It is hard to conceive that in this age of enlightenment and scientific advancement that there could be any myths left in modern man’s paradigm. We believe ourselves to be smarter, more inventive and certainly more knowledgeable than our predecessors. After all, we ride where they walked, eat where they hungered, fly where they could only gaze and live a life of ease and comfort they could not envision in their wildest fantasies. It is almost preposterous to think that we might harbor notions as foolish as those embraced by our ancestors.
The ancients believed such foolishness as: the world was flat, the brain was useful only to cool the blood, life emerged spontaneously from swamps and ponds of stagnant water, idols answered prayers and the Earth was the center of the universe. Is it possible that we, the enlightened ones, still have similarly silly skeletal notions in our cultural closet?
A tale of oil and dinosaurs
A number of years ago, a large oil company advertised its gasoline product with an animated television commercial, explaining how ancient plants and animals gave their all so we could have gasoline for our cars today. The animators depicted a cartoon dinosaur poking its head out of a car’s filler pipe, making a somewhat comical growling sound as the car sped off.
This amusing commercial illustrated the modern view, held by geologists and paleontologists, that Earth’s petroleum deposits came from the remains of long dead plants and animals — a cleaver portrayal of orthodox science’s theories that Earth’s petroleum deposits and its many byproducts originated in the distillation of hydrocarbons from the decaying remnants of massive, ancient flora and fauna accumulations, buried by successive deposition in enormous subsidence zones. Over great expanses of time, they opine, these deposits were compressed in geological processes, squeezing out the hydrocarbons, which then collected in great pools beneath impermeable layers of rock. Hence the term “fossil fuel.”
Old ideas die hard
A century ago, this idea seemed logical. Probably since time began, man has mined coal for energy from great seams layered in the earth. Those same coal beds, and the strata adjoining them, hold the fossils of ancient plants and animals. Since the only things on this planet seen to contain appreciable amounts of hydrocarbons were the flora and fauna that proliferate on its surface, scientists naturally assumed that this was the source for buried hydrocarbons. Deep peat beds found in some locations seemed to support that idea. Those peat beds were thought to be simply an early step in a process that eventually would create coal and hydrocarbon deposits. Thus, it seemed reasonable to assume that coal and oil were the byproducts of some ancient biomass.
While such thinking may have been acceptable in the past, it is no longer viable. This is one of the great myths of modern science. What is more, it serves to demonstrate how intractable scientists are about their pet theories when faced with evidence that does not fit their paradigm.
A new age
This explanation for the existence of crude oil and natural gas — hydrocarbons — beneath Earth’s crust may have been useful up until the mid-twentieth century, but it has no meaning in light of the preponderance of evidence that has accumulated in the last 40 years — especially that gathered since mankind entered the space age.
For decades, we have launched unmanned probes to other planets and moons in our solar system. These have sent back pictures and data sufficient to teach us the true origin of Earth’s hydrocarbons. We have learned that hydrocarbons are present almost everywhere in the solar system, not just on Earth. Sophisticated spectrographic analysis has detected hydrocarbons in the atmosphere of many major planets and many large moons.
An oil world
Most notable for its concentration of hydrocarbons (scientists cautiously use the word “methane”) is great Titan, a moon nearly the size of Mars that circles Saturn. Data suggests that the atmosphere of this planet-sized moon is composed primarily of hydrocarbons in one form or another. Scientists say that so great is the concentration of hydrocarbons in its atmosphere that when it rains on Titan, condensed hydrocarbons fall in droplet from clouds of methane rather than water as on Earth. In fact, where Earth is a water planet with streams, lake, rivers and oceans of water, Titan is an oil planet with streams, lakes, rivers and oceans of flowing hydrocarbons in one form or another ranging from light, volatile oils to heavier forms.
Earth’s true history
What seems likely from the evidence collected to date is that Titan and Earth represent two distinct phases of similar planetary evolution. The oil deposits deep in Earth’s crust betray the unarticulated truth that this planet once passed through a phase like that which persists on Titan today. At some time in Earth’s long, ancient history, our atmosphere was so charged with hydrocarbons that they naturally accumulated in great concentrations on the surface. Some of the heavier oils — some almost tar-like — were deposited in layers and then buried in seismic events. Some of the lighter hydrocarbons, like naphtha, would have seeped deep into the ground to accumulate in vast pools, just as water concentrates in great, deep aquifers today. Those great pools of oil, gas or petroleum remained entombed in Earth’s crustal rock, insulated from the chemical and catastrophic processes that ultimately reduced our atmosphere to its present composition.
If not there, why here?
No one speculates that these newly discovered hydrocarbons found elsewhere in the solar system came from any kind of decayed biomass. The environment on most other planets — most notably the gaseous giants — is far too harsh to support any life, much less generate anything approaching the quantity needed to produce massive amounts of hydrocarbons. So, why assume that oil elsewhere — on Earth, for example — came exclusively from life?
This beg the question: Since there are massive amounts of hydrocarbons elsewhere in the solar system, might it be that Earth’s hydrocarbon deposits originated in the same way as those others? Of course, the only logical answer is yes! If it is impossible that hydrocarbons found elsewhere in the solar system are the byproducts of life, then it stands to reason that the same likelihood holds true for Earth.
Modern myths cling to life
Ironically, even though the newest evidence seems to suggest another source for Earth’s hydrocarbons, no one in the orthodox scientific or scholastic community speaks or writes of it. Indeed, the latest textbooks written and used by academia in classes on geology, paleontology and astronomy intended to “educate” the young, perpetuate this absurd fiction. Although the truth is as plain as the nose on our collective face, we persist in teaching a fabrication, a fraud. Once again, as in the days of Copernicus and Galileo, we see the establishment academia clinging like grim death to an absolute myth!
Immanual Velikovsky, the author of Worlds in Collision, speculated over 50 years ago that hydrocarbons were introduced into the Earth’s atmosphere anciently, but within historic times, when errant planets in our solar system passed devastatingly close to the Earth. Scientists mocked and criticized his theory on the strength of their conviction that hydrocarbons existed nowhere else in the solar system but on Earth. Such criticism was rather persuasive then since mankind knew so little about other worlds. Even the best telescopes did little to reveal the conditions that truly existed on other planets. However, now that the recently discovered evidence supports Velikovsky’s early assertion, there is still no re-evaluation of his theories forthcoming from establishment science.
Velikovsky’s theory was not just a lucky guess, as some charged. He asserted that hydrocarbons are plentiful in the atmospheres of other planets, based on ancient eyewitness accounts of fire falling from the sky and burning over the ground when one or more of those planets passed perilously close to the Earth, mixing their volatile atmospheres with our own. Given recent evidence, it appears that Velikovsky was actually more accurate than his detractors.
The success of Velikovsky’s predictions regarding the existence of extraterrestrial hydrocarbons should have caused the scientific and scholarly institutions to reassess their scathing criticisms of the good doctor’s other theories, but they did not. Likewise, once mankind entered the space age, the orthodox myth of crude oil’s origin in ancient biomass should have been dispelled immediately. But it was not. Instead, today’s science textbooks parrot the same tired myth of yesteryear.
The answer to why this old tradition was not summarily dismissed and why science refuses to reconsider Velikovsky’s theory reveals much about our culture and our intransigence — something Book of Mormon prophets would have called “stiffneckedness.”
As it is with science, so it is with religion. Whenever people who have embraced a myth are confronted by truth, they seldom relinquish the myth — ‘impartial’ scientists and ‘truth-seeking’ religionists included. Indeed, they continue to embrace the myth in the face of all evidence to the contrary, either completely ignoring the evidence for the truth or viciously attacking it with spurious logic and an utter absence of common sense. Not only do we see evidence of this time and again in the biblical record, as in the book of Mormon, we see it all around us today.
© Anthony E. Larson, 1999