April 25, 2008 | David F. Coppedge

Complex Ankle Puts Bounce in Your Step

“The ankle is incredibly efficient at working so the amount of energy you burn with the ankle is much lower than what would be predicted with just isolated muscle studies.”  That’s what kinesiologist Daniel Ferris (U of Michigan) said in an article on Science Daily.  His team measured the efficiency of the muscles and tendons of the ankle by designing a prosthetic boot containing a “bionic ankle,” connected to the nervous system with electrodes.
    The Achilles tendon is able to store and release energy at just the right rates for both walking and sprinting.  Scientists have helped amputees with prosthetic devices that can work for one or the other, but only the real ankle is optimized for both.  During walking, the article said, the muscle and tendon act like a catapult to put a spring in your step – delivering about three times the energy that could be stored in an isolated muscle.

Does anyone see Darwin in this picture?  The article had no use for that hypothesis.  These scientists approached the human foot and ankle as if it were engineered, and advanced science accordingly.  Ferris is in a Department of Biomedical Engineering.  How would one even begin an evolutionary study of the human foot?  How many lucky mutations would it take to get this “incredibly efficient” system by accident?  Don’t expect adding a few more millions of years into the mix to help.
    Most of the real footwork in science is done with a presumption of intelligent design.  When mentioned at all, evolution is merely an afterthought in such studies.  The scientists might say something like, “Isn’t it amazing what evolution produced.”  Bosh; this was a design study from start to finish.  Give credit where it is due.  Intelligent Design promises much more productive knowledge and discovery than evolutionary theory ever did.  Junk the just-so stories and let’s race to understand design in nature, because it’s not just apparent; it’s real.

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