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Author: Subject: Seismologists Were Found Guilty of Manslaughter
IrC
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Seismologists Were Found Guilty of Manslaughter

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/scientists-find-it-unsettlin...

I am wondering why no one has brought this up. Very disturbing to say the least. Correct me if I am wrong but is there not always pressure to be conservative and not cry wolf too soon lest the public stop taking heed to the warnings? This would create a mindset among geologists of being conservative lest they be blamed for unnecessary panic. Now they convict them for not speaking. You are damned either way it appears. Who can declare the science is so advanced that anyone can accurately predict earthquakes in the first place? In my mind this would reduce the number of people getting into this field for fear of unjust false prosecution and imprisonment. This seems wrong on so many levels. If the public wanted safety they should not be driving future geologists out of the field.

From the story:

"L’AQUILA, Italy (TheBlaze/AP) — An Italian court has convicted seven scientists and experts of manslaughter for failing to adequately warn residents before an earthquake struck central Italy in 2009, killing more than 300 people. This defied assertions from some that earthquakes cannot be predicted.

The court in L’Aquila also sentenced the defendants to six years each in prison. All are members of the national Great Risks Commission, and several are prominent scientists or geological and disaster experts.

Scientists had decried the trial as ridiculous, contending that science has no reliable way of predicting earthquakes. So news of the verdict shook the tightknit community of earthquake experts worldwide.

“It’s a sad day for science,” said seismologist Susan Hough, of the U.S. Geological Survey in Pasadena, Calif. “It’s unsettling.” That fellow seismic experts in Italy were singled out in the case “hits you in the gut,” Hough added.

The defendants were accused in the indictment of giving “inexact, incomplete and contradictory information” about whether small tremors felt by L’Aquila residents in the weeks and months before the April 6, 2009, quake should have constituted grounds for a quake warning.

The 6.3-magnitude temblor killed 308 people in and around the medieval town and forced survivors to live in tent camps for months.

Many much smaller earth tremors had rattled the area in the months before the quake, causing frightened people to wonder if they should evacuate.

“I consider myself innocent before God and men,” said another convicted defendant, Bernardo De Bernardinis, a former official of the national Civil Protection agency.

Prosecutors had sought convictions and four-year sentences during the trial. They argued in court that the L’Aquila disaster was tantamount to ’monumental negligence,” and cited the devastation wrought in the southern United States in 2005 when levees failed to protect the city of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.

Relatives of some who perished in the 2009 quake said justice has been done. Ilaria Carosi, sister of one of the victims, told Italian state TV that public officials must be held responsible “for taking their job lightly.”

The world’s largest multi-disciplinary science society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, condemned the charges, verdict and sentencing as a complete misunderstanding about the science behind earthquake probabilities.

There are swarms of seismic activity regularly in Italy and most do not end up causing dangerous earthquakes, said AAAS geologist Brooks Hanson, deputy editor of the organization’s Science magazine. He said that if seismologists had to warn of a quake with every swarm there would be too many false alarms and panic.

“With earthquakes we just don’t know,” Hanson said Monday. “We just don’t know how a swarm will proceed.”"

[Edited on 10-23-2012 by IrC]

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" Richard Feynman
elementcollector1
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This is the first time I've heard of such a thing happening. Read the paper this morning, went to flip some tables (as is custom of my religion)...

No one can accurately predict an earthquake, and I guess they may have gotten tired of being called 'fearmongerers'.
But seriously, over 300 people dead. That's a very serious death toll for unreleased data. Do we have any sort of precedent for this kind of thing?

The public wants safety, but doesn't like it when it gets it. It's too safe.

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starman
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Australian media reported these poor scientists as being found guilty of manslaughter! Presumably "monumental negligence" amounts to to some sort of "depraved indifference". Absolutely outrageous.There is no foolproof forecast of any natural disaster.Sounds like typical government buck passing downhill in the face of public outcry.

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AndersHoveland
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When innocent people die, people want to find someone to take the blame.
This often happens in cases where the mass murderer commits suicide, then the police and jury try to hold someone else (who was only very loosely involved in the crime) as entirely responsible.

I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people...I'm just saying lets remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.
IrC
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I think I can predict soon no one will go into the field in Italy. Then they will have none to try making predictions. I wonder how the public demanding their revenge upon the scientists who could not possibly predict the unpredictable will feel when the next big quake hits with no warning. In light of these unjustified convictions one would have to be a complete fool to be a Seismologist in Italy.

Maybe someone can explain the logic in this statement used in the trial.

"They argued in court that the L’Aquila disaster was tantamount to ’monumental negligence,” and cited the devastation wrought in the southern United States in 2005 when levees failed to protect the city of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina."

I for one fail to see the comparison. Nagan failed to evacuate quickly and handled the entire event badly, so yes one can lay blame there. Yet the issue was can man predict what nature will do with 100 percent certainty. I say no way. As well a flawed comparison. Anyone can predict that a man made structure able to withstand only so much water will likely fail when hit with so much more. Earthquakes and the timing of them is completely unrelated. The article stated months of tremors had been ongoing, yet how is it possible to say tremor number 1001 will be the big one? In my mind the negligence was committed by the public in failing to evacuate of their own free will since as stated they had been experiencing tremors for months. How much warning did they require? They had been warned for months by nature itself.

[Edited on 10-23-2012 by IrC]

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" Richard Feynman
hyfalcon
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About what I would expect out the Italian court system. Remember Amanda?
unionised
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Why are they not prosecuting all the priests who also failed to predict the quake?
Hexavalent
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Or even the Pope! Surely he, as the closest link Christians have to God, could have forecasted it?

"Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." Winston Churchill
hissingnoise
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 Quote: Originally posted by Hexavalent Or even the Pope! Surely he, as the closest link Christians have to God, could have forecasted it?

Yeah, and this guy's infallible, isn't he?

[Edited on 25-10-2012 by ScienceSquirrel]
Hexavalent
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In what way?

"Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." Winston Churchill
ElectroWin
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Blaming anyone for acts of God has to be at the all-time top of the stupid list.

It's even stupider than Mubarak's move of killing all the pigs during the H1N1 outbreak.

Italy ought to be thrown out of the EU for this.
hissingnoise
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 Quote: In what way?

How do you mean?

Hexavalent
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In what ways has he been fallible?

"Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." Winston Churchill
12AX7
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Ahem, the Pope is infallible only in matters of Church business. If he decrees that all priests must wear rainbow sashes, that's divine business alone. If he falls down, he can damn the floor just as fruitlessly as any other man.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled trolls,

Tim

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triplepoint
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If its an act of God, why doesn't Italy prosecute God?
hissingnoise
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Er, because he doesn't exist?
Wizzard
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I can only see blame being applied accurately if their paper was false or done as bad science. Who would be to blame for the millions spent if they HAD made as big a deal as they could have, and no quake had occurred?

Failure to publish or promote it as much as (in hindsight) they should have, that's between them and their god.
IrC
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I do not know how things are done in Italy. In most places I have the impression considerable political pressure is placed on Seismologists to not make a call unless they can prove the time and location, with possibly strength predictions. Otherwise do they not then get blamed for a false panic? In such cases would they not be blamed for people being harmed during the evacuation when the prediction was wrong? Someone who can state with knowledge what the truth is please do so.

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" Richard Feynman
Ephesian
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 Quote: Or even the Pope! Surely he, as the closest link Christians have to God, could have forecasted it?

 Quote: If its an act of God, why doesn't Italy prosecute God?

Why bring The Lord into this discussion, I honestly think this is a 1 way ticket to detritus.

Furthermore The Lord allowed Joseph to be thrown into prison, amongst many other men who loved Him.

 Quote: Er, because he doesn't exist?

If you weren't a seeking man (or women) you would have ended that sentence in a period not a question mark.

Lastly, follow the news, I see this one getting appealed and closed in the future

[Edited on 25-10-2012 by Ephesian]

[Edited on 25-10-2012 by Ephesian]
hissingnoise
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Except that it was a question . . .
starman
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One wonders what will occur if a meteroite causes a sizable number fo deaths.Will we then imprison astronomers who failed to predict the timing or pinpoint the location of the disaster?
Surely the science should be regarded as more rigorously predictable than the hapless seismologists?
C'mon guys leave the familar religous/atheist stuff out! This may have important implications for all of us.

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elementcollector1
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 Quote: Originally posted by starman One wonders what will occur if a meteroite causes a sizable number fo deaths.Will we then imprison astronomers who failed to predict the timing or pinpoint the location of the disaster? Surely the science should be regarded as more rigorously predictable than the hapless seismologists? C'mon guys leave the familar religous/atheist stuff out! This may have important implications for all of us.

Well, the public needs someone to blame! Who cares if that person is completely innocent, we need a scapegoat!

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IrC
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http://ca.news.yahoo.com/french-psychiatrist-sentenced-patie...

First they came for the geologists, now the shrinks. What the hell is going on over there in the EU?

I keep hearing only America is going crazy yet it appears the contagion is global in scope.

Edit to quote text since I hate those posts where the link vanishes soon after and you have no idea what was being discussed.

French psychiatrist sentenced after patient commits murder - Reuters

MARSEILLES, France (Reuters) - A French psychiatrist whose patient hacked an elderly man to death was found guilty of manslaughter on Tuesday in a groundbreaking case that could affect the way patients are treated.

A court in Marseilles said Daniele Canarelli, 58, had committed a "grave error" by failing to recognize the public danger posed by Joel Gaillard, her patient of four years.

Gaillard hacked to death 80-year-old Germain Trabuc with an axe in March 2004 in Gap, in the Alps region of southeastern France, 20 days after fleeing a consultation with Canarelli at Marseilles's Edouard Toulouse hospital.

Canarelli was handed a one-year prison sentence and ordered to pay 8,500 euros to the victim's children, in the first case of its kind in France. Defense lawyers said the ruling would have serious repercussions for treatment of the mentally ill.

"If a psychiatrist lives in fear of being sentenced, it will have very real consequences and probably lead to harsher treatment of patients," said Canarelli's lawyer, Sylvain Pontier.

The court said Canarelli should have requested Gaillard be placed in a specialized medical unit or referred him to another medical team, as one of her colleagues suggested. Her stubborn refusal had equated to a form of "blindness", the court president Fabrice Castoldi said.

Gaillard had already been forcibly committed to a secure hospital on several occasions for a series of increasingly dangerous incidents.

The victim's son, Michel Trabuc, said he hoped the case would set a legal precedent.

"There's no such thing as zero risk, but I hope this will move psychiatry forward and, above all, that it will never happen again," he said.

Gaillard was not held responsible for his actions and was freed under medical supervision.

(Reporting by Jean-François Rosnoblet; Writing by Vicky Buffery; Editing by Alison Williams)

[Edited on 12-19-2012 by IrC]

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" Richard Feynman
alancain
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There are too many hairless monkeys running around. They become unpleasant and irrational as their numbers pass certain thresholds. I understand that their planet's carrying capacity is somewhere below a billion.

elementcollector1
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 Quote: Originally posted by alancain There are too many hairless monkeys running around. They become unpleasant and irrational as their numbers pass certain thresholds. I understand that their planet's carrying capacity is somewhere below a billion.

...Hairless monkey. Right.

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 Sciencemadness Discussion Board » Non-chemistry » Legal and Societal Issues » Seismologists Were Found Guilty of Manslaughter Select A Forum Fundamentals   » Chemistry in General   » Organic Chemistry   » Reagents and Apparatus Acquisition   » Beginnings   » Responsible Practices   » Miscellaneous   » The Wiki Special topics   » Technochemistry   » Energetic Materials   » Biochemistry   » Radiochemistry   » Computational Models and Techniques   » Prepublication Non-chemistry   » Forum Matters   » Legal and Societal Issues