In the limit of vanishing viscosity, ν→0, Kolmogorov's two-thirds, 〈(Δυ)2〉~ε2/3r2/3, and five-thirds, E~ε2/3k−5/3, laws are formally equivalent. (Here 〈(Δυ)2〉 is the second-order structure function, ε the dissipation rate, r the separation in physical space, E the three-dimensional energy spectrum, and k the wavenumber.) However, for the Reynolds numbers encountered in terrestrial experiments, or numerical simulations, it is invariably easier to observe the five-thirds law. We ask why this should be. To this end, we create artificial fields of isotropic turbulence composed of a random sea of Gaussian eddies whose size and energy distribution can be controlled. We choose the energy of eddies of scale, s, to vary as s2/3, in accordance with Kolmogorov's 1941 law, and vary the range of scales, γ=smax/smin, in any one realization from γ=25 to γ=800. This is equivalent to varying the Reynolds number in an experiment from Rλ=60 to Rλ=600. We find that, while there is some evidence of a five-thirds law for γ>50; (Rλ>100), the two-thirds law only starts to become apparent when γ approaches 200 (Rλ~240). The reason for this discrepancy is that the second-order structure function is a poor filter, mixing information about energy and enstrophy, and from scales larger and smaller than r. In particular, in the inertial range, 〈(Δυ)2〉 takes the form of a mixed power law, a1 + a2r2 + a3r2/3, where a2r2 tracks the variation in enstrophy and a3r2/3 the variation in energy. These findings are shown to be consistent with experimental data where the ‘pollution’ of the r2/3 law by the enstrophy contribution, a2r2, is clearly evident. We show that higher-order structure functions (of even order) suffer from a similar deficiency.