Bare feet stay sensitive, according to reports in Nature News and Views and Scientific American 26 June 2019 and Nature doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1345-6, published online 26 June 2019.

People who habitually walk with bare feet, build up hard calluses on their soles that protect feet from skin damage and make walking on hard surfaces less painful. Calluses are thick patches of keratin – a tough protein that forms the outer layer of skin as well as hair and nails. Skin is an important sense organ, and ability to sense mechanical stimuli (touch, pressure) is important in maintaining balance and fine tuning the walking style.

A group of scientists from USA, Germany and Kenya have conducted a study to see if thick hard calluses decreased the sensitivity of feet in people who regularly go barefoot and have callused skin. They wrote: “Because calluses—thickened and hardened areas of the epidermal layer of the skin—are the evolutionary solution to protecting the foot, we wondered whether they differ from shoes in maintaining tactile sensitivity during walking, especially at initial foot contact, to improve safety on surfaces that can be slippery, abrasive or otherwise injurious or uncomfortable.”

The researchers used ultrasound to measure the thickness of foot calluses in people who wore shoes and those who didn’t. They found that people who were normally barefoot had calluses that were approximately 30% thicker and harder than those of people who typically wore shoes. They then tested the sensitivity of the skin using a vibration exciter, which stimulates mechanical sensory nerve endings, and found the highly callused skin of the barefoot walkers was just a sensitive as the habitually shod walkers.

The researchers concluded “in contrast to shoes, callus thickness does not trade-off protection, measured as hardness and stiffness, for the ability to perceive tactile stimuli at frequencies experienced during walking.”

Scientific American, Nature

Editorial Comment: If we had to wait for evolution to make calluses, how many generations of un-evolved humans endured blisters, cuts and abrasions, with their potential for infection, along with pain and discomfort, before the genes for extra keratin production evolved?

Rather than being an “evolutionary solution,” thick calluses on barefoot walkers are a design feature, and a true adaptation. Adaptation is not an evolutionary process. It is the ability to respond to a change in the environment, but it only works if the means of detecting the change and producing an appropriate variation in structure or function is already built in. Any creature without such a pre-requisite adaptation will die out and become extinct if any change occurs it can’t cope with, no matter how slowly the change occurs. This means the extra keratin production is the result of forward planning, which needs an intelligent Creator, who also designed the mechanical senses needed for balance and walking.

It is no surprise that feet have this built in adaptation, as the first human beings were naked, which meant they walked on bare feet. Adam and Eve lived in the original very good world, which had no thorns and thistles, no biting insects, and the climate was pleasantly mild. That world no longer exists, so don’t throw your intelligently designed shoes away just yet. We now walk on cursed ground, and there is real need to protect our feet from thorns, bites, stings, cold and other hazards. Whether you walk barefoot or with shoes, feet are a constant reminder that we live in a world of created perfection followed by degeneration.

Evidence News vol. 19, No. 13
17 July 2019
Creation Research Australia

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