Explaining fossils: Many worlds smashed together to make this one

I keep hearing that fossils came from some other creations out there in the far reaches of space–that our Earth is a conglomerate of the remnants of these previous creations. My kids have actually heard this in seminary. Apparently the story goes something like this: God made lots of worlds though special acts of creation. Then to make this Earth he took all these other creations and put them together into this one. This story is nice because it explains how come we have fossils millions of years old on a earth that is just a few thousand years old. It answers the age old question, “How do we get rid of Godless evolution.” So dinosaurs lived in these extra solar planets which furnished the material for this earth. The great thing about armchair speculation like this is that you don’t have to deal with any messy things like data and evidence. To ask the question, “What evidence for this might you expect?” and “What evidence do you see that leads you to this conclusion?” are not questions you have to explore. They also don’t have to ask, “What implications are there for sticking this bit of nonsense in our theology in our religion?” So there are lots of little subtleties they don’t have to tackle. You just say it and it’s true. How nice.

But just for a second let’s step back and think about this. Just a little bit. Not in detail. Just a few questions for the Smashed Together and Uniting Planets Indurately Doctrine (STUPID).

1. Presumably these planets had dinosaurs (and hundreds of other kinds of plants and animals) only living on the surface, which means that the surface to volume ratio of bone matrix and planetary internal material must have been very very small (the crust of the earth makes up very little of the actual mass of the earth). So did the creator sort through all the good and bad stuff and use only the crustal material with bones? That’s a lot of work. It may be that ideas that we assisted in the creation actually involved us sorting through rocks for bones. No wonder there was war in heaven. Of course, I’ve made undergraduates do worse (ask me about sorting through flies sometime).

2. Since we have these bones in ecological contexts there must have been a whole slough of these worlds. Once for each strata found on our planet, so several hundred ought to do it. Each of these with its own fauna. Worlds with cool Precambrian invertebrates. Several trilobites worlds because we find them in so many different strata with different sets of invertebrates. Fish world. Swamp world (which was the world made for all the oil rich organic material I suppose we’d need to cause global warming to usher in the end time catastrophes (and an extra ‘yuck’ for those souls having to sort out that from its world’s matrix of extra rock. I hope we got to use magic or cool celestial steam shovels and didn’t have to physically like move it into barrels for placing it into this world to make the oil fields). Early amphibian world. Dino world (I hope I sorted that one!). Early mammal world, late mammal world and other scores of these. Whoa, I’m exhausted thinking of that process.

3. Now whose job was it when the moon was formed to keep these strata in the place God put them (and make no mistake He had to put them because they are in a nice progression from simple organisms to more and more complex and they lead from one kind to another (invertebrate swimming thing s=> fish => fish with lungs => amphibian like fish => fish-like amphibians => amphibian-like reptiles => reptiles => mammal-like reptiles => mammals etc. And lots and lots of specific sequences like this. More impressive sorting going on as the worlds are smashed together.)) You see early in our planet’s history a Mars sized planetoid smashed into our planet (presumably after it was formed from all the other planets we talked about) and the back splash of this collision created the moon. Wow that must have made us all sigh in despair as we scrambled back to untangle the mess that that made. And who was in charge of making sure all the fossils didn’t melt in the generated heat? Or did we lay down our extra-solar fossils after this. I’d vote for that. But then . . . let’s move to theology?

4. What’s weird is why do all this? Why lay down the strata to look like, well to look exactly like things evolved? Like things were here all along? Like we are related to these bunches and bunches of special creations that we know from our seminary teachers were from other planets? Why? The reason I’m confused is that Elder Oaks’ talk on honesty says (he was only the president of BYU at the time so you don’t have to believe it if you don’t want):

The children of God have always been commanded to seek the truth and to say what is true. We are all familiar with the Ten Commandments the Lord gave the children of Israel through Moses. They include: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor” (Exod. 20:16). Proverbs contains this teaching: “A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape” (Prov. 19:5).

And

Revealed scripture teaches us that truth is a “knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come; And whatsoever is more or less than this is the spirit of that wicked one who was a liar from the beginning” (D&C 93:24–25). To speak the truth is therefore to speak things as they were and as they are. In other words, to give an accurate account of the facts.

Elder Marvin J. Ashton’s said, “A lie is any communication given to another with the intent to deceive” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1982, p. 10) and dag nabit since he said it in conference you have to believe this.

The problem is that for the life of me I can’t figure out why these fossils were so carefully arranged except to make me think that things aren’t as they were. It almost feels like a . . . well . . . deception.

But then in Ether 3: 12 we have this: And he answered: Yea, Lord, I know that thou speakest the truth, for thou art a God of truth, and canst not lie.

So this whole smashing up other worlds is going to have to be explained to me in a little more detail. How it worked. Why it looks so much like it wasn’t done that way. Plus. If it is not too much to ask. Just a tiny bit of evidence for this story. Can’t one of these people who promote this engage with the fossil evidence directly and with enough detail for it to make even a little sense? Thank you for your help in this. I’m just so confused by what my children are learning in seminary. (I learned this in seminary too, so it’s not new).

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10 comments to Explaining fossils: Many worlds smashed together to make this one

  • One problem is that you are getting confused by other atheistic so-called scientific ideas. Obviously the moon didn’t come from a collision with the earth–the Sun and Moon (and stars) were all formed AFTER the Earth. This is pretty clearly spelled out in a particularly sacred ritual. So check your “science” against modern revelation, buddy.

    At any rate, Satan is the obvious creator of the fossil record. As it is a lie, and he is both the Father of Lies and God of This World, he could easily create the strata to further the cause of godless scientists! These demonic strata were built OVER the old paradisical Earth. So there’s a gap below the crust where one could find Eden. And that, of course, is where the 10 tribes are currently living! (Not in the Garden itself, presumably–next door maybe?)

  • Cap

    You can’t forget the striking resemblance between some of these alien creatures and ones that are living on our planet. For example, the alligator. Sure, the one on our planet is much smaller, but other then that, there really is no difference. And there are many other examples of this. What are the odds of that? Amazing…

  • Ujlapana,

    Obviously the moon didn’t come from a collision with the earth–the Sun and Moon (and stars) were all formed AFTER the Earth. This is pretty clearly spelled out in a particularly sacred ritual. So check your “science” against modern revelation, buddy.

    Actually, said ritual says that they were “caused to appear” after the Earth was formed. Check your memory of modern revelation against what modern revelation actually SAYS, buddy. (And then consider how much of the ritual is meant to be taken literally, and whether changes to said ritual means that history retroactively changed.)

    Steve,

    The “smashed-together” idea is often attributed to Brigham Young; I have no idea whether that’s true or not, but it certainly does seem like a plausible 19th-century idea. After all, superstar dinosaur hunters were going after the big bones and ignoring the flora, so the general public impression of the evidence for cohesive ecological contexts just wasn’t out there.

  • Dan Knudsen

    This question came up in Priesthood meeting about 50 years ago–it must’ve been in the Priests class as the bishop was doing the teaching. (The bishop, George Allen, is long since dead so I can’t go get his actual quote from him, and therefore have to rely upon my memory of that event.) Someone put forth this theory of previous worlds being smashed together to make the old dinosaur remnants, etc., that are older than the 6000 years of the earth’s age. Bishop Allen said something to the effect, “That doesn’t agree with the resurrection, since everything is resurrected and those worlds are done away, why weren’t these dinosaurs resurrected, leaving nothing for us to find here?” That opened my thinking to other possibilities, and the understanding that we, in our religious smugness, didn’t know everything.

  • Cap

    The only true….,

    On the history channel they had a special called ‘The Universe’, and if I am correct, the most recent theory on how the moon came to be is that it smashed into the earth. This would explain why there are a lot of foreign substances on the Moon, but some scattered substances that are found on earth.

    This would have happened billions of years ago. They think it hit while the earth was still in a stage where most of the world was molten lava, and a thin volcanic crust.

    Another point of interest,

    If the dinosaurs had come from another planet, it amazes me that the were able to keep their form perfectly while landing here on their asteroid ship. I would think that the impact would scatter them. Or at least not make it look like the dinosaur laid down and died in that spot.

    There is no possible way dinosaurs came from anywhere but this planet.

  • steve

    Thanks Jared! That’s a very nice post you linked on the source of this belief.

  • “Appear” means to come into existence. It is used early in the same ceremony in this sense in reference to dry land, so it’s not about light (as in “become visible”). So, unless the meaning shifts and the ceremony authors are trying to be confusing, the moon post-dates the water, buddy.

    At any rate, I find it amusing that you jump all over this but ignore my second paragraph…do you agree with everything else I wrote?

  • No, buddy, I think your second paragraph is absolute bunk. Unless you attribute to Satan the powers of creation, which I think is a much bigger theological no-no than what “appear” means. Nor do I think that you have the calling to authoritatively interpret the words of the endowment for the rest of us.

  • Satan clearly has great powers according to many–it’s hinted in the endowment and we’re discussing the “fossils from Satan” idea which has been and continues to be believed by many (but hopefully a minority of) Mormons. So perhaps it is you, not I, that is doing the authoritative interpreting for others.

    Anyway, I suggest you relax a bit, then look up the word “humor” in the dictionary tomorrow morning.

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