Disrespect

 

From: golden3000997
Date: Thu Feb 5, 2004 5:16 am
Subject: Disrespect

Hello Frank! Welcome back!

Did you read the three posts of mine from 2/1/04?

I did respond to Staudemeir's opinions in a way that tried (at least) to be very objective. I also included an article that goes into the need for defining what is meant by "science".

I have also, in these posts and a former one stated that there is a distinction between "Anthroposophy" per se and Waldorf Education in that Anthroposophy as delineated by Rudolf Steiner is an investigation of both the sense perceptible and supersensible worlds in a manner in keeping with scientific method; and Waldorf Education is NOT a Science per se, but an Art arising from the results of that scientific investigation.

I also strongly feel that statements such as this one by Staudemaier lump ALL Anthroposophists, and by inference, ALL Waldorf Teachers as being anti-scientific. This in itself borders on the libelous. True, there may be some teachers whose natural inclinations tend to keep them immersed in the artistic expressions of Waldorf Education such as color work, music, story, etc. But to state categorically that every such person has no interest in and has a stated antipathy toward Science in general is false and demeaning to such persons. To infer that a teacher who has immersed himself or herself in Chemistry, Physics, Geometry, Biology or any other "mainstream" science is "tainted" in some way by contact with Rudolf Steiner's ideas and therefore cannot and will not teach Science objectively is also false and shows no respect whatsoever for the individual backgrounds of the teachers, many of whom may have far more "mainstream" education in Science than Mr. Staudemaier does.

Science, in this case "mainstream" science, is constantly changing it's perspective and turning over its previous assertions. To infer that any person who disagrees with the contemporarily popular declarations of this mainstream science must be anti-scientific or lack any knowledge or expertise in a scientific field is false and disrepectful. There are many tenets of yesterday's science which have been overturned and new evidence (especially in the fields of physics, astrophysics and biochemistry) that very much tend to support ideas that Rudolf Steiner discussed nearly a century ago. The very concept (still radical, but much more widely accepted now) that following quantum physics leads to "something" that is "nothing" is Science opening the door to the Supersensible. When atomic theory is followed fearlessly to its own conclusion, a physicist finds that you can break down molecules into atoms and atoms into protons, neurons and energy. But just as there is "empty space" between molecules that make up an apparently solid object, so there are "spaces" between the protons, neurons, etc. in which the physicist can observe various "activities" that are still at this point non-sense-perceptible. "Something" holds it all together - organizes the form of the atom and thereby the molecule. "Something" energizes and activiates it. "Something" creates definable laws for it's appearance, qualities, effects, lifespan and interaction with other atomic matter. "Something" has brought atomic matter into existence and theoretically speaking, may have the ability to take it out of existence. "Black holes" being an example.

A scientist of growing plants is just as much a scientist as a nuclear physicist. By definition, there are many and wide ranging fields of scientific study and investigation. Every individual person cannot be expected to be an expert in every field. But Waldorf Educators, generally take a very active interest in new results produced by mainstream science. Maybe often more so than educators that one can find in other educational systems such as the public school. The State of Georgia has recently passed legislation prohibiting the use of the word "evolution" in the public school classroom. Teachers in the state school system at large are not only discouraged from applying scientific methodology to investigate natural phenomena for themselves, they are also subject to the dictation of the State as to what they are allowed to say or not say about science in the classroom.

I have never heard of a Waldorf Teacher or an Anthroposophist who spoke or acted in a way as to indicate that he or she had no use for science, discounted the findings of science in a wholesale manner or who objected in any way to the use of a true scientific method of inquiry.

I think that before a meaningful discussion of the relationship of Spiritual Science to Science-at-Large can take place, many definitions must be stated and agreed upon beforehand. The word "Science" itself is broad and applicable to many lines of inquiry, many disciplines and many practices and practical applications from agriculture to medicine to engineering to astrophysics. These disciplines and applications each have many sub-divisions and proponents of theories that range from broad to minutely specific. They also consist of theories and theorists who mildly to vehemently agree and disagree.

At the same time, the word "Religion" and it's subdivision "Cult" have broad and specific applications. The use of the word "cult" by Waldorf Critics is sloppy and undefined. In its broad definition, there are many "sciences" which can be labeled as "cults" as certainly many religions, mainstream and otherwise.

What I have witnessed happening with our "guest" Diana Winters on this forum is the technique of bringing forth a problem in the theory or practice of Waldorf Education and (only by extension) Anthroposophy. Then she asks the forum members to refute her assertions using sources outside the "cult" of Anthroposophy, especially by broad definition, "mainstream science" (my quotes). Several members of this forum have thoughtfully and carefully answered her assertions through educated and logical arguement, not wild emotionalism or mindless "Anthro-bible" thumping (my term). When presented with such answers, she refuses to respond directly to them point for point as written and she treats both the response and the responder with a great deal of disrespect. In other words, she asks questions but she doesn't really want them answered and refuses to acknowledge the answers given. I am not saying that she should out of hand AGREE with the answers given. Only that she should acknowledge them and the intelligence and research that has gone into them as being as objective and insightful as her own opinions and in some cases, even more so.

I believe that Diana left so suddenly and hurriedly after a particular exchange that I know that she took great offense to but did not say so to the open forum. Daniel had responded in depth and with much time and evident effort to her questions. Her response indicated that she had not even considered his arguements or points seriously even though they were direct answers to her questions. In the next day or two, I forwarded a "joke" with some "country quotes", one of which was about wrestling with pigs and getting muddy. Diana e-mailed me off list and pointed out this reference. She left the next day. My equating the "discussion" between her and Daniel with wrestling with pigs came about through my aggravation at her inability and/ or lack of willingness to acknowledge the value of Daniel's efforts at a sincere and thoughtful reply to her questions.

Since Diana feels free to leave this forum and take with her whatever bits and pieces of our preceding conversations with her and to post them to a group who has not been following the entire thread or background of these discussions, I will take a similar liberty and state on this forum that I find Diana's style of "debate" specious and immature. She, in my opinion, hides a great deal of ignorance and lack of ability to think through a particular question by couching her statements in a pseudo-intellectual writing style and the use of many "buzz words" that I do not believe she really understands the meaning of. She says that she "is not really interested in science" yet demands that all applications of Waldorf Education, Anthroposophical Medicine and Curative Eurythmy be backed up with research from "science." She uses offensive and denigrating words such as "quack" "quackery" "cult" and "mind control." in relation to the above without either defining those terms or substantiating her claims. When brought into question or presented with an opposing point of view that is sustainable by logical thought and everyday perception, she backs off the issue completely.

Basically, Diana Winters, Sharon Lombard, Dan Dugan, Peter Staudemeir and others involved in the Waldorf Critics or PLANS movements operate from a double standard. They challenge the premises, findings and applications of Anthropsophy and its "daughter" movements of Waldorf Education, Anthroposophical Medicine*, Eurythmy, etc. to provide justification and backup for assertions and practices, yet they do not believe themselves to be responsible for providing such back up for their criticisms. Their arguments and assertions are full of holes and when discussed point for point by proponents of Rudolf Steiner's work, they side-step specific issues and try to distract the conversation to unrelated and emotional elements of statements torn out of context and unrelated to the subject under consideration.

(* I wish to mention here for the benefit of anyone reading this post who may not be familiar with Anthroposophical Medicine that Anthroposophical Doctors must first be fully trained, qualified and licensed practicing physicians in the country and/ or state in which they live and work. The four year medical course given in Europe is taken IN ADDITION TO the mainstream medical training that they have already received. Anthroposophical doctors are NOT trained in a course such as naturpathic "doctors" who do are not required to be licensed MDs.)

To conclude, I personally take great offense at the tactics which have been used and are currently being used to attempt to discredit all work arising from Rudolf Steiner's directions and teachings as well as the direct attacks on students of Anthropsophy who have been portrayed as a uniform group of brainless "followers" of a cult leader or "guru." The amount of disrespect and denigration of the wide variety of people actively engaged in understanding and applying the work of Rudolf Steiner would not be tolerated by proponents of other educational philosophies such as those of Maria Montessori, other research establishments such as the American Cancer Society or other religious institutions such as the churches of leaders such as Billy Graham, John Hagee, Dr. James Kennedy, etc..

I would ask that the members of Waldorf Critics and PLANS desist in these offense tactics and either concentrate on their legal agenda or engage in a fair, respectful and open debate on specific issues.

Christine Natale
February 5, 2004

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From: Frank Thomas Smith
Date: Thu Feb 5, 2004 6:39 am
Subject: RE: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Disrespect

Dear Christine,

No, I hadn't read those posts, having been on sabbatical from most lists. I just jumped in on Tarjei's Staudemaier quote - which should teach me a lesson. I agree with and appreciate your clear and informed exposition of the issue, and would suggest that if anyone is a member of the WC list, it should be forwarded to them. Thanks.

Frank

Hello Frank! Welcome back!

Did you read the three posts of mine from 2/1/04?

I did respond to Staudemeir's opinions in a way that tried (at least) to be very objective. I also included an article that goes into the need for defining what is meant by "science".
.......

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From: Mike Helsher
Date: Thu Feb 5, 2004 7:19 am
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Disrespect

Thanks yet again Christine for another wonderful post. You wrote:

I also strongly feel that statements such as this one by Staudemaier lump ALL Anthroposophists, and by inference, ALL Waldorf Teachers as being anti-scientific. This in itself borders on the libelous. True, there may be some teachers whose natural inclinations tend to keep them immersed in the artistic expressions of Waldorf Education such as color work, music, story, etc. But to state categorically that every such person has no interest in and has a stated antipathy toward Science in general is false and demeaning to such persons. To infer that a teacher who has immersed himself or herself in Chemistry, Physics, Geometry, Biology or any other "mainstream" science is "tainted" in some way by contact with Rudolf Steiner's ideas and therefore cannot and will not teach Science objectively is also false and shows no respect whatsoever for the individual backgrounds of the teachers, many of whom may have far more "mainstream" education in Science than Mr. Staudemaier does.

Thank you for wording that so well. I have form the first time I read his writings felt as you have stated. His antipathy toward anything to do with Steiner is quite obvious to me (and yes, very tainted by my life experience), and yet he says that he does not have a "negative judgment of the religious character of Steiner's work." Well, he obviously does not have a positive one either. And it seems to me that he cast's aside the "religious nature of Steiner's work'' completely. Except of course the theory of reincarnation, which is of a religious nature, which he conveniently utilizes to construct his theory of Anthroposophy being "racist to the core."

I don't know much about science, but the "disrespect" is evident to me none the less.

Science, in this case "mainstream" science, is constantly changing it's perspective and turning over its previous assertions. To infer that any person who disagrees with the contemporarily popular declarations of this mainstream science must be anti-scientific or lack any knowledge or expertise in a scientific field is false and disrepectful. There are many tenets of yesterday's science which have been overturned and new evidence (especially in the fields of physics, astrophysics and biochemistry) that very much tend to support ideas that Rudolf Steiner discussed nearly a century ago. The very concept (still radical, but much more widely accepted now) that following quantum physics leads to "something" that is "nothing" is Science opening the door to the Supersensible. When atomic theory is followed fearlessly to its own conclusion, a physicist finds that you can break down molecules into atoms and atoms into protons, neurons and energy. But just as there is "empty space" between molecules that make up an apparently solid object, so there are "spaces" between the protons, neurons, etc. in which the physicist can observe various "activities" that are still at this point non-sense-perceptible. "Something" holds it all together - organizes the form of the atom and thereby the molecule. "Something" energizes and activiates it. "Something" creates definable laws for it's appearance, qualities, effects, lifespan and interaction with other atomic matter. "Something" has brought atomic matter into existence and theoretically speaking, may have the ability to take it out of existence. "Black holes" being an example.

Great stuff Christine. Tarjei has a great section on "science and mathmatics" on his site, with a cute picture of Ariman, that has caught my interest at times. This article especially:

http://www.uncletaz.com/library/scimath/brainchaos.html

Which concludes with:

"The importance of developing a model of brain function which gives a consistent description of mind, consciousness and free-will, is profound. The model described links the structural instability of brain dynamics, quantum uncertainty and the dual-time model. The quantum-physical brain may thus be more than just an interface between sensory input and decision-making. It may in fact be a doorway between complementary aspects of the physical universe, the time-directed nature of real-particle symmetry-breaking and the time-symmetric aspect of the sub-quantum domain (King 1989). If so, the role of consciousness and mind-brain duality may be central to cosmology."

<snip>

not wild emotionalism

Hey, I resemble that remark :)

Basically, Diana Winters, Sharon Lombard, Dan Dugan, Peter Staudemeir and others involved in the Waldorf Critics or PLANS movements operate from a double standard. They challenge the premises, findings and applications of Anthropsophy and its "daughter" movements of Waldorf Education, Anthroposophical Medicine*, Eurythmy, etc. to provide justification and backup for assertions and practices, yet they do not believe themselves to be responsible for providing such back up for their criticisms. Their arguments and assertions are full of holes and when discussed point for point by proponents of Rudolf Steiner's work, they side-step specific issues and try to distract the conversation to unrelated and emotional elements of statements torn out of context and unrelated to the subject under consideration.

Yes. And I often wonder as to the motive and intent of the"double standard." I understand that some people have been wronged and hurt by their Waldorf experiences, and I can muster up some respect for that. But I have not yet evolved to the point where I can have respect for those who cast their bias personal ideas into a crowd of people who already have a justifiable "negative Judgment" of anthroposophy and Waldorf, and use that group as a kind of cesspool of excitement to advance their atheistic (and nihilistic IMO) personal political agenda.

I am working on my personal evolution though, so there is hope.

I would ask that the members of Waldorf Critics and PLANS desist in these offense tactics and either concentrate on their legal agenda or engage in a fair, respectful and open debate on specific issues.

"Ask and you shall receive?" ..hummm I wonder.

Truth and Love

Mike

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