Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Templar cookie warning

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Nabisco creating a hermetically-sealed, bomb-proof vault on the island of Svalbard, with the sole purpose of storing a stockpile of Oreo cookies.  It's a little odd, but on first glance seems innocent enough; in the case of a global cataclysm, the company wants us still to be able to have tasty snacks to enjoy.

It will not surprise loyal readers of Skeptophilia to find out that there are people who ascribe more sinister motives to the company.  And one guy, in fact, thinks that the Oreo cookie vault is in place because when you eat an Oreo, you are unwittingly swearing allegiance to Our Illuminati Overlords, and the Bad Guys want us to continue being able to do that even if civilization collapses.

[Image licensed under the Creative Commons Robbgodshaw / Oreo, Vector Oreo, CC BY-SA 3.0]

At least, that is the contention of one Maurice "Moe" Bedard, over at the site Gnostic Warrior.  I looked in vain for any sign that he was joking, but alas, I fear that this guy is 100% serious.  Here's an excerpt from his "About" link on the site:
Let us help you on along your evolving path to enlightenment in order to assist you in connecting with your higher self and who you truly are on the inside.  Our global community is composed of reasonable men, and women of truth who seek to understand the world we live in by seeking the without being trapped by the darkness of lies, conspiracies and the masses who love them. 
Well, that's very nice and all.  But there are a lot of words I could use to describe the cookie claim, and "reasonable" is not one of them.  Here's a bit of it, so you can get the flavor (crunchy and chocolate-y and nice when dipped in milk, of course):
Almost 500 billion have been sold.  In fact, if you were to stretch out all the OREOs ever sold, you could circle the globe with OREO cookies 341 times.  But did any of these billions of people ever notice the hidden Knights Templar symbology etched into a Oreo cookie as they dipped their OREO's in milk; or licked off the white creamy filling from the Cross Pattée emblazoned cookies?
I know I didn't.  He goes on to tell us that the little marks on the cookie's surface are actually crosses and triangles that come right from the symbolism of the Templars.  This immediately brought to mind a quote from Umberto Eco's tour de force novel Foucault's Pendulum, from a conversation in which the two main characters, Casaubon and Belbo, are discussing how to define lunacy:
The lunatic... doesn't concern himself at all with logic; he works by short circuits.  For him, everything proves everything else.  The lunatic is all idée fixe, and whatever he comes across confirms his lunacy.  You can tell him by the liberties he takes with common sense, by his flashes of inspiration, and by the fact that sooner or later he brings up the Templars.
Which is spot-on.  And as far as the crosses and so forth on the surface of an Oreo, the problem is that any geometrically-patterned surface is going to have triangles and crosses and squares and such.  That's what being "geometrically-patterned" means.  If all of this was Illuminati symbology, then kids in math class would be participating in a cult ritual every time they opened a geometry text.

Then he drops the bombshell on us that even the name "Oreo" is full of secrets:
The etymology of the word OREO gives us two words. Or and Eo.  The Hebrew meaning of the word Or is light, and it can also mean dawn, daylight, early morning, lightning, star, sun, sunlight, and sunshine.  The word Eo has a similar meaning from the Greek word ēōs, meaning dawn. 
In the scriptures, we can then find a reference to fallen angels who are called the watchers, whom I believe are connected etymologically to the word OREO.  For example, the Greek word for watchers is ἐγρήγοροι egrḗgoroi, pl. of egrḗgoros, literally "wakeful".  This Greek word for "Watchers" originates in Daniel 4 where they are mentioned twice in the singular (v. 13, 23), once in the plural (v. 17), of "watchers, holy ones".  Hence, the Templars symbology of the OREO cookie and name are dedicated to the Morning Star, or Dawn Star of the morning.  Another Greek name for the Morning Star is Heosphoros (Greek Ἑωσφόρος Heōsphoros), which means "Dawn-Bringer."
All of this brings up a general rule of thumb, which is "don't fuck with a linguist."  My MA is in historical linguistics, and I can say with some authority that you can not simply subdivide a word any way you want, and then cast around until you find some languages with pieces that fit.  If that's the way etymology worked, then I could take Mr. Bedard's first name, "Maurice" and say that we can split it into "Mau" + "Rice."  From there, it's obvious that it derives from the Egyptian word mau meaning "cat"and the Old English word rice meaning, "strong, powerful, mighty."  So it's clear that Mr. Bedard is actually being controlled telepathically by his cat, who is inducing him to write reams of confusing nonsense so as to mislead us puny humans and keep us subjugated, i.e., bringing our Cat Overlords lots of canned tuna.

Actually, if you're curious, the origin of the name Oreo is unknown; the only idea I've seen that holds any water (besides the most likely explanation, which is that it was simply a short and catchy name), is that it comes from taking the "re" from "cream" and sticking it between two "O"s from chocolate, to make a symbolic sandwich.

In any case, I think you can safely enjoy your Oreos.  No worries that you're accidentally ingesting Templar symbology and an abridged version of the name "Lucifer."  So I'm just going to leave this here, because now I have to go off and investigate the claims of a guy who thinks that John F. Kennedy is still alive, and that he's the Great Beast from the Book of Revelation, and is soon to reveal himself and initiate the End Times.  The guy also thinks that Henry Kissinger is the "Second Beast."  This makes you wonder who the "Third Beast" is, doesn't it?  I'm thinking Mitch McConnell.


This week's Skeptophilia book-of-the-week is one that has raised a controversy in the scientific world: Ancient Bones: Unearthing the Astonishing New Story of How We Became Human, by Madeleine Böhme, Rüdiger Braun, and Florian Breier.

It tells the story of a stupendous discovery -- twelve-million-year-old hominin fossils, of a new species christened Danuvius guggenmosi.  The astonishing thing about these fossils is where they were found.  Not in Africa, where previous models had confined all early hominins, but in Germany.

The discovery of Danuvius complicated our own ancestry, and raised a deep and difficult-to-answer question; when and how did we become human?  It's clear that the answer isn't as simple as we thought when the first hominin fossils were uncovered in Olduvai Gorge, and it was believed that if you took all of our millennia of migrations all over the globe and ran them backwards, they all converged on the East African Rift Valley.  That neat solution has come into serious question, and the truth seems to be that like most evolutionary lineages, hominins included multiple branches that moved around, interbred for a while, then went their separate ways, either to thrive or to die out.  The real story is considerably more complicated and fascinating than we'd thought at first, and Danuvius has added another layer to that complexity, bringing up as many questions as it answers.

Ancient Bones is a fascinating read for anyone interested in anthropology, paleontology, or evolutionary biology.  It is sure to be the basis of scientific discussion for the foreseeable future, and to spur more searches for our relatives -- including in places where we didn't think they'd gone.

[Note: if you purchase this book using the image/link below, part of the proceeds goes to support Skeptophilia!]

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