TED: Do we need something more to explain something more?

TED2007 is off an running. Tag search TED2007 at Technorati for commentary from those attending. In addition to blogging the events himself, Bruno Giussani has also listed a number of bloggers he knows are there. Read them if you'd like some first person perspective on the events.

I'm not going to try to link to everything, but Ethan Zuckerman's post on Murray Gell-Mann's description of the beauty and symmetry of the universe is one of my early favorite accounts of the goings-on.

Gell-Mann’s point is a very simple one - 'the unreasonable effectiveness of certain parts of mathematics in describing physical reality are consequences of the underlying law of elementary particles and their interactions.' He concludes with the statement, 'You don’t need something more to explain something more.'

Nicely said. Since it would appear that we're driven to understand in wholes, what, indeed, counts as a complete explanation? And what do those explanations say?

Thanks Ethan.


Wikipedia: teleology