Italy May Be Home to 'Dumbest Court in the World'

Earthquake verdict recalls Galileo for many

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 23, 2012 3:48 PM CDT

(Newser) – An Italian court has convicted six scientists for failing to predict a deadly earthquake, which, congratulations, puts it in the running for "dumbest court in the world," reads the headline to a post by Elie Mystal at the Above the Law blog. Prosecutors blamed the six for providing "inaccurate, incomplete, and contradictory information" prior to the quake. "No, you freaking idiots, THE EARTH provided inaccurate, incomplete, and contradictory information about whether or not she was going to destroy your insignificant human settlement," writes Mystal. "The scientists were just trying to make a guess." He draws a comparison to the persecution of Galileo, which is a common refrain:

  • Dan Murphy, Christian Science Monitor: "Rarely since a Catholic inquisition in Rome condemned Galileo Galilei to spend the remainder of his days under house arrest for the heresy of teaching that the Earth revolves around the sun, has an Italian court been so wrong about science."
  • Lord Robert May: "The verdict might have been understandable in the Dark Ages, standing alongside the persecution of Galileo, but in today's world it simply is an embarrassment to the Italian government and anyone associated with it," the Oxford professor tells AFP.
  • Buzz Skyline, PhysicsCentral: "If the convictions stand, it will mean it's dangerous for scientists to advise on science matters in Italy. Then all they will have left is tea leaves, Tarot cards, and psychics. What a way to waste the Renaissance."

In this 2009 file photo, a man sits on rubble in the village of Onna, a day after a powerful earthquake struck the Abruzzo region in central Italy.   (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, File)
Judge Marco Billi, right, flanked by court clerk Patrizia Cripoli, reads the verdict at L'Aquila court, Italy, Monday.   (AP Photo/Raniero Pizzi)
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