Fighting for funding and tenure, dealing with publish or perish, the life of a scientist can be a trying one. And now it looks like we need to add to this list the risk of being prosecuted in the courts by those who take exception to a scientist’s findings. Climate scientist Michael Mann has been attacked using the US court system and now six Italian scientists have been convicted of providing “false assurances” prior to the L’Aquila quake of 2009 which killed over 300 people.
Another case of a scientist being persecuted for their findings is that of Olga Zelenina, a Russian chemist who has been charged with complicity with drug traffickers when her analysis of the opiate content of poppy seeds showed that they had a much lower content than the prosecution in a drug trafficking case would have liked.
This increase in the use of litigation and political bullying of scientists should be a concern to the scientific community, but there only seems to be a limited response. GNS’s response regarding the Italian scientists is weak and noncommittal. They should be very careful in adopting such a position when some of the charges laid against the Italian scientists could just as easily describe their response to the Christchurch quakes
Would it be considered a Godwin to paraphrase,
“First they came for the climate change scientists and no one spoke up; then they came for the seismologists and there was silence;……”