Tuberculed cutaway spitfire fin, simplicity vs complexity and the myth of Occam's razor.

Here's the tuberculed cutaway spitfire fin resin coat with the second resin coat.

Recently a critic of the tuberculed fin ( Our friend Mr Black from the 'Surf a Pig blog  ) complained that it is overly complex and that simpler solutions are better, in an attempt to apply Occam's razor to fin design.

It was suggested that this ( very nice ) fin is simpler:

The concept of simplicity is however problematic as it's impossible to determine what is simplest. Such judgements are arbitrary. There's no evidence to support the idea that simplicity is more efficient, and in fact simplicity is a very complex and problematic concept to use as it is impossible to know what it means in practice.

From Wikipedia:

"  When scientists use the idea of parsimony, it only has meaning in a very specific context of inquiry. A number of background assumptions are required for parsimony to connect with plausibility in a particular research problem. The reasonableness of parsimony in one research context may have nothing to do with its reasonableness in another. It is a mistake to think that there is a single global principle that spans diverse subject matter.[10]

 As a methodological principle, the demand for simplicity suggested by Occam’s razor cannot be generally sustained. Occam’s razor cannot help toward a rational decision between competing explanations of the same empirical facts. One problem in formulating an explicit general principle is that complexity and simplicity are perspective notions whose meaning depends on the context of application and the user’s prior understanding. In the absence of an objective criterion for simplicity and complexity, Occam’s razor itself does not support an objective epistemology.[9]

The problem of deciding between competing explanations for empirical facts cannot be solved by formal tools. Simplicity principles can be useful heuristics in formulating hypotheses, but they do not make a contribution to the selection of theories. A theory that is compatible with one person’s world view will be considered simple, clear, logical, and evident, whereas what is contrary to that world view will quickly be rejected as an overly complex explanation with senseless additional hypotheses. Occam’s razor, in this way, becomes a “mirror of prejudice.”[9]


It has been suggested that Occam’s razor is a widely accepted example of extraevidential consideration, even though it is entirely a metaphysical assumption. There is little empirical evidence that the world is actually simple or that simple accounts are more likely than complex ones to be true.[21]"