The problem is in thinking that science is “the basis for knowledge.” It isn’t. It never has been. It never can be.
That is because science—in terms of scientific method, testing hypotheses by real-world observation—cannot justify any truth judgments based solely on empirical observation.
Empirical observation alone doesn’t tell us how to sort the many different stimuli our senses receive at any given moment. It doesn’t tell me why I should collect the stimuli of patterns of light and darkness on my computer screen and identify them as coherent, meaningful text and pictures while ignoring the stimuli of sound (our air conditioning system and my keystrokes and the vibration of my cell phone and kids shouting in the community pool across the street) touch (the coolness and hardness of the floor under my feet, the texture of my cotton shirt), smell (the soap residue on my just-washed hands), taste (the lingering flavor of my raisin bran with the more recent flavor of my green tea), and sight (the dark corners of my desk, the brightness of my windows, the many colors of the books on my bookcases, and the cloudy sky and green trees out my window) all into one thing and call it a schmooglewop. More.
Readers will doubtless differ on the specifics of the religious approach offered, but Beisner is surely right in saying that philosophical presuppositions must underlie the way we interpret evidence.
Though most modern scientists are empiricists, they are unaware that empiricism—real, consistent empiricism—leads directly not to skepticism, which is a good thing (1 Thessalonians 5:21, “Test all things, hold fast what is good.”) but to irrationalism, which, frankly, is what is taking over the world of science, particularly with the rise of post-normal, highly politicized science, as I argued in “Wanted for Premeditated Murder: How Post-Normal Science Stabbed Real Science in the Back on the Way to the Illusion of Scientific Consensus on Global Warming.”
So I recommend to my scientist friends concerned about the disintegration of science as a trustworthy pursuit that they visit the roots of science by studying epistemology itself.
See also: Senior scientist on the real threat to the scientific method
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