Criminalizing Scientists for Inexact Earthquake Predictions

I thought litigation was out of control in America. In Italy, seems it’s even worse. They’re putting scientists on trial for failing to predict an earthquake.

Do you realize how hard it is to predict an earthquake? It’s impossible to predict exactly when “the big one” will it.

This will have a chilling effect on Italian scientists. Many of them won’t want to get into the business of predicting earthquakes. Those who do may overcompensate and over-predict them, leading to widespread evacuations, then turn out to be wrong. That could open them up to litigation for causing needless evacuations, and also bring on a boy-who-called-wolf effect, where a number of false alarms are sounded, then people don’t evacuate when the big one does happen.

Let’s hope they don’t start doing the same thing to scientists here.