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Rafe, do you mean that as a criticism? Because usefulness and reality are very different things. There are two things that can make a reductionist model less useful:

  1. It requires much more computational power. This has been discussed already.
  2. Because even modest mistakes at lower levels can have drastic effects at higher levels.

Both, you'll notice, are practical problems pertaining to the model, and don't invalidate the principle.