Parkour and Biomimicry
Parkour is “the art of moving through your environment using only your body and the surroundings to propel yourself” (“What is Parkour?” 2005). Also called “free running” in its more expressive form, parkour allows skilled runners to move quickly over heterogeneous terrain, particularly in urban landscapes (“Urban Freeflow,” n.d.; cf. “What is Free...,” 2006). “Parkour...is a quasi commando system of leaps, vaults, rolls, and landings designed to help a person avoid or surmount whatever lies in his path” (Wilkinson, 2007). Parkour may be grasped by imagining a race through an obstacle course where the goal is to overcome obstacles quickly and efficiently using no extraneous movement (see “What is Parkour?”). The word “parkour” is borrowed from the French word for “route” (Laughlin, 2004). Parkour has become better known as it has spread from England, being featured in independent films and demonstrated in free-running form in a recent James Bond film (see Murphy, 2006).
Frenchman David Belle is credited with inventing parkour in the Parisian suburb of Lisses (“Introduction to Parkour,” n.d.; Murphy, 2006). American parkour aficionado Ryan Ford estimated that no one in America is Belle’s equal (Wilkinson). Belle made an insightful comment about parkour’s origin:
I was at a waterfall one day, and there were huge trees all around, and in the trees were monkeys. There were fences and barriers around them, so they couldn’t get out, but I went around the barriers and played with the monkeys. After that, I watched them all the time, learning how they climbed. All the techniques in parkour are from watching the monkeys (as quoted in Wilkinson, 2007, emp. added).
In fact, one parkour move is called the “monkey vault” (“Parkour Training...,” n.d.).
In citing primates as the inspiration for his innovative running style, Belle has thrown evolutionists an inadvertent curveball. Evolution involves a natural progression of more complicated, stronger, more adapted organisms (see Jackson, n.d.). If natural selection caused macroevolution to occur, we must ask why it produced a higher life form—Homo sapiens—without preserving obviously advantageous physical traits from the order Primates? Such features allow primates members to move efficiently and effortlessly in the wild. According to evolution, human movement should be better suited for survival than ape movement, not the other way around. (Of course, macroevolution and the interrelatedness of all species never have been demonstrated; see Houts, 2007.)
Belle said that “the philosophy of parkour that drives me is that progression of ability, being better than I was the day before” (as quoted in Wilkinson, 2007, emp. added). But jaw-dropping as Belle’s maneuvers are, they are simpler and less fluid than those of many monkeys. When we observe talented humans “aping” the apes, we should remember that God’s powerful creative hand has provided many creatures with characteristics perfect for survival, and that biomimicry implies a logical fault in evolution (see Butt, 2002).
David Belle admitted he is “still learning” about parkour (Wilkinson, 2007). Even as we admit to “still learning” about God, the Bible, and science, we hope that evolutionists will take note of the vast evidence for the Creator, and the severe problems with the General Theory of Evolution.
Butt, Kyle (2002), “Thinking God’s Thoughts After Him,” [On-line], URL: http://apologeticspress.org/articles/1794.
Houts, Michael G. (2007), “Evolution is Religion—Not Science [Part I],” [On-line], URL: http://apologeticspress.org/articles/3511.
“Introduction to Parkour” (no date), Parkour USA, [On-line], URL: http://www.parkour.us/.
Jackson, Wayne (no date), “Evolution—Fact or Theory?” [On-line], URL: http://apologeticspress.org/rr/reprints/Evolution-Fact-or-Theory.pdf.
Laughlin, Zoe (2004), “Sewing the City: Parkour and the Traceurs of Narrative Threads,” [On-line], URL: http://www.asifitwerereal.org/zoe/archive/Parkour/parkour.htm.
Murphy, Zoe (2006), “Parkour Craze Reaches New Heights,” BBC News, [On-line], URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4954812.stm.
“Parkour Training: Monkey Vault” (no date), Expert Village, [On-line], URL: http://sports.expertvillage.com/videos/parkour-monkey-vault.htm.
“Urban Freeflow” (no date), The Official Worldwide Parkour/Freerun Network, [On-line], URL: http://www.urbanfreeflow.com/.
“What is Free Running?” (2006), American Parkour, [On-line], URL: http://www.americanparkour.com/content/view/877/27/.
“What is Parkour?” (2005), American Parkour, [On-line], URL: http://www.americanparkour.com/content/view/221/325/.
Wilkinson, Alec (2007), “No Obstacles: Navigating the World by Leaps and Bounds,” The New Yorker, [On-line], URL: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/04/16/070416fa_fact_wilkinson ?currentPage=1.