I have been immersed in an earthquake-related stuff the whole day. I am busy writing geological chapters to geography textbook for Estonian highschool students. Today I worked and am still working on a chapter about earthquakes. And then I heard the news from Italy. I do not need to repeat here again how ridiculous it is that scientists are blamed for being unable to predict earthquakes. You can learn more about the impossibility to predict earthquakes and the geological situation in Italy from an expert in this field: If you’re waiting for an earthquake warning, you’re doing it wrong.
I know that they were sentenced guilty for making “falsely reassuring statement” but this is really the same thing. In hindsight we can say that they were perhaps too self-confident but what exactly do the public want us (the scientific community) to tell them? Do they want to hear that you should sleep in a tent whenever there are slight tremors? They would not do it anyway. Perhaps they want us to learn to mumble with great incoherence like Alan Greenspan famously said about his own style which he had to master?
Another thing I really do not understand is that they were sent to prison for six years. What is the purpose of this? Are they really so dangerous to society that they should be isolated for a long time? The only thing that seems logical to me is that this decision is a revenge driven by blind anger. You want someone else to be guilty when things go awfully wrong, don’t you? Or perhaps there are something far more deeper going on?
The most alarming thing for me is that now officially we have a court decision which in a major way sends us backwards towards dark medieval ages. I wonder what Carl Sagan would have said about this. He wrote an entire book devoted to similar topics: The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark. I recommend to read it. It is really written very well and explains the whole thing far better than I could ever do. This world is full of people who would love to destroy what we have achieved. They hate freedom and because of that they can not stand science. I am fully aware that they are all around us just waiting for the chance but so far I sensed that overall we are stronger. Now I feel a lot less secure. It is ironic in a strange way that the freedom and enlightenment we enjoy now got its start from Italy — Giordano Bruno, Galileo Galilei, Leonardo da Vinci and so on. I really hope that this is not the beginning of an end that also starts from Italy.