Originally Posted by RM-MN
Wyeast sells yeast packs and their business is yeast. If customers are unhappy because the yeast didn't do the job, they go elsewhere. Mr. Malty is a calculator, Wyeast is a business. I'd believe the business because their survival depends on them being correct.
This is faulty logic, to put it kindly.
Starter calculators are based on sound brewing science research. For a proper pitch, a starter is absolutely required for a starting gravity that high. The yeast manufacturers will as much as admit that if you dig deeper into their own recommendations at their respective sites.
Wyeast (and White Labs, for that matter) is trying to make a buck and provides the minimum amount of cells required for a 5 gallon pitch of low gravity ale. For those interested in making the best beer possible, that means making a starter almost every time (the only exception would be a very fresh vial/smack pack for a < 1.040 beer).
Yes, many home-brewers have pitched one pack into wort and made beer, but ignorance of the science is quickly revealed in the low quality product that is eventually produced.