Science On Trial in Italy – Dangerous Precedent

Several Italian scientists are now on trial for manslaughter for failing to predict a 2009 earthquake that killed more than 300 people. They met six days prior to the earthquake to analyze data of tremors and concluded that the tremors were not a prelude to a major earthquake. They were wrong and are now being prosecuted.

Criminalizing a wrong “prediction” sets a dangerous and far-reaching precedent. Scientists, certainly, will feel the brunt of such a legal maneuver and will quickly learn to keep findings of any value to themselves. This would slow technical progress and reduce the benefits to society that science has been delivering for years.  More dangerous, however, is the impact this could have on society as a whole.

How long would it be before weathermen are sued for not predicting a thunderstorm, tornado, or flash flood? The very act of being a weatherman would be cause for a lawsuit because it entails predicting the weather. Weather channels would consist only of a TV camera pointed outside for you to make up your own mind about the weather.

Al Gore should certainly be shaking in his boots over this. He has been predicting climate doom for years now and the fact that NY City is not under water is cause for prosecution of him along with many other climate alarmists. Even polar bears would have a case to make (with help from PETA lawyers) for having had to re-locate ahead of predicted melting ice caps.

Investment counselors would be no more and Wall Street would change dramatically. Crystal balls and Tarot cards would be considered illegal paraphernalia and horoscopes would disappear from newspapers. Even the clergy would have sermons vetted to remove promises they cannot deliver. Mothers would be subject to legal action for telling children their noses will grow if they tell lies. Waiting for Santa Claus would have children calling lawyers in the morning. The impact of this foolishness knows no bounds.

Perhaps, though, there is a silver lining in this ominous cloud. Politicians would be forced to tell the truth and not make promises they can’t keep. Wouldn’t that be something?

David J. Hentosh

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