Intelligent Design and the Bicycle

ImageIn the debate about intelligent design creationism, attention is usually focused on the evidence for life’s natural origin. In this post I look at it from a designer’s perspective: what is an “intelligent designer” supposed to be, and how is the design process supposed to be different from evolution? As a working example, the bicycle is one of the simplest mechanical inventions, used by billions of people. But some of the most basic physics behind the bicycle is still mysterious. The bicycle was not “intelligently designed” by some solitary brilliant engineer. Instead it’s an example of how knowledge, intelligence and design are woven together in an evolutionary process.

The other day I was listening to an older Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe podcast, and they discussed some recent research that casts doubt on the conventional explanation of self stability in ordinary bicycles. I happened to be riding my bicycle while listening, and I happened to completely crash, leading me to speculate that my bicycle had been stabilized purely by my faith in it (which was now shattered).

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