It turns out that Michael Stevens, the author of The Knowledge Machine, is not part of the current assault on math, science, and reason. Rather, he is a fan of hard evidence, however unreasonably sought. He urges us, “Is hard data the only path to scientific truth? That’s an absurd, illogical and profoundly useful fiction”:
Indeed, I conjecture, modern science arose in the 17th century, in the course of the so-called Scientiﬁc Revolution, precisely because it stumbled upon the extraordinary motivating power of ‘only empirical evidence counts’ – a story I tell in my book The Knowledge Machine (2020). For thousands of years, philosophers thinking deeply about nature had valued empirical evidence highly, but they had valued many other avenues of thought in addition: philosophical thought, theological thought and aesthetic thought. Consequently, they were never forced, like Kuhn’s scientists, to throw themselves wholeheartedly into experimentation and observation alone. They watched the way the world worked, but they stopped measuring and started thinking too soon. They missed out on the little details that tell us so much. Only once thinkers’ intellectual horizons were closed off by unreasonable constraints on argument was modern science born.Michael Strevens, “Keep science irrational” at Aeon
Much of nature, including most human beings, cannot be reasoned out but rather must be investigated.
See also: The progressive war on science takes dead aim at math