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Earthquake Prediction

   
Earthquake Prediction

Friend of mine sent this link to me. She's real smart but she can't get her head around this one. Neither can I. Anybody want to defend the court on this one?

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Backc...an-court-video

Certainly not from that, but it does make me wonder if teh prosecution didn't have it's own expert witness who hasn'tt been sited in the article. It seems to me though that the biggest issue wasn't simply not predicting teh earthquake but reassuring people in the middle of precurser earthquakes that a large earthquake was unlikely. Which is, in essence not so much failure to predict an earthquake so much as predicting a likely absence of one.

Yes, I agree with that, but allowing the family members of victims of an earthquake to testify is just 'wonky'. They live in an earthquake zone. You never know. I lived in Japan, Alaska, and Southern California and been through some (I thought) big quakes. When you live in that kind of area, you learn to accept the risk. Depending on someone, even a gov't agency, to tell you when an earthquake is (or isn't) going to happen just seems wrong in a fundamental way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by silveroak View Post
Certainly not from that, but it does make me wonder if teh prosecution didn't have it's own expert witness who hasn'tt been sited in the article. It seems to me though that the biggest issue wasn't simply not predicting teh earthquake but reassuring people in the middle of precurser earthquakes that a large earthquake was unlikely. Which is, in essence not so much failure to predict an earthquake so much as predicting a likely absence of one.
Based on the information and analysis models available at the time, the subsequent large quake WAS 'likely to be absent'.

The court's decision was not based on their failure to predict the earthquake, but on their making a public statement that it wouldn't happen, as far as I know. They got sucked into a political situation, and rather than staying out of it, they came out on one side - the side of the mayor and council at that time, reassuring people that they didn't need to worry, it was all okay. Basically, they let themselves be used for political purposes, and when the earthquake happened they were in deep doodoo.

But the things the court did to *come* to that verdict are screwy, to me. Quake victims' families testifying, for example. Whether the court knows it or not, it's setting a precedent with its decision, not for what it is, but for what people *think* it is.

Statements released by the scientists indicated that it was unlikely, but possible.
This, based on information and analysis tools available at the time, was true.
A statement released by the government spokesperson, their co-defendant, instructed people how to react to those facts, being to 'go home and have a glass of wine' (paraphrased because I don't feel like looking up the exact wording). This was taken to mean that that no quake would be forthcoming. There might be a reasonable argument for some culpability on the part of that spokesperson.

In the country that is the home of Roman Catholism (well, if you think before the Vatican was created) it is ridiculous but maybe explains why no priests are being prosecuted for their incorrect predictions.

Can we discuss this without the tangential potshots at organized religion please?

Supposedly, the scientists making the reassuring announcement where also countering a pseudoscientist who predicted a heavy earthquake based on some crackpot theories. An email leaked with something along the lines of "we have to shut up this imbecile", suggesting that the seismologists were overly eager to make their announcement.
going from memory, didn't immediately find an English source
disclaimer

That still should not lead to conviction, though. Even if the reasons for reassurance where not all that great, the information was still correct. If this verdict is not cancelled, no scientist will want to advice the Italian government about anything, ever again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gygaxphobia View Post
In the country that is the home of Roman Catholism (well, if you think before the Vatican was created) it is ridiculous but maybe explains why no priests are being prosecuted for their incorrect predictions.
I have no clue where this came from, or what the point is...




 

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