Thursday, June 2, 2011

Italy Does a Grave Injustice to Seismologists

 I can't believe this. The Italian government is seriously considering charging some seismologists with manslaughter because they happened to fail to predict an earthquake. Is Italy going back to the dark ages?

Many sciences haven't advanced yet enough in order to allow scientists to be able to make perfect predictions, and broader still there's the plain fact that humans are fallible and will honestly reach mistaken conclusions, no matter how hard and rigorous their thinking is. Man is not omniscient, so it's unavoidable that he'll err here and there in his thinking. To punish anyone for that is to flat-out evade and disregard that fact of nature and be monstrously unjust. If the Italian government is successful, then these scientists are going to receive a lot of suffering they simply don't deserve. Disgusting.

Unless this principle of thinking -- that men can and should be punish for honest intellectual errors -- is stopped in its tracks in the political realm then Italy has a lot to lose. What scientist is going to want to keep working under the stress that an innocent slip is going to put him in grave danger? Why should he work so hard, only to have it all taken away just because he's not superhuman? And further still, what if Italy applies this to not only other sciences, but also other realms of business where mistakes inevitably happen? Atlas will shrug, I believe.

I always had some kind of impression that Italy was a civilized country, but I'm starting to have doubts.

Edit: Changed "infallible" to "fallible." What a considerable mistake! Goes to show you how fallible I am. . .

1 comment:

  1. This makes sense by conservative standards. If life is simplistically clear, uncomplicated, etc., then nothing requires much rigor, including predicting earthquakes. Plus, conservative authority-worship, which demands obedience to authority figures, means that authority figures have to "make things work" in most cases.

    If there's to be a ruling and a ruled class, which is pure conservatism, with the average person not having basic knowledge and skills in all major subject matter, and if people are to be obedient, then a simple example must be made: either authority figures will "run" the show and keep people in order by adequately preventing and dealing with problems, or they will be demonized and/or jailed (whether through regulations or Objectivist-style court proceedings).

    If life is simple, there's an immediate big solution (not one that takes specific skills or lots of time) to any major problem. Authority is the answer.

    Of course, this is a wrong approach, but it makes sense according to that viewpoint.


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