IEE: Junk

We present a new edition of Ideological Education Essentials! (Otherwise known as 'Science' Education Essentials)

Last week’s Science Essentials posts began with Are You Made of Junk?

My oldest daughter just had her tonsils removed. I’ve had my appendix removed, like many of us have. I’m sure if you’ve had your appendix, tonsils, gallbladder, or other “expendable” organ removed, you’ve probably been told it was not needed; it wasn’t a big deal. But is it?

Is it? Considering that Dr Forlow managed to type the above regardless, preliminary evidence suggests ‘no.’ But the creationists can’t cope with that.

Did God make you full of junk? Some scientists believe so.

Other scientists think that God didn’t make you at all.

They have taught for years that only gene-coding DNA was functional; all other DNA was “junk” leftovers from a long evolutionary past. However, other scientific studies have since shown that non-coding DNA actually carries useful and vital coded instructions. David Stern, a geneticist with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, says:

We used to call this junk DNA, and it’s perfectly obvious now what we used to call junk DNA is actually chock-filled with the information that builds out organisms. (Palca, J. Don’t Throw It Out: ‘Junk DNA’ Essential in Evolution. All Things Considered. Posted on August 19, 2011, accessed December 20, 2011)

That sentence is from this page. The very next sentence is the following:

Geneticists still think a lot of our DNA is junk.

Of course, least I be accused of quote mining myself, the next (and final) one is: “Makes you wonder if there are any other undiscovered treasures in all that junk that might spawn the next revolution in biology.” But nevertheless, the vast majority of the genome is junk.

Next in Forlow’s article is the video already discussed at length in Junk DNA and Vestigial Organs – and you can go there for my thoughts on the subject. In that post I checked up on the organs that the video claimed were said to be vestigial but in fact weren’t. I found that they ranged from organs that legitimately did have a function, having initially been written off as vestigial, to those that certainly are without major function. I also noted a number of other organs, both in humans and not, that are also definitely vestigial. What use are the eyes of Mole Rats, covered by a layer of skin? Why do we develop three sets of kidneys in the womb, but only keep one? But that’s enough of that.

Forlow’s post concludes:

God doesn’t create junk, nor does He create organs that are unnecessary or that do not serve a purpose. God created Adam and Eve, declaring them “very good.” But it was their sin, not God, that started the process of sickness, decay, and death. I am so grateful that despite sin entering the world, God designed us to be able to live on earth, as well as with Him in heaven through His saving grace.

Yada yada yada…

How do you explain God’s design in the human body to your students?

Two comments to this:

BJ Hendickson says: “Psalm 139:13 along with the Human Anatomy Coloring Book by Doyer Publications is one combination we use when teaching the human body to our home school children.”

That’s a pretty light curriculum there.

Jim Groff says: “Thanks for the excellent videos! They are needed and appreciated!

Excellent? Really? Wow…

The next post, of course (it’s the next week that the Tuesday/Thursday posts start), is the K-5 activities:

1)      Play this free online Human Organ game (for younger students).

That game is terrible in so many ways. I dare you to play it to find out. Don’t worry – it’s secular, despite the lack of a warning to that respect.

2)      Check out the “Who Wants to be a Millionaire Doctor?” anatomy game!

A slightly better game. None of this is about Junk, you’ll note.

3)      To help students learn the makeup of the “twisted ladder” concept of DNA: In groups of 2, have students complete this DNA paper model. Once finished, use craft sticks to secure the paper model. Have one student hold an end of the model while the second student gently twists the other end to make a spiral helix (twisted ladder effect).

Both of those last two links are to ehow – how much is Dr Forlow paid exactly?

And then there are the 6-12 activities:

1)      Have students play this online Interactive Body game. Choose “Organs” to place 16 organs in their correct place inside the human body.

That’s a much better game – it’s from the BBC too.

2)      The University of Utah (secular site) provides a short video explaining basic DNA facts. Have students watch the video and then construct a double helix DNA model.

That is where she chooses to put the warning ‘secular site’? And not the BBC? It’s quite good though. The second link there is, once again, to ehow.

3)      To make a 3-D DNA model: In groups of 2, have students complete this DNA paper model. Once finished, use craft sticks to secure the paper model. Have one student hold an end of the model while the second student gently twists the other end to make a spiral helix (twisted ladder effect).

And another ehow link. That makes four, in six activities.

Unlike the k-5 post, there are comments on this post. The first is from “Kippy Honda”, who says: “These are excellent resources, and I appreciate so very much having the links right here – I would not have found them on my own !! Thank you for this blog!” This is why you use a ‘search engine beginning with G,’* which I very much suspect is what Forlow has been doing.

The response, from Forlow herself, was: “Thanks, Kippy. I hope you had a nice Christmas!”

The final post of the week was the Discussion Starters post:

Classroom Starters:
Does our perfect God make mistakes when He forms us in our mothers’ wombs? How would you explain babies who are born with birth defects or diseases?

How do you explain diseases? Perhaps a better example of a ‘mistake’ are the kidneys already alluded to – it’s really a case of a primitive set developing, but then being dissolved (oops! What was I thinking? says God); then a better pair develops, but they too dissolve (oops again – you’re not a fish, are you? Then I better get rid of them for you); and then the third and final pair appear (that will have to do – by do try not to get diabetes). God sounds pretty gaffe-prone to me.

For the older student: What are examples of what evolutionists term “vestigial” organs? How could you show that these organs are useful?

Better: what are examples of what creationists claim aren’t vestigial organs, but are? No cheating by looking at my list on the video post.

Dinner Table Starters:
Why do you think God created us with eyebrows? Little toes? Earlobes?

The former are used for expressions (a bit of a bait-and-switch there), the latter two? In both cases I’m sure there was a better way to do any function they might have had, if you’re not constrained by evolutionary necessity.

For the older student: How would you answer a friend who asks, “Why would a perfect God create flawed DNA?”

Because he likes annoying people, that’s why. Haven’t you read the newspaper lately?

There is a comment here, in answer to the first question:

According to the Bible, man has fallen down from the garden of Eden and I think this fall has, among all consequences for him, a physical one: ADN has been changed on certain parts. These irregularities manifest themselves through the appearence of diseases.

Ammonium dinitramide? What has that got to do with anything?

And that’s it for last week. Stay tuned to be let down by the lack of anything interesting for this week because… no, I wont give it away, may as well keep some interest.

*Obscure RW reference.


3 thoughts on “IEE: Junk

  1. The “functional” parts of junk DNA creationists typically point to account for a crazy-small fraction of the junk DNA, something like 10% of it (although that is probably wrong).

    To conclude from that that there is no junk DNA is to be either horrifically ignorant or downright deceitful

    • Well, they say that we discover new functions all the time. They just never admit that they’re only talking about the tiniest fractions of DNA.

      I don’t even know why they bother denying Junk DNA. They think that disease is the result of the fall – why not Junk DNA? As that last commentor says, “[DNA] has been changed on certain parts. These irregularities manifest themselves through the appearence of diseases.” It’s as reasonable a position as any of their others, but instead they choose the denialism route.

    • I think it’s because they keep pointing to DNA as supporting their point. They don’t often cite disease as evidence of creation so can just dismiss it as part of the fall but they do cite DNA and so DNA must be defended from its own inadequacies.


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