What if this were to happen: Seismologists Tried for Manslaughter for Not Predicting Earthquake? What mindset is behind this way of thinking? Is it reasonable to think that scientists bear moral responsibility for their secular efforts? These people are not theologians; they are scientists.
Science today is understood as existing outside the scope of faith and moral responsibility. Information is treated as an amoral entity. Facts, it is assumed, are neither good nor bad; they just are. It is the task of the scientist to log facts and from the relationships within that information to draw conclusions. But is it the responsibility of the scientist to better the lot of humanity? In this age where the secular state has dismissed the authority of church morality in favor of progressive values, does the scientist bear moral responsibility for his/her efforts? That seems to have been the case here. But what is behind it? Will it continue into the future? That proposal has been made many times, though action would be in the future.
For the secularist, Reason is sufficient as the judge of human affairs. With Reason resting atop all else, Revelation is either subjugated to Reason (and is inferior to it), is its handmaiden (exists as its tool for communicating morality), or is treated as non-existent. In all cases the dominance of Revelation is no more. This is Rationalism.
The Progressive demands the absence of the church and revealed truth from matters of social progress.

Progressivism also was imbued with strong political overtones, and it rejected the church as the driving force for change. Specific goals included:

  • The desire to remove corruption and undue influence from government through the taming of bosses and political machines
  • the effort to include more people more directly in the political process
  • the conviction that government must play a role to solve social problems and establish fairness in economic matters.


The Progressive, operating apart from the influence of Revelation, seems then to have three general options for its moral response for the continuance of human progress. One is to dismiss moral responsibility entirely. The other two both involve morality, though differently. Either it is to allow the religious to make their remarks apart from Progressive involvement, or to co-opt religious language and make moral judgment. It is the first and third of these which are most common. The first we see in science where religion is pronounced as non-existent. The third we hear in politics as the state attempts to do good on its own. The second seems uncommon.
This situation in Italy fits the third scenario. The Progressive state has adopted a religious authority for imposing moral judgment on scientific information. Sounds like the Galileo situation in reverse. In the Galileo situation the church took authority of science; today the secular state imbued science with moral responsibility.
Of course there is a valuable component here. This situation does confront the dualism of faith versus science. But the consequences of this particular solution are frightening. Now the state is free to assign moral responsibility without the benefit of a defined revelatory foundation. The state depends on its authority alone. To be jailed for not knowing should concern all of us. Ideas have consequences.