The Science of Laws Institute, Silver Scales of Justice




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Third Annual Science of Laws Institute Conference

November 2016


Jim Gottfried

Based on over 30 years of experience in managing and executing technical projects, the author provides a perspective on how risk management principles can and should be applied to laws of government.





Peter Wallis, JD

There is no generally agreed upon purpose of "law." Law-making by legislators, unguided by a general purpose, can lead to laws which are contradictory, confusing, and sometimes harmful. Executive action and judicial rulings interpreting this legislation unguided by scientific purpose, methods, or measures may compound these harmful effects. Man-made laws are void when in conflict with natural law, facts, scientific purposes, or methods. A verifiable purpose for law can be scientifically deduced based upon observation of biology and human history. A proposed short "symbiotic code" may form a nucleus for the basic scientific purpose, methods, and measurements to improve laws. A reasonable hypothesis is that the purpose of law is salient communication in mutual decisions regarding reallocation of resources rewarding those causing mutual benefit and detracting those causing mutual risk or damage in the acquiring, preserving, and efficiently utilizing resources to aid in the perpetuation of symbiotic lives.


The problem here addressed is that the Anglo-American system of law has built an incomprehensible mass of legislative, executive, administrative, and judicial decisions which are often contradictory, confusing, and harmful to society. This problem exists largely because there is no generally accepted purpose for law, the law often is not restrained to act through proven scientific methods, nor are the results of laws designed to be objectively measurable in relation to their general purposes.



Raymond Madachy, PhD

Modeling and simulation can help improve lawmaking processes. System dynamics is a simulation methodology for modeling continuous systems that provides a rich and integrative framework for investigating lawmaking process phenomena and inter-relationships from a holistic perspective. Structures for modeling these processes are provided as reusable building blocks. These structures and their behaviors are process patterns that frequently occur. Examples are shown assembling these recurring structures into larger models demonstrating behavior patterns of lawmaking processes including feedback loops. The behaviors are visualized as process trends over time.


This paper overviews: 1) basic system dynamics elements and their applied instances in lawmaking, 2) generic flow processes which are small microstructures comprised of a few elements serving as modeling molecules with characteristic behaviors, 3) infrastructures composed of several microstructures producing more complex behaviors, 4) flow chains which are infrastructures consisting of a sequence of levels and rates (stocks and flows) that are model portion backbones, and 5) introductory examples of lawmaking process structures.


Even small system dynamics models have been shown useful for understanding complex public policy issues, and thus well suited to assess specific laws and/or aspects of local, national and international lawmaking processes. The structures and applied examples are provided as open source models for the community to incorporate, adapt and apply for lawmaking.




Second Annual Science of Laws Institute Conference

November 2015


Claudia Rose, member of The Science of Laws Institute

Claudia Rose

Sea Lions:  A case Study in SoS  Modelling Support for Law Makers in a  Multi-User Conflict: Untangling a "wicked problem"


Growth of the sea lion population in the La Jolla beach area and human use of seafront property is causing conflicts between stakeholder groups that are competing for limited resources. The best solution is not clear, all solutions will have to continuously evolve as users increase, the amount of resources change and the environment causes shifts in use. Current attempts to solve "the problem" create unintended consequences evolving from complex relationships which create a "wicked problem". We propose applying SoS and Enterprise modelling to support better vision of solutions and impacts.  This will support the crafting of more rational legal actions to create sustainable balances amongst the stakeholders.


We intend to demonstrate the applicability of this approach using the over population of sea lions in San Diego as a case study. We will create decision support tools through a combination of disciplines and present these to the city council and any others who might benefit from their use to create solutions and to inform all stakeholders of the issues involved and of the anticipated social, economic and legal costs of practical solutions.




David Schrunk, MD, Board of Directors and Current Member of The Science of Laws Institute

David Schrunk, MD

This presentation discusses the classification of the concepts and principles that underlie lawmaking.  Both the traditional (present) method of lawmaking and the scientific (proposed) method of lawmaking are explored.  The present method of lawmaking has many defects and omissions and it is incapable of creating laws that consistently serve the public interest. To correct the defects of the traditional method of lawmaking, a new science, the science of laws, is being established.  The promise of the science of laws is that it will transform lawmaking into a knowledge industry and enable governments to satisfy their public-interest obligations.




Yves Theriault, member of The Science of Laws Institute

Yves Theriault, PhD

Requirements Management Applied to Lawmaking
By Yves Theriault, PhD, PMP, The California Institute for Performance Management


The need for well-performed requirements management is highly documented in both the Project Management literature as well as the Systems Engineering literature—and for good reason!  Failure to manage requirements inevitably leads to dissatisfied customers, schedule slips, and costs overruns. These same symptoms are often discussed on nightly news programs when discussing current government programs.  Unfortunately, this is not surprising as lawmaking is generally devoid of requirements management.


This paper and presentation will provide an overview on requirements management techniques and discuss how they can be applied to the generation of specific laws as well as to the management of the collection of laws that exist at any point in time.  Specific topics include: requirements elicitation, requirements clarification, requirements de-confliction, requirements traceability, configuration control of requirements, and requirements management tools.




Steve Wallis, member of The Science of Laws Institute

Steve Wallis, PhD

Integrative Propositional Analysis: The missing Link for Creating More Effective Laws


Historically, there has not been a way to objectively evaluate laws "on paper" before they are enacted to determine if they would work as expected. Instead, the history of creating and enacting laws has been based on a patchwork approach – marked by conflict between advocacy groups and the creation of a large number of laws each having little value. This problem is common across the social/behavioral sciences. Like laws, the development of models, theories, and policies has not met with great success.


The present paper briefly presents a stream of research for evaluating conceptual systems (including theories, policies, models, and laws) culminating with Integrative Propositional Analysis (IPA). IPA has been used to objectively evaluate theories, policies, and proposed laws to predict their potential for successful application. Here, IPA is used to evaluate a bill before Congress as an example for how IPA may be used to objectively evaluate and improve laws before they are implemented. This systems-based approach is a new tool for creating and evaluating laws to identify the potential for unanticipated consequences. Additional directions for research are suggested along with the suggestion that IPA be adopted as an ISO quality standard for the evaluation of laws.




James ter Veen, member of The Science of Laws InstituteJames ter Veen, PhD

Potential Benefits and Challenges of CMMI in Lawmaking


Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) is a process improvement model developed by Carnegie Mellon University.  The origins of CMMI date back to the late 1980’s where it was initially developed to provide guidance for developing or improving processes relating to software development.  The effort has since expanded to serve as a general framework and appraisal tool for any processes aligned to meet business goals (whether or not software is involved).  Organizations applying CMMI have been shown to improve performance in categories including cost, schedule, productivity, quality, and customer satisfaction.  This paper and presentation will examine the potential benefits and challenges associated with implementing CMMI for lawmaking bodies.




Josette Rice, member of The Science of Laws Institute

Josette Rice

Environmental Laws vs Laws of Nature, Using Enterprise Architecture to Model the Balance of these Systems


Environmental protection laws have become complex and far reaching, impacting every aspect of our lives, sometimes to the extent of great inconvenience and annoyance. Nevertheless, we’ve learned to appreciate them because we’ve experienced remarkable improvements in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the environment we live in. The intent of environmental laws is to protect our natural resources, and for the most part, this has been the outcome. But have we gone too far in some cases? Have some environmental laws gotten so complex they have become conflictive and ineffective? Is there a limit to what we can do to save the planet?


The EA is a structured and scientific approach to tackle complex problems and develop long term solutions. This presentation shows how the EA approach using information modeling can address these issues head-on and manage the problems and conflicts that arise when we are doing our utmost to protect our natural resources and simultaneously achieve a happy balance with everything else.


A powerful case study will illustrate the impacts of environmental laws that are showing signs of having outlived their usefulness and will likely need to change or eventually be overcome by the laws of nature.





First Annual Science of Laws Institute Conference

Held in conjunction with the INCOSE Region II Systems Engineering Mini-Conference
November 1, 2014  |  San Diego, California


Nargis Hossain, Member of The Science of Laws Institute

Nargis Hossain

Societal changes, technological innovations and economic opportunities present endless opportunities and challenges in the fluid policy making environment. In this environment of uncertainty, decision makers defined in this study as policy makers, make complex decisions under bounded rationality.  Coupled with temporal constraints, decision makers do not fully consider the potential consequential outcomes of ineffective decision making. This study will focus on demonstrating modeling and simulation to optimize the decision making process and policy design. Using a generalized constraint based uncertainty model; the study will illustrate through simulation, the efficacy of systems engineering approaches in not only maximizing outcomes but also minimizing the unintended consequences of bounded rational decision making in uncertain conditions.




David Schrunk, MD, Board of Directors and Current Member of The Science of Laws Institute

David Schrunk, MD

This presentation discusses the rationale for expanding science to encompass laws of government and the lawmaking process.  The present method of lawmaking has many defects and omissions and it is incapable of creating laws that consistently serve the public interest. To correct the defects of the traditional method of lawmaking, a new science, the science of laws, is being established.  The promise of the science of laws is that it will transform lawmaking into a knowledge industry and enable governments to satisfy their public-interest obligations.




Ronghui "Lily" Xu, PhD, Professor of Statistics, Biostatistics, Bioinformatics and Current Member of The Science of Laws Institute

Ronghui "Lily" Xu, PhD

The application of statistical methods to various fields of science and engineering will be discussed. The importance of design of experiments, data collection and monitoring, and analysis and interpretation of the results will be emphasized. Examples will be provided from biomedicine, economics, and laws of government.





Len Troncale, PhD, Founding Director of The Institute for Advanced Systems Studies and Current Member of The Science of Laws Institute

Len Troncale, PhD

This presentation will describe the build-up of influences in the ‘60’s that led to legislation establishing the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA, 1972-95, Public Law 92-484) [the author participated in those deliberations], recap its reports and their influence, outline forces that caused its demise, and concisely summarize lessons learned. It will also describe some of the experiences of the National Academy of Sciences that attempted to substitute for the dissolution of OTA in terms of science counseling legislation.





John P. Sahlin, PhD, Current Member of The Science of Laws Institute

John Sahlin, PhD

Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable? Should same-sex couples be allowed to marry or adopt? Can employers ask for your Facebook password? Should for-profit universities qualify for federal student loan and G.I. Bill benefits? By attempting to keep laws current with advances in science, technology, and innovative business practices, they fail in two ways:

1.  Lawmakers generally lack the scientific background to understand the implications of their laws
2.  The timeline to develop laws simply cannot keep pace with advances in technology, becoming obsolete as soon as they are passed

This presentation will investigate the problems caused when lawmakers over-specify the intent of laws. The efficacy of lawmaking can be improved dramatically by applying the Systems Engineering best practices of Requirements Management. In this way, laws would define the intent of the regulation and expected results, leaving out verbiage regarding to specific implementations or designs.



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