Thursday, July 23, 2015

Mythical Creation Science: What about "Living Fossils"?

This chapter of The New Answers Book 4 (TNA4) edited by Ken Ham is one of the better written chapters in the whole series.  Written by Dr. John Whitmore, the chapter is a rare example of YEC literature that is readable by a scientist.

Some benefits:
  • Dr. Whitmore uses the correct scientific terminology for geographic ages and the scientific names of organisms.  This allows readers to double-check his assertions.
  • He's brave enough to attempt to label the geologic time periods with the YEC periods.  This is pretty handy because entire chunks of the series makes claims without ever grounding them in a geologic time period.
    • The Paleozoic Era (542-250 million years ago(MYA)) is the Early Flood.
    • The Mesozoic Era (250-70 MYA) is Late Flood.
    • The Cenozoic Era (70 MYA - now) is Post-Flood.
  • Unlike most of the authors of the other chapters, he uses YEC assumptions (6,000 year old Earth; the Bible must be right) when talking about YEC ideas.  When talking about science ideas, he actually uses science assumptions (Earth is 4.5 billion years old; Bible isn't a science document). 
Review of Dr. Whitmore's arguments:

Basic overview:
  • A living fossil is a currently extant organism that also has fossils in the same genus or species that show very little change over a long time.
  • States that since YEC believe in a shorter timespan on Earth, living fossils may be more common in a YEC world than a science based world.
Experimental Design:
  • Ran inquiries for 26 phyla in the Paleobology Database ( and counted up the number of genera found that have roots in the Paleozoic (n = 99 species) , Mesozoic (n= 548 species) and Cenozoic (n = 2594 species) Eras. 
  • Made a graph that shows that the number of "living fossils" increases as you move closer to the present.
Arguments against Evolution:
  • If an old Earth existed, how could so many species remain unchanged through the ice ages, mass extinctions and sea levels changes?
  • Refutes Steven Jay Gould's argument that low genetic diversity may leave certain organisms unchanged over long periods of time by arguing that low genetic diversity often leads to extinction and that many diverse families and genera have shown little change over time.
Arguments for YEC
  • The Flood would have killed off a whole lot of families of organisms, so that's why the Paleozoic and Mesozoic Eras have fewer living fossils than the Cenozoic.
  • The Cenozoic is after the flood so fewer organisms would have gone extinct.  Plus, the ark was filled with different "kinds" (similar to the Family level today) that rapidly diversified to fill niches after the Flood.
  • Biologists hate - HATE! - the term "living fossil".  The term implies that the organisms alive today that are also found in the fossil record have not evolved during the intervening time.  A better way to look at a "living fossil" is an organism that hit on a winning combination that hasn't needed much improvement over time AND happened to fossilize well.  The standard example brought up are horseshoe crabs
    • Have they evolved over time?  Yup.  One specific genus has gone extinct (ie - failed to survive a changing environment); three others are alive and well today. 
    • Do they fossilize well? Hell, yeah!  Horseshoe crabs are a giant carapace (exoskeleton) that spends its life in marine sand or mud.  Since exoskeletons resist decay after death and the horseshoe crab is already in prime fossil making territory, we'd be more amazed if we didn't find lots of fossils of these.
    • How certain can scientists be that a genus or species has been evolutionarily unchanged by comparing fossils to living creatures?  If you want to start a brawl, ask the question to a mixed group of paleontologists and biologists.  Paleontologists tend to support lumping fossils that look like living organisms into current genera; biologists tend to prefer splitting them into a different species.  As a trained biologist, I'm biased toward being very cautious about deciding that a fossil that looks like a current species IS the current species.  This is because I use the species definition that requires organisms to be able to interbreed and produce fertile offspring - which we can't determine from fossils.  I concede that I may be overly cautious and cause some extraneous species to be formed.
  • How many species actually remained unchanged?  (Fair warning: I went nerd math crazy.)
    • I went to the same webpage that Dr. Whitmore used - it's a reputable paleobiology site and ran the 26 taxa he listed through the three eras.  
    • From the data in the book, 3% of living fossils are from the Paleozoic, 17% are from the Mesozoic and 80% are from the Cenozoic.
    • This is where I ran into a problem.  He lists 26 kingdoms/phyla that he included in his search, but he reports out the number of genera that are living fossils.  In layman's terms, he listed terms like "cars", "trucks" and "airplanes" and reported out terms like "1987 Yugo GV", "2010 Ford F-150" and "Cessna 350".  I find it hard to believe that he searched each living and extinct known genera individually through this data base; in Plantae alone, that would be over 300,000 species to search.  Also, he only reported out his data in a graph with the total number of living fossils found in each 10 million year period, so I don't have the actual list of species.
    • Here was my solution.  I searched each Era by the 26 kingdom/phyla he reported and collected the number of fossils recorded in the database.  This likely introduced some errors, but I will do my best to be clear about them.
  • These are the total number of fossil records for each Era.  This likely overcounts the number of taxa represented.
  Number of records
Phylum Paleozoic Mesozoic Cenozoic
Annelida 509 974 292
Arthropoda 16333 3200 2583
Brachiopoda 28308 8958 604
Chaetognatha 151 0 0
Chordata 5808 10891 11579
Cnidaria 8174 2728 2168
Coeloscleritophora 296 2 0
Ctenophora 3 0 2
Cyanobacteria 526 165 7
Echinodermata 5358 2756 1183
Ectoprocta 6856 594 1183
Entoprocta 5 0 603
Foraminafera 3585 0 0
Hemichordata 1632 2220 1061
Hyolitha 917 1 0
Mollusca 19360 25620 8749
Nematoda 6 6 18
Nematomorpha 89 0 0
Onychophora 76 0 2
Phoronida 1 12 0
Plantae 2391 3199 1996
Platyhelminthes 1 1 1
Porifera 4089 1286 156
Radiolaria 465 2008 0
Sipuncula 4 1 0
Tardigrada 0 1 110
Sum of records1049436462332297
Number of "living fossils" 99 548 2594
Percentage of fossils made of "living fossils"0.090.858.03

Look at what a tiny fraction of all records the "living fossils" make up!

If my method is accurate, 0.09% of Paleozoic fossils are of "living fossils".  0.85% of Mesozoic fossils and 8% of Cenozoic fossils are living fossils.  These numbers are substantially different from Dr. Whitmore's 3% Paleozoic, 17% Mesozoic and 80% Cenozoic.

Let's say I am off by a power of 10.  This means that the 509 annelid fossils actually make up ~51 genera instead of ~510 genera.

Sum of records 10498.3 6466.3 3232.5
Number of "living fossils" 99 548 2594
Percentage of fossils made of "living fossils" 0.94 8.47 80.2
 Well, that gets the numbers closer - especially the Cenozoic Era.  The Mesozoic is still off by a power of 2 and the Paleozoic is off by a power of 3. 

The problem is that for my math to be off by a power of ten, I have to assume that ALL of the genera that have ever existed have fossilized, the fossils have been recovered and all of those fossils have been entered in the database.    Scientists currently think we have 300,000 species of plants.  The database pulled ~7,600 plant fossils. 

 I feel pretty comfortable with my original numbers.

 So, 0.09% of Paleozoic fossils,  0.85% of Mesozoic fossils, and  8% of Cenozoic fossils are "living fossils".  I find it impossible to reconcile a 99.9% extinction rate over 6,000 years.  Now, over 542 million years, the fact that anything even appears to be a "living fossil" is pretty awesome.



Saturday, July 11, 2015

Mythical Creation Science: Faint Sun Paradox

This one caught my attention in The New Answers Book 4 (TNA 4) in a chapter titled "What Are Some of the Best Evidence in Science of a Young Creation."  This was number 4 in a list of 10  evidences for YEC within science.

What do they claim?

TNA 4 explains that the nuclear fusion in the Sun's core would have been weaker leading to a Sun that was 25% fainter 3.5 billion years ago.  This decreased luminescence would lead to a temperature on Earth that was below freezing during the time that life was beginning to form on Earth.   TNA 4 allows that scientists have proposed several solutions including increased greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere, but claims that there is no evidence for this and that there is no way that the greenhouse gas levels and the sun's luminosity could change in sync.

Where's the problem?

This explanation is a great example of a YEC propaganda trick I think of as "Tell the truth, just not the whole truth."  I'm going to recopy the previous paragraph and underline all of the true statements in the paragraph.  I'm also going to bold a true statement that TNA 4 hoped you missed.

TNA 4 explains that the nuclear fusion in the Sun's core would have been weaker leading to a Sun that was 25% fainter 3.5 billion years ago.  This decreased luminescence would lead to a temperature on Earth that was below freezing during the time that life was beginning to form on Earth.   TNA 4 allows that scientists have proposed several solutions including increased greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere, but claims that there is no evidence for this and that there is no way that the greenhouse gas levels and the sun's luminosity could change in sync.

The vast majority of what is in TNA 4 for this section is true, but incomplete.

What does science really say?

The Faint Young Sun Paradox was proposed by Carl Sagan and George Mullen in 1972.  They were bringing up a good point - the Sun was warming the Earth so much less that the Earth should have been frozen 2.3 billion years ago.  However, even as they brought this up, the proposed one of the current solutions.

From the abstract published in Science (an very prestigious and selective journal), they state "Solar evolution implies, for contemporary albedos and atmospheric composition, global mean temperatures below the freezing point of seawater less than 2.3 aeons ago, contrary to geologic and paleontological evidence."

Two important points:
  • Sagan and Mullen did the math based on current albedos (reflectiveness of the Earth's surface) and the percentage and characteristics of gases found in the atmosphere now.  They never state that the albedo or atmosphere characteristics were unchanging; in fact, they demonstrate how adding some greenhouse gases at certain points removes the problem.
  • Sagan and Mullen imply that the geologic and paleontological record - which was solid in 1972 and has advanced mightily since then - show that the Earth wasn't freezing 2.3 billion years ago.
How come the Earth wasn't a giant snowball if the Sun was cooler?

 That's where the "several solutions" come into play.

1) The atmosphere was different.  Scientists have neat tricks for capturing tiny gas bubbles trapped in ancient zircons to get an idea of what gases were present and in what amounts.  Scientists aren't exactly sure of the atmospheric composition, but there was more than enough carbon dioxide to wrap the Earth in a greenhouse effect atmosphere.

2) The Earth was still cooling down from formation and heat generated by radioactive decay.  Again, scientists are currently working out the details from age of zircons, but the Earth itself was releasing more heat 3 to 4 billion years ago than it is today.

3) The planet as a whole was darker colored leading to better capture of heat and had fewer clouds.  The darker color came from the fact that the continents were in the process of forming.  Continental rocks are lighter in color than the oceans so a world with more oceans captured sunlight more efficiently.  The fewer clouds idea is based on the fact that most clouds form around biological nuclei that allow water to condense.  Since life was just getting started, there were fewer nuclei and fewer clouds.

These solutions may work together as well.  The warmer Earth could have heat captured from the Sun more effectively by the oceans and both sources of heat were better maintained by an atmosphere with more greenhouse gases.

What about the intricate interplay of solar luminosity and greenhouse gases brought up by TNA 4?

Strawman.    No one - well, outside of YEC - has claimed that solar luminosity and greenhouse gases moved in perfect sync.  Changes in the rock cycle and plate tectonics eventually dropped the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  Meanwhile, the Sun's fusion power got stronger and stronger.  The two are correlated in a vague way but there is no causation that I've seen evidence of.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Mythical Creation Science: The Beginning

I'd like to start a series of blog posts on the problems with "Creation Science".  Since I've been reading NLQ, I realized that some parents who home-schooled while in CP/QF then left or kids who have grown up in that system may realize that "Creation Science" seems...wrong....but don't entirely know how to explain the actual sciences involved well enough to fix their educational gaps.

I'd like to try and fill some of those gaps.

I have solid credentials as an educator and a scientist. I have a Bachelors' Degree with a Major in Biology and Secondary Education and a minor in Chemistry.  I taught for 8 years in an urban, low socioeconomic status, high English Language Learner population.  I've recently returned to graduate school full-time where I started in an evolutionary biology lab and transferred to a sustainable agriculture/education project while teaching undergraduate science lab classes.

What I don't have is a good grounding in "Creation Science".  I grew up Catholic and went to Catholic schools where we were taught real science in science classes and religion - including the literary-historical criticism method of reading the Bible - in a separate class.  What I've learned so far has been gleaned by reading all four of the published "The New Answers 1-4" (TNA 1-4) which is edited by Ken Ham. 

So far, there seem to me to be a few rules in "Creation Science" that'd I'd like to discuss and/or debunk.

1) The Bible was written as a scientific and historic document in the style of similar books written after the Enlightenment.

The Bible was written long before the Enlightenment Period.  The Bible is a series of books compiled by Christians explaining how their relationship with God came into being and has changed over time. 

Using the Bible as a scientific document makes as much sense as using Beowulf or the Epic of Gilgamesh as scientific documents.
2) The Bible is ALWAYS right on scientific and historic events.

I have problems with this on two levels. 

First, the Bible doesn't match much of what the universe, Earth and life in general tell us about science.  For most people, that's a non-issue due to a non-literal understanding of the Bible.  For literalists, though, I would like to know why God supposedly gave us a science and historical book that doesn't match our planet.  That seems callous and mean-spirited.

Secondly, the authors in the compiled chapters state clearly that "Creation Science" removes the need for faith because "Creation Science" proves the Bible is true.   This to me treats believers as children - unable to have a relationship beyond what they can see and hear.

3) If the Bible appears to be wrong, that means the science is flawed or part of a conspiracy by atheists.

The problem is that they can't explain WHY the science is flawed or make the science sound flawed by ignoring /misunderstanding most of the theory. 

The conspiracy theory is an affront to the generations of ardent believers of Abrahamic faith traditions and Eastern traditions who have advanced science.

4) Creation scientists are not bound by laws of nature when proposing how the Bible can be right.

In fact, they simply change laws of physics, earth science and biology as needed.  This leads to some freaking hilarious storylines put together to make Genesis true.

5) Creation scientists don't need to read updated science papers or even cite them.
Real academics cite papers early and often.  If an idea isn't common knowledge, it should be followed by a citation or footnote.   The authors that compiled these volumes often cite "creation science" journals and books, but are haphazard about citing the original scientific paper they are discussing.

In addition, science progresses in real time.  Scientific papers from the 1970's have probably had lines of current research that support or refute them.  A credible scientist would have more recent citations (within 5 years).
6) There are people out there called "evolutionists".
Nope.  Those are a mythical critter. 

We have evolutionary biologists, astrophysicists, geologists, astronomers, historians and linguists as very broad categories with many subtypes. 

If you spell all of that out, though, it really makes the "atheists' conspiracy to bring down Christianity" sound even stupider..........

7) If an "evolutionist" posits a problem about a current science idea, that means the entire theory is massively flawed.
Biologists had a rip-roaring argument going on in the 1980's about the speed at which evolution occurs.  Some argued for a slow, steady rate of mutation (gradualists) while others argued for periods of stasis followed by rapid mutations (punctuated equilibrium or punk eeks). 

Creationists argued that the sides were proving that evolution didn't exist.  Both groups of biologists pointed out that they were arguing about a sub-point of the time scale of evolution - NOT that evolution didn't exist.

I'll be revisiting these ideas - and more! - in future posts.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Preparing to Be a Help Meet: Power of Stinking Thinking -Part Two

Part Two of the un-named epic failure - in Debi's eyes - of a woman who dared obey her husband without enough joy in her heart. 

Her husband is the one who lacked spiritual clarity but wanted to go to Bible College in a different country while wrecking their finances and refusing to have children for at least 5 years.  (Anyone else wonder what Vaughn Olman would think of this marriage?)

Anyway, she continues wringing her hands...
All day at work my mind churned over and over with insecurities and doubts about his motives and his leadership.  Did Jude hate me now?  Did I displease God somehow?  Did I marry the wrong man? My brooding thoughts constantly blamed him for my unhappiness.  And so the sweetness vanished.

You married a man who seems willing to call audibles on all major life decisions.  I can't say that you married the wrong man because Jude seems to change his mind hourly on everything.  I don't know who you married - and probably you don't either.

He said that I would only have to work while he finished a one-year degree, but his schooling lasted longer.

Why did his schooling last longer?  Was he getting additional degrees?  Did he miscalculate how long his first degree would take?  Do any of these scenarios lead to a decent paying job - actually, well-paying job since the Pearls are mostly anti-women working after marriage and childbearing - or is this just a sad, prolonged adolescence?

 I kept hoping I would get pregnant so I could at least take a break from the demanding job at the ad agency.  Then the biggest blow came; a doctor told us that we were not able to have children.  My dream of motherhood was shattered.  Depression called my name daily.

This woman sounds miserable.  She hates her job - but can't leave because Jude can't get his act together.  She's wanted to be a mom and was told by her husband he wanted to wait 5 years before trying to have kids.  Then they find out that they're infertile.  That sucks.

Usually, adoption is an option - but these two are so out of sync with each other that I doubt they could get through a home study.

His management of our finances, which resulted in accumulating debt, really made me fall apart.  I was a nervous wreck and he avoided dealing with it.  Remember what I loved most about him when we met?  He was so spontaneous, so he balanced out my methodical personality.  Jude was still Jude.  He had not changed.

If Jude is so horrible at finances, why won't he hand them off to his wife?  He's already got her supporting the family.   

There's also a big difference between innate personality characteristics - like spontaneity - and acquiring life skills - like living within a budget.    Acting like Jude's irresponsible financial decisions are part of his personality and immutable does a huge disservice to Jude.

After awhile he just stopped talking to me.  He stayed away for hours.  When he was home he would sit and stare at me with confusion on his face, as if trying to piece together what had happened to bring us to this place.

I still think Jude is having an affair. 

Then one day, after six years of marriage, I came home and he was gone.  It wasn't like he just packed a bag; his clothes, his clutter, his stuff...everything that said "Jude" was just gone.  It had never dawned on me that he might actually leave me.

Wait, what? 

Was the unnamed wife abusive?  If she was, more power to Jude for making a clean escape.

If she wasn't - and I don't see much support for that - Jude's a douchebag.  In my world, a spouse who wants out of a marriage that is not abusive has an obligation to give the other spouse a chance to change.  The spouse who wants out is more than free to set timelines, boundaries, whatever, but you can't just bail.

I know because I've been there.

My husband and I went through a rough patch in our marriage.  I was miserable and he seemed clueless.  I gave him a six-month warning: If he didn't change certain patterns in his life that were badly unhealthy for him, I would get a legal separation at the end of that six month period.

That was the hardest thing I've ever done.  My husband was shocked - and hurting a lot more than he let on.  We worked through it slowly and are still working.  I worked at being less codependent (I wanted to solve all our problems myself - hint: it doesn't work at all) while he worked at taking better care of his health.  He's doing well - he underwent gastric sleeve surgery and is working hard having a more balanced life.  I've had a hard six months but our marriage is healthier.

As a side note: a complete move-out is hard to pull off without help and planning.  Jude has been planning this for quite a while.

We were Christians.  We were preparing to go into the ministry...right?  I mean, that's why he was going to Bible College, so surely he would come back, and I would forgive him and we would be lovers again and go on into ministry.  He had a reputation to uphold; this would disgrace the Savior.  Jude had vowed to love and protect me; divorce was not an option...ever...right?

I don't really know what Jude was doing - honestly.  He might have been attending Bible College and then had a whole breakdown.  Or he could have been messing around on the side while not attending Bible College at all - that would explain why he kept such a tight hold on the bills even when he sucked at paying them.

But he was gone.  I had slowly, but surely eroded his spirit with my contempt, condescension and disapproval.  But never would I have believed this would have lead to his leaving.  He loved me...I know he loved me.  We were perfect for each other.  Everyone said so.  Why would he leave?  We could work this out with a little counsel if he would just....

I'll assume she was acting with contempt, condescension and disapproval and that hurt Jude.  Jude was making unilateral decisions and ignoring his wife's pain and depression - and that hurt his wife. 

Marriage is a two-way street.  She may have been screwing up, but so was he.

Now I was terribly, terribly alone.  It was not like being single again; it was like being ripped into pieces.  Visions of camping out on his doorstep to bring him back whirled around in my mind; maybe that would make him love me again.  I prayed earnestly that he would come back, but he never did.

I wish she had.  I doubt that would have brought him back, but she'd have figured out if he was having an affair.  I find it sad that she doesn't even think that's a possibility - probably because he wants to be a minister.

So what is it like to lose the love of your life?  You are a tangled mess of needs that cannot express themselves properly - the need to deal with the loss of a relationship without a funeral or comforting friends or family; the need to feel a sense of purpose again; the need for a way to provide for yourself; the need to keep a lid on your hormones; the need for legal and financial advice; these are some of the many things you face.

These are true statements - but not necessarily true for this lady.

I'll assume she didn't have any family or friend support which is really sad.  She should, however, be more than able to support herself if she's working at a demanding job at an ad agency.

I assume the "hormones" remark is an allusion to being sexually frustrated - but there are plenty of ways to deal with that. 

She would need legal and financial advice - but a divorce after six years of marriage is easier than if she had passed the ten year mark. In this case, I recommend a really good P.I. because I think Jude is up to something on the side and studies have found that proof of an affair or ongoing breach of trust gains the injured party 10-20% better settlement.  (The authors pointed out the better settlement seems to be based on a sense of guilt or fear of exposure from the cheating party; it's not a direct legal strategy.)

While this situation sucks, it sucks less than be married to Jude.

 Add this to the shame of being a Christian with the black letter "D" on your resume.  So after three miserable months of being alone I went back to my parents' home a dismal failure.  The vision that kept coming up before me was of a Treasure Chest turned into a coffin with all my hopes and dreams inside. At age 31, my life was over.

And yet, she didn't die.  She's 31.  That's not very old, honestly.  If she got some therapy, she'd be much happier pretty quickly and likely be in a place to look for a new partner if she wanted to.
[Long story short: She refuses to sign the divorce papers for 9 years while he's waiting to marry someone he fell in love with.  Her life is changed by reading "No Greater Joy" magazine, surprise! ]

Folks, waiting nine years - even to punish your ex-husband - is not a win for you.  The unnamed woman is now 40 years old and still enmeshed with a loser.

Finally, I was willing to admit the man I was married to many years earlier was no longer my husband.  It was at last clear to me that I had to let him go if that was his wish.  I wonder what might have happened if I had, with a free heart, let him go years earlier? Would he have changed his mind in the process?  Would he have forgiven me?  It is too late to know.

*blinks repeatedly*

If you had divorced him nine years ago, you would have been divorced nine years earlier.

I can't figure out how signing the papers faster would have made him come running back.  That makes no freaking sense.  I don't know how the author thinks that signing the papers earlier would have caused him to come running back, either....

Over the years my bitterness had made him distrust my intentions.  When he heard my voice over the phone his answering tone was angry.

Um - can you blame him?   You've been refusing a divorce for 9 years.  I'd be pissed off, too.

I told him in a matter-of-fact-way, "I am truly sorry. I will sign the papers." As we talked it was like a window shade came up on his soul.  He sounded more and more friendly, like the man I had married.  Was God giving me a second chance to be the person I should have become towards this man?  I didn't know, but regardless of the outcome I would be thankful.  We talked five times that day.  It was my 40th birthday. It was one of the happiest days of my life.  In the end, he sent me "the papers".  I had to accept his decision with grace.  I finally, after all these years, obeyed my husband.

Jesus Christ.  She's still fawning over him like a dog.  Ugh.
[Long story short: She's lonely at first.  She meets some kids in the neighborhood and enjoys teaching them gardening and quilting.  She finds a graphic design job for a ministry that she likes.]

In other words,  once she left Jude - body and heart - she did great.   The only problem I see with this story is that she lost 9 years waiting for him to come back.


Preparing to Be a Help Meet: Power of Stinking Thinking - Part One

Only two more chapters left!  *happy dance*

Debi ends the last chapter with an apology for the sad, depressing, scary story that follows because a woman didn't respect her husband.

I've found all of her stories so far terrifying or boring so I'm excited about this one.

He came at a moment in my life where I was really lonely.  I had moved to a college town to be a volunteer for a thriving ministry.  We were busy with lots of Bible studies, meetings, memorizing Scripture, conferences and friends eating together and talking.  Then, one day, out of the blue, I was dismissed from the ministry.  I was several hours from home, had expenses to pay, and a job I had just begun so I decided to stay put for a while to get my bearings and give myself time to decide how to move forward.  I was more than just a little lonely; I had a great big need to be needed.

Those are some huge red flags, kiddo.

First, I've been involved as a volunteer in many secular and sacred ministries - but none of them have ever asked me to move to a different city.

Second, how do you get dismissed out of the blue?  Either you are not being truthful about your actions (ie, I was starting internecine warfare between my housemates between prayer meetings) or you got yourself into a cult or cult-like group.

Third, loneliness can blind you to the flaws of potential friends and lovers.  I've been there; done that; lived to regret it.

I thought a lot about the kind of man I wanted to marry.  I knew he would have to be real, not a Christian automation.  Being outside my group now, alone in the world, I wondered how I would meet him.

Worrying about meeting someone is oddly counterproductive.  Ask someone to set you up. 

Then one day it happened while I was running an errand.  On impulse I shot into the coffee shop, ordered a latte, and sat down by a friend who was having lunch.  She poked me in the ribs, "Don't turn around now, but you should know that a gorgeous man sitting at your right is checking you out.  He looks Middle-Eastern or something, but I've seen him in church, so he must be a Christian.

*rolls eyes*

Glad we've decided he's a Christian.  That's so important if the person is not clearly a WASP.  Also, since he's a Christian, there's no way he's an axe murderer.....

When she gave me the word I turned to look.  He was beautiful with black curly hair and a big moustache.

I'm not that to moustaches so this section made me giggle like a teenager because I kept visualizing Ned Flanders from the Simpsons.

  He suddenly turned my way so our eyes met.  I could feel my face blushing.  I saw him grin before I dropped my eyes.

A couple of days later I was running another errand when suddenly he was right there in front of me.  It was one heart-stopping magnificent moment.  We both just stared into each other's eyes and laughed.  It was one of those moments when it seems something was meant to be.

You say magnificent; I say bit creepy.  How big is this college town? 

Jude started dropping by work, we took walks, ate ice cream, or visited some out of the way restaurant.  I loved his voice.  He was charming, spontaneous,  people-orientated, fun and independent, which balanced my methodical, steadfast personality.

That's nice if vague...

This type of thing goes on for awhile so I'm gonna summarize.
  •  The author mentions her depression lifted when she was with Jude. 
  • Her parents met him twice before he proposed after several months of dating. 
  • They got married. 
  •  Early married life was nice in the goofy way early married life often is.

It happened so slowly I never even noticed until one day, it seems out of nowhere, fiery darts started flying at my soul, like a bad dream from who-knows-where; accusing thoughts, irritated feelings, doubt and insecurity nibbled at my soul.  Things in our courtship I could overlook now invaded my mind, not allowing me to think clearly.  Baggage from my youth clouded my soul like a foul odor.

You may not know this, but after the honeymoon - which traditionally also described the early part of a marriage where both partners are still being overly deferential to their spouse - comes the adjustment period.  

The point where you start noticing that when your spouse adds seasonings to a dish you were finished cooking that you feel angry because you didn't want that spice on the dish.

Don't get me started on chores, finances, or who voted which way on which Proposal.....

My point is that these rubs and annoyances are happening because you are seeing clearly how your life as a couple is unfolding.

If you need proof that Debi wrote this section, look no farther than the last sentence of the section above.

Being taught to submit as a wife, I knew there was no way out except to obey, but it was with a heavy heart and a bitter grudge.

No.  Talking is always an option - a great option if you want to have a healthy marriage.

  Then my Prophet-type Jude decided to go to Bible college 3,500 miles another country!  His grand ideas were foreign to me.  I harbored continual disapproval of him.  I began to question his motives.  I talked down to him because I felt he was stupid in the way he handled our money.  He seemed to lack spiritual clarity.  I wanted to start a family; Jude wanted to wait five years before having children!  Why should he be the one to decide?  I have my convictions.  I have to do as I know God says, not him.
Those are some huge differences in life choices.  With the exception of "lacking spiritual clarity", each of the other choices Jude made should be a joint decision by both spouses.  Moving to another country - whether it's one spouse or both spouses- is such a big decision that both people need to be on board.  Waiting 5 years before having children is a big commitment that runs the risk of potentially not having children (although most Pearlites seem to marry really young).  Not being able to handle money is very problematic for both members of the family.

I'd question his motives, too.  He's spending recklessly, wants to move to another country to pursue a "Bible College " degree while being spiritually flaky, and doesn't want to have kids for the next half-decade.

IMHO, Jude sounds like he's having an affair.

AntiPearl: I think this quote explains a lot of CP/QF...