The seven convicted men stood accused of “inexact, incomplete, and contradictory” information about the risks posed by tremors in the weeks ahead of the April 6, 2009, earthquake that caused so much destruction.

The seven, all members of the “National Commission for the Forecast and Prevention of Major Risks,” were convicted after an apparently emotional trial in which the testimony of people who had lost loved ones was allowed, as if it was relevant to the question of whether current science can predict earthquakes. No grief, no matter how great, can answer that question (which is a resounding “no,” by the way).

The scientific consensus has been clear on this for some time. As much as the world would like the ability to predict earthquakes, it’s eluded the best efforts of scientists for decades.