Mathematician David Orrell writes in a new book that scientific truths may not always be “beautiful” and “elegant” theories:
It is easier to claim a theory is beautiful than to show that it actually works, or makes sense.
As further described by Christopher Shea in the article:
He [Orrell] points to modern physics, in particular, as especially prone to develop ever-more-elaborate models whose goals have more to do with elegance or beauty for beauty’s sake than anything else.
“Historically, there was this give and take between mathematical beauty and scientific productivity,” Orrell said in a recent interview. But in physics, “if you look in recent decades, it’s as if the aesthetics has taken over. Theory hasn’t had the input from data to put it on the right path.”
If even modern physics suffers from this “perfect-model syndrome” of forsaking truth and usefulness in the quest for beauty, what hope do we have for modern economics?