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Biology 103
2003 Second Paper
On Serendip

The Science of Our Laws

La Vita

Science and the Judicial System are two concepts that at face value seem to be very distinct and unique in their own nature, but at their cores share interesting parallels. They each propose a different way of understanding how we comprehend and organize order and structure within institutions, yet they do so with similar strategies. In this paper I'll address my understanding of both, what characteristics they share and how these similarities prove them to be inextricably connected by what we call life and its connection to the human experience.

Although Science is largely composed of observation, experiments and their results, it is often controversial because perspective and experience play a key role in how data is interpreted. And because perspective and experience undoubtedly vary with each person due to various reasons; how is it possible that we can assign concrete truths to such a varied conceptualization? Scientists fuse logic and philosophy.

Traditional science often fails to provide theories and explanations for phenomenons that hold truth and validation in both a scientific context and the context of the human mind. I feel that Science often caters to only a "black and white" way of formulating answers; failing to recognize the gray areas. Often times people try to find the most common and accepted ways to support their theories and in doing so they adapt to the standard and more traditional ways of viewing the world. This leaves less room for creativity and exploration of the mind when trying to formulate "truth". "A body of assertions is true if it forms a coherent whole and works both in the external world and in our minds." Roger Newton (1)

Much like science, the justice system in this country is very much based on experience. Although the understanding of these laws is largely composed of formal education, logic and reasoning, there is more to law then these solid and concrete aspects. Experience plays a key role because before obtaining any form of judicial authority one must practice and "get a feel" for what the position entails. Through these experiences one acquires a very personal and first hand knowledge and experience that is necessary before venturing out into his or her field. The judicial system poses a similar problem to that of traditional science. I believe the laws in our justice system are far too clear cut. There are a lot of gray areas when it comes to crimes committed, political decision making, and societal issues. I feel our constitution, which is what our laws are based on, is too limited and poses a problem because a lot of the pressing issues in our society such as abortion and gun control lay on right and wrong border lines. It's hard to come to a resolution because of the strict and limited language of our laws and also because of the fact that there's more to these problems than laws; they involve emotions, perceptions, culture, and perspectives; none of which are taken into consideration in legislation.

The controversy with Pro-Life or Pro-Choice is controversial and complex because there are so many ways to examine the issue, all of which have valid points depending on which light you're looking at it under. Abortion is both a societal issue as well as a political issue. It involves high sensitivity because of the direct connection to our emotions and personal values. Politics and laws also play a major role in this debate because so many of them have been passed concerning this issue. The Government on many levels is dealing with the issue of abortion. The courts, federalism, judicial review and the separation of powers are all involved in and dealing with this issue. In 1973 the Supreme Court declares abortion as a constitutional right. (2) Scientist have clearly declared the fetus as a living thing and it is clearly illegal by law to kill another human being, yet it is perfectly legal to have an abortion. When this issue is examined thoroughly one can see how controversies arise and stay in debate. So this case really depends on how one looks at it. This poses a problem because an agreement and a middle ground are almost impossible to reach because people specifically those with opinions about it, can only see the credibility in their value and position. Thus, the choice is highly dependent on personal perspective, moral, and experience. Although constitutional law governs the issue of abortions, science clearly plays a role of equal importance and authority.

Gun control is deeply rooted in controversy and is an epitome of a gray area when dealing with right or wrong. There are two conflicting sides, those in favor of gun regulation and those against it. It is an issue for our nation as a whole but it stems from the division of this country's mixed cultures. Those who have grown up in a culture where hunting is a family and cultural tradition are strongly against gun control, but for people who did not grown up with hunting as a sport do not see the same value. This conflict is rooted not only in value but also politics. The respective sums of experiences for both sides are the reasoning behind their positions on the issue. Science and the judicial system produce gray areas when trying to understand and rationalize. Both are inextricably connected to life. Holmes convinced people through his work and writings that the law should develop along with the society it serves. If this is true than law should always be changing because society is constantly changing with time and experience. "Life of the law has not been logic: it has been experience." (Oliver Wendell Holmes). We systematically try to put life in a box to create order, order insures a comfort, but that comfort often gets in the way of open-mindedness. The human mind by itself is a convoluted vast universe. We as scholars, scientists, and human kind need to understand that by assigning concrete truths, right or wrongs we are limiting the extent of our intellectual capacities.


1) Roger Newton,

2)Supreme court rules abortion a right,

3)Oliver Wendell 1,

4)Oliver Wendell 2,

5)Oliver Wendell 3,

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