This article is from
Creation 16(4):20–22, September 1994

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Railroad wants monkey off its back

by Mike Krehbel

Every day more than 10 million Americans are off work due to back injuries.1 Fiscal losses in back-related injuries in the United States are estimated at $20-50 billion a year!2 Additional moneys are lost in litigation, retraining and lost productivity. The problem is growing worse each year, ‘approaching enormous proportions that affect the back pain sufferer, their families, friends, co-workers, place of employment and ultimately their country’s productivity.’3

Norfolk and Southern Railroad wants to derail the trend. They’ve sponsored a revolutionary ‘back school’ for their Mechanical Department, recognizing bad information as a primary player in the ‘plague’.

Contrary to 45 years of common teaching,4 physical training instructor David W. Apts, author of The Back Book, coaches students to lift with their back muscles — by ‘locking their back in’ (head and shoulders rolled back, back curved inwards rather than rounded out) and not relying entirely on arm and leg muscles.

Evolution throws a curve

General foreman and back-school instructor for Norfolk and Southern’s Mechanical Department, Ellis Leigh, tells his classes, ‘Evolutionists tried to tell us the curvature of the back was due to a deteriorated condition, caused by walking upright on our "hind legs".5 In reality, the back was designed with this curvature, which assists us in lifting and with the body’s movement in general. The spine’s three curvatures act as an indispensable shock absorption system.’

Evolutionists have got it wrong about the curvature in your back

Affected by evolutionary thinking, many clinics and texts told people that standing like the person in the left-hand picture, exhibiting the natural forward curvature in the lower back where the spine joins the pelvis, was wrong. (See for example Ref. 5, main article.) Instead, they encouraged people to practise standing as in the picture on the right. All sorts of exercises and advice were given to get rid of this curvature, found only in humans.

Although such overtly evolutionary texts are generally regarded as outdated, the supposed evolutionary history of the lumbar spine has had a lasting, subtle contribution towards poor posture.

Back posture

Early orthopaedic pamphlets referred to the spine’s natural curvature, called ‘lumbar lordosis’,6 as a disorder and suggested we sit, stand and walk like apes to correct it (see sidebar).

From apes to olympic weight-lifters

Apts never mentions evolutionists in his book. Rather he simply bases his instructions on two key fundamentals. First, a shift in scientific models from apes to Olympic weight-lifters. Second, a design analysis of our own anatomy, as it is, not as evolutionists think it should be.

This shift in models enables us to see an alarming cause and effect relationship. Evolutionary orthopaedics told us not to lift with our backs, which led to unexercised and weak backs, prone to deterioration and injury.

Conversely, by ‘locking in’ the back muscles, lifting becomes easier, and the back muscles are exercised, leading to a healthier back.

Evolutionists scrutinized our anatomy with an atheistic eye. When Apts re-examined the body with an eye for design, he made two important discoveries:

  1. The curvature of the back is functional — not faulty.
  2. The back is well-equipped with layers of muscles which, as people neglected to use them they became weak, leading to back injury.

Weighty questions

Will corporate America and elsewhere see the creation-evolution debate as practical, with their employees’ health and $50 billion at stake? Will the media present it as the income-impacting, quality-of-life, health-care issue that it is? Don’t hold your breath!

Individual loads

Norfolk and Southern Railroad may just be the engine that pulls the whole train. But, whether corporations wake up or not, as individuals we must decide not only how we’ll stand, but where, as well.

The Apostle Paul alluded to champion athletes as suitable examples. He said to run in such a way that you may win. And everyone who competes in the games, exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, today’s equivalent of a gold medal, but we an imperishable. (1 Corinthians 9:24-25). ‘... let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us’ (Hebrews 12:1).


  1. David W. Apts, The Back Book, F.P.R. Inc., Ashland (Kentucky), 1986, p. 5.

  2. ibid.

  3. ibid.

  4. ibid.

  5. Your Back, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Ochsner Clinic, p. 1.

  6. ibid.

This brief article is not meant to be a substitute for professional advice. Nor does it obviate the need for proper care of our backs, ensuring adequate exercise, and avoiding excessive heavy lifting (especially in sedentary people without proper warm-up or stretching).

was formerly an apprentice airframe and powerplant mechanic with a major airline, and has enjoyed extensive travel around the USA, Israel, and diving ventures to the Caribbean. He is presently employed in Norfolk and Southern Railroad’s Mechanical Department.