In his book, "A Biological Theory of Law: Natural Law Theory Revisited" (ISBN 1461094054), Hendrik Gommer shows how legal rules and principles are derived from the properties of genes. He argues that people unknowingly behave in ways that will benefit the survival, reproduction and spreading of their genes, and that legal rules also service this behavior.

Securing resources from the environment is necessary to reproduction, and cooperation will improve this necessity. The older parts of the brain, in an evolutionary sense, make cooperation possible by emotion and morals. The younger parts make it possible to form rules that reflect these emotions. Gommer indicates that these rules derive from and are justified by biological mechanisms. According to Gommer, these rules are simply products of evolution and do not come from religion or reason. He notes that it is not reason that brings order in societies, but nature itself.

Gommer says that law systems help to overcome tribal urges, which will result in stable nations where reproduction and survival will be optimal. He explains that efficient law systems create stability and a balance between order and freedom and that this natural process is evident in the recent revolutions in the Middle East. Gommer remarks that people in Arabic countries fight for liberties because their law system does not bring sufficient freedom and prosperity, which are conditions for reproduction and survival.

The book introduces a theory that abridges the gap between normative legal studies and empiric studies like psychology and biology. He introduces fractals which he views as the key by which the properties of genes shape complex fractal structures in the behavior of people, in human law systems and in the development of states.

"Complex structures of morality and law mirror the properties of small particles like genes, and we justify the law in the context of reproduction," Gommer says. "What we value as good enhances the reproduction of our genes. Therefore, biological mechanisms determine what we consider right and wrong and I am convinced that this new insight will eventually cause a paradigmatic shift in our vision on the foundations of law."

As an assistant professor at the University of Tilburg, Hendrik Gommer lectures on the philosophy, sociology and biology of constitutional and general law and methodology. He currently conducts research on biological basic notions in law. He received his doctorate in law, and also has degrees in biology and science of religion.

"A Biological Theory of Law" is available for sale online at and other channels.

Published: Thu, Aug 25, 2011