Query on the Nature of Scientific Knowledge

Dear Bhaskar,
I have been reading Hellenistic philosophy these days,and I have a few questions that I think you are the right person to help me with. 

My question is basically about whether human knowledge of the physical world is absolute or probable (or, more radically, possible or not) and the stance of science on that issue.

Let me offer a brief background:
There were several philosophical schools in late antiquity, with often contradictory claims on the same issues - Sceptics, Epicureans, Stoics, Aristotelians, Platonists and others.

The hardcore Sceptics claimed that knowledge of the surrounding world is impossible, since we cannot trust our senses - there is no trusted link between our senses and the world. So we should suspend judgement altogether.

Later Sceptics, called Academic Sceptics, claimed the same, but added that we can you use rules (somewhat scientific) to reach probable conclusions; but still we cannot be sure of the true nature of the world.

Rival schools of thought (Epicureans, Stoics, Aristotle) claimed that senses offer a direct, accurate depiction of the world.

In other words, the former claimed that knowledge of the physical world is impossible, and the latter the opposite.

I tend to sympathise with Academic Sceptics, but I stumble upon Philosophy of science, of which I know little.

Does science offer us an absolute knowledge of the parts of the physical world it works on, that stands the test of time and later scientific developments? Or does it offer only probable/ possible explanations?

Is there scientific knowledge that is valid, irrespective of the scientist's human perception (and the limitations that entails)? e.g. if a dog or an alien were doing science, would they reach the same conclusions (absurd question, just trying to explain what I mean).

Input would be greatly appreciated!

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