Before considering these developments in detail it is worth asking why such an apparently simple device as the bicycle should have had such a major effect on the acceleration of technology. The answer lies in the sheer humanity of the machine. S.S. Wilson. ``Bicycle Technology.'' Scientific American, 229, no. 3, (1973), 82.
The question posed is a composite of several questions: (1) Is the bicycle an apparently simple device? If the answer to this question is ``Yes,'' then a further question can be raised: (2) Did this ``apparently simple device'' have ``a major effect on the acceleration of technology?'' If the answer to this question is ``Yes,'' the question is appropriate: (3) How had the bicycle had such a ``major effect on the acceleration of technology''? An answer to (1) is not clearly straightforward. An answer to (2) is even less so, and an answer to (3) (provided in the text) is much more doubtful. Most of the technical innovations used in the bicycle (e.g., differential gears, classic diamond frame, tubular frame, ball bearing, pneumatic tire) were developed independently of bicycle technology. Only at this point in the analysis would it be appropriate to raise the question, ``Why the bicycle had a major effect on the acceleration of technology?''
Hence although the technology of this ``apparently simple device'' might be important for the evolution of modern technology, it is a fallacy to presuppose it had a major effect on the future development of technology. The answer provided by Dr. Wilson blurs the distinct aspects of the question he raises and treats it as a simple one; hence the fallacy of Complex Question occurs.
Lee Archie 2011-01-05