Common Law and Science

BY ROBBY GRAY (Feb. 27, 2003, beginning of 12th grade)

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    An understanding of Common Law is essential if we want the world to continue to grow into a better place. Even though the greatest nations this world has ever seen, America and Rome before it turned to statism are two examples, were based on Common Law people now have a hard time in understanding what Common Law is. It is even hard to find a good definition of Common Law in a dictionary or encyclopedia. You may find it surprising that Common Law and science have a lot in common. To better grasp what Common Law is, we need to look at how it compares to science, that is, how they both build on preceding finds, both canít just make up laws, and both discover law, not make it up.

     First we should look at how both Common Law and science build on preceding finds. When a scientist decides to study something he doesn't just start making things up he looks to things that have been previously discovered and builds on those finds. This progression allows science to slowly become more perfect. In the same way Common Law doesn't just come up with a law that is deemed necessary for the times, Common Law looks to past cases and builds on what those past cases have discovered. In that way the laws of the land would not be a bunch of spontaneous decisions but a progression of logical decisions that would slowly perfect the law over the ages.

    Another thing that both science and Common Law have in common is they canít just make up laws. A scientist canít just say that his hypothesis is true. Instead he has to run many different experiments and they have to all support his hypothesis. This isnít the only criterion for making a hypothesis into a law though. The hypothesis has to also stand the test of hundreds of years of time. The method that Common Law has for making laws is similar. A judge canít just make up a law. Under Common Law a law has to comply with past laws, laws which have stood the test of time. In this way the laws discovered under Common Law, like that of the laws discovered under the scientific method, are logical.

    Finally, it is important to understand how both Common Law and science don't make up laws, they discover them. When Albert Einstein first discovered the Theory of Relativity I doubt he said, ď Iíve got it! I have made up the Theory of Relativity.Ē I think itís more likely that he said, ď Iíve got it! I have discovered the Theory of Relativity.Ē The Theory of Relativity had been out there for the taking since the beginning of time. Scientists donít make up hypotheses, theories, and laws they discover them. In exactly the same way, laws for a nation, under Common Law, are discovered not made up. It is folly to believe that people since the beginning of time havenít known that it is wrong to murder and steal. Do you think Congress or our founding fathers were the first to discover the laws that protect us from murderers and thieves?

    Hopefully you now have a better understanding of what Common Law is by this look at how Common Law compares to science by building on preceding finds, not being able to just make up laws, and discovering law not-making it up. It doesnít take much studying to discover that there are some astonishing similarities between science and Common Law. Both scientists and judges under Common Law build their ideas from preceding finds, allowing for a system that, by its own nature, perfects itself over time. Also, to make it so that only good laws are created--scientific laws and political laws-- scientists and judges under Common Law canít just make up a law. If you donít get anything else out of this essay just remember that law is discovered under Common Law just like a law is discovered in science. Common Law, like science, is a rational system that allows societies to have the truest, most proven laws, laws which allow society to function in the most free and humane way. SPREAD THE WORD

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