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THE SCIENCE OF LAWS INSTITUTE

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THE SCIENCE OF LAWS: INVESTIGATIVE SCIENCE

 

The Investigative Science of laws and the creative science of laws are the coequal branches of the science of laws. The investigative science of laws is the systematic and principled intellectual enterprise that employs knowledge, tools, empirical processes, and peer review to derive, record, organize, and promulgate scientific knowledge of the laws of government. The investigative science of laws is focused on the following:

 

  • Accumulation of scientific knowledge of the structure and mechanics of laws
  • Development of outcomes research methodologies for laws
  • Development of quality assurance programs for laws
  • Development of ethical standards for the conduct of experiments
  • Promulgation of scientific knowledge, quality standards, and ethical standards
  • Development of a scientific society of peers of the science of laws
  • Participation in the development of college curricula for the science and engineering disciplines of laws

 

Rationale for the Development of the Investigative Science of Laws

The purpose of the fields of investigative science is to derive and accumulate reliable knowledge of observable phenomena in the physical universe. The accumulation of knowledge ends ignorance, satisfies curiosity, and enables creative scientists (engineers) to design increasingly sophisticated and capable problem-solving tools, or technology, to benefit the human condition.

 

One major field of human endeavor remains mostly untouched by the investigative processes of science: the laws of government. Legislatures enact laws with the expectation that the enforcement of those laws will produce a desired change in the natural order of things. However, after a law has been enacted, no reliable feedback process is currently employed to determine if that law accomplished its objective. The result is that legislatures are, for all intents, totally ignorant of the effects of their laws: when it comes to the consequences of laws, legislatures are and always have been "flying blind."

 

The lack of knowledge of the outcome of laws is a serious problem because laws are as capable of producing harm as they are of producing benefits. In fact some well-intended laws may actually be doing significant harm to people in terms of their Human Rights, Living Standards, or Quality of Life, but no one has comprehensive and reliable knowledge of those consequences. It is a matter of historical record that the worst human calamities, of wars, gross abuses of human rights, and the financial collapse of nations have occurred under the authority and direction of the laws of government. Therefore the continued state of ignorance of the cause and effect mechanisms of laws is irresponsible and can no longer be regarded as tolerable, particularly in view of continuing technological advances that can magnify the harm that may be inflicted upon people by laws, either deliberately or inadvertently.

 

Fortunately, the tools of science are available for ending the current state of ignorance of laws. Laws are human-made products that operate within, and have an effect upon, the physical world (the domain of science), and they are eminently suited to evaluation by the newly constituted investigative science of laws. It should be noted that the investigative science of laws is not a study of human emotional or mental processes (psychology) or a study of human social interactions (sociology); these natural sciences already exist. The science of laws, rather, is an engineering science, a study of human-made devices, or tools (laws are tools) that are created by humans for the benefit of humans.

 

The science of laws seeks the answers to two questions: What are laws made of and what do they do? The first question is answered by studying the structure, or "anatomy," of each law. This is a relatively simple task because the words, numbers, symbols, and punctuation of a law comprise its entire structure, from which a scientific investigator may determine such features as the law's purpose and sanction. The results of the study of the structure of laws will establish the data base from which the problem-solving performance of laws can be derived, and will be used to create a classification system of laws, analogous to classification systems that are used in other engineering sciences such as metallurgy and electronics.

 

The answer to the second question, "What do laws do?" is much more complicated. The answer requires investigators to measure, analyze, and record, accurately and thoroughly, the sum of the physical-world effects of the enforcement of laws, analogous to the testing and validation procedures that are now used to confirm the effectiveness and safety of pharmaceuticals or the airworthiness of a prototype aircraft. For the investigative scientist, every law of government is regarded as a testable hypothesis (the hypothesis being that the law will produce the physical-world outcome that is intended by the designers of the law). The experiment to test that hypothesis is carried out when the law is enforced.  The task of the law-scientist, then, is to measure and analyze the results of enforcement of each law and compare its outcome (effects) to the structure and original intent of the law (cause). The knowledge of the cause and effects (mechanics) of laws that is obtained by the scientist is then reported in the scientific literature.    

 

The task of gathering accurate data of the outcomes of laws by scientists may be relatively uncomplicated for single purpose laws, but it will be exceedingly difficult if not impossible for multi-purpose laws such as omnibus laws. Also, since laws interact with one another, the derivation of an accurate description of the relationship between a given law and an observed societal outcome will be a significant challenge when hundreds or thousands of interacting laws contribute to that outcome. A major task of the science of laws, therefore, is to create and apply analytical methods that are effective for deriving reliable knowledge of the mechanics of laws. Whenever possible, the descriptions of the structure and mechanics of laws will be quantified so that mathematical models of the operations and performance of laws may be formulated.

 

The conclusion of the scientific evaluation of a particular law will be a scientific report that is submitted by one or more scientists for publication in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. As scientific reports are accepted and published, the body of reliable knowledge of the structure and mechanics of laws will grow, and the purpose of the investigative science of laws will thus be satisfied.

 

The Value of Scientific Knowledge

One of the uses of the knowledge that is derived by the science of laws will be to satisfy the requirements of quality assurance (QA) programs for laws. When the results of scientific analyses of laws become available, legislatures can improve the performance of their bodies of laws by repealing laws that have been found to be less than useful to the people, in the same manner and for the same reasons that similar QA programs are now used to identify and eliminate defective or outmoded pharmaceuticals, transport aircraft, surgical procedures, etc. For example, if the analysis of a law discloses that it has no stated purpose or that it is detrimental to the people, the quality assurance program for laws will recommend that the legislature repeal the law.

 

Knowledge of the performance of laws derived by the science of laws will enable law-design engineers to avoid the mistakes of the past in the design of new laws. Knowledge will also enable engineers to create sophisticated and accurate models of laws and thus predict the outcome of proposed new laws with increasing degrees of certainty. 
 
Summary

The investigative science of laws will provide the following:

 

  • A growing, reliable body of knowledge of the structure and mechanics of laws.   
  • A body of knowledge of outcomes research methodologies that enable investigators to measure and analyze the cause and effect mechanisms of laws.
  • A "history" of laws – a record of the interaction of laws with human societies over time.  One of the more valuable aspects of history is that it enables humankind to learn from and avoid the mistakes of the past.
  • The investigative mechanisms and reliable knowledge required for a competent quality assurance (QA) program for laws. Quality assurance for laws will enable legislatures to identify and repeal laws that less than useful to the people.
  • The knowledge basis of the structure and mechanics of laws that is needed for law design engineers to create new, more effective, cost-efficient, safe, and just laws with greater expertise and a much higher level of predictability of outcomes than is now possible.

 

Click here for the Quality Assurance (QA) Program for Laws. 
Click here for the Creative Science of Laws.

 

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