Scientist Wrong = Jail Bureaucrat Wrong = Promotion
of us have joked about wishing we had a job like the weatherman's since it didn't seem to mater
how often or egregiously he was wrong, he got to keep his job. No hurricane forecaster ever
went to jail for failing to foretell the ultimate effects of a storm system, nor an avalanche
expert for not predicting exactly where and when a snow pack would leave its mountain mooring.
It would be unreasonable to expect that level of prognostication from practitioners of the scientific
method, right? Not anymore. A new precedent has just been set by an Italian court that found
six earthquake experts guilty of manslaughter for not properly warning of the 2009 earthquake
in the city of L'Aquila that killed 308 people. They can kiss freedom goodbye for 6 years
(maybe less with good behavior). So, bureaucrats who
routinely fail to predict untold numbers of financial and civil catastrophes that have directly
or indirectly caused loss of life will continue to get promotions and pay raises while scientists
who fail to predict a *&%$@ natural phenomenon now go to jail. Congratulations, Italy, you
have set an example that will soon be coming to a country near the rest of us.
Posted October 2012