culture Philosophy Science

Simple Truths and Complex Facts

What is the value of truth ?

Is a truth more palatable to a broader audience if it is simple ? Does the attributed credibility or popular acceptance of a truth rely upon the ease with which that message is able to propagate across the medium of minds, languages, technologies and cultures ? In what ways does an expectation of intelligible simplicity recursively shape the popular and political perceptions of science and academia to generate or stymie interest (and funding) in concepts, research and experiments which can be simply explained ? Is there a whole class of interesting problems and blue-skies research which will never receive appropriate investment because the underlying concepts are too difficult to communicate to a layperson ? Is there an arcane art to representing conceptual complexities to funding and scholarship bodies through distilled caricature and metaphor ?

Is purely curiosity-driven research ever justifiable ? Does entrepeneurial risk-taking apply in academia and science as a notional business model for speculative investment ? Can potential future benefit be measured only by shorter-term monetary cost and an associated algebra or accountancy of inputs and outputs to that idealised system ? What is the value of truth ?

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