Another article from the most recent PopSci laments that scientists in Italy are being held criminally liable for predicting that earthquakes would not happen in L’Aquila. When earthquakes did occur shortly after the predictions were made, many people ended up losing their lives because they were not adequately prepared for an earthquake. The scientists were charged with manslaughter.
For some reason, this has science fetishists’ panties in a knot. I’m not sure why, because all science fetishists’ ever say is that Science is the most reliable thing in the world; it can be trusted completely and implicitly, and nothing bad will ever come of trusting science. If this is the case, then science should have been able to predict the earthquake. Its failure to live up to its promises is nothing more than obvious and intentional negligence, and should be treated as such. Alternatively, it could be that the science did know an earthquake was coming but decided to lie about it.
Anyhow, the point is this: If science is so trustworthy, then it should be held liable for its prognostications. And if one argues that it shouldn’t be held liable for its pronouncements and predictions then one should also concede that it is not particularly reliable.