Experts around the globe derided the trial as ludicrous. But the verdict sent shockwaves throughout the scientific community. The seven Italian geological and disaster experts received six-year prison sentences for their failure to warn residents of a killer quake preparing to strike.
"It's a sad day for science," said seismologist Susan Hough of the U.S. Geological Survey in Pasadena, Calif. "It's unsettling."
"It is a very sad day for science," one Italian official agreed. "Sad because after all these centuries, science has yet to prove its worth or usefulness. More than 300 people died. Over 1,500 were injured. And where was science? God provided omens and signs, but the scientists were too blinded by their egos to see them."
Until 2005, for example, the blood of San Gennaro, which is preserved in two phials in Naples, protected the city from deadly temblors and volcanic eruptions from Mount Vesuvius. Each year, people across the country flock to the area to observe a powerful religious rite in which the dried blood of the saint mysteriously liquefies. But in 2005, members of the Italian Committee for the Investigation of the Paranormal (Cicap) -- led by Nobel Prize winning scientists -- attempted to debunk the miracle, casting grave doubts in the minds of pious Italians. As a result, an earthquake claimed hundreds of victims four years later in L'Aquila.
"Back in the old days, statues of the Virgin wept blood and squirrels defecated mandrake to alert us to pending dangers," the official added. "But we invest billions of dollars in scientific voodoo for 'experts' to tell us only that the world is getting hotter. All their equipment could not detect that the ground was about to shake apart. And yet, any farmer in L'Aquila could have foretold these tragic events by simply reading the clefts in day-old sheep placentas. What good is this science?"
The Italian government is now organizing a massive task force to investigate and prosecute fraud among scientists who consistently fail to predict earthquakes and hurricanes, accurately forecast the weather, define the meaning of life, locate the door to Hell, cure the common cold, unlock the mysteries of the female orgasm, discover whether the chicken or the egg came first, send a spaceship to Heaven, or explain America's fascination with "Jersey Shores."
(c) 2012. See disclaimers.