Thank you for the link to the articles, Simple Runner. Just one person - Ross Tucker, but I thought I'd post one or two thoughts on the debate.
First, the issue of human interest and even human rights is completely distinct to that of eligibility to perform. Athletes, it can be argued, have a human right to use certain doping products outside of the sport (anti-aging clinics give growth hormone and testosterone all the time - it may have some shaky ethics, but it's not illegal there and people have the right to use it). But in sport, we disallow it because it affects the competition. That is, it disadvantages some by giving others an advantage.
For carbon fibre limbs, the evidence is clear. It was initially theoretical, because no testing had ever been done. But the mass of the limbs, the stiffness of the limbs and the fact that carbon fibre never fatigues was teh reason for the advantage. Then, when the IAAF tested Pistorius in 2007, they confirmed this - he ran with this significantly lower oxygen cost of running. His running was described by one of the world's leading biomechanists as a "bouncing locomotion" unlike any running ever seen. These energetic factors would predict an advantage.
Scientifically, however, it is very difficult to join those dots - the physiological differences imply advantage, they don't prove it. In fact, proving advantage is basically impossible. This is what Pistorius' clever lawyers took to the CAS. He went away and got his own testing done, and presented it to a panel of three judges (not scientists) who made a ruling that there was insufficient scientific evidence.
Not a scientific decision, but a legal one, and one which had absolutely zero peer-review, zero external/independent verification of the science. And so we all waited with baited breath to see the research when it was finally published. It came out in spurts. The first one was so poor that it was an embarrassment that the CAS had allowed it to be presented unchallenged. There were so many method flaws than any scientist, within 10 minutes of looking through it and evaluating it, would have picked up the problems. Some of them are discussed here:
One example - one of the key questions about Pistorius is whether his carbon fiber limbs make him more efficient. So this is tested easily enough by comparing his oxygen use to able-bodied runners. They did this, but when they compared him to other sprinters, his oxygen use was significantly lower. So they went out and find long-distance runners. he was still lower. Then they added the data from studies of world-class long distance runners. It got better - suddenly now he was different, but if you used a statistical definition for different, then it was passable. And hey presto, he's the same! It was an abomination of scientific testing. Not to mention that he was tested in a completely different state of training.
But that wasn't the last of it. In November 2009, more than one year AFTER the CAS had cleared him, one of HIS OWN SCIENTISTS published a paper saying that all their evidence taken together showed that he had a 10 second advantage. So that's his own guy, the world's leading biomechanist, peter Weyand, who took the data they collected, analyzed it ONE YEAR LATE, and then presented that he believed there was a 10 second advantage.
It's an extra-ordinary sequence of events, because that research had been done BEFORE the CAS hearing, but was only finally made public more than a year after the decision. How can a decision be past, how can the science suggest one thing but only part of it be presented to portray the case in a different light?
It was a gross miscarriage of scientific integrity. Scientific fraud comes to mind, because those scientists who went before the CAS presented evidence that was a) flawed, and b) incomplete. It was methodologically poor, and it didn't cover all the necessary questions. CAS defined that question far too narrowly, and for that, Pistorius' lawyers hopefully got themselves some good exposure.
Bottom line, the theory predicts an advantage. It establishes a number of hypothesis that can be tested - those were tested, by Bruggemann, and confirmed. However, he didn't measure actual advantage. Neither did Pistorius' scientists, but the legal process allowed flawed science to be the basis for a decision.
The issue of blades is also interesting. I'm currently conducting research on athletes with cerebral palsy, so I have some involvement with our Paralympic team. Recently, a visiting German double amputee and our local single-leg amputee received a visit from a rep showing them different versions of carbon fibre limbs. They got to "test-drive" these limbs, doing a few 200m time-trials on the track to see how they went. The range in times, even taking into account fatigue, was close to 2 seconds. That is, the limbs can influence performance by 2 seconds, and that is purely because of the differences in stiffness. It doesn't even take into account the set up and attachment issues.
What I hope is that Pistorius continues at his current rate of improvement. I hope he breaks 44 by London, I hope that he gets to the World Record soon too. Then I'd like to see how this debate is different for those who argue that there is no advantage.
Anyway, hopefully there is more to come.