Your Opinion? Scientists' effect on biodiversity legislation

Student User clc at mail.utexas.edu
Wed Jan 22 18:07:04 EST 1997


I'm a law student at the University of Texas.  I want to write a paper 
this semester on biodiversity law, and the way such laws frequently 
differ in philosophy and intent from more traditional law.

I'm still early in my research, but it seems to me that scientists 
frequently have a negative effect on such lawmaking when they act as 
consultants, lobbyists, or political operatives.  They often pull the 
focus of the law towards an elitist, otherworldly overprotectiveness that 
doesn't reflect the wants and needs of the actual constituency.  

This seems destined to cause a backlash away from the protection of 
diversity.  Witness, for example, the derisive editorials two years ago 
when some scientists spoke against the destruction of the last stockpiles 
of smallpox virus; they felt that this would be a blow to biodiversity, 
being the first deliberate human extinction of another species.

I am eager to hear the opinions of people in the field.  I am at 
j.fischer at mail.utexas.edu.  Thank you.




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