Italy is Now Criminalizing Science

I wrote last year about Italy trying to lynch six seismologists for failing to predict an earthquake that killed 300 people. Nevermind that it is impossible to predict an earthquake. Italy is volcanically and seismically active. Residents need to live in earthquake-reinforced buildings and prepare for disaster or move somewhere else to be safe. Those six seismologists are now going to spend six years in jail.

From the Beeb here:

Six Italian scientists and an ex-government official have been sentenced to six years in prison over the 2009 deadly earthquake in L’Aquila.

A regional court found them guilty of multiple manslaughter.

Prosecutors said the defendants gave a falsely reassuring statement before the quake, while the defence maintained there was no way to predict major quakes.

The 6.3 magnitude quake devastated the city and killed 309 people.

Many smaller tremors had rattled the area in the months before the quake that destroyed much of the historic centre.

It took Judge Marco Billi slightly more than four hours to reach the verdict in the trial, which had begun in September 2011.

Lawyers have said that they will appeal against the sentence. As convictions are not definitive until after at least one level of appeal in Italy, it is unlikely any of the defendants will immediately face prison.

So some government officials in charge of safety and risk are now in jail for failing to predict an act of God. Jailing seismologists isn’t the only dumbassery the judiciary is involved in when it comes to science. One Italian judge just ruled that cellphones cause cancer. No evidence of this has ever been produced, yet the judge ruled that way anyways.

From the WSJ here:

Italy’s highest civil court has ruled that a business executive’s brain tumor was the result of his heavy cellphone use. Former commerce manager Innocente Marcolini, 60, says he used his handset for six hours a day over 12 years dealing with clients.

The tumor was removed successfully through surgery, but he was left with medical problems, including severe pain.

So now everyone in Italy should wear tinfoil hats to prevent cellphone radiation and sleep in open fields because they can’t predict earthquakes.

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