You start getting into very debatable stuff here mhaynes01, and I'm only going to dip my toe in!
The "wild" is a fairly relative term. In the wild, waste is carried out in incredibly surges of water...a bare bottom tank can simulate this in the same manner that nutrient processing by infauna can be done by livesand, etc. Each system has their own pros and cons, but I don't consider one to be more "synthetic" over the other. It is more a matter of personal choice. I don't choose to use BB in favor of livesand, but I can say that they like barren glass bottoms as one would perceive. They get covered in coralline, corals, etc. and can look pretty amazing.
All systems have the same intended final process....reduction or removal of waste.