Rene Descartes is the founder of rationalism. He argued that we can use mathematics to understand nature. At this time statistics had not yet been used for examining the impacts of social policies. Descartes simply suggested that just as we can correctly abstract the relationships among mathematical values, we can reason as to a correct course of action.
Berkeley basically said of empiricism that the environment of those who pursue reckless experimentation will judge them. Such a claim has been demonstrated by the observation that inbred founder populations that get along better than the majority of their species often out-compete the majority1. If peops (people) chose knowledge over intoxication, my life would be better than you can make it. Just as I spent most of my adolescence in feminist culture without realizing how it was shaped by feminism, society would be a lot nicer if we pursued learning and all just talked.
1Sapolsky, Robert. "Human Behavioral Biology." Behavioral Evolution II. Stanford Courseworks. Stanford University, Stanford, CA. Web. 2 Oct. 2011.