Science is Testimony!

In a moment of reflection, I came to realize something which, though without a doubt having already been thought of by someone else, was still fascinating to me, and this realization was that science is testimony, and by this I do not mean the obvious truism that most science that we know is utterly reliant on testimony for it is only through the transmission of a scientist that we come to know it, but rather I mean the fascinating fact that when we think about the scientific process itself, there is no such thing as “observation”, but only what we might term the self-testimony of observation, for consider the fact that given that the act of observing something is not temporally simultaneous with the mental realization that something was observed, and given, furthermore, that the instant after it is observed, its recollection is itself based on memory, seems to indicate that the most fundamental and important scientific act, that of observation, is itself a type of self-testimony, for we do not actually observe anything, but rather realize what we allegedly observed moments prior, and then only recall that observation after that, and so what this means to me is that any claim that testimony is unreliable–a claim which scientism’s proponents often make–is a claim which does, in turn, completely undermine science itself; and while I completely admit that testimony, and its veracity and strength and reliability, is a relative thing, with some testimony being more worthy of trust than other testimony, the fact remains that what normal human testimony is based on, namely the realization of what was observed and the memory of it, is actually the same thing that science is fundamentally based on, and so, in a way, it appears that it is not unreasonable to say that science literally is testimony (and note that the claim that science is repeatable does not necessarily help it, for, in actuality, each observation  is itself unique, and it is only via the presupposition of the uniformity of nature that we accept this similarity, not through the scientific act itself)…and so, as stated, science is testimony, and what an interesting thing that is to contemplate.


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