Evolutionary Back Pain

The human vertebral columnOur first catchup post is the most recent That’s a Fact video, Back Trouble. The vertebrate spine originally appeared in aquatic animals, and has had a number of different roles aside from being the central supporting column in the human skeleton. The story runs that due to the processes that evolution follows – that it can do little more than modify what already exists rather than completely redesign an organism from the ground up – the human spine is not quite the structure that would have been created had it been designed specifically for that purpose. This narrative, which I’m sure you’ve all heard, at least partially blames human back pain on this effect.

I can’t tell you to what extent that’s true or not. It’s probably true that a good portion of the back troubles experienced by modern humans comes not from the fact that the spine is not designed for bipedalism, but that it isn’t designed for bipeds with lousy posture. However, an upright orientation for the spine just gives it a whole plethora of new ways to get injured. The ICR video, of course, argues against the evolutionary explanation – one thing I can tell you is that they did a poor job of it: Continue reading

Turning it Off and On Again

You may well have noticed by this point that I haven’t posted in a while. You weren’t warned of this hiatus because it was entirely unplanned – I had originally expected that no-matter what I planned I would wind up posting a few times a week right through exam season. Exams are over now, all 27 hours of them, and I find myself having not posted in a good week and a half. I’m going to retroactively claim this as a good idea, as it certainly was quite helpful.

Now that I’m back I intend to do some minor housekeeping. I’ve rewritten my old about page, consigning my cringe-worthy original to history. I also fully intend to take a step back and see if there aren’t better ways of getting my point across than what at times turn into stream-of-consciousness paragraph-by-paragraph rebuttals. In other words, I’m going to try to do a bit more planning and proof-reading of my posts. The 18-month anniversary of this blog passed during the hiatus, so this is a good a time as any to start making the good writings. We shall see if it actually works or not.

However, the most important change I want to make right now is to get back to actually posting stuff. With that in mind I have another ‘publish’ button to push, right after I do a once-over of what I’ve written…