WTF? Italian Seismologists Charged for NOT Predicting Earthquake

What’s wrong with the Italian government?  Why are they charging their top earthquake scientists with manslaughter for NOT predicting the 2009 earthquake? Check out the news story here.

Everyone knows that you CAN’T predict earthquakes.  Earthquakes can be explained scientifically, but you can’t pin-point the exact moment it will occur.

So why is the Italian government charging their scientists with manslaughter?  This has got to be one of the top most ridiculous things I have ever heard.  It makes me NOT want to go to Italy.  After all, how can I visit a country that acts so irrationally?

It also makes me ponder the scope of history.  Italy, as the birthplace of Ancient Rome, has a history of being one of the most rational and logical places in the world.  When you study the Roman Republic and Empire, you learn about the inventors of concrete, the builders of amazing engineering feats, and the developers of a very progressive type of government that combined elements of democracy, aristocracy, and monarchy so that ALL classes of people eventually had a say in the government and that their interests were all balanced against the others (i.e., this government, though, only existed during the days of the Roman Republic).

Yes, the Roman Republic had harsh laws.  For instance, it was the right of the head of a family to kill a dreadfully deformed child.  Another laws says that if someone sung a song that slandered or insulted another, that person should be clubbed to death.  Can you imagine living in a society with such laws?  It is certainly not a humane society, although some may argue that it is more humane to kill than to let a deformed child suffer. One thing to note about Rome’s law though-it was the decision for the head of the family to kill a deformed child.  It was NOT the decision of the state.  If it was, then Rome would be equivalent to Ancient Sparta and Nazi Germany.

Furthermore, if we lived in a society in which you could not insult another, then we would have no freedom of speech.  We would also have no tabloid headlines to read as we stand in line at the supermarket.  Slander, on the other hand, is something that can land someone in a court of law.

Nevertheless, some Roman laws were also very logical.  For example, one law states that if your neighbor’s tree leans over onto your land, you can remove that tree.  Another says you can gather fruit from someone’s tree if it falls onto another’s property.

Italy, then, certainly has a history of being quite logical and rational.  So what’s up with them charging seismologists for NOT predicting the 2009 earthquake?  Well, Italy is a long ways from Ancient Rome.  Much has happened in the centuries between then and now, and obviously Italy has given up rationality in favor of sensationalism.  Too bad the Italian seismologists can’t fire back and charge the government with slander and have this irrational court system clubbed to death.


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