From a link of Peter Farrell's

 

From: Linda Clemens
Date: Thu Feb 12, 2004 12:48 pm
Subject: From a link of Peter Farrell's

Peter, I have enjoyed the readings you've linked regarding laterality and the brain, and my attention was drawn to a quote in Ethology and Evolution from Vincent Sarich, a former professor of mine.

But my point now has nothing to do with handedness and the brain but to do with the explosive issues of racism, and whether Steiner's ideas imply that Waldorf is a racist system of education.

Vincent Sarich is an anthropologist whose biggest contributions to the field came from associating findings in biochemistry to human evolution. Until recent decades the "science" of physical anthropology, which began just before Steiner, explored extensively issues of race and morphology, race and evolution, etc. What this involves, by definition, are sweeping generalizations about racial characteristics, comparing them, devising theories to explain them, and attributing these differences to some point on an evolutionary time frame. I studied this stuff, and I'm not exaggerating when I say that the field was absolutely awash with strange stuff that we'd laugh at today. Scientists were studying everything from ear wax to foot arches and making goofy theories about such things as why some peoples have grey ear wax and others have yellow. But this is science. And goofiness like this at one time made perfect sense to these scientists. And even today, physical anthropologists can't really be said to have denounced all this stuff--instead, they're more accurately described as having grown from it. Often in science, it's understood that ideas like these can make a certain sense and advance our quest for understanding, even though in later years we've decide the theories aren't true.

Anyway, back to Vincent Sarich. Vincent Sarich some years ago attracted what the academic community would call the "PC police". Yes, even in the sciences, these racism "bombs" are falling on all sides, and he became a target because he wrote about race differences in the context of physical anthropology and human evolution, and the PC position these days is that race differences is an off-limits subject except in terms of political/social or cultural inequalities. This of course requires everyone to pretend that there are no differences whatsoever between people on this planet except for sociological inheritances. This is a patently absurd idea to anyone who believes in human evolution, which is a subdiscipline of physical anthropology. Evolution is a biological inheritance, shaped by adaptive response to the environment. If you can't discuss inherited biological differences, there's nothing to talk about period rofl!

So in a nutshell, if studying race in anthropology is termed "racism" and thus off limits, the study of human evolution is pointless. If discussions of race differences are limited to the cultural/sociological/political arena, then we've determined the issue off limits in science. And if the validity of evolutionary science is to be judged on the totality of what it has produced on the subject in the past one hundred years, then the deal is sealed. Using the argument as applied against Waldorf, once must conclude human evolution, and by association, all of anthropology, are racist sciences and parents of prospective students must be told this.

In my mind, this is absurd. It's also absurd to arbitrarily apply this standard to Rudolf Steiner and Waldorf education alone. It was absurd the witch hunt that Vincent Sarich endured, regardless of whether his ideas will eventually prove to be as goofy as the exploration into the evolution of ear wax. And it certainly accomplishes nothing to waste lifetimes in stupid arguments about whether somebody's a racist or not simply because they have what you consider goofy theories about where skin color comes from. Racism is a practice, a behavior, the using of prejudgements as an excuse for disparate treatment of people.


L

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From: Mike Helsher
Date: Thu Feb 12, 2004 2:00 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] From a link of Peter Farrell's

Dear Linda,

Wow, thanks for that...

Truth and Love

Mike

Peter, I have enjoyed the readings you've linked regarding laterality and the brain, and my attention was drawn to a quote in Ethology and Evolution from Vincent Sarich, a former professor of mine.

But my point now has nothing to do with handedness and the brain but to do with the explosive issues of racism, and whether Steiner's ideas imply that Waldorf is a racist system of education.

<snip>

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From: Linda Clemens
Date: Thu Feb 12, 2004 2:12 pm
Subject: Thanks, Mike n/t

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