aNewDomain — “Intelligent design” is the belief that the universe is perfectly ordered, logical and optimized, thus God exists. “The Case for Intelligent Design” explores aspects of biological design that support this thesis. This week: We look at hairs on the top of your feet.
What with the part of the earth where I live moving into more-direct alignment with the sun, it’s getting warmer. This prompts me to skip normal shoes in favor of sandals when I’m running out the door in the morning.
The first or second time I wore sandals this year, I noticed an oddly painful tug on the top of my feet. With every step I took, my sandals tugged on the hairs on the top of my feet.
This was the first time, 51 years in, that I had noticed the hairs on my feet. I knew they were there. But I never paid them any mind. I let them be, and until a few weeks ago, they did me the same favor.
Anyway, this prompts the question: What is the purpose of hairs on the top of your feet?
I called my friend the evolutionary biologist, who refused to be named for this article. “Hairs on the top of your feet,” he replied after recovering from his initial surprise at my query, “protect your bare feet from sunburn when walking in the desert. Androgenic hairs, we call them in the trade.”
“Wouldn’t it have been better for God, who does everything just so, to have given us sandals if we were meant to wander the desert?”
“He gave us big brains that allowed us to design sandals.”
“Which pull on the foot hairs that we no longer need, and instead cause us pain.”
“Got me there,” he said, excusing himself in order to pursue his biological imperative to spread his seed with a 61-year-old colleague whose husband is away this week on a book tour.
Cover image: Wikimedia Commons