Competing Theories in NS

With claims in science, there is always a trade-off between accuracy and simplicity. Do you agree?

Develop your response with reference to specific examples, counter arguments and conclusion.

To answer this claim, we must first be clear on how we define the terms ‘accuracy’ and ‘simplicity’. To claim something is accurate means it is precise, reliable and a dependable source or answer. Likewise, something that is simplistic means it is easy to do or understand and presents little to no challenges. With initial thoughts, I for the most part agree with the claim. If you want to represent a concept or theory in science in a simplified manner, there are for sure going to be margins of error in those explanations. This all comes to a lack of detail for a set of knowledge; henceforth, the more simplistic something is, the more likely it is to be inaccurate.

Let’s give an example. Suppose a Biology teacher was to introduce the topic of Photosynthesis to an audience of lower school students. Since Photosynthesis is a massively complex idea to comprehend, the teacher would need to simplify the content so that this younger audience is able to understand it at a moderate level. However, this means the teacher also has to sacrifice many sophisticated details that make up the science behind it, which as a result means the teaching is not as accurate. Consequently, due to the nature of the topic and the audience who is being taught to, the simplification of details is necessary for the students to acquire a stronger understanding.

The opposite could be argued. Sometimes, simplicity can equal accuracy if only the relevant details are given. Some of the details purely exist to back up existing claims, hence it is not significant to include those details when wanting to represent a simplified concept. This rings true to the example of an Osmosis lab experiment. Typically, in a lab report, there are various components involved such as an hypothesis, data analysis and conclusion. These are all essential to construct a successful lab, because they ultimately build our ability to conduct tests on numerous fields of exploration. However, not all of the details are required for a vague understanding; you could take just the concluding statement (a summary of the data you found) and express it to an audience. The statement, although simplified, is still accurate because it depicts a general overview of the data that has been collected, therefore showing how an opposing view of the claim can still be justified.

In conclusion, achieving both accuracy and simplicity is realistic. It is definitively possible for a concept to be represented in a simple manner without having to sacrifice accuracy in any form. Nevertheless, it is not always the easiest task to accomplish due to the complexity of natural sciences, hence there will be trade-offs from time to time.