Understand, ye brutish among the people:
and ye fools, when will ye be wise?
As a naturopathic doctor (ND) I have read tens of thousands of pages of texts dealing with natural medicine, botanical texts, nutrition, and anatomy. Not surprisingly, only a small percentage of these texts are written by Bible-believing Christians. Exposure to a fair amount of New Age nitwittery and false science is unavoidable, and as with all fields of study, a great deal of winnowing is necessary. In regard to natural medicine, this does bother me more since I would expect better from those who profess to advocate natural healing, and I do not appreciate them making statements that might give naturopaths a bad name. As much as I am bothered by such nonsense, I do, on occasion, run across statements from some of the least competent advocates of natural healing that are so utterly stupid that they provide me with some comic relief. Many come to mind, but the most stupid statement that I have seen yet in a book on healing is one made by Gary Null on page 76 in The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine.
“Our prehistoric ancestors’ switch from quadrupedism to an upright, two-legged posture was a great achievement. Unfortunately, this advance had a price attached: It heralded the beginning of human back and neck pain.”
If Dr. Null thinks that we could alleviate back problems by walking around on all fours like a jackass, he’s free to give it a try; he can already bray like one, judging by the statement quoted above.
This statement makes the assumption that walking on all fours was more efficient. If they think that walking upright is less efficient, how is it that we have evolved? Wouldn’t that be devolving? Of course, as it is, our backs are designed very well by our maker. We are different from the animals and this difference requires that we have hands that are free.
The fact that back problems are common is usually a result of misuse, laziness, or injury. The lifting of heavy objects should be done by the thighs, instead by the back. The back is going to be involved in the lifting, but it should be a passive, stabilizing involvement only. Using the back to lift heavy objects will eventually lead to an injury, and once that injury occurs, lifting even objects as light as a piece of paper with the improper movement may throw out one’s back. I know this from experience. I threw my back out by clean and jerking my own weight when I was a teenager. I succeeded in completing the press, but I threw my back into it improperly and have had occasional problems ever since. Since then I have done a great deal of proper lifting and have had no problems, even when I carried 120 pounds for three days in order to stock a mountain cabin, but on occasion, I won’t think about my posture and I will throw it back out again while picking up a coin from the floor, or while getting a scoop of feed for my chickens. It is never too much weight that gets me, it is always an improper movement that involves no severe muscular strain, and it usually takes a few weeks for me to fully recover.
Another reason for our back problems is that we tend to be lazy these days. We sit around on couches, get little exercise, drive everywhere instead of walking, and we have machines do almost everything for us. Of course our backs are bad! Most of us do little to keep our back muscles in shape.
A third major cause of back problems relates to our failure to drink a sufficient amount of pure water. Most people see no reason that this would benefit an aching back, but it may very well be the number one solution for most backaches. First, many backaches may actually be traced to kidney pain, so drinking a lot of pure water may eliminate this problem. Second, the discs between the vertebrae require a sufficient amount of water to maintain their springiness. When these areas are dehydrated, back pain is inevitable.
Part of the problems that we have with our backs stems from our poor understanding of the way that the back was designed. The knobs along our spine, known as processes, are what most people perceive as being our backs. In reality, these are only attachment points for back muscles. The center of the spine, and the much stronger, more solid area, is under the ribcage, much closer to the center of gravity. Being aware of this true center is very important to preserving a proper posture, and for healthy movements. A good discussion of the importance of this “kinesthetic sense” may be found in Thomas Mark’s What Every Pianist Should Know About the Body, which also has applications for other instruments and activities.
Blaming our back problems on the way that they were designed is foolishness. Our backs are made up of 24 vertebrae divided into 7 cervical vertebrae, 14 thoracic vertebrae, and 5 lumbar vertebrae. The sacrum, which is the lowest part of the spine is made up of 5 fused vertebrae. Not only do each of the 24 vertebrae have three processes for muscle attachments, but each has a hole through it, known as the foramen, to accommodate the spinal cord and attached nerves. It would be miraculous enough for a spinal cord to have formed as a central nerve conduit — something much more complicated than anything man has ever created — but for a set of 24 vertebrae to have been formed in the perfect shape to house this cord, allow for the required muscle attachments and nerve entry and exit points, as well as concave shapes for accommodating padding between them, magnifies the scale of this miracle to such a degree that the figure would be incomprehensible.
The implication that we would somehow be better off if we went about on all fours is ludicrous, to say the least. Since we use tools, including not just hand tools, but computer keyboards, musical instruments, pens, pencils, and a myriad of other items that separate us from the animal kingdom, going about on all fours would not work out very well. Furthermore, our backs and whole skeletons are perfectly designed for walking upright. The cervical region our spines curve inward, while the chest area curves outward, and the lumbar area curves inward as well. This shape allows our backs to safely absorb a large amount of shock. Furthermore, our femurs (thigh leg bones) slant slightly inward so that our knee joints are directly below our hip joints, which enhances our ability to stand and walk with proper balance and sturdiness.
Thousands of other minute details went into our design that gives us the ability to stand and walk upright. Assuming that all of these countless details were gradual and accidental products of an unintelligent force requires the imagination of a small child, or the vileness of one with a reprobate mind. In any event the human is another thing that makes evolutionists look stupid.
Ezekiel 12:2: Son of man, thou dwellest in the midst of a rebellious house, which have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not: for they are a rebellious house.
Mark, Thomas. What Every Pianist Needs to Know About the Body with supplementary material for organists by Roberta Gary and Thom Miles. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2003.
Null, Gary. The Encyclopedia of Natural Health. New York: Kensington, 1998.
Your servant in Christ,
John Hinton, Ph.D.
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