In TOK we discussed the claim: “With claims in science, there is always a trade-off between accuracy and simplicity.”. Personally, I agree that the more simplistic something is in science, the less accurate it will be. For example if I simply describe my apartment to be 1135 square feet, than you do not gain any accurate image of what my apartment looks like other than it’s dimensions. However if I said that my apartment has 3 bedrooms, a bathroom between two of them, a kitchen, a living room with all sorts of furniture, then you will have a more accurate image of what my apartment looks like.

Another simple but real and applicable example is induction in science. If we test for whether metals will expand when heated, and we test, and see that Metal A, Metal B and Metal C all expand when heated. We usually then conclude that since metals A,B and C all expand when heated, that all metals will expand when heated. The only problem with this is that we do not know this to be a universal fact, because we actually have not observed that all metals will expand when heated. Therefore while our conclusion that all metals will expand when heated is simple, it is not 100% accurate since we have not tested whether all metals will expand when heated.

This is a good example of “Occam’s Razor”, which is a problem solving principle that states when there are competing theories, the one with fewer assumptions is the best. “Occam’s Razor” also shows the preference for simplicity in the scientific method

However the trade-off between accuracy and simplicity may not always happen. For example we take Newton’s second law (F=ma), where mass and acceleration is constant. It is both simplistic to use and accurate in finding the force of something if you know it’s mass and acceleration and that these stay constant.