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
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)

(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."

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Showing 3 of 33 comments
Oct 25, 2012 9:49 PM CDT
It's hard to believe that these are the decedents of the creators of the Roman Empire?
Oct 24, 2012 9:16 PM CDT
but judge judy is ok with this and so am i!
Oct 24, 2012 5:26 PM CDT
evidence in form of registered phone calls exists, and has been made public, showing that the convicted scientist were obeying superior orders when they minimized the risk of destructive tremors. italian leaders gambled with the lives of innocent people and those 'experts' reassured the population about the nonexistence of risks when in fact they had no way to exclude further quakes. in common experience when many light shakes happen in a short time span , there is a chance for a big one . there is no way to be reasonably sure about the odds, nevertheless the 'scientists' claimed there was no particular risk and abandoning the place was pointless. unfortunately the population trusted the soothing claims of the wise witch doctors and medicine men. corrupt italian authorities show their usual contempt for the security of their own people and italian civil servants lick the arses of their bosses without a second thought, as usual. who cares about the lives of a bunch of peones anyway. this, and not fashion, art or good food is the real italian way.