Foretellers sued in L'Aquila?

Inevitable, putting these two news together:

Suing a geophysicist for failing to predict an earthquake is like throwing the augur to the lions for failing to predict a drought. No wait, it's worse, because the augur probably blamed he could do so. Ours is a funny age, when some are prosecuted for failing to predict the unpredictable, while others stay in power even if ignoring solid warnings (i'm thinking about those who failed at predicting the greatest global economic crisis. I guess we scientists need better PRs, or better relationships with power!).

Update (2012-01-28): the conversation of the responsible of civil protection, Bertolaso: "we'll use the experts as a mediatic operation" (in italian). Unmissable, i'm afraid this is what politicians really think about science.

Update (2012-10-22): WOW, here is the sentence: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-20025626#TWEET296232


  1. Dani, you are getting it tottaly wrong.
    The Italian geophysicists are being prosecuted for having predicted that there was no earthquake coming! If you cannot predict earth quacks you can neither predict that they will not come!! The head of "protezione civile", after the meeting with the geophysicists, told people "go home, there is no danger, actually the small earthquakes are releasing the energy making a big earthquake even more unlikely". This was scientific bullshit and was followed by a disaster where 300 people died. Now, the geophysicists say the "protezione civile" invented that bullshist, not them. Prosecutors are investigating who said what. When the trial will reach a conclusion we will know the truth. End of the story.

  2. The sentence of the politician after the meeting: "The scientific community tells me there is no danger, because there is an ongoing discharge of energy.". It is truly no a fortunate sentence, from neither a political nor scientific point of view, but that was not the cause for the death, it was just the cause for a correct decision: sending people back home. Or should people abandon their village every time there is an increase in seismicity? Are you discovering a new method for seismic forecast?

    Yes, let's wait for the investigation to demonstrate these seismologists were mass killers. Common.

  3. @Neo Lithic

    It was not the cause for the death? Well, it was the cause for risk underestimation and wrong decisions, which in turn could have caused some of the deaths.