To Daniel

 

From: winters_diana
Date: Sat Jan 24, 2004 9:12 pm
Subject: To Daniel

Daniel if you don't mind I'd like to redirect your attention to some questions I asked you before we began the now-aborted discussion of how I form my opinions. (Listen closely now, `cus Peter Staudenmaier isn't here, and I've never had a discussion with him about left- handedness, so please don't change the subject to Peter again.)

I wrote previously and am still curious whether you have knowledge or opinions on these topics:

It would be a lot more interesting to me if you had any actual information, Daniel, or even suggestions, on why Steiner may have spoken "against science" on the treatment of the left-handed. Is there any evidence, anywhere, of any sort, to your knowledge, that Steiner knew anything about handedness, causes of, effects of, indications or contra-indications for remediation, methods of remediation, psychological effects on children thereof, etc.? (For instance, for a long time it was thought that switching left-handers might cause stuttering. This theory also has now been discredited.) Did Steiner have anything to contribute on this topic? Did Steiner have any qualifications to contribute to a discussion of handedness? Where did he get his degree in neuropsychology or even teacher training? (Did he ever say anything else on handedness, laterality, brain hemispheric dominance, etc., that is now taken seriously by scientists? not to my knowledge) How many left-handed children did Steiner observe? How many right-handed children did Steiner observe, and how did he reach his conclusion that they differed spiritually from left-handed children? Did he ever, even once, work with a child personally to switch their hands? What reason is there to believe that he did not just shoot his mouth off when some Waldorf teacher asked him his opinion about left-handed children?

...................................................................................................................................

From: Daniel Hindes
Date: Sun Jan 25, 2004 12:36 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] To Daniel

Diana,

The question of the pedagogical treatment of left-handed children is one on which I do not feel qualified to offer an expert opinion. I have noted that you've examined the issue in quite some depth, and certainly do not feel called upon to criticize your opinions from any sort of expert background. Since you have asked for my opinions I will offer them such as they are.

For clarity's sake I find helpful to separate the argument to parts:

1. What indications did Rudolf Steiner give concerning left-handed children?

2. How has this been taken up subsequently in Waldorf education?

3. Do subsequent advances in the neuroscience contradict either Steiner or subsequent Waldorf educators?

To the first point, it should be noted that, in as far as I have been able to determine, what Steiner said at that point in time when he said it did not contradict the science of his day. So in the narrower sense it is not accurate to say that Steiner spoke "against science" in his indications. At best to it can be said that further advances in scientific understanding have subsequently corrected Steiner's indications. If this were true, Steiner would still stand in the quite illustrious company, as the contributions of many leading thinkers have subsequently been amended as new research adds to the sum of human knowledge. And for the record, I am not among those who subscribe to the theory of the infallibility of Steiner.

 

What indications did Rudolf Steiner give concerning left-handed children?

As far as I have been able to determine, the entire statements of Rudolf Steiner on left-handedness come from three sources: the two volumes (in English, four volumes in the original German) of Faculty Conferences, and the lecture cycle The Renewal of Education. All are currently available from www.anthropress.com. (As a side note, the source sited for the quote on the PLANS website identifies the wrong volume - the quote is from Faculty Conferences, and is not the book The Renewal of Education. This appears to be due to a careless cut-and-paste from a page that was previously available at www.bobandnancy.com). I will quote these statements of Steiner below:

Conferences with Waldorf School Teachers (GA 300a,b,c)
Translated by Robert F. Lathe and Nancy Parsons Whittaker

June 14, 1920

A teacher asks about left-handed writing.

Dr. Steiner: In general, you will find that those children who have spiritual tendencies can write with either the left or right hand without trouble, but those children with materialistic tendencies will become addled if they are allowed to write with both hands. Right-handedness occurs for a reason. In this materialistic age, left-handed children will become addled if they use both hands alternately. Under certain circumstances, that is something very questionable to do, particularly in things related to reasoning but it is not a problem in drawing. You can allow the children to draw with both hands.

May 10, 1922

A music teacher asks about working with both hands in the beginning piano class.

Dr. Steiner: That is a very good question. Left-handedness is easily corrected through piano practice. We need to keep that in mind. Left-handedness should always be corrected. However, we should pay attention to the temperament of the child. Thus, we should give preference to the right hand with melancholics. You will easily find they have a tendency to play with the left hand. With cholerics, you should give preference to the left hand. With phlegmatics, you should see that they use both hands in balance, and the same is the case for sanguine children. That is what is important and should be the goal.

It is also advantageous, if you attempt as far as possible to see that the children do not have a mere mechanical feeling about piano playing, but that they also learn to "feel" the keys. They should learn for themselves the different positions on the piano, above and below, right and left. It is also good, at least at the beginning, to have the children play without written music.

May 25, 1923

A teacher: Should the children be broken of left-handedness?

Dr. Steiner: In general, yes. At the younger ages, approximately before the age of nine, you can accustom left-handed children to right-handedness at school. You should not do that only if it would have a damaging effect, which is very seldom the case. Children are not a sum of things, but exponentially complicated. If you attempt to create symmetry between the right and left with the children, and you exercise both hands in balance, that can lead to weak mindedness later in life.

The phenomenon of left-handedness is clearly karmic, and, in connection with karma, it is one of karmic weakness. Allow me to give an example: A person who was overworked in their previous life, so that they did too much, not only physically or intellectually, but, in general, spiritually, within their soul or feeling, will enter the succeeding life with an intense weakness. That person will be incapable of overcoming the karmic weakness located in the lower human being. (The part of the human being that results from the life between death and a new birth is particularly concentrated in the lower human being, whereas the part that comes from the previous Earthly life is concentrated more in the head.) Thus, what would otherwise be strongly developed becomes weak, and the left leg and left hand are particularly relied upon as a crutch. The preference for the left hand results in a situation where, instead of the left, the right side of thebrain is used in speech.

If you give into that too much, then that weakness may perhaps remain for a later, that is, a third Earthly life. If you do not give in, then the weakness is brought into balance.

If you make a child do everything equally well with the right and left hand, writing, drawing, work and so forth, then the inner human being will be neutralized. Then the I and the astral body are so far removed that the person becomes quite lethargic later in life. Without any intervention, the etheric body is stronger toward the left than the right, and the astral body is more developed toward the right than the left. That is something you may not ignore; you should pay attention to that. However, we may not attempt a simple mechanical balance. The most naive thing you can do is to have as a goal that the children should work with both hands equally well. A desire for a balanced development of both hands arises from today's complete misunderstanding of the nature of the human being.

The Renewal of Education (GA 301)

Translated by Robert F. Lathe and Nancy Parsons Whittaker

May 7, 1920

[The following remarks were made by Rudolf Steiner during a series of lectures to an audience of public school teachers in Basel, Switzerland. The remarks deal primarily with the question of ambidexterity.]

Now I come to a question I have often been asked and that has some significance, namely, the question of left-handedness or ambidexterity.

Right-handedness has become general human habit that we use for writing and other tasks. It is certainly appropriate to extend that by making the left hand, in a sense, more dexterous. That has a certain justification. When we discuss such things, however, our discussion will bear fruit only if we have some deeper insight into the conditions of human life. When we move into a period in which the entire human being should be awakened, when we move into a period in which, in addition to the capacities for abstraction that are so well developed today, the feeling for culture and a capacity to feel as well as act would play a role, we will be able to speak quite differently about many questions than we can now. If education continues as it is today, so that people are always stuck in abstractions (materialism is precisely what is stuck in abstractions) and education does not help us to understand the material through the spiritual then, after a time, you will become convinced that teaching people to use both hands for writing will trap them in a kind of mental weakness. That results in part from how we are today as human beings, and how we presently use the right hand to a much greater extent than the left. The fact that the whole human being is not completely symmetrically formed also plays a part, particularly in regard to certain organs. When we use both hands to write, for example, this has a deep effect upon the entire human organism.

I would not speak about such things had I not done considerable research in this area and had I not tried, for example, to understand what it means to use the left hand. When people develop a capacity for observing the human being, they will be able to determine through experimenting what it means to use the left hand. When human beings reach a certain level of independence of the spirit and soul from the physical body, it is good to use the left hand; but the dependence of modern people upon the physical body causes a tremendous revolution in the physical body itself when the left hand is used in the same manner, for example, in writing, as the right. One of the most important points in this regard is that this would stress the right side of the body, the right side of the brain, beyond what modern people can normally tolerate. When people have been taught according to the methods and educational principles we have discussed here, then they may also be ambidextrous. In modern society, we may not simply go on to using both hands. These are things I can say from experience. Statistics would certainly support what I have said today.

First I should note that anyone who considers the spirit to be invented by wishful thinkers and karma to be a silly joke will of course give no weight at all to any of the reasons Steiner gave for his views of left handedness.

To focus only on the practical recommendations, Steiner recommended:

1. Under certain circumstances it may be permissible to allow children to draw with both hands.

2. Piano practice can "easily correct" left-handedness. (It becomes clear in the subsequent paragraph that what Steiner means by this is that it is not possible to play the piano properly with a clear dominance of one hand, and he does not appear to be addressing writing at all; he is addressing lateral dominance issues.)

3. If it would not have a damaging effect, he strongly recommends that children under the age of nine should be encouraged to write and draw with their right hand, a.k.a. "cured" of left-handedness.

4. Any thought of forcing all children to be ambidextrous is dangerous. Likewise, leaving a child naturally ambidextrous is also not good. The dominance of one side, preferably the right, is important.

So it is fair to say that Steiner recommended attempting to switch the writing hand of left-hand dominant children with the following qualifications: the child had to be under nine years of age, and the attempt could be made only if it would not cause any harm (note the adherence to the physicians Hippocratic oath: First, do no harm).

 

How has this been taken up subsequently in Waldorf education?

It is not really possible to answer this question completely. Waldorf education is a movement of independent entities that exists on five continents. There is considerable variation even between schools in the same city, to say nothing of different continents. Further, attitudes and understandings change over time, due to personal and cultural biases, as well as - yes, even advances in scientific and pedagogical understanding. While not in the majority, there are quite a few people with advanced degrees in Education within the Waldorf movement, and contemporary research and techniques are widely discussed and integrated (for example, Dwyer's Self-Theories, Goleman's emotional intelligence, Gardner's multiple intelligences, Piaget and Vygotsky's stages of child development, Montessori, Dewey and Ericson, are all taught in at least one teacher training institute). So there will be no single answer to how left-handed children are viewed in all Waldorf schools.

It is certainly true that a narrow reading of a few sentences of Steiner's opinions above has caused more than one Waldorf educator over the years to force switching. A more responsible position has been elaborate by Sonia Setzer, an MD working with anthroposophical methods as school doctor at the Escola Rudolf Steiner de São Paulo, Brazil. As reported by Valdemar Setzer:

Steiner says that left-handedness has karmic reasons and recommends that one stimulate the child to become right-handed, up to age 9, but only for automatic activities - writing and eating - nothing else.

In Sonia's opinion, followed by our school, when there is no consensus of all the people who take care of the child (teachers, parents, doctors (school and private), and therapists) nothing should be done to correct left-handedness.

If the child is less than nine years old, and there a consensus of all those people, our school tries to stimulate the child to write (and only to write) with his or her right hand. If a laterality test shows that the child is totally left-sided (eyes, ears, hands and feet), he or she should do all other activities (aside from writing) with the left hand. If the child has a cross-laterality (some organs are right-sided, others are left), exercises and eventually therapy is recommended, so he or she may acquire a brain-dominance. There are curative Eurythmy exercises that may help in this issue.

Setzer's opinion is shared by all the anthroposophical MD's (including Michaela Glockler, MD) that I have ever talked with, as well as virtually every leading proponent of Waldorf education. The dominant (pardon the pun) understanding in the movement today is that Waldorf education is a partnership between parents and teachers. (This is not to say that you will never find teachers who think they know everything better, nor is this to say that his has always been the case everywhere). As such, any pedagogical or therapeutic treatment of any child for any reason should be discussed with the parents, and only undertaken with the parents understanding and consent. Do no harm is the guiding principle. If any Waldorf parent feels that they are not being taken into consideration by their child's teacher, I encourage them to discuss this with that teacher and possibly other representatives of the school. And if they feel that the school is a harmful influence on their children, I would encourage them to take their child out of the school.

 

Do subsequent advances in neuroscience contradict either Steiner or subsequent Waldorf educators?

Here I feel least qualified to form an opinion, as my grasp of modern neuroscience is that of an interested layman without a comprehensive background in the area.

I am not really sure that neuroscience as a whole has a unified opinion on brain-dominance issues. If you feel that you know more about this than I, please elaborate on my attempts to describe things here.

Left-handedness is an aspect of laterality (From the 2002 Encyclopedia Britannica: Laterality: in physiological psychology, the development of specialized functioning in each hemisphere of the brain or in the side of the body which each controls. The most obvious example of laterality is handedness, the tendency to use one hand or the other to perform activities. It is the usual practice to classify persons as right-handed, left-handed, or ambidextrous (two-handed). People differ considerably in the range of activities for which they prefer a given hand as well as in the degree of disparity in skill between their two hands. Probably no one favours his right or left hand exclusively.)

No one is purely right-handed or left-handed. But one side is dominant, and this has some relation to the hemisphere of the brain involved. Further, the causes of left-handedness are not known. This web page http://duke.usask.ca/~elias/left/causes.htm discusses a number of possible theories (somehow karma is not listed <GG>). Nor is there an agreement on the significance of laterality. Paul Broca (1824-80) "localized the brain centre for articulate speech in the third convolution of the left frontal lobe. He referred to this area as the "convolution of Broca" (mainly known as Broca's area)." (2002 Encyclopedia Britannica). However, there is no one-to-one correspondence between handedness and lateralization of higher cortical functions in the brain. Despite the absence of a strong form of correspondence, a weak form is evident, in that "close to 99 percent of right-handed people. [and] at least 60 percent of left-handed and ambidextrous people. have left-hemisphere language" localization of higher cortical functions (2002 Encyclopedia Britannica). The significance of this is not understood.

Although the origin, purpose and significance of laterality is not completely understood by modern science, anthroposophists would probably see much of the research as confirming Steiner's model. For example, Steiner's statement above: "Without any intervention, the etheric body is stronger toward the left than the right, and the astral body is more developed toward the right than the left" appears to be confirmed by research into laterality such as: "The left hemisphere also appears to be more involved than the right in the programming of complex sequences of movement and in some aspects of awareness of one's own body" (2002 Encyclopedia Britannica), these being largely functions of the etheric body, while "The right hemisphere, then, appears to be specialized for some aspects of higher-level visual perception, spatial orientation, and route finding (sense of direction)." (2002 Encyclopedia Britannica), indicating aspects more often identified with the astral body.

Steiner seemed to be indicating that in issues of laterality, a left-hand dominance for writing would have an influence on characteristics of thinking. While I am not aware of much scientific research on this issue specifically, I do not feel that the neurological research to date rules this out. If you are aware of studies to the contrary, please let me know.

An interesting area of inquiry is the relationship between environmental influences and brain development. Among the environmental influences on neurological development would be included the use of the left or right hand for writing. The following study brought to light an interesting point:

-----------------------------------------------------------------

(From http://www.napa.ufl.edu/98news/reading.htm ):

UF STUDY: BRAIN STRUCTURE MAY PLAY ROLE IN CHILDREN'S ABILITY TO LEARN TO READ

Nov. 2, 1998

By Paul E. Ramey

GAINESVILLE---Brain structure and hand preference may be as important as environment in influencing a child's ability to learn to read, according to a University of Florida Brain Institute study.

The seven-year study of 39 Alachua County students from kindergarten to sixth grade indicates that while children from a lower socioeconomic class may be at risk for reading failure, the detrimental effects of environment are greatly increased in children with unusual brain asymmetry.

"This is the first study of students with a broad range of reading ability which shows that both brain structure and environment are related to the acquisition of skills critical for learning to read," said Mark Eckert, the UF psychobiology graduate student who designed the study. "It also is the first study to show that brain structure is related to the rate of reading skill development."

Eckert will present the preliminary research findings at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Los Angeles on Nov. 9, and at the International Dyslexia Association meeting in San Francisco on Nov. 13. Christiana Leonard, a professor of neuroscience in UF's College of Medicine, and Linda Lombardino, a professor of communication sciences and disorders in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, are collaborators on the project. All three are members of the UF Brain Institute.

Students in the study were tested in kindergarten and first grade for tasks that are known predictors of reading success, including the ability to rhyme, spell and reverse the order of speech sounds. Hand preference was tested with a questionnaire asking how often each hand is used to perform tasks such as throwing a ball or brushing teeth. If a child performed two or more tasks with either hand, they were classified as nonright-handed, meaning they were left-handed or didn't have a hand preference.

In sixth grade, students were given the same reading tests they took in first grade. They also received a magnetic resonance imaging scan of their head to measure brain structures. Those measurements then were compared to reading skills performance.

Using the MRI scans, researchers measured the size of the temporal plane on both sides of the brain, an area believed to play a role in language development. Results indicate reading skill performance is dependent on the relationship between hand preference and the direction of brain asymmetry.

Right-handed students whose left temporal plane was larger than the right demonstrated superior reading skills when they came from an average or high socioeconomic environment. Right-handed children with reversed asymmetry were at risk for reading failure, especially if they came from a poor family.

Socioeconomic status was determined by whether students received free or reduced-price school lunch. Students receive this subsidy if their family's yearly income is below a federally defined level. Researchers in the UF study found poverty was related to parental reports of fewer hours of homework help each week, fewer books in the home and a lower parental education level.

"A child who doesn't have the preferred brain symmetry-hand dominance relationship and who comes from a family that provides minimal literacy stimulation is at greater risk for a reading disorder than a child with a similar brain-hand dominance relationship who has had more exposure to literacy stimulation in the home," said Lombardino, who collected data from the kindergartners in 1992.

Most people are right-handed and have a larger temporal plane in the left hemisphere of the brain, called left asymmetry. Studies show that left-handed people are more likely to have a larger temporal plane in the right hemisphere of the brain.

In this study, researchers found leftward brain asymmetry was related to strong recognition of speech sounds and rightward asymmetry was related to poor recognition of speech sounds in right-handed children. Leftward brain asymmetry was not an advantage in children who did not have a strong right-hand preference. Left-handed children with left asymmetry were at risk for reading failure.

The only children in this study who demonstrated above-average reading skills came from an average or above-average environment and had asymmetry appropriate for their hand preference, meaning a larger structure in the hemisphere opposite to the preferred hand.

"This is a new concept for people, that learning ability could depend on brain structure," Leonard said. "I think it's important to note that there were no anatomical differences in children from different socioeconomic environments. But if a child has reversed asymmetry, improving the literacy environment becomes especially important."

Funding for the study came from the National Institutes of Health and the International Dyslexia Association.

While this study is far too small to be conclusive, its conclusions do raise the question whether neurological development can be influence by pedagogical treatment, and specifically just the type of treatment that Steiner indicated by telling teachers to encourage left dominant children to write with their right hand. There are doubtless other studies that would seem to prove such an attempt pointless. I raise this point only to show that science is far from having made up his mind on the issue.

In summary, science, and by this I mean neuroscientific research specifically, and not the general opinions about handedness that you seem to like calling "scientific", does not provide a definitive answer to either support or refute Rudolf Steiner's recommendations. If there are studies that I am unaware of that would seem to indicate otherwise, please bring them to my attention.

As to subsequent Waldorf educators, inasmuch as they adhere to Steiner's important qualification, first, do no harm, I do not feel that most of them to have gone against advances in neuroscientific research. To this point I should note the distinction I have drawn between mainstream Waldorf and the rather narrow-minded straw man of a Waldorf-teacher-from-hell that says on the first day of school: "Alright all you lefties, from now on I forbid you to touch a pencil with your left hand." Several such caricatures may even exist in reality, but they are certainly not typical of the movement. Were they typical there would hardly be any Waldorf schools today, and rightly so.

 

Was Steiner wrong to strongly encourage switching?

Ultimately, I feel the jury is still out on this question. As far as I have been able to determine, neuroscience does not have a comprehensive understanding of the subject. The mechanisms and implications are largely unknown, and there is no scientific basis to say one way or the other whether switching is helpful or not. Steiner encouraged switching (so long as it would cause no harm) as a pedagogical tool to influence subsequent cognitive development. He may have arrived at this by intuition, as he did most of his pedagogical indications. The science of his day did not provide very much information on the issue. On the balance most of his intuitions in the area of pedagogy have found validation and subsequent advances in scientific understanding, so the possibility must be held open that in this area subsequent science understanding may also provide validation. Or not.

In keeping an open mind, or even a critical one, to these questions, I feel it's important to first properly understand and acknowledge Steiner's actual indications. He was careful with his qualifications: the switching should do the child no harm. Has every Waldorf educator followed this advice? Unfortunately, it would seem that a few, perhaps even quite a few, have not. And this is really something that the Waldorf movement should acknowledge, if it hasn't already.

Almost all of what I have said has been said by proponents of Anthroposophy on the web and in discussions for years, so none of it should be new.

Daniel Hindes

...................................................................................................................................

From: Tarjei Straume
Date: Sun Jan 25, 2004 2:32 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] To Daniel

Wow, thanks, Daniel! This is all new to me! Nice work and great post!

Makes you wonder, is Paul McCartney a choleric?

Tarjei

...................................................................................................................................

From: winters_diana
Date: Sun Jan 25, 2004 9:42 pm
Subject: Re: To Daniel

Whew, Daniel, well here I am an hour later. I appreciate the work you put into this. But! Here goes. Gotta be done, especially with Bradford cheering and telling you to "watch your back." What an attitude, Bradford.

it should be noted that, in as far as I have been able to determine, what Steiner said at that point in time when he said it did not contradict the science of his day.

What science is that? Are you suggesting there was science in Steiner's day supporting the switching of left-handers? I do not know of such. If "science" supported this switching and Steiner made his recommendations based on this science – that would be quite different from Steiner merely echoing the prejudices and unexamined practices of his day. If there is evidence of the former please explain.

So in the narrower sense it is not accurate to say that Steiner spoke "against science" in his indications. At best to it can be said that further advances in scientific understanding have subsequently corrected Steiner's indications.

Again, Daniel, this would imply Steiner's "indications" were based on something and to my knowledge there is no evidence of that. Nowhere in your post do you provide evidence that anyone, in Steiner's day or ours, has ever shown a scientific reason left-handed children should be switched.

Any one of us can speak about things we aren't informed about, merely repeating what we hear in the newspaper for instance, and when later advances correct the earlier mistakes we could claim "further advances corrected our indications." None of which makes us experts if we weren't experts in the first place. I could go around proclaiming that my research shows there might have been water on Mars once, for instance. Later maybe they find out no, it turns out there was no water. Gosh, my "indications" have been corrected . . . Does this somehow convince you I ever knew anything about water on Mars? I hope not.

If this were true, Steiner would still stand in the quite illustrious company, as the contributions of many leading thinkers have subsequently been amended as new research adds to the sum of human knowledge.

See above. Am I in illustrious company any time I make ignorant proclamations about topics I know nothing about, just because people who really were illustrious are sometimes wrong too, just like me? Strange reasoning.

Dr. Steiner: In general, you will find that those children who have spiritual tendencies can write with either the left or right hand without trouble, but those children with materialistic tendencies will become addled if they are allowed to write with both hands. Right-handedness occurs for a reason.

I have snipped most of this, Daniel, because it adds up to precisely nothing. Unless one accepts on faith that Rudolf Steiner had spiritual insights into these children, it is all hogwash. Sorry. To me, to say that what hand a child uses tells you about their "spiritual tendencies" is ignorant, and reprehensible, a recipe for abuse.

I'd like to think plenty of other spiritual people would also find this very offensive. This should raise a HUGE red flag with a parent. I think the issue rattles me personally because so many times I have asked myself why I didn't see, going in, how bad an idea this esoteric junk was as the basis for a school. There were so many things I didn't see. I had no idea they would try to force a left- handed child to switch. If anyone had told me about this, I would have NEVER in a century enrolled my child there. So many things in Waldorf are difficult to fathom and this is not. This is child abuse. I have rarely heard such ignorance packaged up as "wisdom" and "spiritual insight."

But thanks very much for providing these quotes, I was not aware of all of these and they will be very useful.

Left-handedness is easily corrected through piano practice.

That's totally ridiculous. Evidence?

I would not speak about such things had I not done considerable research in this area and had I not tried, for example, to understand what it means to use the left hand.

I snip this because I think this is what you are referring to below when you say Steiner "researched" this matter. (Or maybe it's the other post.) What was this "research" Steiner did?

Statistics would certainly support what I have said today.

And what statistics would those be? Anyone?

2. Piano practice can "easily correct" left-handedness. (It becomes clear in the subsequent paragraph that what Steiner means by this is that it is not possible to play the piano properly with a clear dominance of one hand,

Huh? Where'd you get that idea? I used to be a fairly decent piano player, and I am strongly right-handed. Maybe I didn't play properly, I dunno. I took lessons for more than 10 years and I don't remember my teacher ever mentioning that I had a problem due to right-handedness.

So it is fair to say that Steiner recommended attempting to switch the writing hand of left-hand dominant children with the following qualifications: the child had to be under nine years of age, and the attempt could be made only if it would not cause any harm (note the adherence to the physicians Hippocratic oath: First, do no harm).

I am ambivalent about replying point by point, and appearing to give any credibility to theories that, in any event, have no basis in actual research. But perhaps it's worth nothing that the caveat "if it would not cause any harm" is not exactly reassuring. How would it be determined if it it would cause harm? If the child doesn't complain? Compliant children often don't, children are often very interested in pleasing their parents and teachers. Some will complain and resist and others will suffer in silence.

contemporary research and techniques are widely discussed and integrated (for example, Dwyer's Self-Theories, Goleman's emotional intelligence, Gardner's multiple intelligences, Piaget and Vygotsky's stages of child development, Montessori, Dewey and Ericson, are all taught in at least one teacher training institute).

Which teacher training institute is this?

So there will be no single answer to how left-handed children are viewed in all Waldorf schools.

No, there is not. It would be very interesting research. I remember a Waldorf teacher who was on the critics list some time back saying he was researching the matter, I think for a master's degree. He said he would report back but he never has.

Steiner says that left-handedness has karmic reasons and recommends that one stimulate the child to become right-handed, up to age 9, but only for automatic activities - writing and eating - nothing else.

This would make me laugh if it didn't make me so angry. What else is there besides "automatic activities," writing and eating, where it would really matter? Tossing a ball I guess. Writing and eating being fairly central to the life of a school child . . .

In Sonia's opinion, followed by our school, when there is no consensus of all the people who take care of the child (teachers, parents, doctors (school and private), and therapists) nothing should be done to correct left-handedness.

Well that's just great. This puts the burden on parents to go in bellowing that nobody better be trying to switch their child. I do advise Waldorf parents to do this; however, these days, it would never even OCCUR to most parents that the school might be trying this!

If the child is less than nine years old, and there a consensus of all those people, our school tries to stimulate the child to write (and only to write) with his or her right hand. If a laterality test shows that the child is totally left-sided (eyes, ears, hands and feet), he or she should do all other activities (aside from writing) with the left hand. If the child has a cross-laterality (some organs are right-sided, others are left), exercises and eventually therapy is recommended, so he or she may acquire a brain-dominance. There are curative Eurythmy exercises that may help in this issue.

Where is the evidence that curative eurythmy "helps" in this issue? Helps what? Can anyone tell me if any controlled research has EVER been done on "curative eurythmy," to show that it helps anybody with anything?

Setzer's opinion is shared by all the anthroposophical MD's (including Michaela Glockler, MD) that I have ever talked with, as well as virtually every leading proponent of Waldorf education.

I'm a little lost here Daniel, is this still Valdemar Setzer talking, or you? Have you discussed this with leading proponents of Waldorf education?

I'll keep your quotes from the Encyclopedia Britannica in for reference.

Left-handedness is an aspect of laterality (From the 2002 Encyclopedia Britannica: Laterality: in physiological psychology, the development of specialized functioning in each hemisphere of the brain or in the side of the body which each controls. The most obvious example of laterality is handedness, the tendency to use one hand or the other to perform activities. It is the usual practice to classify persons as right-handed, left-handed, or ambidextrous (two-handed). People differ considerably in the range of activities for which they prefer a given hand as well as in the degree of disparity in skill between their two hands. Probably no one favours his right or left hand exclusively.)

No one is purely right-handed or left-handed. But one side is dominant, and this has some relation to the hemisphere of the brain involved. Further, the causes of left-handedness are not known. This web page http://duke.usask.ca/~elias/left/causes.htm discusses a number of possible theories (somehow karma is not listed <GG>). Nor is there an agreement on the significance of laterality. Paul Broca (1824-80) "localized the brain centre for articulate speech in the third convolution of the left frontal lobe. He referred to this area as the "convolution of Broca" (mainly known as Broca's area)." (2002 Encyclopedia Britannica). However, there is no one-to-one correspondence between handedness and lateralization of higher cortical functions in the brain. Despite the absence of a strong form of correspondence, a weak form is evident, in that "close to 99 percent of right-handed people. [and] at least 60 percent of left-handed and ambidextrous people. have left-hemisphere language" localization of higher cortical functions (2002 Encyclopedia Britannica). The significance of this is not understood.

(Daniel again) Although the origin, purpose and significance of laterality is not completely understood by modern science, anthroposophists would probably see much of the research as confirming Steiner's model.

WHAT???? How so? You'll have to get explicit here, Daniel, because I am utterly lost, if you read anything in the above passage suggesting a left-handed child should be forced to use the right hand. Utterl . . . lost.

For example, Steiner's statement above: "Without any intervention, the etheric body is stronger toward the left than the right, and the astral body is more developed toward the right than the left" appears to be confirmed by research into laterality such as: "The left hemisphere also appears to be more involved than the right in the programming of complex sequences of movement and in some aspects of awareness of one's own body" (2002 Encyclopedia Britannica), these being largely functions of the etheric body, while "The right hemisphere, then, appears to be specialized for some aspects of higher-level visual perception, spatial orientation, and route finding (sense of direction)." (2002 Encyclopedia Britannica), indicating aspects more often identified with the astral body.

We just got little to go on here Daniel, very little, if you honestly believe Steiner's "etheric and astral bodies" somehow were what the Encyclopedia Britannica really means by "left hemisphere" and "right hemisphere."

Steiner seemed to be indicating that in issues of laterality, a left-hand dominance for writing would have an influence on characteristics of thinking. While I am not aware of much scientific research on this issue specifically, I do not feel that the neurological research to date rules this out. If you are aware of studies to the contrary, please let me know.

There is no reason to suggest neurologists should be either trying to support OR rule out nonsense like "the etheric body is stronger toward the left than the right." No – obviously neurological research doesn't "rule out" Steiner's babblings on any number of topics. They were never worth ruling out. There is nothing there worthy of study.

I kept in the full text of the study you inserted here, since I am so confused by your conclusions, and perhaps others will want to review it as well and someone can explain how you reached your conclusions.

UF STUDY: BRAIN STRUCTURE MAY PLAY ROLE IN CHILDREN'S ABILITY TO LEARN TO READ

Nov. 2, 1998

By Paul E. Ramey

GAINESVILLE---Brain structure and hand preference may be as important as environment in influencing a child's ability to learn to read, according to a University of Florida Brain Institute study.

The seven-year study of 39 Alachua County students from kindergarten to sixth grade indicates that while children from a lower socioeconomic class may be at risk for reading failure, the detrimental effects of environment are greatly increased in children with unusual brain asymmetry.

"This is the first study of students with a broad range of reading ability which shows that both brain structure and environment are related to the acquisition of skills critical for learning to read," said Mark Eckert, the UF psychobiology graduate student who designed the study. "It also is the first study to show that brain structure is related to the rate of reading skill development."

Eckert will present the preliminary research findings at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Los Angeles on Nov. 9, and at the International Dyslexia Association meeting in San Francisco on Nov. 13. Christiana Leonard, a professor of neuroscience in UF's College of Medicine, and Linda Lombardino, a professor of communication sciences and disorders in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, are collaborators on the project. All three are members of the UF Brain Institute.

Students in the study were tested in kindergarten and first grade for tasks that are known predictors of reading success, including the ability to rhyme, spell and reverse the order of speech sounds. Hand preference was tested with a questionnaire asking how often each hand is used to perform tasks such as throwing a ball or brushing teeth. If a child performed two or more tasks with either hand, they were classified as nonright-handed, meaning they were left-handed or didn't have a hand preference.

In sixth grade, students were given the same reading tests they took in first grade. They also received a magnetic resonance imaging scan of their head to measure brain structures. Those measurements then were compared to reading skills performance.

Using the MRI scans, researchers measured the size of the temporal plane on both sides of the brain, an area believed to play a role in language development. Results indicate reading skill performance is dependent on the relationship between hand preference and the direction of brain asymmetry.

Right-handed students whose left temporal plane was larger than the right demonstrated superior reading skills when they came from an average or high socioeconomic environment. Right-handed children with reversed asymmetry were at risk for reading failure, especially if they came from a poor family.

Socioeconomic status was determined by whether students received free or reduced-price school lunch. Students receive this subsidy if their family's yearly income is below a federally defined level. Researchers in the UF study found poverty was related to parental reports of fewer hours of homework help each week, fewer books in the home and a lower parental education level.

"A child who doesn't have the preferred brain symmetry-hand dominance relationship and who comes from a family that provides minimal literacy stimulation is at greater risk for a reading disorder than a child with a similar brain-hand dominance relationship who has had more exposure to literacy stimulation in the home," said Lombardino, who collected data from the kindergartners in 1992.

Most people are right-handed and have a larger temporal plane in the left hemisphere of the brain, called left asymmetry. Studies show that left-handed people are more likely to have a larger temporal plane in the right hemisphere of the brain.

In this study, researchers found leftward brain asymmetry was related to strong recognition of speech sounds and rightward asymmetry was related to poor recognition of speech sounds in right-handed children. Leftward brain asymmetry was not an advantage in children who did not have a strong right-hand preference. Left-handed children with left asymmetry were at risk for reading failure.

The only children in this study who demonstrated above-average reading skills came from an average or above-average environment and had asymmetry appropriate for their hand preference, meaning a larger structure in the hemisphere opposite to the preferred hand.

"This is a new concept for people, that learning ability could depend on brain structure," Leonard said. "I think it's important to note that there were no anatomical differences in children from different socioeconomic environments. But if a child has reversed asymmetry, improving the literacy environment becomes especially important."

While this study is far too small to be conclusive, its conclusions do raise the question whether neurological development can be influence by pedagogical treatment, and specifically just the type of treatment that Steiner indicated by telling teachers to encourage left dominant children to write with their right hand.

I have no idea how you could possibly have concluded that from reading that study. There is absolutely no suggestion in the study that handedness can or should be affected by a parent or teacher attempting to change it in the first place, thus your suggestion for this "pedagogical treatment" is totally off base. If you do know of anyone else who has drawn this conclusion from this study, or implemented a "pedagogical treatment" based on this study, please cite it.

There are doubtless other studies that would seem to prove such an attempt pointless. I raise this point only to show that science is far from having made up his mind on the issue.

If there is no research supporting what you propose, it seems a stretch to claim sicence hasn't "made up its mind." Some things science doesn't even consider, or stops considering when there's no further reason to consider them. This falls in that category. No one outside a Waldorf school today is working on "pedagogical treatments" for handedness. You seem to think the fact that you can't find studies speaking against it means the issue is undecided! The fact is the issue is long since decided.

In other words, there probably are not other studies proving such an attempt pointless, because no one is even considering such an attempt!

In summary, science, and by this I mean neuroscientific research specifically, and not the general opinions about handedness that you seem to like calling "scientific", does not provide a definitive answer to either support or refute Rudolf Steiner's recommendations. If there are studies that I am unaware of that would seem to indicate otherwise, please bring them to my attention.

See above. The burden is on you to show me a study – ONE SINGLE STUDY will do it, please, Daniel – suggesting that anyone today outside Waldorf pedagogy supports switching left-handed children.

Anyone got one?

As to subsequent Waldorf educators, inasmuch as they adhere to Steiner's important qualification, first, do no harm, I do not feel that most of them to have gone against advances in neuroscientific research. To this point I should note the distinction I have drawn between mainstream Waldorf and the rather narrow-minded straw man of a Waldorf-teacher-from-hell that says on the first day of school: "Alright all you lefties, from now on I forbid you to touch a pencil with your left hand." Several such caricatures may even exist in reality,

Actually, the article that Dan cited in his 1997 post on critics described such a teacher. I'd agree, however, that such an extreme approach is probably very rare now in Waldorf.

Ultimately, I feel the jury is still out on this question. As far as I have been able to determine, neuroscience does not have a comprehensive understanding of the subject. The mechanisms and implications are largely unknown,

Daniel, even if this position were supportable (this "We still don't know" stance; and the case is more accurately characterized as "The issue is no longer even under consideration") . . . but even if it were under consideration . . . when "mechanisms and implications are unknown," then only humane course is to not cause a child pain, discomfort and confusion, would you not agree? Based on nothing but one man's supposed clairvoyant inspirations? Hey . . . teacher, leave them kids alone.

and there is no scientific basis to say one way or the other whether switching is helpful or not.

Daniel – it is hard to believe you can be making such a basic error in reasoning. I could as easily say, there is no scientific basis to say one way or the other whether making children sing "Oh Susanna" while eating blueberry pancakes and standing on their heads every morning is helpful (helpful to what?) or not . . . after all, I can't find any studies in the recent literature refuting the usefulness of this specific ritual. I could then proceed to tell you about some mystagogue's musings about the beneficial nature of upside-down- pancake-eating-and-folksong-singing and insist that neuroscience has not disproven its effectiveness . . . I would have just about as strong a leg to stand on as what you proclaim here.
Diana

...................................................................................................................................

From: Daniel Hindes
Date: Sun Jan 25, 2004 1:16 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] To Daniel

Diana:

It would be a lot more interesting to me if you had any actual information, Daniel, or even suggestions, on why Steiner may have spoken "against science" on the treatment of the left-handed.

I don't feel that he spoke against science. When he spoke, there was nothing in science to in any way contradict his indications. I don't feel that subsequent scientific understanding in the area of neuroscience provides sufficint information to settle the issue definitively. If you can point me to such research, preferrably published in a peer-reviewed journal, I will be happy to read up on the subject.

Is there any evidence, anywhere, of any sort, to your knowledge, that Steiner knew anything about handedness, causes of, effects of, indications or contra-indications for remediation, methods of remediation, psychological effects on children thereof, etc.?

"I would not speak about such things had I not done considerable research in this area and had I not tried, for example, to understand what it means to use the left hand." Rudolf Steiner, May 7th, 1920.

Beyond his statement that he had studied the issue in depth? I don't think anyone in his day knew the answer to the question: "What causes handedness?". In fact, I don't think anyone today does either. The consensus today not to attempt any remediation appeaers to me to be more of a cultural consensus than a conclusion based specifically on scientific understanding. The two pages or so that Steiner spoke on the subject of handedness seem to show more than a superficial understanding.

(For instance, for a long time it was thought that switching left-handers might cause stuttering. This theory also has now been discredited.)

This is an interesting fact. I don't believe that Steiner ever addressed this one way or another.

Did Steiner have anything to contribute on this topic?

Of switching causing stuttering? No, not to my knowledge.

Did Steiner have any qualifications to contribute to a discussion of handedness?

No, but neither do you, from that point of view.

Where did he get his degree in neuropsychology or even teacher training?

I don't believe that degrees in neuropsychology were offered back then. His teacher training was informal; he spent a decade supporting himself by tutoring. While not formal training, it is a significant body of experience to draw on. He also read broadly in the area of pedagogy, and demonstrated a comprehensive grasp of the history of education and pedoagogical theories of his day.

(Did he ever say anything else on handedness, laterality, brain hemispheric dominance, etc., that is now taken seriously by scientists? not to my knowledge)

That is really two questions: Did he have anything else to say? Is it taken seriously?

Did he have anything more to say? Well, if you look up laterality you won't find anything.

Now which scientists do you want to have judge Steiner's theories? If you are an anthroposophist and happen to also have a Ph.D. in a scientific field, this would that disqualify you?

If I may ask you another question, what scientists have expressed their views on Steiner's pedagogical recommendations? Steiner is referrenced very infrequently outside of anthroposophical circles, so I am curious on this point.

I have addressed the question of what he said and its relationship to current understandings in my other reply.

How many left-handed children did Steiner observe? How many right-handed children did Steiner observe, and how did he reach his conclusion that they differed spiritually from left-handed children?

I don't have exact numbers. The first Waldorf school had grown to about 1000 pupils when he made his statement of switching. If we assume that the school population was 10% lefties, that would be about 100 left-handed children that he could have observed. I doubt we will ever establish exactly how many he did observe, but he did spend hours in the various classrooms over many visits to the school.

Did he ever, even once, work with a child personally to switch their hands?

I don't know the answer to that one.

What reason is there to believe that he did not just shoot his mouth off when some Waldorf teacher asked him his opinion about left-handed children?

You'll have to read his statements and judge for yourself whether you feel he knew what he was talking about or not.

Daniel "ruffled feathers" Hindes
aka The Angry One

...................................................................................................................................

From: winters_diana
Date: Sun Jan 25, 2004 9:58 pm
Subject: Re: To Daniel

sigh. continuing.

I don't feel that he spoke against science. When he spoke, there was nothing in science to in any way contradict his indications.

There was probably nothing in science to refute claims such as our planet having future "incarnations" called Venus and Jupiter and Vulcan, then, either. In fact, I bet there's still no research contradicting this! No one believes it, Daniel, outside anthroposophists!

I don't feel that subsequent scientific understanding in the area of neuroscience provides sufficint information to settle the issue definitively. If you can point me to such research, preferrably published in a peer-reviewed journal, I will be happy to read up on the subject.

You are still a little mixed up. See previous blueberry pancake example. It will be a tad silly for either of us to go hunting down this research, Daniel. If you want to defend the continuation of this practice, you are going to have to show me peer-reviewed research explaining its purpose and usefulness.

You're a laugh a minute telling me I should provide peer-reviewed research! Where is Steiner's peer-reviewed research? Down below, you seem to set a considerably different standard, taking Steiner's word about his "research" into left-handedness:

"I would not speak about such things had I not done considerable research in this area and had I not tried, for example, to understand what it means to use the left hand." Rudolf Steiner, May 7th, 1920.

Diana says: !!!!
What is this resarch exactly Daniel?

Beyond his statement that he had studied the issue in depth? I don't think anyone in his day knew the answer to the question: "What causes handedness?". In fact, I don't think anyone today does either. The consensus today not to attempt any remediation appeaers to me to be more of a cultural consensus than a conclusion based specifically on scientific understanding.

I will grant this possibility. However, if so it is a very good, an extremely darn good, cultural consensus. MAJOR PROGRESS not to torment children for no reason. yes?

Did Steiner have any qualifications to contribute to a discussion of handedness?

No, but neither do you, from that point of view.

True. But I make no pronouncements on it other than LEAVE THEM ALONE if you don't know what you're doing!

he spent a decade supporting himself by tutoring.

Correct me if I am wrong. I believe it was 4 children in one family. Were there others? I am also somewhat suspicious of the claim that this is how he supported himself for a decade, but I'm not sure.

While not formal training, it is a significant body of experience to draw on.

See above. Convince me it was more than four children. Tell me if any of them were left-handed, and if so did he try to switch them. Where does he report the results of his attempts to switch the left-handed child/ren in this family and where is the follow-up describing possible effects on these children later. Where is the control group of right-handed children, or of left-handed children who were not switched.

If I may ask you another question, what scientists have expressed their views on Steiner's pedagogical recommendations? Steiner is referrenced very infrequently outside of anthroposophical circles, so I am curious on this point.

Daniel . . . if you don't know what conclusions to draw from the fact that no one else even comments on these recommendations, or cites Steiner outside anthroposophical circles . . . what do you think I am trying to tell you?

How many left-handed children did Steiner observe?

I don't have exact numbers. The first Waldorf school had grown to about 1000 pupils when he made his statement of switching. If we assume that the school population was 10% lefties, that would be about 100 left-handed children that he could have observed.

"Could have." Is there evidence that he did? And I mean "observe" as in scientifically observe. It would take awhile, observing even one child to determine whether their handedness had any particular significance to their learning, never mind their spirituality!

Diana

...................................................................................................................................

From: golden3000997
Date: Sun Jan 25, 2004 2:58 pm
Subject: Applause

A Standing Ovation to Daniel for some really good research work.

This kind of work gets questions to rise above all "lower ego" issues. It is something that many of us do strive to accomplish, but don't always have the time and perserverance to follow through on. Myself very much included.

So much of what Steiner taught in 1919 (until his death in 1925) in the field of education specifically, must have seemed really bizarre to the thinking of the times. In my opinion, it wasn't until the "revolutionary" period of the 1960's and 70's that more original and "organic" thinking began to appear in the mainstream and more value was placed in general on the creative and emotional sides of learning as adjunct to the purely intellectual, abstract and/or rote methodology of the earlier part of the century. Wholistic learning, or Whole Language methods achieved a fair amount of popularity with concepts like writing before reading and the integration of "subjects" under the heading of a "theme" such as a time period or culture. More emphasis was placed on developing methodologies appropriate to the individual makeup of the child and his or her "neurolinguistic" orientation (sight, sound, kinesthetics).

What has been amazing to me over the past thirty years is how much that has come out in the realm of "mainstream" educational psychology has been practiced in Waldorf Education for more than twice that long. Perhaps not all Waldorf Teachers have studied what they are doing in such a way that they could write a Masters Thesis on every aspect of their day to day experience, but in my experience, many Waldorf Teachers certainly could do that if they were required to. And most Waldorf Teachers have done enough in depth research on various aspects of the educational philosophy and "methods" taught by Dr. Steiner to have some trust in those indications that they have yet to "work through" in their own thinking lives.

Waldorf Teachers THINK!! They think BEFORE bringing new content to the children who are their responsibility. They think WHILE bringing new content and while interacting with their children on a daily basis. And they think AFTER every day's work, going over (often many times) everything that they did and what their children gave them in response. This is what we mean by Meditation. It is a grueling, agonising process most of the time with a few highlights of achievement. It requires sometimes devastating amounts of self-honesty as we examine our constant failures and "sins of omission." It requires that each one of us stand ready at the drop of a hat to abandon our well-planned and heartfelt lesson of the day in the face of need more pressing brought by the children themselves. It requires that we get up in the morning and try once more to be, not a perfect vessel for the spiritual world, but a very imperfect one that (nevertheless) the spiritual world can work with to correct our faults in the souls of the children.

Sometimes we do fail. Many times we do succeed. But NEVER do we have the following feeling:

Late 1970s. Patterson, New Jersey.
My first husband and I are at a party given at the home of a couple who were in college with my husband. (He being about seven years older than I was.)

The husband of the couple was a public school teacher. It was the end of summer and he was talking about going back to the classroom in a few weeks.

"Every year, it's the same thing." he said to us. "It's always the same group of kids, year after year. There is always the "clown", "the deliquent", "the brain." Different kids, but they just fit into the same slots. I just teach those slots. It's just a job."

Waldorf Teachers do not think their children "fit into slots." And neither do the teachers!

Gracias, Daniel - muchas gracias!

Christine

"News tid-bit the other day from Compuserve"

Juggling Has Bizarre Effect On the Brain

And you thought juggling was just a great party trick! Turns out that adults who learn to juggle actually cause significant increases in the amount of gray matter in the area of their brains that process and store visual information. This proves what was not previously thought possible--that new stimuli can alter the adult brain's structure, reports Reuters. Gray matter is that part of the brain and spinal cord that contains the tightly packed nuclei of nerve cells. It's found on the outer layers of the brain's cerebrum and is responsible for advanced mental functions.

Researchers from the University of Regensburg in Germany determined all this by taking a brain-imaging scan of non-jugglers before they learned how to juggle and then comparing that scan with one taken three months later after they learned the new skill. There was increased gray matter after they learned to juggle, but the amount of gray matter actually decreased within three months after they stopped juggling. "Our results challenge our view of the human central nervous system," lead researcher Arne May explained in the journal Nature where the research was published. "Human brains probably must be viewed as dynamic, changing with development and normal learning."

The moral of the story: Develop your brain. Learn to juggle.

Compuserve 01.23.04

...................................................................................................................................

From: holderlin66
Date: Mon Jan 26, 2004 7:46 am
Subject: Re: To Daniel/rabid fundamentalism

--- In anthroposophy_tomorrow@yahoogroups.com, winters_diana wrote:

There is no reason to suggest neurologists should be either trying to support OR rule out nonsense like "the etheric body is stronger toward the left than the right." No – obviously neurological research doesn't "rule out" Steiner's babblings on any number of topics. They were never worth ruling out. There is nothing there worthy of study.

Bradford comments;

Well Daniel, so much for fair and balanced. All things are fair in love and war. On one side of the intellect stand those who, strongly feel and think Steiner is hallucinating. Of course this would mean that St. Paul was a liar and hallucinating and the NT we might as well flush down the toilet. Because what proof do we have to go on? Zilch!

There are good reasons to flush mental disease down the toilet. If someone has a NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE and they report a live Tableau or a tunnel experience..their inner certainty is considered a chemical hallucination. So it is important to keep in mind the difference between a Christian Scientist and a Spiritual Scientist. This difference is really the subjective content of what is at core a very tricky argument. There have been many examples of Christian Scientists parents who wouldn't allow their children to be treated in hospitals because out of faith, they denied their children medical care. A few, rare examples died because of the parents illogic. But this illogical dogmatism is really the source of the projected antipathy applied to Steinerism.

http://www.vexen.co.uk/holyshit/faith.html

What should not happen is that children are forced, before the age that they can reasonably think about, to shun medical knowledge due their parents inhibitions. Anyway, any normal person knows this is true, but out of the billions of people in the world some beliefs are life endangoring. This is fine, as people are free to do dangerous things as long as it harms no other undeserving people. Examples: Extreme sports, autoeroticasphysiation, holding-your-breath-for-as-long-possible.

But if a parent, due to their irrational beliefs, denies a child medical attention or education because of the *parents* beliefs and not the childs own interests, then this is immoral.

Bizarre magazine, a month or two ago, printed several accounts of religious fanaticism that resulted in death (in all cases it was the killing of their own possessed, evil or 'wrong' child), in recent events. Two further examples follow at the end of this page.

The psychology that leads to this type of behaviour is far beyond me, but it is safe to say that certain systems of thought promote it, and these systems should be changed.

"The second child pictured above* is Amy Hermanson from Sarasota, Florida. She had diabetes. She also had Christian Science parents. The two don't mix and Amy lost. Amy was visibly sick for a period of four weeks. As many people do who believe in the hocus pocus of faith-healing, Amy's mother was pretending everything was alright. She took Amy to visit a neighbor who encouraged her to take Amy to a doctor. She refused. A few minutes latter Amy crawled into the room begging her mother to take her home. Amy died a few days latter.

Bradford responds;

Since this is the first time I recognized the over reaction to anything that is taken on "Faith", such as what appears to be testified by every Waldorf Teacher and the whole of Anthroposophy, which takes all that Dr. Steiner said on Faith, such an over reaction to illogical Faith based, phony Science is at best, a chronic and massive subjective reactionary, psychological push back - Spring Back really. Because the spring back is a real knee jerk response.

But now my sympathy is up. I see where this is coming from. Shouting the dangers that anyone who would believe that we can transpose the name Christian Science and Spiritual Science over each other, means that we enter the ground where in the rejection of such dogmatic "Christian Science" beliefs must apply also to anything Steiner indicated. This is fair, because, in all fairness we are looking at a 180 degree turn around and a full fledged rejection, of how Fundamentalist beliefs mingled with false ideas of Materialistic Science have given a movement like Christian Science a surface appearance to be the same as that of Spiritual Science. The Knee Jerk is in place, but the subjective dynamics of the knee jerk are the real issue and the issue being played down deep in the soul life.

Therefore, here we see the results when in childhood the illogical aspects of Christian Science were stuffed into a child. Why don't these same horrible abuses and child crimes apply to Waldorf Education? You can see the case that is being made and, it stands to reason that the rejection has to be with ALL strange practice. Any and all of them must be wrong. Knee Jerk! If it appears strange to those from the outside, it appears as strange and as abnormal because just like Christian Science- Spiritual Science is strange and abnormal. It must be the same confused billowing nonsense, therefore knee jerk!

The inner rejection, the force of antipathy here, rules out anyone who should follow or adhere to Spiritual Science. What right do those who Adhere to Spiritual Science have to claim that their virtues are better than fundamentalist-dogmatic Christian Science beliefs? This is a very psychologically subjective argument. Using Materialistic Science healthily, such as there is an atomic table and Christ did conquer the atomic table, etc... is not faith, it is Science that meets with Spriritual Science. We could add hundreds of basic equations in medicine and homeopathy/aleopathy- astronomy and biodynamic calendars geocentric and heliocentric and basic tests made on food grown biodynamically. All these tests, whether logical, grounded in science or not, are knee jerked into rejection. This is highly interesting moral technique that we should face very clearly and see the pathological rational being used here a judo of the soul.

We could add history, studies of mammals in Schad and study of the human form with Popplebaum.. Spiritual Science, unlike Christian Science, deals with comparisons and verifications of science. But also with Christ, not merely as a faith based idea, but as a Saturn, Sun, Moon and Earth evolution unfolding... Which is the only way to explain the layers of mineral, plant, animal and human consciousness. That being said, to someone outside, it is jealousy that Waldorf or Steiner people can get away with it in their thinking, but someone in Christian Science cannot. This is a ragin-cajun issue. This creates a deep down knee jerk reaction. It is totally subjective and it is the result of unworked through psychological failures of choices that parents made and now meet us again in untransformed Trailor Park Opinions.

The difference is vast but subtle. The hatred or even illogical disagreements all stem from how do we think we can get away with it, being Steinerites, when it is all based on crass racism, Nazi black magic and gobbly gook? Because here the complex rejection in the soul life meets an entrained fundamentalist illogic that, in a sense, has come to roost at WC and entails the entire Fundamental Right Wing of a Sweeping... and excuse me for coming down to this, much hated observation.. but an Ahrimanic Wall of denial that has its roots in a dynamic rejection and a false mirror image of the difference between Spiritual Science and Christ and Ahriman's fundamentalism and Christ. This is a great, great tool and is a really landmine in the psychology that can escalate to intellectual character assassination and the Ahrimanic edifice of George and Co.

The problem is that Karl Rove knows these things and others are merely dynamically turning and springing out of knee jerk Fundamentalism to rabid materialism.

As I see it, this is the issue and it lands here, PLOP! Clear as a bell.

Bradford

...................................................................................................................................

From: Sophia
Date: Mon Jan 26, 2004 10:07 am
Subject: Re: To Daniel/rabid fundamentalism

For some strange reason, Diana's post below was sent to my mailbox instead of the group. It arrived as an attached text-file that Spamguard interpreted as spam! (I have sent the entire message as it arrived to Diana privately. I encourage you all to avoid mentioning email addresses in the body text of messages, because they can easily be picked up by spam engines that way.)

When you post to the group, write to anthroposophy_tomorrow@yahoogroups.com. You may contact the moderator any time by writing to anthroposophy_tomorrow-owner@yahoogroups.com or to the return address of this message.

Faithfully,

Sophia (moderator)

Diana's post:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Mon, 26 Jan 2004 16:27:03 -0000
From: winters_diana
To: anthroposophy_tomorrow-owner@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: To Daniel/rabid fundamentalism

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bradford I assume this was simply an attempt to pull my chain, since I told you I was raised Christian Scientist. Yes - there are parallels. But I am not confusing "Christian Science" with "spiritual science." I find it amusing when sects point at each other and say - those guys are weird, fundamentalist and dogmatic, strange and abnormal, but we're not. Gosh they even hurt children! But we "love" children.

I don't think the switching of left-handers rises to the level of sadism of the parents who refuse medical care for their children in extreme circumstances - no. (And I am well read on such cases, in fact my father has been asked to testify in court in several. He refuses because he doesn't have any sympathy for the parents.)

just my trailer park opinions this morning :)
Diana

...................................................................................................................................

From: winters_diana
Date: Mon Jan 26, 2004 10:27 am
Subject: Re: To Daniel/rabid fundamentalism

For some strange reason, Diana's post below was sent to my mailbox instead of the group. It arrived as an attached text-file that Spamguard interpreted as spam! (I have sent the entire message as it arrived to Diana privately. I encourage you all to avoid mentioning email addresses in the body text of messages, because they can easily be picked up by spam engines that way.)

Thank you, Sophia. I wondered if I only imagined I replied to that post. I still don't understand what happened, because it didn't have an email address in the body I don't think? and you say you replied to me privately but I don't have anything in my in-box. I think that post was the first time I posted here simply by clicking "post" from the web site, that is, not in reply to another post.
Diana

...................................................................................................................................

From: holderlin66
Date: Mon Jan 26, 2004 12:53 pm
Subject: Re: To Daniel/rabid fundamentalism

--- In anthroposophy_tomorrow@yahoogroups.com, holderlin66 wrote:

But now my sympathy is up. I see where this is coming from.

As Christ rightly put to Paul - "It is hard to kick against the Pricks". It would seem a fitting punishment to place Paul, or something like Paul, to have to prove over and over again that indeed Christ was my private hallucination. That Saul to Paul is a confessed Schizo and clinically nobody cares if he was right handed or left handed, he was and still is a clinical Schizo and would sound like Dr. Steiner, so they are both Schizo's.

Let us see, Vulcan evolution?
Venus Evolution?
Etheric body linked to the Lympahtic system?
Astral body linked to the Nervous system?
Reincarnation?
Creationism vs. Saturn-Sun-Moon-Earth evolution?
The Christ Event?
Near Death Experiences?

What about those tales where the Sailor drowns far out to sea but returns at the foot of the bed to tell his wife good bye, and she sees him? Humbug, Chemistry, hallucination.

Lucifer? Jagger's or Milton's? Ahriman? Sir Walter Scott or Zarathustra?

Decayed Light? Magnetism-Electricity and ?

Lower organic will forces of the Etheric or brain aspects of the Astral body...left handed or right handed.

Will and etheric lymphatic conditions?

What is my point? Well no matter what angle you want to walk this dawg it is still a dawg that won't hunt for people who refuse to have dogs. Intuition is a fine thing and can be schooled very carefully to be a good hunting dawg. It is wonderful exercise in sleep therapy to read a page of Stephen Hawkings and a page of Occult Science and try for yourselves to bring the yawning differences into agreement. Stereo.

But you have to have a navigation organ of perception that has not been numbed in by the horrific conflict that full blown materialistic science creates, the mayhem in the soul, when it looks at the Christ Event or Paul from the numbed standpoint of Faith. As you can see, you will never find a balance between left and right handed neuro science camps. Facts right or wrong could come up and bite people in the a-- but without discernment and a sense of truth..it is mere unqualifed Data. Thank you Daniel you are dismissed. Brain Scans or to put us in a Goethean closet, Steiner might have experienced and read the effect in the direction from nervous system to lymphatic switching of hands on his own objectified Self observation? Stupid, Steiner's only teaching experience was what, one handicapped kid. STupid.

Well folks, you know this is utter nonsense. If a person tells me that the fur on peaches makes them itch or the smell of lake reminds one of their childhood..we must assume that any objective observation of soul conditions are simply a trick, an illusion. There couldn't have been an advanced Christ Being who was part of the family of Man? Nor could St. Paul have experienced what he experienced. Kant and the subjective imprisoning of the I AM has now affected millions and millions of souls. But there is a reflexive psychological reality behind this that is being used clearly in Ahrimanic Political handbooks.

At square one, in Ahriman's/Karl Rove's handbook, one must face miracles as only miracles and not science but materialism, such as if the galactic cloud is expanding or contracting or how many millions of light years it takes for certain star light to arrive here, whole galaxies may have died since then... All of Stephen Hawkings is mass theory and so is physics. Ahriman says forget your sense of truth, your organ for the perception of truth, believe the A-Bomb and the devastating results, but believe with all the lip service of your puny heart the Christ Event and its healing results. One you can see and feel the other may or may not be true.. nobody knows. Therefore vote for Ahrimanic Bush platform. He likes Jesus but like you he couldn't think his way out of milk carton.

The argument is reflexive. Faith the Church, all the Churches pile on a great divide between "we can never understand what happened at Golgotha" and long winded love of materialism. "Nobody can know what happened either at the Saturn Evolution or what was going on in Jesus mind when he strolled over to the river to be baptized by John the Baptist". There can't be any "REAL" record in the Akasha and there could never have been an Atlantis. Well kids, we just dumped out 3/4 of Spiritual Science and we still have that nutball Steiner, the Schizo.

This is a religious reflexive response that is counted on by Karl Rove. It is a proven fact that GW and Colin Powell, the whole crew and Condolici are liars. Rush Limbaugh is the hypocrite of hypocrites. But all that doesn't matter. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, just look at how we can play with facts, fantasy, lie and truth and spin it in any reflexive way we want. Why, because we're Christians and they're not. I'm Chevy Chase...and

Humanism and the Subjective corruption of the Core of INtution are at odds. The subjective corruption of the core of intuition has become Christian Reflexive Spin to support George Bush - a nest of Ahrimanic liars. I hope people have had an opportunity to watch the film, "Conspiracy" about the Corporate Meeting of the Nazis to eliminate the Jews off the face of the Earth. The planning, in the film, is done with all the Corporate cleanliness on how Enron could get around the Laws of Nurenberg. It is an Enron meeting or a typical cabinet meeting supervised by Lon Cheney the V.P.

George Bush and Blair are certifiable war criminals. A Nut Job like the Bush administration should not have been given the ability to start war, let alone nuclear war, as HE..sees fit. When He sees fit. This is MAD and the code name is MAD. We are in the center of a not so pretty world Kantian argument that needs to be flushed with a shot of the Philosophy of Freedom. But as we know, we can't reach for that because Steiner was a bloodthirsty racist.

In the reflexive soul, you think you can go over to the WC or the Right Wing and selectively choose which of STeiner's nut brained ideas is good, solid and true and which are obviously luny? No. No you can't. It is reflexive millions, upon millions of thoughtless Americans. Where comes this reflexive soul gesture? It comes as an outgrowth, where Materialistic Christianity, and raping Altar Boys have reached a limit. Faith popped a cork, blew a piston and now its who the heck cares of it lies, if bleeds it leads. People just want to believe in Christ and that God is on the side of the Right Wing. It ain't because Christ has a more profound vision of Love than any of the squeezed out right wing lemons could ever hope to understand. No it is because they can't go in there and resolve their reflexive response to the complex issues. Therefore we will be in reeducation camps if we hold onto Steiner.

Ah, but I digress. It is a Reflexive Ahrimanic gesture. Listen very carefully to the film, "Conspiracy" with Kenneth Branagh.

http://www.historytelevision.ca/film/conspiracy/

The crisp, cold setting of Conspiracy necessarily equals the crisp, cold subject matter at the heart of the film: the Wansee conference of January 20, 1942. Based on the sole surviving copy of the Wansee Protocol, a group of high-ranking Nazi party officials gathered together to iron out the plans for Hitler's Final Solution, the process by which he planned to exterminate the entire European Jewish population.

The film opens with Adolf Eichmann (Stanley Tucci) carefully supervising the preparations for the day. His vigilant and deliberate actions parallel the busy nature of the staff attempting to perfect the environment as per Eichmann's obvious instructions. As the invited guests begin to arrive, the film changes its focus, but only slightly, from observing preparations to keenly reporting the scene, almost as if it's a documentary and not a dramatization.

Bradford concludes;

Ahriman was in this mix. I know, Ahriman doesn't exist and Steiner merely thought up something so that we can be kept boot licking the Christ Event. Well we know how Ahriman plays the race card. He played the Race card with Richard Wagner and he broadcast it far and wide, in neon "God is Friggin Dead" when he stepped into Nietzsche's brain. I don't know if it was the right side of his brain or the left. Nietzsche just hated hypocrisy. Now this is pivotal to the action of Ahriman and understanding the numb nerve where the organ of truth disappeared out of a million people like the Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

What we need to watch is the current Reflexive Psycho response, that has arisen from half baked Christians, (uneducated TRAILER PARK, wanna be Christians) who have had their own 'intuition' snuffed out through heavy heeled, boot pounding Faith. Something inside them has died and that is where my sympathy for the problem that I see now centers on. I understand it. I see it. And if you have met Christ either right after Death, an Epiphany a NDE event is gonna help you from becoming a numbed, intellectually cunning- Wansee conference monster. Or just continue to work for the betrayal of life that the Bush group has launched out of the back seat of Ahriman's VOLKSWAGON.

Faith, and constant hammering that no one can think through these great enormous cosmic miracles, offered by the Christ event, has numbed the organ of intution and truth location in souls. The Reflex, the Knee Jerk response from the Right is that George is Right anyways and it doesn't matter to truth or heaven why we did anything, because it is a matter of OIL and the EURO stupid. Ah excuse me, no matter how many times we frame this issue it comes back at us as reflexive zombies who now occupy the GOP and allow us to call them NEOCONS. But it is also the PS and WC hardening up of their antipathy. They have my sympathy, they do.

I have traced all this Ahrimanic Race Card, cyanide human catastrophe back to Weimar and Leo STrass and Goethe and Steiner and Nietzsche. I mean we all have a hand in it. Lincoln is used as a martial law example for Bush and John Ashcroft. Woodrow Wilson was infected severely by his double, until his brain circuits gave out but nobody told the public. Hitler for gods sake. We are all to blame.

But the real horror here, is the numbed, snipped, neutered, sterilized organ of intuition and the perception of Truth. Christ may be a Truth, but the soul has to do back flips to integrate Science with Christ or St. Paul. Therefore a numbed region of psycho-Politica has joyfully fixed, neutered and even brought hatred to goodness so that goodness is now unpatriotic badness and Orwell is all over us and it is as obvious to anyone with common sense as it isn't to the Rush Limbaugh Right monsters in Ahriman's friendly stable.

When next you bust brains with knotted soul configurations and find a nice balance and reckoning together and you find that souls still go right back to the Ahrimanic trough...you might consider the Reflexive and neutered sense of Truth. Happily there is at least half of humanity still hanging in there in humanistic common sense and dignity. The Christian Right has succeeded in neutering and sterilizing the sense of truth in millions. The Church has helped.

Now at this point a long lecture by Joel on the Philosophy of Freedom and a new form of 12 Step program to recover the numbed, neutered, sterilized sense of truth, should be distrubuted as a brochure. Have at it.

Bradford

...................................................................................................................................

From: winters_diana
Date: Mon Jan 26, 2004 8:37 am
Subject: Re: To Daniel

So I don't want to rush you or anything, Daniel, but if anyone else has info. on the following, feel free to jump in here:

"I would not speak about such things had I not done considerable research in this area and had I not tried, for example, to understand what it means to use the left hand." Rudolf Steiner, May 7th, 1920.

Does anyone know of any other writings by Steiner, or anyone else, explicating what this "research" was that Steiner did on use of the left hand?

he spent a decade supporting himself by tutoring.

Can someone show me evidence that Steiner supported himself for a decade tutoring? The implication is solely by tutoring.

Correct me if I am wrong. I believe it was 4 children in one family. Were there others?

Again anyone know of other children Steiner ever tutored? Does anyone know if any of the four Specht children were left-handed?

Diana

...................................................................................................................................

From: Daniel Hindes
Date: Mon Jan 26, 2004 5:45 am
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: To Daniel

Daniel:

it should be noted that, in as far as I have been able to determine, what Steiner said at that point in time when he said it did not contradict the science of his day.

Diana:

What science is that? Are you suggesting there was science in Steiner's day supporting the switching of left-handers? I do not know of such. If "science" supported this switching and Steiner made his recommendations based on this science – that would be quite different from Steiner merely echoing the prejudices and unexamined practices of his day. If there is evidence of the former please explain.

Daniel:

No, my point is that neither the science of his day nor the science of today says anything scientific about the switching of left handers. If you have evidence to the contrary, please let me know.

Daniel:

So in the narrower sense it is not accurate to say that Steiner spoke "against science" in his indications. At best to it can be said that further advances in scientific understanding have subsequently corrected Steiner's indications.

Diana:

Again, Daniel, this would imply Steiner's "indications" were based on something and to my knowledge there is no evidence of that. Nowhere in your post do you provide evidence that anyone, in Steiner's day or ours, has ever shown a scientific reason left-handed children should be switched.

Daniel:

If you read carefully, I have never claimed Steiner's indications were scientific. At one point I even called them intuitions. I have only pointed out that they have not, either then or now, gone against any real "science". Again, if you are aware of any scientific evidence to the contrary, please let me know.

Diana:

Any one of us can speak about things we aren't informed about, merely repeating what we hear in the newspaper for instance, and when later advances correct the earlier mistakes we could claim "further advances corrected our indications." None of which makes us experts if we weren't experts in the first place. I could go around proclaiming that my research shows there might have been water on Mars once, for instance. Later maybe they find out no, it turns out there was no water. Gosh, my "indications" have been corrected . . . Does this somehow convince you I ever knew anything about water on Mars? I hope not.

Daniel:

Indeed. Now let us see whether science actually contradicts or supports what we say. Or what Steiner says. If you are aware of any scientific studies on the subject at hand, please inform me of them.

Daniel:

If this were true, Steiner would still stand in the quite illustrious company, as the contributions of many leading thinkers have subsequently been amended as new research adds to the sum of human knowledge.

See above. Am I in illustrious company any time I make ignorant proclamations about topics I know nothing about, just because people who really were illustrious are sometimes wrong too, just like me? Strange reasoning.

Daniel:
You are showing a strong bias here. I want to know about the science that backs up your opinion. Do you have any?

Daniel (quoting Steiner):

Dr. Steiner: In general, you will find that those children who have spiritual tendencies can write with either the left or right hand without trouble, but those children with materialistic tendencies will become addled if they are allowed to write with both hands. Right-handedness occurs for a reason.

Diana:

I have snipped most of this, Daniel, because it adds up to precisely nothing. Unless one accepts on faith that Rudolf Steiner had spiritual insights into these children, it is all hogwash. Sorry. To me, to say that what hand a child uses tells you about their "spiritual tendencies" is ignorant, and reprehensible, a recipe for abuse.

Daniel:

I find it interesting that you have so little interest in what Steiner actually said, in demonstrating that you have really read and understood it, and have specific objections. Instead you dismiss two or three pages as "adding up to nothing." It is hard to take such scholarship seriously.

Diana:

I'd like to think plenty of other spiritual people would also find this very offensive. This should raise a HUGE red flag with a parent. I think the issue rattles me personally because so many times I have asked myself why I didn't see, going in, how bad an idea this esoteric junk was as the basis for a school. There were so many things I didn't see.

Daniel:

That is an opinion, and as such really adds nothing to the discussion. It is clear that you feel strongly about this.

Diana:

I had no idea they would try to force a left-handed child to switch.

Daniel:

If you read what I wrote, you would perhaps have come across the idea that children are not forced to switch without a discussion with the parents and the agreement of the same. Why do I feel that I am talking and not being heard? Do you only hear what supports your preexisting prejudices?

Diana:

If anyone had told me about this, I would have NEVER in a century enrolled my child there. So many things in Waldorf are difficult to fathom and this is not. This is child abuse. I have rarely heard such ignorance packaged up as "wisdom" and "spiritual insight."

Daniel:

Thank you for sharing how you feel about this. If I may point this out, you objections so far have all been from your feelings. I am curious if there is any scientific research on the issue.

Diana:

But thanks very much for providing these quotes, I was not aware of all of these and they will be very useful.

Daniel:

You're welcome. I hope you will read them in their entirety, and avoid the common tendency among critics to read only what they want to hear and then quote selectively.

Daniel:

Left-handedness is easily corrected through piano practice.

Diana:

That's totally ridiculous. Evidence?

Daniel:

Here we go with selective quoting and not reading the actual quotes. In the snipped portion I wrote: (It becomes clear in the subsequent paragraph that what Steiner means by this is that it is not possible to play the piano properly with a clear dominance of one hand, and he does not appear to be addressing writing at all; he is addressing lateral dominance issues.) The evidence is in piano playing. If the player plays well using both hands, they are no longer laterally dominant in one or the other. In the future please be more careful reading both what I wrote and what I am writing about. I feel that you are not really treating things fairly.

Daniel (quoting Steiner):

I would not speak about such things had I not done considerable research in this area and had I not tried, for example, to understand what it means to use the left hand.

Diana:

I snip this because I think this is what you are referring to below when you say Steiner "researched" this matter. (Or maybe it's the other post.) What was this "research" Steiner did?

Daniel:

I don't know. He didn't say.

Steiner:

Statistics would certainly support what I have said today.

Diana:

And what statistics would those be? Anyone?

Daniel:

I too would be interested in hearing an answer.

Daniel:

2. Piano practice can "easily correct" left-handedness. (It becomes clear in the subsequent paragraph that what Steiner means by this is that it is not possible to play the piano properly with a clear dominance of one hand,

Diana:

Huh? Where'd you get that idea? I used to be a fairly decent piano player, and I am strongly right-handed. Maybe I didn't play properly, I dunno. I took lessons for more than 10 years and I don't remember my teacher ever mentioning that I had a problem due to right-handedness.

Daniel:

Perhaps you should read up on laterality. If you played piano well, then you learned to use both hands. This would be an example of countering dominance. It will obviously not eliminate or even switch the dominant writing hand, but Stenier, if I have understood him correctly, feels it have a beneficial effect on cognitive development.

Daniel:

So it is fair to say that Steiner recommended attempting to switch the writing hand of left-hand dominant children with the following qualifications: the child had to be under nine years of age, and the attempt could be made only if it would not cause any harm (note the adherence to the physicians Hippocratic oath: First, do no harm).

Diana:

I am ambivalent about replying point by point, and appearing to give any credibility to theories that, in any event, have no basis in actual research. But perhaps it's worth nothing that the caveat "if it would not cause any harm" is not exactly reassuring. How would it be determined if it it would cause harm? If the child doesn't complain? Compliant children often don't, children are often very interested in pleasing their parents and teachers. Some will complain and resist and others will suffer in silence.

Daniel:

These are very important points, and I would encourage everyone (parents and teachers) to think about them.

Daniel:

contemporary research and techniques are widely discussed and integrated (for example, Dwyer's Self-Theories, Goleman's emotional intelligence, Gardner's multiple intelligences, Piaget and Vygotsky's stages of child development, Montessori, Dewey and Ericson, are all taught in at least one teacher training institute).

Diana:

Which teacher training institute is this?

Daniel:

Sunbridge College in Chestnut Ridge, NY (www.sunbridge.edu)

Daniel:

So there will be no single answer to how left-handed children are viewed in all Waldorf schools.

Diana:

No, there is not. It would be very interesting research. I remember a Waldorf teacher who was on the critics list some time back saying he was researching the matter, I think for a master's degree. He said he would report back but he never has.

Daniel:
It would be interesting to know.

Setzer, quoted by Daniel:

Steiner says that left-handedness has karmic reasons and recommends that one stimulate the child to become right-handed, up to age 9, but only for automatic activities - writing and eating - nothing else.

Diana:

This would make me laugh if it didn't make me so angry. What else is there besides "automatic activities," writing and eating, where it would really matter? Tossing a ball I guess. Writing and eating being fairly central to the life of a school child . . .

Daniel:

Thank you for sharing your opinions on the matter. The quote above was from a practicing MD. If you have research to indicate this is harmful, there are quite a few people who would like to hear of it.

Setzer, quoted by Daniel:

In Sonia's opinion, followed by our school, when there is no consensus of all the people who take care of the child (teachers, parents, doctors (school and private), and therapists) nothing should be done to correct left-handedness.

Diana:

Well that's just great. This puts the burden on parents to go in bellowing that nobody better be trying to switch their child. I do advise Waldorf parents to do this; however, these days, it would never even OCCUR to most parents that the school might be trying this!

Daniel:

The burden is in making the decision. Before anything is done the school should be contacting the parents. I would strongly disagree with any school that acts without contacting the parents first.

Setzer, quoted by Daniel:

If the child is less than nine years old, and there a consensus of all those people, our school tries to stimulate the child to write (and only to write) with his or her right hand. If a laterality test shows that the child is totally left-sided (eyes, ears, hands and feet), he or she should do all other activities (aside from writing) with the left hand. If the child has a cross-laterality (some organs are right-sided, others are left), exercises and eventually therapy is recommended, so he or she may acquire a brain-dominance. There are curative Eurythmy exercises that may help in this issue.

Diana:

Where is the evidence that curative eurythmy "helps" in this issue? Helps what? Can anyone tell me if any controlled research has EVER been done on "curative eurythmy," to show that it helps anybody with anything?

Daniel:

The experience of dozens of practicing MD's over decades has shown the efficacy of such treatments for many conditions. Oh, but they are anthroposophists, so their opinion is not to be trusted. "Curative eurythmy" (as opposed to performance eurythmy) is by prescription only, and can only be initiated by an MD. I don't know of any trained curative eurythmists that would work with someone who did not have such a prescription. Would have to look into the question of scientific research into the efficay of curative eurythmy. I am not aware of any one way or the other. But why do I have to do all the work? Perhaps you could find out for us here.

Daniel:

Setzer's opinion is shared by all the anthroposophical MD's (including Michaela Glockler, MD) that I have ever talked with, as well as virtually every leading proponent of Waldorf education.

Diana:

I'm a little lost here Daniel, is this still Valdemar Setzer talking, or you? Have you discussed this with leading proponents of Waldorf education?

Daniel:

Sorry about that. I'll try to be clearer in the future. Those are my words. (And if I could request that you be clearer with your snipped quotes, it would be helpful. A number of Steiner quotes above are indestinguishable from my own writing)

Daniel:

(Daniel again) Although the origin, purpose and significance of laterality is not completely understood by modern science, anthroposophists would probably see much of the research as confirming Steiner's model.

Diana:

WHAT???? How so?

Daniel:

It seems to me that you are very surprised to hear that science can and does support Anthroposophy. I hope you won't be too biased to actually consider the possibility.

Diana:

You'll have to get explicit here, Daniel, because I am utterly lost, if you read anything in the above passage suggesting a left-handed child should be forced to use the right hand. Utterl . . . lost.

Daniel:

Um, it's in the next paragraph. Keep reading.

Daniel:

For example, Steiner's statement above: "Without any intervention, the etheric body is stronger toward the left than the right, and the astral body is more developed toward the right than the left" appears to be confirmed by research into laterality such as: "The left hemisphere also appears to be more involved than the right in the programming of complex sequences of movement and in some aspects of awareness of one's own body" (2002 Encyclopedia Britannica), these being largely functions of the etheric body, while "The right hemisphere, then, appears to be specialized for some aspects of higher-level visual perception, spatial orientation, and route finding (sense of direction)." (2002 Encyclopedia Britannica), indicating aspects more often identified with the astral body.

Diana:

We just got little to go on here Daniel, very little, if you honestly believe Steiner's "etheric and astral bodies" somehow were what the Encyclopedia Britannica really means by "left hemisphere" and "right hemisphere."

Daniel:

You're not reading very closely. Try again.

Daniel:

Steiner seemed to be indicating that in issues of laterality, a left-hand dominance for writing would have an influence on characteristics of thinking. While I am not aware of much scientific research on this issue specifically, I do not feel that the neurological research to date rules this out. If you are aware of studies to the contrary, please let me know.

Diana:

There is no reason to suggest neurologists should be either trying to support OR rule out nonsense like "the etheric body is stronger toward the left than the right." No – obviously neurological research doesn't "rule out" Steiner's babblings on any number of topics. They were never worth ruling out. There is nothing there worthy of study.

Daniel:

You are not reading closely. You bias has closed your mind. You can't even read what is directly above your own paragraph and repeat it. I was talking about scientific studies into the influence of laterality on cognitive development, not the possible correspondence of etheric and astral characteristics to hemispheric localizations. I left that subject the previous paragraph.

Diana:

I kept in the full text of the study you inserted here, since I am so confused by your conclusions, and perhaps others will want to review it as well and someone can explain how you reached your conclusions.

The Study (conclusion, snipped):

"This is a new concept for people, that learning ability could depend on brain structure," Leonard said. "I think it's important to note that there were no anatomical differences in children from different socioeconomic environments. But if a child has reversed asymmetry, improving the literacy environment becomes especially important."

Daniel:

While this study is far too small to be conclusive, its conclusions do raise the question whether neurological development can be influence by pedagogical treatment, and specifically just the type of treatment that Steiner indicated by telling teachers to encourage left dominant children to write with their right hand.

Diana:

I have no idea how you could possibly have concluded that from reading that study. There is absolutely no suggestion in the study that handedness can or should be affected by a parent or teacher attempting to change it in the first place, thus your suggestion for this "pedagogical treatment" is totally off base. If you do know of anyone else who has drawn this conclusion from this study, or implemented a "pedagogical treatment" based on this study, please cite it.

Daniel:

And I can't possibly believe that you can read what I wrote and conclude what you do. I wrote that the implications of the study raised questions. I did not write the the study conclued anything. Read my paragraph again. I'll break it down for you:
1. Study shows that brain characteristics influence cognitive development, specifically reading ability.
2. Environment influences brain development (not stated in study)
3. Environmental influences can incluede which hand is used to write
4. Ergo, which hand to write with could influence brain development
5. If brain development influences cognitive development, then which hand a child writes with could influence brain development.
6. Ergo, which hand a child writes with could influence cognitive development.

Point six is precicely Steiner's position. If we accept point six, there is a basis for considering switching. Finally, science neither says switching is helpful or that it is harmful.

Daniel:

There are doubtless other studies that would seem to prove such an attempt pointless. I raise this point only to show that science is far from having made up his mind on the issue.

Diana:

If there is no research supporting what you propose, it seems a stretch to claim sicence hasn't "made up its mind." Some things science doesn't even consider, or stops considering when there's no further reason to consider them. This falls in that category. No one outside a Waldorf school today is working on "pedagogical treatments" for handedness. You seem to think the fact that you can't find studies speaking against it means the issue is undecided! The fact is the issue is long since decided.

Daniel:

I have yet to see the research that "decides" the issue. If you find it, please bring it to my attention. I am sorry that you cannot find scientific evidence to back up your position. Claiming that because no research exists, the issue is therefor "decided" is not scientific, or even logical, for that matter. The fact that "no one outside of Waldorf is working on "pedagogical treatments" for handedness" in itself tells us nothing about the usefulness of such treatments. And finally, I base my statement "science is far from having made up his mind on the issue" not only on the absence of studies showing harm, but also on the presence of studies such as the one I cited above that show that such treatment can have effects, even if the area has not been researched.

Diana:

In other words, there probably are not other studies proving such an attempt pointless, because no one is even considering such an attempt!

Daniel:

Neither science nor logic would agree with you that this settles the issue.

Daniel:

In summary, science, and by this I mean neuroscientific research specifically, and not the general opinions about handedness that you seem to like calling "scientific", does not provide a definitive answer to either support or refute Rudolf Steiner's recommendations. If there are studies that I am unaware of that would seem to indicate otherwise, please bring them to my attention.

Diana:

See above. The burden is on you to show me a study – ONE SINGLE STUDY will do it, please, Daniel – suggesting that anyone today outside Waldorf pedagogy supports switching left-handed children.

Anyone got one?

Daniel:

No, the burden is on you. We have dozens of MD's that speak to the effectiveness from out of their practice. You claim that they are all ignorant. You further claim that they are not "scientific". Now you admit that there is actually no science on your side, but suddenly it is our problem that you can't prove harm.

Daniel:

Ultimately, I feel the jury is still out on this question. As far as I have been able to determine, neuroscience does not have a comprehensive understanding of the subject. The mechanisms and implications are largely unknown,

Diana:

Daniel, even if this position were supportable (this "We still don't know" stance; and the case is more accurately characterized as "The issue is no longer even under consideration") . . . but even if it were under consideration . . . when "mechanisms and implications are unknown," then only humane course is to not cause a child pain, discomfort and confusion, would you not agree? Based on nothing but one man's supposed clairvoyant inspirations? Hey . . . teacher, leave them kids alone.

Daniel:

Ok. So we agree that science cannot settle the issue. We disagree about why. Children's "pain, discomfort and confusion" can be in reaction to many things - new social situations when they go to school, for example. Do we therfore conclude that they should therefore not go to school? No, we generally feel that school is good for them and that they need to go through this "pain, discomfort and confusion" to learn new social skills. This is true of math as well.

Daniel:

and there is no scientific basis to say one way or the other whether switching is helpful or not.

Diana:

Daniel – it is hard to believe you can be making such a basic error in reasoning. I could as easily say, there is no scientific basis to say one way or the other whether making children sing "Oh Susanna" while eating blueberry pancakes and standing on their heads every morning is helpful (helpful to what?) or not . . . after all, I can't find any studies in the recent literature refuting the usefulness of this specific ritual. I could then proceed to tell you about some mystagogue's musings about the beneficial nature of upside-down- pancake-eating-and-folksong-singing and insist that neuroscience has not disproven its effectiveness . . . I would have just about as strong a leg to stand on as what you proclaim here.

Daniel:

So you agree. I have an opinion, you have an opinion. Science supports neither. Does this mean that you will stop calling the switching of left handed children "unscientific"?

Daniel

...................................................................................................................................

From: winters_diana
Date: Mon Jan 26, 2004 8:32 am
Subject: Re: To Daniel

Daniel:

neither the science of his day nor the science of today says anything scientific about the switching of left handers. If you have evidence to the contrary, please let me know.

Good morning Daniel, I've no more time to reply to the same points over and over again. There is no science to back up your claims – if there were, you'd have provided the citations. A counter-retort to me that I should provide citations does not prove a point. The person making the claims needs to show the studies supporting the claims. There's lots of things there isn't evidence for and we don't go around asking each other for evidence there is no evidence. :)

There's no scientific studies showing Martha Stewart is or isn't the Easter bunny, either, but we don't therefore conclude that "the jury is still out" on whether Martha is really a giant rabbit do we? Hm – bad example, maybe she is a giant rabbit.

Furthermore you're asking me to find you research supporting the need to stop an abusive practice. Ethical considerations generally prohibit such research, except retrospectively. I don't know if there are studies of long-term effects of forced switching; I'll try to research this.

The "left hemisphere" and the "right hemisphere" of the brain are not the etheric and astral bodies, Daniel.

The study you copied suggests "improving the literacy environment," and does not suggest a benefit to forced switching of laterality. In fact it doesn't even mention the possibility of switching laterality. It treats laterality as a given of the "environment." Perhaps you read "environment" in a social sense – as in the child's caretakers, who might force a change – but it refers to the neurological "environment," i.e. the dominance of one or other hemisphere.

Settled issues are sometimes reopened in science, of course. If this some day happens, I assure you I'll be happy to discuss these new studies with you.

Just a note, not planning to reply to another post asserting that I am dishonest, got these opinions from Peter Staudenmaier or Dan Dugan, whether I am interested in the quotes or actually read the quotes, or informing me that I have strong feelings about switching left-handers. No shit Sherlock! I so appreciate the great trouble and time you've taken with the subject, Daniel.
Diana

P.S. The suggestion that this is never done without the parents' consent is belied by many reports from Waldorf parents.

One more point – you wrote about anthroposophical doctors (MD's) – sarcastically -

Oh, but they are anthroposophists, so their opinion is not to be trusted.

That is correct. Trust is to be earned. If they feel their "indications" are above the scrutiny of their peers outside anthroposophy, that may be why their opinions are not even acknowledged outside of anthroposophy.

About eurythmy:

I am not aware of any [evidence] one way or the other.

If there is no evidence of it one way or another, an MD who prescribes it is a quack.

...................................................................................................................................

From: Daniel Hindes
Date: Tue Jan 27, 2004 4:53 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: To Daniel

Diana,
Sorry for the delay, I was away from my computer for almost two days...

Daniel:

I don't feel that he spoke against science. When he spoke, there was nothing in science to in any way contradict his indications.

Diana:

There was probably nothing in science to refute claims such as our planet having future "incarnations" called Venus and Jupiter and Vulcan, then, either. In fact, I bet there's still no research contradicting this! No one believes it, Daniel, outside anthroposophists!

Daniel:
Whether or not anyone believes it is one point. Whether or not science contradicts it is another. If you agree that nothing in science contradicts it, then you will perhaps consider not calling it "unscientific."

Daniel:

I don't feel that subsequent scientific understanding in the area of neuroscience provides sufficint information to settle the issue definitively. If you can point me to such research, preferrably published in a peer-reviewed journal, I will be happy to read up on the subject.

Diana:

You are still a little mixed up. See previous blueberry pancake example. It will be a tad silly for either of us to go hunting down this research, Daniel. If you want to defend the continuation of this practice, you are going to have to show me peer-reviewed research explaining its purpose and usefulness.

Daniel:

Thanks for telling me what I am. Perhaps I am not writing clearly enough for you, but I don't feel in the least bit mixed up. I must say that I find it strange that you say we don't need to find any research to better understand the matter.

You agree you have not basis for calling it "unscientific"?

Diana:

You're a laugh a minute telling me I should provide peer-reviewed research! Where is Steiner's peer-reviewed research? Down below, you seem to set a considerably different standard, taking Steiner's word about his "research" into left-handedness:

Daniel:

I only attack you because you claim the mantle of science for your opinions. If you want to call your opinions science then you will have to back them up with science - of the high standards type. Research and science are not always the same thing. For example, I did quite a bit of research to formulate my opinions for this article. But I did no science. I only read the works of others, judged it on the basis of my own experience using logic, and presented it. This is research, but it is not scientific research. Nor have I claimed it as such. When Steiner says that he did research into "what it means to use the left hand" he did not specify whether this was scientific research or not. I only brought it up because you asked what research Steiner did. Back to the science issue. I don't think anyone has claimed that Steiner's indications on the treatment of left-haded children is "scientific". However, to call it "unscientific" you must demonstrate that it contradicts science. You made the accusation. The burden of proof rests with you. And if I ever accuse you of something, you may rightfully request that I demonstarate proof of it.

Diana:

"I would not speak about such things had I not done considerable research in this area and had I not tried, for example, to understand what it means to use the left hand." Rudolf Steiner, May 7th, 1920.

Diana says: !!!!
What is this resarch exactly Daniel?

Daniel:

I don't know, and I'm afraid we can't ask Steiner, so we may never know.

Daniel:

Beyond his statement that he had studied the issue in depth? I don't think anyone in his day knew the answer to the question: "What causes handedness?". In fact, I don't think anyone today does either. The consensus today not to attempt any remediation appeaers to me to be more of a cultural consensus than a conclusion based specifically on scientific understanding.

Diana:

I will grant this possibility. However, if so it is a very good, an extremely darn good, cultural consensus. MAJOR PROGRESS not to torment children for no reason. yes?

Daniel:

And maybe one day you will understand the difference between cultural prejudice and science.

Diana:

Did Steiner have any qualifications to contribute to a discussion of handedness?

Daniel:

No, but neither do you, from that point of view.

Diana:

True. But I make no pronouncements on it other than LEAVE THEM ALONE if you don't know what you're doing!

Daniel:

And if you know what you're doing? Then what? Do we have your permission to try it (with parental consent, of course)?

Daniel:

he spent a decade supporting himself by tutoring.

Diana:

Correct me if I am wrong. I believe it was 4 children in one family. Were there others? I am also somewhat suspicious of the claim that this is how he supported himself for a decade, but I'm not sure.

Daniel:

This is where I have a real problem with so many critics. You seem to think you know so much about Steiner, but you never bother to find out if what you "know" is factual or not. From over here it does not look very "scientific." Now if you really want to learn (as the statement "convice me" seems to imply) and want to ask me rather than looking it up, you might consider another tone. But I am happy to share what little I know, but your hostility seems to indicate that you might not hear things when I say them.

Steiner started tutoring at age 14 (that would be 1875) and continued this activity for about 15 years, until he moved to Weimar to work at the Goethe archives in 1890 (his first "real" job). From:
http://wn.elib.com/Steiner/Books/GA028/TSoML/GA028_c13.html

From "The Course of My Life" by Rudolf Steiner, Chapter 13:
"When I was fourteen years old I had to begin tutoring; for fifteen years, up to the beginning of the second phase of my life, that spent at Weimar, my destiny kept me engaged in this work."

Daniel:

He tutored the Specht boys from 1884 to 1890, but they were not the only ones. From the same chapter: "In the family of these children I found for a number of years a sort of home, from which I went out to other families as tutor or instructor." His experience was extensive, as a separate post will show. His skill as an educator is demonstrated by the fact that through his efforts of these boys, who was considered retarded got into medical school and became a doctor. The process was labourious, and Steiner describes it: " I frequently had to spend two hours in preparing for half an hour of instruction in order to get the material for instruction in such a form that in the least time, and with the least strain upon the mental and physical powers of the child, I might reach his highest capacity for achievement. The order of the subjects of instruction had to be carefully considered; the division of the entire day into periods had to be properly determined." You can read the whole story here: http://wn.elib.com/Steiner/Books/GA028/TSoML/GA028_c06.html

While this doesn't have any direct bearing on left handed children, it does show that Steiner was far from inexperienced or ignorant in the theory or practice of pedagogy, for all ages of children, at all levels of skill (and presumably with left and right dominant hands).

While not formal training, it is a significant body of experience to draw on.

See above. Convince me it was more than four children.

Daniel:

I hope the above has done just that.

Diana:

Tell me if any of them were left-handed, and if so did he try to switch them.

Daniel:

I don't believe this is known.

Diana:

Where does he report the results of his attempts to switch the left-handed child/ren in this family and where is the follow-up describing possible effects on these children later. Where is the control group of right-handed children, or of left-handed children who were not switched.

Daniel:

I never claimed it was science. YOU said it was "unscientific". I have asked you to back up this assertion.

Daniel:

If I may ask you another question, what scientists have expressed their views on Steiner's pedagogical recommendations? Steiner is referrenced very infrequently outside of anthroposophical circles, so I am curious on this point.

Diana:

Daniel . . . if you don't know what conclusions to draw from the fact that no one else even comments on these recommendations, or cites Steiner outside anthroposophical circles . . . what do you think I am trying to tell you?

Daniel:

You did not answer my question. You stated that scientists have objected to Steiner's pedagogy. I said that would be atypical and asked you to give examples. Can you?

Diana:

How many left-handed children did Steiner observe?

Daniel:

I don't have exact numbers. The first Waldorf school had grown to about 1000 pupils when he made his statement of switching. If we assume that the school population was 10% lefties, that would be about 100 left-handed children that he could have observed.

Diana:

"Could have." Is there evidence that he did? And I mean "observe" as in scientifically observe. It would take awhile, observing even one child to determine whether their handedness had any particular significance to their learning, never mind their spirituality!

Daniel:

What constitutes "evidence"? What do you mean by "observe scientifically"? You are obviously asking questions that in all probability cannot be answered. However, just because they cannot be answered does not in itself prove your point.

Daniel:

You claim that Steiner's pedagogical indications, specificall on the treatment of left handed childred is "unscientific". You have further questioned his intelligence, knowledge and experience in the entire field of pedagogy. To demonstrate his experience in pedagogy I have compiled a separate post on the subject. While I cannot prove that his methods are "scientific" by providing proper research into the question, that alone does not prove that they are "unscientific". To prove that they are "unscientific" you must demonstrate that they contradict science. Finally, because you made the acusation, the burden of proof lies with you.

Daniel Hindes

...................................................................................................................................

From: Daniel Hindes
Date: Tue Jan 27, 2004 5:32 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: To Daniel

Diana:

Good morning Daniel, I've no more time to reply to the same points over and over again.

Daniel:

Would you consider replying to different points then? Or perhaps actually reading what I take so much time to write for you?

Diana:

The person making the claims needs to show the studies supporting the claims. There's lots of things there isn't evidence for and we don't go around asking each other for evidence there is no evidence. :)

Daniel:

My point exactly. However, YOU have made the initial claim, not I. I have not called Steiner's pedagogy "science". Rather, YOU called it "unscientific". Now when I ask you to prove your claim, you cannot. But somehow that is my problem?

Diana:

Furthermore you're asking me to find you research supporting the need to stop an abusive practice. Ethical considerations generally prohibit such research, except retrospectively. I don't know if there are studies of long-term effects of forced switching; I'll try to research this.

Daniel:

I am asking you to put up or shut up. It appears I will get neither. This may be a bit blunt, but some people can acknowledge when their statements have overstepped their ability to substantiate them. Others can't, which I find a pity.

Diana:

The "left hemisphere" and the "right hemisphere" of the brain are not the etheric and astral bodies, Daniel.

Daniel:

First, if you would attempt to read carefully, you would find that I said no such thing. And second, I must ask you when you became an expert on etheric and astral bodies.

Diana:

The study you copied suggests "improving the literacy environment," and does not suggest a benefit to forced switching of laterality. In fact it doesn't even mention the possibility of switching laterality. It treats laterality as a given of the "environment." Perhaps you read "environment" in a social sense – as in the child's caretakers, who might force a change – but it refers to the neurological "environment," i.e. the dominance of one or other hemisphere.

Daniel:

For the third time, my logic is as follows:
1. Study shows that brain characteristics influence cognitive development, specifically reading ability.
2. Environment influences brain development (not stated in study)
3. Environmental influences can incluede which hand is used to write
4. Ergo, which hand to write with could influence brain development
5. If brain development influences cognitive development, then which hand a child writes with could influence brain development.
6. Ergo, which hand a child writes with could influence cognitive development.

If you feel that there is a flaw in this logic, please, let's discuss that. I am perfectly aware that the study in no way directly addresses laterality.

Diana:

Settled issues are sometimes reopened in science, of course. If this some day happens, I assure you I'll be happy to discuss these new studies with you.

Daniel:

I'm sorry, I missed something. What issue is it that is is "settled" by science that you would be happy to discuss with me? It is certainly not the issue of the influence of handedness on cognitive development, one that I would suggest hasn't even been opend by science.

Diana:

Just a note, not planning to reply to another post asserting that I am dishonest, got these opinions from Peter Staudenmaier or Dan Dugan, whether I am interested in the quotes or actually read the quotes, or informing me that I have strong feelings about switching left-handers. No shit Sherlock! I so appreciate the great trouble and time you've taken with the subject, Daniel.
Diana


Daniel:

So this is how it is when you can't win an argument on facts or logic. And the critics accuse the Anthroposophists of being close-minded?

Diana:

P.S. The suggestion that this is never done without the parents' consent is belied by many reports from Waldorf parents.

Daniel:

Earlier you said that you agreed that the current practice of informing parents seemed to be the more common one. Do you have new information that caused you to change your mind? If so, please share it.

Diana:

One more point – you wrote about anthroposophical doctors (MD's) – sarcastically -

Quoting Daniel:

Oh, but they are anthroposophists, so their opinion is not to be trusted.

Diana:

That is correct. Trust is to be earned. If they feel their "indications" are above the scrutiny of their peers outside anthroposophy, that may be why their opinions are not even acknowledged outside of anthroposophy.

Daniel:

Now here you are again fighting a straw man. I was being scrupulous in differentiating case studies from double-blind placebo-controled "scientific" (in the narrowest sense) studies. I stated that the first existed, but the second did not. From this you somehow managed to accuse the entire field of anthroposophically extended medicine of not WANTING any scrutiny. I know for a fact that on the contrary, they are dying to have these things studied in proper depth. Now if you have the aproximately $2 million dollars that a properly sized double-blind placebo-controled study on the efficacy of curative eurhythmy would cost and feel that this would be a good place to spend it, I can put you in touch with some people to work with on this. And if you know anyone at the NIH, preferably in the department responsible for funding studies into alternative medicine, perhaps they can arrange a grant. The issue hasn't been studied because no one has the funds, not because the anthroposophically MD's don't want the exposure. But you, with almost no knowledge of the field at all, somehow feel yourself qualified to pass judgement on the intentions of dozens of individuals whom you have never met. A true trait of a first class mind.

Diana: About eurythmy:

(Mis)quoting Daniel:

I am not aware of any [evidence] one way or the other.

Diana:

If there is no evidence of it one way or another, an MD who prescribes it is a quack.

Daniel:

Nice twist on my words. I said that ther wasn't any scientific evidence (meaning in the placebo-controlled, double blind sense). Of the other, non-scientific evidence, called "case studies" there are volumes. I was being precice in differentiating the two types. Much medicine is based on case studies. Because of the prohibitive costs, many areas are not on double-blind placebo-controled studies. If this is your criteria, most practicing doctors are "quacks." Glad to see you have closed your mind and stooped to dirty tricks of misquotation for cheap points. How very Staudenmaier.

Daniel Hindes

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

To Diana (re: To Daniel - Steiner and the pedagogical treatment of left-handed children)


Click to subscribe to anthroposophy_tomorrow
 

January/February 2004

The Uncle Taz "Anthroposophy Tomorrow" Files

Anthroposophy & Anarchism

Anthroposophy & Scientology

Anthroposophical Morsels

Anthroposophy, Critics, and Controversy

Search this site powered by FreeFind