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The opinions expressed on this page are mine alone. Any similarities to the views of my employer are completely coincidental.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Go to jail

Be scared; be very scared. Italy is a state (I use the term loosely) that puts scientists in jail for failing to  predict the exact timing of an event. We have truly gone back to the dark ages. What are we going to see next in Italian courts, trials of homicidal pigs, sheep and goats? Where are the protests  from the governments of  all the other EU member states  against  an obvious abuse of human rights? They seem to be quick enough to point the finger at non EU states who get a bit heavy handed with the political opposition. And, while we are on the subject, if we are going to put (real) scientists in jail for failing to predict the timing of an earthquake why not put economists in jail for failing to predict the precise timing of the the financial crisis?
Of course this  would be absurd; earthquakes, financial crises and just about everything that happens in the world are stochastic events. We know a lot about why they happen, but that doesn't mean we can predict exactly when they will happen. To expect that is like expecting a physician  at the point a baby  is conceived to predict the exact minute at which it will be born. Nobody would  demand that and only a fool would claim that because we can't predict exactly when a baby will be born therefore we know nothing about how babies are created.

2 comments:

druedin.com said...

Let's hope that this conviction gets overturned on appeal; at least it isn't definitive if I understand the situation correctly. There's an interesting contrast to one of your other posts today: "is sociology useless?".

druedin.com said...

Let's hope that this conviction gets overturned on appeal; at least it isn't definitive if I understand the situation correctly. There's an interesting contrast to one of your other posts today: "is sociology useless?".