Human designers love right angles, but nature prefers to be round and curved; we like to be dry, whereas nature tends to be wet; we use wheels in diverse ways, but nature's only true wheels occur in bacteria. This text introduces us to the world of biomechanics and explains how physical law and historical accident became our world's most supreme architects.
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Creationists find the book offensive.
From reviews and correspondence, I find that I've not offended the professional sensitivities of people in the areas I've drawn upon for the book - engineers, anthropologists, historians, economists. But I seem to have deeply offended some creationists. That's no surprise, since the book declares at the outset that understanding the limitations of nature's designs depends on understanding natural selection. It then (Chapter 2) presents the logic of evolution by natural selection, without which it cannot get farther. It does so in the way of mainstream contemporary biology - I can't claim to be radical, iconoclastic, or even very original in how I set my stage. My more radical notions come in elsewhere.
Steven Vogel is James B. Duke Professor of Biology at Duke University. He is the author of Cats' Paws and Catapults.
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