 300 people in central Italy in 2009.

What will they do if the seismologists advised mass evacuation, and nothing happened?


It is good to know that I have a disclaimer for my advice, "not liable to the loss of your valuable samples". So don't sue me if my advice does not work out for you.
:D
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Re: Should scientists be tried for their failure?

Postby CrowSan » Sep 28 2011 5:35 am

I'm afraid I am not familiar with this case. If the scientists were being paid to monitor for earth quakes and to give the alarm if certain parameters were exceeded, and they failed to do so (and this resulted in death) then they are guilty of criminal negligence. However if they were not being paid to raise an alarm then this is a different case (they were either negligent or callous if there were clear signs of an impeding earathwuake). In other words it depends if this was their "job" (in my opinion).
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Re: Should scientists be tried for their failure?

Postby relaxin » Sep 28 2011 8:13 am

I agree. But predicting earthquake is not exactly like predicting hurricane. The science is not here yet. I do think it is ridiculous to hold seismologists responsible.
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Re: Should scientists be tried for their failure?

Postby r.rosati » Sep 28 2011 9:29 am

The short story is that this commission was monitoring a series of small earthquakes that were taking place days before the big one. Some voices rumored that it was a prelude to a big shake, and the commission ruled that there should be no alarm, because the series of small quakes was all normal seismic business.
So, on one hand, of course they shouldn't have ruled in either case, not pretending to know when a quake would come, and not pretending to know that it would *not* come. But then again, evacuating was not really feasible with our (italian) proverbial "love" for organization.

But, the case is actually a bait to lure the public opinion away from:
a) the lack of interest on reconstruction from the government, and
b) the big interest in hijacking reconstruction funds by the local authorities.
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