6

The typical branches of power in the world are, - Executive power - Legislative power - Judicial power

Many other countries have additional branches with constitutional level power, for example - Prosecutory (Argentina has it) - Electoral - Auditory etc.

Also, sometimes inside the legislative power, there are commissions formed with part of the legislators where laws has to be approved aside of being approved by the majority of the Congress, for example,

  • Constitutional matters
  • Justice
  • Free speech
  • Human rights
  • Budget
  • Science etc

Has there ever been any government in the world where a science commission, instead of being a commission of the legislative power, was a branch of power at the constitutional level? Meaning that any law also had to be approved also by an independent from the legislature science commission?

  • 3
    Do you consider theology to be a science? Many countries have had a house of parliament that consisted of clergy. – Jasper Oct 20 '18 at 5:19
  • Royal or States commissions have a power which it is difficult for the legislative to safely refuse to attend, even if they reject the findings. Some of these (Australian “Voyager”) are scientific. – Samuel Russell Oct 21 '18 at 0:07
6

The unreformed House of Commons ( https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unreformed_House_of_Commons ) possessed university constituencies ( https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_constituency ) which due to the nature of the English and later U.K. constitutions were established constitutionally as an essential element of a major locus of constituted power.

The chief question then is "what is Science" and "did it exist in the historic U.K. universities prior to 1832." I would answer no, due to the problems of what is science and the gradual professionalisation of science in the academy.

However, these constituencies were abolished in 1950; and the Irish Free State has had constituencies since 1922. So the answer would be "yes in Ireland; yes in the U.K. from some time in the 19th century to 1950."

This obviously differs from expectations in strong separation of power states and "single document" constitutions.

  • 2
    This is the better answer because it acknowledges that the question of "What is science" is absolutely in the eye of the beholder. Furthermore, that science is the search for truth is a dogmatic almost religious belief. Science is more about the search for explanation which may or may not be true depending on experimentation, see the "Uncertainty Principle" for further explanation – Frank Cedeno Oct 21 '18 at 15:53
5

I believe this has never existed. Certainly not in the Western Democracies with which I am most familiar.

Scientists are not in a good position to decide on laws. The process of science is about a search for truth. Scientists are usually good at changing their minds (in comparison to politicians, for example). Scientists deal in hypotheses and models, not right and wrong. There is plenty of reason for legislators to consult with scientists at the start of the legislative process, not at the end. There is also a good reason for a Science Commission to be formed ad hoc. You need specific expertise. There is not much point having an expert in theoretical physics advising on drugs policy, for example.

To the extent that the UK Constitution is formed from statute and convention, there are statutes and conventions that certain policies should be formed in consultation with a scientific committee. For example, the Misuse of Drugs act requires the formation of an advisory body. Since the UK constitution functions at the level of Statute, this could be considered part of the constitution, but I suspect this is not what you were thinking of.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .