Biodynamic Gardening & Pythagoras

This is a long but entertaining thead about biodynamic gardening, which I facetiously link to the Pythagorean theorem. Did Rudolf Steiner misunderstand Descartes and Einstein as well? And where does Isaac Asimov fit in? Who was Pol Pot? And BTW, did Goethe refute Newton?

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From: "ksutphen"
Subject: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Sun, 28 Mar 1999 07:40:42 -0800

List Members,

Earlier this week I was asked some questions regarding the appropriateness of Waldorf *method* inclusion in public schools. It goes without saying that I stated that it was inappropriate on all levels, even as the *method* applies to the inclusion of art, rhythmic exercises, etc. All of these techniques are taught by accredited universities in their teacher education departments. Why give money to an unaccredited sect/*college* to teach what can be taught legitimately without the underlying religious tenets?

Then I was asked, "but what about gardening." Surely I had no quarrel with incorporating the Waldorf style of gardening into public school curriculum. Naturally I have no problem with children gardening and I consider it a valuable learning experience. However, biodynamic gardening is, once again, steeped in Anthroposophical beliefs - or so I assume. Perhaps I am wrong???

Could someone on this list clarify for me exactly what biodynamic gardening is. Are there spiritual beliefs that underly the specific practices that would define biodynamic gardening? What must one do to garden biodynamically?

Thanks for your input.

Kathy

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Sun, 28 Mar 1999 18:19:47 +0200

Kathy wrote:

List Members, Earlier this week I was asked some questions regarding the appropriateness of Waldorf *method* inclusion in public schools. It goes without saying that I stated that it was inappropriate on all levels, even as the *method* applies to the inclusion of art, rhythmic exercises, etc. All of these techniques are taught by accredited universities in their teacher education departments. Why give money to an unaccredited sect/*college* to teach what can be taught legitimately without the underlying religious tenets?

The Norwegian anarchist magazine Gateavisa, where I am chairman of the board, is receiving annual support from the Cultural Department, and this year the state has been exceptionally generous. So I guess that when public money can be used to support anarchist propaganda against the state in Norway, it can also be used to support progressive and healthy cults like Anthroposophy in America.

Then I was asked, "but what about gardening." Surely I had no quarrel with incorporating the Waldorf style of gardening into public school curriculum. Naturally I have no problem with children gardening and I consider it a valuable learning experience. However, biodynamic gardening is, once again, steeped in Anthroposophical beliefs - or so I assume. Perhaps I am wrong???

Biodynamic farming is off my turf, but it proceeds from the understanding of astral forces in the earth, the sun and moon, and other planets. Certainly enough to make it ingigestible to WE critics. Gullible people tend to join cults and sects after eating biodynamic apples and oranges. It's best to make sure that your fruits and vegetables were grown by atheist farmers and sprayed with plenty of skeptical pesticides.

Could someone on this list clarify for me exactly what biodynamic gardening is. Are there spiritual beliefs that underly the specific practices that would define biodynamic gardening? What must one do to garden biodynamically?

There are spiritual beliefs underlying everything anthroposophists undertake. If you hire an anthroposophist as a dishwasher, the plates and spoons will be infested with energies and vibrations proceeding from the gods, subconsciously influencing the thinking of the diners.

Cheers,

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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From: Herman de Tollenaere
Subject: Re: biodynamic gardening
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 1999 00:11:22 +0200

Could someone on this list clarify for me exactly what biodynamic gardening is. Are there spiritual beliefs that underly the specific practices that would define biodynamic gardening? What must one do to garden biodynamically?

Kathy

There is some information by Fredrik Bendz at

http://www.update.uu.se/~fbendz/pseudo/anthropos.html

There is more information, both by Anthroposophists and critics; however, the Internet URLs I know at the moment are in Dutch

best wishes,
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Herman de Tollenaere
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My Internet site on Asian history and "new" religions:

[Obsolete URL]

See also SIMPOS, information on occult tendencies' impact on society:

http://www.stelling.nl/simpos/simpoeng.htm
---------------------------------------------------------------------

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From: tatze
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 22:26:32 -0500 (EST)

More info to be found at http://www.biodynamics.com/

Bio-Dynamic Farming and Gardening Association, Inc. - a source for data, contact information, and books about the biodynamics approach to ecological farming

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From: "ksutphen"
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 1999 07:03:32 -0800

Kathy wrote:

Then I was asked, "but what about gardening." Surely I had no quarrel with incorporating the Waldorf style of gardening into public school curriculum. Naturally I have no problem with children gardening and I consider it a valuable learning experience. However, biodynamic gardening is, once again, steeped in Anthroposophical beliefs - or so I assume. Perhaps I am wrong???

Biodynamic farming is off my turf, but it proceeds from the understanding of astral forces in the earth, the sun and moon, and other planets. Certainly enough to make it ingigestible to WE critics. Gullible people tend to join cults and sects after eating biodynamic apples and oranges. It's best to make sure that your fruits and vegetables were grown by atheist farmers and sprayed with plenty of skeptical pesticides.

I appreciate the first sentence in your response, but I wonder why you continue on in a sarcastic manner. How is that appropriate to my question here?

Could someone on this list clarify for me exactly what biodynamic gardening is. Are there spiritual beliefs that underly the specific practices that would define biodynamic gardening? What must one do to garden biodynamically?

There are spiritual beliefs underlying everything anthroposophists undertake. If you hire an anthroposophist as a dishwasher, the plates and spoons will be infested with energies and vibrations proceeding from the gods, subconsciously influencing the thinking of the diners.

What's your problem Tarjei? Didn't I just read a post of yours in which you state, more or less, that you are engaging in this list because you want to protect your son's Waldorf education? How does this type of response contribute to that effort? I read it as rude and mean-spirited. Unfortunately, it is the same *flavor* of response I have historically received from Waldorf teacher trainers/Anthroposophists whenever I posed questions regarding the Anthroposophical religious beliefs underling pedagogical practices I was being taught.

The nature of your response elucidates the attitude Bob Jones is describing on the part of Waldorf supporters as they take over his community: The *non-believers* are idiots and we will treat them with the contempt they deserve.

Kathy

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 1999 19:11:10 +0200

Kathy wrote:

I appreciate the first sentence in your response, but I wonder why you continue on in a sarcastic manner. How is that appropriate to my question here?

I got the impression that to you, anthroposophical beliefs are a disadvantage that outweigh the advantages of biodynamic farming, somehow souring the crops. When you first indicate that this method of farming may be good, but then add, "However, biodynamic gardening is, once again, steeped in Anthroposophical beliefs - ", I'm reminded of the Pythagorean theorem, which should not be taught in public schools because it is steeped in the spiritual beliefs of Pythagoras, which had much in common with Steiner.

What's your problem Tarjei? Didn't I just read a post of yours in which you state, more or less, that you are engaging in this list because you want to protect your son's Waldorf education? How does this type of response contribute to that effort? I read it as rude and mean-spirited.

If I have been rude, I apologize. If I am mean-spirited, I've caught the virus from WE critics who call me a nutcase and a gullible nitwit and things like that, and who say that my view of evolution comes from Nazi war criminal Alfred Rosenberg. So I'm protecting my son's Waldorf attendance by firing back without sinking down to the same level.

Unfortunately, it is the same *flavor* of response I have historically received from Waldorf teacher trainers/Anthroposophists whenever I posed questions regarding the Anthroposophical religious beliefs underling pedagogical practices I was being taught.

The nature of your response elucidates the attitude Bob Jones is describing on the part of Waldorf supporters as they take over his community: The *non-believers* are idiots and we will treat them with the contempt they deserve.

I have not called anyone an idiot or any other name. I have not launched a single personal attack to date on this list. And the only thing I have contempt for is the Nazi-allegations.

Cheers,

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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From: "Kathy"
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 1999 10:40:57 -0800

Tarjei posted,

I got the impression that to you, anthroposophical beliefs are a disadvantage that outweigh the advantages of biodynamic farming, somehow souring the crops.

I have no idea if biodynamic techniqus are a disadvantage and I certainly don't think they could have any influence on "souring the crops." How did you extract that from my post? What I was trying to say is that I believe the teaching of biodynamic gardening in U.S. public schools is inappropriate because it includes the practice of engaging in activities that are solely based on Anthroposophical religious beliefs.

When you first indicate that this method of farming may be good, but then add, "However, biodynamic gardening is, once again, steeped in Anthroposophical beliefs - ", I'm reminded of the Pythagorean theorem, which should not be taught in public schools because it is steeped in the spiritual beliefs of Pythagoras, which had much in common with Steiner.

I'll be relieved when you quit pounding the Pythagorian Theorem drum. It's a weak link between Waldorf pedagogy in public schools and teaching the old A2 + B2 = C2.

If I have been rude, I apologize. If I am mean-spirited, I've caught the virus from WE critics who call me a nutcase and a gullible nitwit and things like that, and who say that my view of evolution comes from Nazi war criminal Alfred Rosenberg. So I'm protecting my son's Waldorf attendance by firing back without sinking down to the same level.

I must have missed the posts that made these accusations. I certainly haven't made any of these accusations. However, I do notice a tendency to insert more information/meaning into a post than is actually there. (Refer to the 1st paragraph in this post.) This is an interesting facet of your personality and tells me something about how you may perceive people that do not agree with you - at least as far as the disagreement has to do with Waldorf pedagogy.

Unfortunately, it is the same *flavor* of response I have historically received from Waldorf teacher trainers/Anthroposophists whenever I posed questions regarding the Anthroposophical religious beliefs underling pedagogical practices I was being taught.

The nature of your response elucidates the attitude Bob Jones is describing on the part of Waldorf supporters as they take over his community: The *non-believers* are idiots and we will treat them with the contempt they deserve.

I have not called anyone an idiot or any other name. I have not launched a single personal attack to date on this list. And the only thing I have contempt for is the Nazi-allegations.

Well . . . good. However, you did insert some interesting meaning into my questions about biodynamic gardening that simply were not there. I would appreciate it if you would simply communicate with me in a straight-forward manner - sans sarcasm and accusation.

kathy

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 1999 21:43:30 +0200

Kathy wrote:

I have no idea if biodynamic techniqus are a disadvantage and I certainly don't think they could have any influence on "souring the crops." How did you extract that from my post? What I was trying to say is that I believe the teaching of biodynamic gardening in U.S. public schools is inappropriate because it includes the practice of engaging in activities that are solely based on Anthroposophical religious beliefs.

Exactly. My metaphor about the crops may have confused you.

When you first indicate that this method of farming may be good, but then add, "However, biodynamic gardening is, once again, steeped in Anthroposophical beliefs - ", I'm reminded of the Pythagorean theorem, which should not be taught in public schools because it is steeped in the spiritual beliefs of Pythagoras, which had much in common with Steiner.

I'll be relieved when you quit pounding the Pythagorian Theorem drum. It's a weak link between Waldorf pedagogy in public schools and teaching the old A2 + B2 = C2.

In this case, the link is quite illustrative, and I will explain why. Farmers approached Rudolf Steiner and asked for help, which he provided. Since that time, the problems with conventional agriculture have increased trendously all over the world. The use of pesticides and their side effects on the ecological infrastructure and human health is one thing, the depletion of the soil during the course of two or three decades is another. These are some of the reasons for an increasing interest in biodynamic agrigulture.

About six or seven years ago, I read a report in the Wall Street Journal about Rudolf Steiner and biodynamic argiculture. The article mentioned Steiner's alleged clairvoyance and all that, but the point of the story was the interview with the farmers who knew little or nothing about Steiner and anthroposophy, but who practiced this agricultural method because it worked, because it was effective. Some of it seemed strange, like planting the seeds when the moon was in a certan phase and so on. The point was that it worked.

Your objection, Kathy (and I apologize if I have misunderstood it), is that even if biodynamic farming is the best in existence, and even if it could save the ozon layer and the rain forests and the ecology, you would still protest against students learning about it in public schools because it is rooted in the spiritual-religious anthroposophical conception about natural laws, such as etheric and astral forces connected with the planets and phases of the moon.

By the same token, the law of the triangle works, it's very good geometry. Still, Pythagoras believed in the gods and the spiritual universe, and all his works are rooted in these views. For that reason, Kathy, the drums of the ancient Greeks as well as the drum of Shakespeare are reminders of the problem that is inherent in an objection of this kind. I believe that everyone involved with American public schools and the separation of church and state would feel relieved if this problem would disappear.

I must have missed the posts that made these accusations. I certainly haven't made any of these accusations. However, I do notice a tendency to insert more information/meaning into a post than is actually there. (Refer to the 1st paragraph in this post.) This is an interesting facet of your personality and tells me something about how you may perceive people that do not agree with you - at least as far as the disagreement has to do with Waldorf pedagogy.

I don't think I have written anything that reflects my perception of you as a person, Kathy. And what Waldorf pedagogy is concerned, it is outside my area of competence; I comment mainly on attacks against anthroposophy and its founder, where my knowledge is more solid.

Well . . . good. However, you did insert some interesting meaning into my questions about biodynamic gardening that simply were not there. I would appreciate it if you would simply communicate with me in a straight-forward manner - sans sarcasm and accusation.

I have summed up my impression of your attitude to biodynamic agriculture in relation to public school curriculum: That is should not be taught because it is rooted in anthroposophically oriented spiritual science - even if it works. "Souring the crops" was meant as a metaphor, not literally.

Cheers,

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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From: Michael Kopp
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 13:54:09 +1200

Tarjei Straume writes:

[snip the Pythagorean theorem analogy]

I have summed up my impression of your [Kathy Sutphen's] attitude to biodynamic agriculture in relation to public school curriculum: That is should not be taught because it is rooted in anthroposophically oriented spiritual science - even if it works. [snip]

Point one:

Please show scientifically replicated evidence that BD "works", and an accepted scientific theory as to why it does so.

I don't think you can, except for pseudo-scientists like Lily Kolisko.

BD has about as much validity as any other scam, such as homeopathy. One of its practices, with diluted fertilizer, has the same flavour as water with a memory.

Point two:

I don't think Kathy's objection to teaching BD in public schools is based on the fact that it is _rooted_ (wonderful pun, Tarjei) in Anthroposophical mumbo jumbo. You and all the other suggestible believers are entitled to do what you want to and teach what you want to, in private.

I think the objections -- and I agree with them -- are that:

* it has no scientific credence;

* there is no proof that it works any better than ordinary agriculture before the chemical era, [*] which is to say most of mankind's agricultural history, when people noticed *coincidences* between certain natural events and planting times;

* its teaching is part of an Anthroposophical spiritual agenda practiced on unsuspecting children, and, finally;

* because its practice requires children to engage in ritualistic spiritualism similar to reading horoscopes and bones; which is a religious practice forbidden by the U.S. Constitution.

[*] It is perfectly possible for scientific people to agree that modern agriculture has had problems with chemical overuse, bad chemicals, and intensive, factory-farming techniques, without having to invoke a luddite spectre. All of that is not the responsibility of a scientific establishment, many of whose members warned about the problems, but of business, government and public choice (often misled by vested interests, not scientists). It is also possible for this mess to be cleaned up, and for science and its users to become more wise in their practices, without having to go back to labour-intensive, "natural" farming.

Cheers from Godzone,

Michael Kopp
Wellington, New Zealand

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From: Michael Kopp
Subject: Pythagoras (Was Re: Biodynamic Gardening)
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 16:49:30 +1200

Tarjei Straume quotes an exchange between himself and Kathy Sutphen:

When you first indicate that this method of farming may be good, but then add, "However, biodynamic gardening is, once again, steeped in Anthroposophical beliefs - ", I'm reminded of the Pythagorean theorem, which should not be taught in public schools because it is steeped in the spiritual beliefs of Pythagoras, which had much in common with Steiner.

I'll be relieved when you quit pounding the Pythagorian Theorem drum. It's a weak link between Waldorf pedagogy in public schools and teaching the old A2 + B2 = C2.

OK, Pythagoras was a mystic. So was Kepler. So was Newton. And many more. But their mysticism did not _inform_ their great scientific achievements, it was their genius to transcend, in some way, that spiritualism and find something real.

They tried to fit their great discoveries into their mysticism, because their worlds were still ruled by mankind's need, pre-Enlightenment, to believe in supernatural causes because thinking and knowledge were not yet developed enough to explain the world in rational ways.

I would imagine that few teachers -- outside Steiner/ Waldforf/ Anthroposophical cult schools -- even know that these greats also practiced esotericism. It doesn't matter. Their discoveries and the practice of their science are not reliant on belief in their gods.

On the other hand, all the supposed great discoveries of Rudolf Steiner RELY on continued cult mysticism and a supernatural pantheon of gods, spirits and forces for any validity. Outside of that pseudo-scientific religious veneration, they have no meaning.

The fact that Steiner was also a mystic does not elevate his "science" to the greatness of his similar predecessors; it simply marks his mysticism as being as wrong and imaginary as that of those deluded greats.

Steiner was a throwback, not a visionary of futurism.

Nothing that Steiner said -- like the heart is not a pump, or is much more than a pump -- has been scientifically proven and accepted, despite what credulous and uninformed people like "Lisa" say. The heart may indeed be more than a pump, but it is still that.

To suggest, as pseudo-scientists like Ralph Marinelli do, ala Steiner, that the blood is itself the motive force, or that the heart is a "brain", are ridiculous on their face, and a misrepresentation of science to fit mysticism -- much as Pythagoras and the others misrepresented their science to fit with the prevalent belief systems.

Steiner's "discoveries" are not taught in all the world's schools, like Pythagoras's and the others', because they are mumbo jumbo.

And Steiner's "discoveries" WON'T be taught in schools worldwide, outside of SWA and infiltrated public schools, because it is vanishingly likely that they ever WILL be proved.

Footnote: And I can't see the usefulness of teaching science with the history of its mystical beginnings, or teaching Greek earth-air-fire-water as reality before getting to the real hard stuff. SWA always says that this history is important and gives the student a better perspective on human development. I say the only purpose for it being there in the way it's taught -- unscientifically -- is to inculcate the spiritual basis for all further learning.

Cheers from Godzone,

Michael Kopp
Wellington, New Zealand

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From: Daniel Sabsay
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 00:17:10 -0800

Tarjei Straume wrote

Farmers approached Rudolf Steiner and asked for help, which he provided.

Lets assume this is a true statement. Of course, we could quibble about
the word "help". I certainly believe he provided advice.

Since that time, the problems with conventional agriculture have increased trendously all over the world. The use of pesticides and their side effects on the ecological infrastructure and human health is one thing, the depletion of the soil during the course of two or three decades is another

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From: Dan Dugan
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 01:37:54 -0800

Kathy, you said,

Could someone on this list clarify for me exactly what biodynamic gardening is. Are there spiritual beliefs that underly the specific practices that would define biodynamic gardening? What must one do to garden biodynamically?

To follow the indications of Rudolf Steiner, of course. He lectured about agriculture. Don't have any of the lectures, have a Kolisko book on Agriculture, and Adams/Whicher "The Plant between Sun and Earth."

Impressions: Organic agriculture plus magic. Planting by planetary aspects. Compost seeded with special preparations. Homeopathic preparations applied to soil. Half-a-dozen standardized numbered preparations per Steiner's indications. Quartz used because of its relationship with light. There's a ritual burying of a cow's horn filled with manure, to be dug up later and diluted.

-Dan Dugan

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From: Robert Flannery
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 06:10:39 -0500

Point two:

I don't think Kathy's objection to teaching BD in public schools is based on the fact that it is _rooted_ (wonderful pun, Tarjei) in Anthroposophical mumbo jumbo. You and all the other suggestible believers are entitled to do what you want to and teach what you want to, in private.

I think the objections -- and I agree with them -- are that:

<snip first two objections>

* its teaching is part of an Anthroposophical spiritual agenda practiced on unsuspecting children

Could you please outline how this might occur as part of a gardening curriculum in any school, waldorf or public?

* because its practice requires children to engage in ritualistic spiritualism similar to reading horoscopes and bones; which is a religious practice forbidden by the U.S. Constitution.

Again, how might children might be expected to practice "ritualistic spiritualism" in such a school program?

Are you differentiating between a gardening program in a school and the practice of biodynamics by farmers and home gardeners?

Robert Flannery
New York

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From: Robert Flannery
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 06:25:37 -0500

Kathy opines:

What I was trying to say is that I believe the teaching of biodynamic gardening in U.S. public schools is inappropriate because it includes the practice of engaging in activities that are solely based on Anthroposophical religious beliefs.

What's the evidence for this conclusion? How are you differentiating, if at all, the practice of biodynamics from the gardening curriculum in a waldorf school?

Earlier, you made a general request for information on the practice of biodynamics. Has the information that you've gathered led you to conclude that biodynamics is taught in a waldorf gardening program?

In short, what do you know about teaching gardening in a waldorf school?

Robert Flannery
New York

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 15:37:23 +0200

Michael Kopp wrote:

Point one:

Please show scientifically replicated evidence that BD "works", and an accepted scientific theory as to why it does so.

I don't think you can, except for pseudo-scientists like Lily Kolisko.

I stated from the beginning that agriculture, including BD, is off my turf. I was referring to an article in the Wall Street Journal and the testimonies of farmers who had switched from the conventional to the biodynamic method.

BD has about as much validity as any other scam, such as homeopathy. One of its practices, with diluted fertilizer, has the same flavour as water with a memory.

Point two:

I don't think Kathy's objection to teaching BD in public schools is based on the fact that it is _rooted_ (wonderful pun, Tarjei) in Anthroposophical mumbo jumbo. You and all the other suggestible believers are entitled to do what you want to and teach what you want to, in private.

I think the objections -- and I agree with them -- are that:

* it has no scientific credence;

* there is no proof that it works any better than ordinary agriculture before the chemical era, [*] which is to say most of mankind's agricultural history, when people noticed *coincidences* between certain natural events and planting times;

* its teaching is part of an Anthroposophical spiritual agenda practiced on unsuspecting children, and, finally;

* because its practice requires children to engage in ritualistic spiritualism similar to reading horoscopes and bones; which is a religious practice forbidden by the U.S. Constitution.

If I had tried to read that much into Kathy's inquiry, I would have been chewed out.

If the sowing of carrots requires "unsuspecting children" to perform spiritualistic rites, you know a lot more about biodynamic agriculture than I do.

[*] It is perfectly possible for scientific people to agree that modern agriculture has had problems with chemical overuse, bad chemicals, and intensive, factory-farming techniques, without having to invoke a luddite spectre. All of that is not the responsibility of a scientific establishment, many of whose members warned about the problems, but of business, government and public choice (often misled by vested interests, not scientists). It is also possible for this mess to be cleaned up, and for science and its users to become more wise in their practices, without having to go back to labour-intensive, "natural" farming.

My point was that those who have been practicing this method have achieved good results and are quite pleased with it. One of the advantages is that the natural minerals in fruits and vegetables are not reduced, depleted, or diluted because the soil is kept healthier. This is why such produce often tastes better too.

A combination of alternative agricultural methods should be incorporated in big production. I understand that we have enough resources to feed the world population adequately, and it is a question of pooling and coordinating these resources to a maximum level. Farmlands must be cared for. It rings my alarm bells whan I see that China is reducing rice production by building industry on farm land. As a major food exporter, America has a tremendous responsibility here, and all those enormous economic obstacles for American farmers have been alarming. I am not suggesting that biodynamic agriculture as suggested by Rudolf Steiner can solve all these problems, but I am convinced that Steiner's contribution to this field can be of tremendous help in the future.

Cheers,

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Pythagoras (Was Re: Biodynamic Gardening)
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 16:36:45 +0200

Michael Kopp wrote:

OK, Pythagoras was a mystic. So was Kepler. So was Newton. And many more. But their mysticism did not _inform_ their great scientific achievements, it was their genius to transcend, in some way, that spiritualism and find something real.

The word "mystic" has a more precise meaning than you seem to attribute to it here. Mysticism is a mode of cognition where meditation and inner experiences lead the way, independent of rational logic. In this sense, it is highly disputable to label the scientists as mystics. The pioneers of science and mathematics strove to approach reality by means of logic, to arrive at knowledge rather than faith. Men like Pythagoras, on the other hand, lived in a culture and a frame of reference where science, art, and religion where united in a harmonious whole; they were not yet divided. This is why we also find in Plato and in Aristotle an endeavor to approach all reality, the material and the spiritual alike, by means of rational logic. This is not mysticism.

They tried to fit their great discoveries into their mysticism, because their worlds were still ruled by mankind's need, pre-Enlightenment, to believe in supernatural causes because thinking and knowledge were not yet developed enough to explain the world in rational ways.

I would imagine that few teachers -- outside Steiner/ Waldforf/ Anthroposophical cult schools -- even know that these greats also practiced esotericism. It doesn't matter. Their discoveries and the practice of their science are not reliant on belief in their gods.

There is a difference between saying that the evolution of thinking and cognition is dependent upon *belief in* gods on the one hand, and that *the gods themselves* have been indispensable to this evolution from the beginning on the other. Naturally, the possibility of excluding and dismissing the spiritual influence altogether from the realm of self-dependent logic is absolutely necessary for the emergence of human freedom and independence. But when this freedom and independence in the life of thought is achieved, it is also possible to recognize the spiritual reality in question without compromising it.

On the other hand, all the supposed great discoveries of Rudolf Steiner RELY on continued cult mysticism and a supernatural pantheon of gods, spirits and forces for any validity. Outside of that pseudo-scientific religious veneration, they have no meaning.

I disagree. The aim and goal of anthroposophy is to work for a re-unification of science, art, religion, and philosophy, because they all need each other for gainful evolution in the future. And there are many indications that this development is in the process of taking place in many fields also outside anthroposophy. Last night I was watching a "Hard Talk" interview on BBC with the Austian-born chemist who invented the contraceptive pill. (Sorry, I forgot his name.) He is an art collector and a playwright. And he is just one example of scientists becoming philosophers and artists, working towards what anthroposophists call "the redemption of science," to lift it out of its current ditch of dead, mechanized materialism. And we will probably see a lot more of this gradual blending, or re-uniting, of science, art, religion, and philosophy.

The fact that Steiner was also a mystic does not elevate his "science" to the greatness of his similar predecessors; it simply marks his mysticism as being as wrong and imaginary as that of those deluded greats.

Steiner was a throwback, not a visionary of futurism.

That still remains to be seen.

Nothing that Steiner said -- like the heart is not a pump, or is much more than a pump -- has been scientifically proven and accepted, despite what credulous and uninformed people like "Lisa" say. The heart may indeed be more than a pump, but it is still that.

Tom Mellett has just contributed some interesting insights on this topic to the Anthropos-Views list.

To suggest, as pseudo-scientists like Ralph Marinelli do, ala Steiner, that the blood is itself the motive force, or that the heart is a "brain", are ridiculous on their face, and a misrepresentation of science to fit mysticism -- much as Pythagoras and the others misrepresented their science to fit with the prevalent belief systems.

The religion of a mechanized, lifeless universe does not have a monopoly on science. It is my impression that the challenge against this perceived monopoly by "pseudo-science" is a major reason for hostile outbursts from evangelical atheist science freaks who are afraid that their universe is about to fall apart, very much like the Roman Church reacted against heretics. They can no longer burn or hang heretics, so they use ridicule and scorn to the hilt. But that won't stop evolution either.

Steiner's "discoveries" are not taught in all the world's schools, like Pythagoras's and the others', because they are mumbo jumbo.

"Mumbo jumbo" was one of Isaac Asimov's pet expressions, and he was a guru of yours. That is why "mumbo jumbo" has become your mantra, which you chant to chase away the evil spirit of anthroposophy.

And Steiner's "discoveries" WON'T be taught in schools worldwide, outside of SWA and infiltrated public schools, because it is vanishingly likely that they ever WILL be proved.

Just say the mantra, and it will all go away, vanish.

Footnote: And I can't see the usefulness of teaching science with the history of its mystical beginnings, or teaching Greek earth-air-fire-water as reality before getting to the real hard stuff. SWA always says that this history is important and gives the student a better perspective on human development. I say the only purpose for it being there in the way it's taught -- unscientifically -- is to inculcate the spiritual basis for all further learning.

This is a comment best left to the Waldorf teachers on the list.

Cheers,

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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From: "Tolz, Robert"
Subject: RE: Pythagoras (Was Re: Biodynamic Gardening)
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 10:04:15 -0500

-----Original Message-----
From: Tarjei Straume

There is a difference between saying that the evolution of thinking and cognition is dependent upon *belief in* gods on the one hand, and that *the gods themselves* have been indispensable to this evolution from the beginning on the other. Naturally, the possibility of excluding and dismissing the spiritual influence altogether from the realm of self-dependent logic is absolutely necessary for the emergence of human freedom and independence. But when this freedom and independence in the life of thought is achieved, it is also possible to recognize the spiritual reality in question without compromising it.

I think therefore I am. Attributed to Descartes, I think.

If I don't think, does that mean I am not? I think not.

Bob

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

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: RE: Pythagoras (Was Re: Biodynamic Gardening)
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 17:37:52 +0200

I wrote:

There is a difference between saying that the evolution of thinking and cognition is dependent upon *belief in* gods on the one hand, and that *the gods themselves* have been indispensable to this evolution from the beginning on the other. Naturally, the possibility of excluding and dismissing the spiritual influence altogether from the realm of self-dependent logic is absolutely necessary for the emergence of human freedom and independence. But when this freedom and independence in the life of thought is achieved, it is also possible to recognize the spiritual reality in question without compromising it.

Bob Tolz wrote:

I think therefore I am. Attributed to Descartes, I think.

Correct: Cogito ergo sum. You are cordially invited to visit the fledging Descartes page in the Uncle Taz Library at http://www.uncletaz.com/library/philclass/descartes.html

(Not much here yet - just wait until I move to another server in July,
where I get 350 MB.)

(Michael, you are invited to the Science & Mathematics section at http://www.uncletaz.com/library/scimath/ appropriately adorned with an image of Ahriman.)

If I don't think, does that mean I am not? I think not.

Rudolf Steiner was very critical of Descartes' "I think, therefore I am." He felt that it was cramped and desparate. The reason for this criticism was that Steiner's view of thinking was that it was a faint, abstract reflection of life - not life itself, but a shadow of it. So it's like saying, "There is my shadow, the proof of my existence."

So the question I have been pondering is: Is it more correct to say, "I am, therefore I think?" Not really, because many beings, like plants, exist without thinking.

Cheers,

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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From: Michael Hirsch
Subject: RE: Pythagoras (Was Re: Biodynamic Gardening)
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 13:09:37 -0500 (EST)

Tarjei Straume writes:

Bob Tolz wrote:

I think therefore I am. Attributed to Descartes, I think.

Correct: Cogito ergo sum. You are cordially invited to visit the fledging Descartes page in the Uncle Taz Library at

If I don't think, does that mean I am not? I think not.

Like the old joke. How did Descartes die? Someone asked him if he wanted a drink.

"I think not" he replied. And vanished.

So the question I have been pondering is: Is it more correct to say, "I am, therefore I think?" Not really, because many beings, like plants, exist without thinking.

Hofstadter says that adding is the most basic mode of though, whence the prase "Cogito, ergo sum" (I think, therefore I add).

--Michael

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From: Ezra Beeman
Subject: Re: Pythagoras (Was Re: Biodynamic Gardening)
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 11:11:45 -0500

Hoftstadter is a god. ; )

Michael Hirsch wrote:

Hofstadter says that adding is the most basic mode of though, whence the prase "Cogito, ergo sum" (I think, therefore I add).

--Michael

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From: Ron Miller
Subject: Re: Pythagoras (Was Re: Biodynamic Gardening)
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 11:37:49 -0500

Tolz, Robert wrote:

I think therefore I am. Attributed to Descartes, I think.

If I don't think, does that mean I am not? I think not.

Bob

This reminds me of another story:

Descartes was in a coffee shop, and the waitress asked him whether he wanted cream in his coffee. He replied, "I think not," and disappeared. :-)


Friends, I am going to disappear from this list. I appreciate your sincere and passionate commitment to rooting out the truth as you understand it (whether you are pro- or anti- anthroposophy), but I am not finding that the ongoing argument is a high priority for me. I am quite satisfied that my son's Waldorf school is a progressive, open minded place with many good and decent people involved (even as I raise specific questions about its pedagogy), and whether the larger Anthroposophy movement is as totally awful or as saintly pure as people claim, is not important to me. The main focus of my work now is on education and democracy, the free school movement of the 1960s, and the model of "community learning centers" that many homeschoolers are developing. This argument over Steiner is fascinating but not at all relevant to these concerns and is draining a lot of time. Finally, I am sorry that my interest in "holism" comes across in a self-righteous way or as some sort of hippie/yuppie philosophy. That's not at all what I intend. I'm just trying to make sense of the crisis that the modern world seems to find itself in, and the reading I've done on "holistic" and "postmodern" ways of thinking makes more sense to me than more of the same modernist, technocratic, free-enterprise stuff that I grew up with. I understand that for most of you in this group it doesn't make any sense at all. C'est la vie. May all beings be happy.

Ron Miller

p.s. Dan, please unsubscribe me. And thanks for inviting me in. Good luck to you.

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

From: Stephen Tonkin
Subject: Re: Pythagoras (Was Re: Biodynamic Gardening)
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 18:03:21 +0100

Tarjei Straume wrote:

Footnote: And I can't see the usefulness of teaching science with the history of its mystical beginnings, or teaching Greek earth-air-fire-water as reality before getting to the real hard stuff. SWA always says that this history is important and gives the student a better perspective on human development. I say the only purpose for it being there in the way it's taught -- unscientifically -- is to inculcate the spiritual basis for all further learning.

This is a comment best left to the Waldorf teachers on the list.

OK, I'll bite. Twice.

# I was contacted yesterday by a researcher for a film company intending to make astronomy films for television. One reason he wanted my input was that his researches had led him to realise that in reaching an understanding of the ideas of modern astronomy (the oldest science and 3rd oldest profession), it was advantageous to have an appreciation of its history.

# Newton stated that, if he had seen further than others, it was because he had stood on the shoulders of giants. If you can't identify the giants, how the heck can you stand on their shoulders?

Noctis Gaudia Carpe,

Stephen

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Pythagoras (Was Re: Biodynamic Gardening)
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 19:12:30 +0200

Ron Miller wrote:

Descartes was in a coffee shop, and the waitress asked him whether he wanted cream in his coffee. He replied, "I think not," and disappeared.

I love it!

This argument over Steiner is fascinating but not at all relevant to these concerns and is draining a lot of time.

I appreciate and understand that sentiment, but the fact is that the PLANS website and many of the posts from critics to this list make all kinds of discussions about Steiner inevitable. If the only issues had been doubts about the quality of Waldorf education and criticism thereof on the one hand, and American public schools and the constitution on the other, this list would have been a concern for teachers and lawyers and American Waldorf parents. It would have been of less concern for us Europeans. But attacks are being launched against anthroposophy and its founder - attacks that are often malignant and slanderous, and that reflect not only upon the moral character of Rudolf Steiner, but also upon the personal integrity and general credibility of all anthroposophists in the world, myself included. That is why I am on this list first as an anthroposophist, secondly as a Waldorf parent.

p.s. Dan, please unsubscribe me. And thanks for inviting me in. Good luck to you.

Because this is a response to your last post, I'm sending a cc to your email address.

Cheers,

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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

From: Stephen Tonkin
Subject: Re: Pythagoras (Was Re: Biodynamic Gardening)
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 18:53:56 +0100

Tarjei Straume wrote:

Rudolf Steiner was very critical of Descartes' "I think, therefore I am." He felt that it was cramped and desparate. The reason for this criticism was that Steiner's view of thinking was that it was a faint, abstract reflection of life - not life itself, but a shadow of it. So it's like saying, "There is my shadow, the proof of my existence."

I have always felt that Steiner misunderstood Descartes here. Put in context, Descartes was one of those who was trying to find logically fundamental statements, i.e. those that could be used to end infinite regresses.

What Descartes arrived at could better be stated in English as: "That I think is sufficient evidence for my existence." Not, as is often misstated "Thought is necessary evidence for existence" nor "Thought is the only evidence for existence" nor "I am because I think". Taking something like Descartes' fundamental statement out of its philosophical and cultural context is to distort it.

Noctis Gaudia Carpe,

Stephen

--
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From: ksutphen
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 10:03:04 -0800

Robert Flannery posted:

[Kopp]

<snip first two objections>

* its teaching is part of an Anthroposophical spiritual agenda practiced on unsuspecting children

Could you please outline how this might occur as part of a gardening curriculum in any school, waldorf or public?

Since it wasn't practiced while I was there I can only predict that teaching biodynamic gardening in a public school would likely have included Anthroposophical religious-based practices. I base my suspicions on my experience with Public School Waldorf Teacher Training in which we were repeatedly put through exercises that were entirely based on Anthroposophical religious beliefs. Replies to my request regarding exactly *what* biodynamic gardening is hasn't alleviated this suspicion in the least. It sounds as if it involves using *fertilizers* that are akin to homeopathic dilutions and planting according to phases of the moon and other astrological markers, not to mention a somewhat bizarre connection to Christ's blood and its permeation of our earth. (I don't have the details on this, so I am not yet sure of this connection.) I don't believe these would be valid curriculum practices in a public school.

Are you differentiating between a gardening program in a school and the practice of biodynamics by farmers and home gardeners?

I'll differentiate in this way. I hold a General Science teaching credential in California. This means that I can teach a general science course to students in grades K - 9. In addition to the upper division university science courses needed to satisfy credential requirements I have taken additional, accredited courses specifically teaching me effective ways to deliver a science curriculum designed around the implementation of a student garden.

Following the completion of these courses I received approval to order a greenhouse (approx. $2000) - to be assembled by me and my students, in addition to tools, etc., to begin a garden-based science curriculum. However, the greenhouse was never constructed and the class was not offered because I did not take the biodynamic gardening course offered at Rudolf Steiner College. I was not *permitted* to teach the course because of my unwillingness to take the RSC training. When I quit my job the greenhouse still had not been *unpacked*.

So, what could have been the difference between the course I would have taught and a course designed on Waldorf pedagogical methods as taught in the summer biodynamic gardening course at Rudolf Steiner College? Perhaps you can enlighten me on this Robert. My family and I grow a huge, organic garden every year. My daughters have partially financed trips abroad from the proceeds they make selling our certified organic produce at a local Grower's Market. We spend a large part of our summer gardening, harvesting, weeding, canning, selling . . . But . . . because I was not willing to use biodynamic techniques I was not permitted to deliver a gardening curriculum. This *after* we were declared a model Waldorf school in the public sector.

This is my question. What is the difference between biodynamic gardening and the organic gardening practices that my family and I utilize each year to produce an absolutely incredible harvest that has also served to educate my 2 children in a variety of ways?

Kathy

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

From: ksutphen
Subject: Re: Pythagoras (Was Re: Biodynamic Gardening)
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 10:35:14 -0800

Tarjei posted:

I disagree. The aim and goal of anthroposophy is to work for a re-unification of science, art, religion, and philosophy, because they all need each other for gainful evolution in the future. And there are many indications that this development is in the process of taking place in many fields also outside anthroposophy. Last night I was watching a "Hard Talk" interview on BBC with the Austian-born chemist who invented the contraceptive pill. (Sorry, I forgot his name.) He is an art collector and a playwright. And he is just one example of scientists becoming philosophers and artists, working towards what anthroposophists call "the redemption of science," to lift it out of its current ditch of dead, mechanized materialism.

Perhaps you left something out here, but how do you come to the conclusion that this particular scientist, who collects art and writes plays, is an example of something akin to the Anthroposophist. There are many scientists that engage in art in a variety of forms, as there are atheists, agnostics, secular humanists, etc. Your reasoning here is unclear.

It is my impression that the challenge against this perceived monopoly by "pseudo-science" is a major reason for hostile outbursts from evangelical atheist science freaks who are afraid that their universe is about to fall apart,

Huh? What is this about? Who are the "evangelical atheist science freaks"?

"Mumbo jumbo" was one of Isaac Asimov's pet expressions, and he was a guru of yours. That is why "mumbo jumbo" has become your mantra, which you chant to chase away the evil spirit of anthroposophy.

Wait a minute. Wasn't Asimov a scientist that also engaged in the *art* of writing fiction? Wouldn't this place him alongside the creator of the birth control pill that collects art and is a playwright? Isn't Asimov an example of a scientist becoming a philosopher and an artist? Why is Asimov scorned, but the chemist elevated in your regard? I'm confused.

Kathy

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

From: ksutphen
Subject: Re: Pythagoras (Was Re: Biodynamic Gardening)
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 10:51:23 -0800

List members,

I have recently been reading posts to the Biodynamic gardening list. The following is part of a post.

So the basic rule is bury your preps where the life forces are really rich. I just now checked it out and the location I'm burying preps is at a junction of four energy lines (exceptional). This makes for lots of energy there. The results show this. So set all other rules aside, and look for a place where the life forces are really rich.

This has a tad of the (in Kopp's/Asimov's infamous words) mumbo jumbo flavor to it. I am wondering what the preps are and how one determines where the life forces are really rich. There was also something in here, now cut, about dowsing. I think it was dowsing for the life forces.

Is the above a standard practice in biodynamic gardening? And . . . what does it mean?

Kathy

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

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Pythagoras (Was Re: Biodynamic Gardening)
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 21:46:48 +0200

I wrote:

I disagree. The aim and goal of anthroposophy is to work for a re-unification of science, art, religion, and philosophy, because they all need each other for gainful evolution in the future. And there are many indications that this development is in the process of taking place in many fields also outside anthroposophy. Last night I was watching a "Hard Talk" interview on BBC with the Austian-born chemist who invented the contraceptive pill. (Sorry, I forgot his name.) He is an art collector and a playwright. And he is just one example of scientists becoming philosophers and artists, working towards what anthroposophists call "the redemption of science," to lift it out of its current ditch of dead, mechanized materialism.

Kathy wrote:

Perhaps you left something out here, but how do you come to the conclusion that this particular scientist, who collects art and writes plays, is an example of something akin to the Anthroposophist.

I have not said that the scientist in question is "an example of something akin to the anthroposophist." Read the above again; My point is that he is part and parcel of certain symptoms regarding gradual changes in the world culture in the direction of re-unifying science, art, religion, and philosophy. This is taking place outside and independently of anthroposophy. (Anthroposophy has already re-united these fields, being ahead of the times.)

There are many scientists that engage in art in a variety of forms, as there are atheists, agnostics, secular humanists, etc. Your reasoning here is unclear.

I was referring more specifically to those who blend their scientific ideas, the fruits of their scientific work, and the wisdom they have learned from it, with artistic expression like theater or painting.

It is my impression that the challenge against this perceived monopoly by "pseudo-science" is a major reason for hostile outbursts from evangelical atheist science freaks who are afraid that their universe is about to fall apart,

Huh? What is this about? Who are the "evangelical atheist science freaks"?

They consist mainly of atheists who claim that natural science *proves* their philosophy to be right and everybody else's to be wrong; and they set out to save us from superstition and darkness and be saved by their light of reason.

"Mumbo jumbo" was one of Isaac Asimov's pet expressions, and he was a guru of yours. That is why "mumbo jumbo" has become your mantra, which you chant to chase away the evil spirit of anthroposophy.

Wait a minute. Wasn't Asimov a scientist that also engaged in the *art* of writing fiction? Wouldn't this place him alongside the creator of the birth control pill that collects art and is a playwright? Isn't Asimov an example of a scientist becoming a philosopher and an artist? Why is Asimov scorned, but the chemist elevated in your regard? I'm confused.

If you wish to place Asimov into this context, it does have a certain merit. But because Asimov might easily fit the description of an evangelical atheist, his case is not symptomatic of the emerging re-unification I was getting at.

I have not scorned Asimov; I have pointed out his scornful arrogance for every non-atheist conception of nature and of life. You seem to take the criticism of an idea or an attitude to mean a condemnation or a judgement of the entire person who expresses it. I don't shoot the messenger when I don't like the message, I isolate and confront the message itself.

Cheers,

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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

From: "Steve Premo"
Subject: Re: Pythagoras (Was Re: Biodynamic Gardening)
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 13:47:03 -0700

On 31 Mar 99, at 21:46, Tarjei Straume wrote:

I have not scorned Asimov; I have pointed out his scornful arrogance for every non-atheist conception of nature and of life.

I've read quite a bit of Asimov. Most of it has been fiction, and some has been science writing, but I've also read Asimov's Guide to the Bible, which is a fascinating work.

I have not read anything by Asimov containing scornful arrogance, or promoting atheism. I have read things describing his creed as a secular humanist, but nothing which was in any way disrespectful toward religion, or suggesting that everyone should believe as he does.

Can you point to some writings which demonstrate Asimov's "scornful arrogance for every non-atheist conception of nature and of life?"

Steve Premo -- Santa Cruz, California
"There is a right and a wrong in the Universe and
that distinction is not difficult to make." - Superman

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

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Pythagoras (Was Re: Biodynamic Gardening)
Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 00:00:43 +0200

I wrote:

Rudolf Steiner was very critical of Descartes' "I think, therefore I am." He felt that it was cramped and desparate. The reason for this criticism was that Steiner's view of thinking was that it was a faint, abstract reflection of life - not life itself, but a shadow of it. So it's like saying, "There is my shadow, the proof of my existence."

Stephen Tonkin wrote:

I have always felt that Steiner misunderstood Descartes here. Put in context, Descartes was one of those who was trying to find logically fundamental statements, i.e. those that could be used to end infinite regresses.

You may be right about that. It is also my impression that Steiner misunderstood the young Einstein to begin with (his doctoral thesis of 1905), but gradually came to admire him.

What Descartes arrived at could better be stated in English as: "That I think is sufficient evidence for my existence." Not, as is often misstated "Thought is necessary evidence for existence" nor "Thought is the only evidence for existence" nor "I am because I think". Taking something like Descartes' fundamental statement out of its philosophical and cultural context is to distort it.

Thank you for this clarification, which is very perceptive. I have always found this axiom enigmatic, and I still do.

Cheers,

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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

From: Stephen Tonkin
Subject: Re: Pythagoras (Was Re: Biodynamic Gardening)
Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 00:03:53 +0100

Tarjei Straume wrote:

It is also my impression that Steiner misunderstood the young Einstein to begin with

I agree, in spades. Mind you, that was noting compared to the spectacular balls-ups made by Ernst Lehrs in _Man or Matter_, where he demonstrates the "I don't understand it so it can't be true" syndrome (e.g. Chapter X) and goes on to promulgate the easily-falsifiable Goethean misconception that colour can arise simply as a result of an interplay between light and dark.

Don't get me wrong, Tarjei -- I think Steiner and Goethe and Lehrs all had some valuable insights but, in the realm of the physical sciences, they all made some magnificent errors. Goethe and Steiner at least had the excuse of the times they lived in -- Lehrs, who survived into the latter part of this century, didn't.

Noctis Gaudia Carpe,

Stephen

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Pythagoras (Was Re: Biodynamic Gardening)
Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 01:12:14 +0200

Steve Premo wrote:

I've read quite a bit of Asimov. Most of it has been fiction, and some has been science writing, but I've also read Asimov's Guide to the Bible, which is a fascinating work.

It's a demythification, explaining everything in terms of secular historical events rather than spiritual happenings. It is astute on literary insight, because Isaac's father was a religious Jew.

I have not read anything by Asimov containing scornful arrogance, or promoting atheism. I have read things describing his creed as a secular humanist, but nothing which was in any way disrespectful toward religion, or suggesting that everyone should believe as he does.

Can you point to some writings which demonstrate Asimov's "scornful arrogance for every non-atheist conception of nature and of life?"

It was a voluminous book, a guide to the history of science. Another one was a collection of essays. The titles elude me. I borrowed them from the library right after Asimov's death, to understand him better. In his history of science, the words "mumbo jumbo," "quackery and magic," and a few others repeated themselves every time there was mention of astrology or alchemy. And there were those columns he wrote for the newspapers. I remember one in particular from 1987 in the Houston Chronicle, where he explained the superstitious origin of astrology. The Mesopotamians, the Sumerians, and the Babylonians had, according to Asimov, discovered that the sun and the moon influenced life and natural phenomena on earth. For this reason, they "invented" the influences of the other planets, which were pure superstition. He went on to explain why people were superstitious. In his book about science history, he explained that people were religious because they were little children in need of mama's apron strings or a pacifyer to suck on. His attitude to religious people was totally void of respect the way I read them. I also talked to people in America who knew him a little better. And I kept hearing "Oh, Isaac Asimov, he is soooo arrogant."

I'm mentioning these things to demonstrate that I did not make a statement about Asimov scornful arrogance toward religious people without a reason. But it would be quite wrong to say that this tendency characterizes Asimov. He was a very gifted individual, but I think he was extremely one-sided and opinionated, and that he regarded himself as some kind of dean of the Scientific Community with its monopoly on science and its definition. He always wrote with his blinds down, never experiencing a writer's block, and he once said that "All I am interested in is writing."

In fact, the essays by Asimov that interested me most were about his family, because they revealed the warm, caring, and human side of him that otherwise got lost somewhere among robots in a mechanized, de-mythologized, chilling cosmos. I found Isaac's love of his father quite moving, and his loyal caring for his wife when she was operated for cancer.

Incidentally, I did use to buy and read that "Magazine for Fantasy and Science Fiction," which was edited and published by Asimov, who was called "the Professor," when I was a teenager. But the truth is, he never got me hooked. Rudolf Steiner did.

Cheers,

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Asimov
Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 01:31:49 +0200

I need to add one little reflection as an after-thought about Asimov and his often disrespectful arrogance toward religion and spirituality. I mentioned that his father was a religious Jew, and it is obvious that Isaac had the deepest affection and love for his father. This is why I try to make a careful distinction between certain things written or said by this author on the one hand, and Isaac Asimov the human being on the other. He probably respected people he knew or were close to him regardless of religion or philosophy. So his arrogance and scorn was against religiousness in the abstract, especially when it threatened to disturb his own gospel of materialistic science. He would probably have been very riled up about anthroposophy if he had read about it.

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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

From: "Steve Premo"
Subject: Re: Asimov
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 16:33:49 -0700

Thanks, Tarjei, for elucidating about Asimov.

On 1 Apr 99, at 1:31, Tarjei Straume wrote:

He would probably have been very riled up about anthroposophy if he had read about it.

Maybe. I suspect that he would have dismissed it out of hand, though, and would not considered it a significant enough movement to get riled up about. No offense, but very few people outside of anthroposophy or the waldorf movement consider anthroposophy to be a significant movement, or consider Rudolf Steiner to be an important historical figure, assuming they've heard of him at all.

My dictionary's "biographical names" section contains something on the order of 5200 listings of people, living and dead, and Steiner isn't even listed. Merriam-Webster, Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary.

I think it's great that you've found a philosopher who resonates so well with your personal beliefs, and whose writings hold so much meaning for you, but his appeal appears to be limited to a very small group.

Steve Premo -- Santa Cruz, California
"There is a right and a wrong in the Universe and
that distinction is not difficult to make." - Superman

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

From: Robert Flannery
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 19:46:08 -0500

I asked Kathy Sutphen:

Could you please outline how this [inculcating an anthroposophical spiritual agenda] might occur as part of a gardening curriculum in any school, waldorf or public?

and she answered:

Since it wasn't practiced while I was there I can only predict that teaching biodynamic gardening in a public school would likely have included Anthroposophical religious-based practices.

If this prediction has no basis in knowledge or experience of gardening classes in a waldorf school, I would call it speculation.

I base my suspicions on my experience with Public School Waldorf Teacher Training in which we were repeatedly put through exercises that were entirely based on Anthroposophical religious beliefs.

Why do you jump to such a conclusion without looking for some evidence? If I recall correctly, you have complained about "chanting" and "walking geometric forms" and "hearing the same story told in the same way day after day".

What does this have to do with gardening classes?

Replies to my request regarding exactly *what* biodynamic gardening is hasn't alleviated this suspicion in the least. It sounds as if it involves using *fertilizers* that are akin to homeopathic dilutions and planting according to phases of the moon and other astrological markers, not to mention a somewhat bizarre connection to Christ's blood and its permeation of our earth. (I don't have the details on this, so I am not yet sure of this connection.) I don't believe these would be valid curriculum practices in a public school.

I don't know beans about biodynamics, really. I know just enough to think that Dan's thumbnail might be reasonably accurate, for an overview.

"Impressions: Organic agriculture plus magic. Planting by planetary aspects. Compost seeded with special preparations. Homeopathic preparations applied to soil. Half-a-dozen standardized numbered preparations per Steiner's indications. Quartz used because of its relationship with light. There's a ritual burying of a cow's horn filled with manure, to be dug up later and diluted."

Are you differentiating between a gardening program in a school and the practice of biodynamics by farmers and home gardeners?

I'll differentiate in this way.

<snip Kathy's story of her credentials and why she's not happy about the way she was treated by her former school>

So, what could have been the difference between the course I would have taught and a course designed on Waldorf pedagogical methods as taught in the summer biodynamic gardening course at Rudolf Steiner College? Perhaps you can enlighten me on this Robert. My family and I grow a huge, organic garden every year. My daughters have partially financed trips abroad from the proceeds they make selling our certified organic produce at a local Grower's Market. We spend a large part of our summer gardening, harvesting, weeding, canning, selling . . . But . . . because I was not willing to use biodynamic techniques I was not permitted to deliver a gardening curriculum. This *after* we were declared a model Waldorf school in the public sector.

I wasn't asking you to explain your qualifications to teach gardening, I was interested in whether or not you were making any distinction between biodynamics and waldorf gardening classes. I think the latter is the real issue.

This is my question. What is the difference between biodynamic gardening and the organic gardening practices that my family and I utilize each year to produce an absolutely incredible harvest that has also served to educate my 2 children in a variety of ways?

There are lots of differences (and Dan has supplied a number for you, above).

But my request that you substantiate your claim that waldorf gardening classes inculcate anthroposophy or anthroposophical principles remains unanswered.

Robert Flannery
New York

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

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Asimov
Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 03:03:25 +0200

Steve Premo wrote:

No offense, but very few people outside of anthroposophy or the waldorf movement consider anthroposophy to be a significant movement, or consider Rudolf Steiner to be an important historical figure, assuming they've heard of >him at all.

My dictionary's "biographical names" section contains something on the order of 5200 listings of people, living and dead, and Steiner isn't even listed. Merriam-Webster, Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary.

So far, a low profile for Rudolf Steiner and anthroposophy is preferable to a high one - especially, perhaps, in America. Some of the reasons for this are clearly illustrated by posts to this list.

I think it's great that you've found a philosopher who resonates so well with your personal beliefs, and whose writings hold so much meaning for you, but his appeal appears to be limited to a very small group.

Especially when the group is small, it is not advantageous with a high profile.

Cheers,

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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From: Michael Hirsch
Subject: Re: Pythagoras (Was Re: Biodynamic Gardening)
Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 11:48:01 -0500 (EST)

Stephen Tonkin writes:

# Newton stated that, if he had seen further than others, it was because he had stood on the shoulders of giants. If you can't identify the giants, how the heck can you stand on their shoulders?

Well, one might argue that it is onl important to stand on the shoulders is the person(s) on top. It is not really necessary to know much about the shoulders on the bottom.

I suspect, as always, that it is important to look at each case separately. Sometimes there will be great value in studying the old masters (e.g. studying Euclid in a geometry class), and sometimes very little (e.g. studying Newton's alchemy in a chemistry class).

--Michael

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

From: Michael Kopp
Subject: Re: Pythagoras (Was Re: Biodynamic Gardening)
Date: Fri, 2 Apr 1999 14:03:07 +1200

Michael Hirsch writes:

Stephen Tonkin writes:

# Newton stated that, if he had seen further than others, it was because he had stood on the shoulders of giants. If you can't identify the giants, how the heck can you stand on their shoulders?

Well, one might argue that it is onl important to stand on the shoulders is the person(s) on top. It is not really necessary to know much about the shoulders on the bottom.

I suspect, as always, that it is important to look at each case separately. Sometimes there will be great value in studying the old masters (e.g. studying Euclid in a geometry class), and sometimes very little (e.g. studying Newton's alchemy in a chemistry class).

--Michael

That would be fine, if Steiner/ Waldorf/ Anthroposophical schools left it at that. But they don't.

Instead, they teach an offshoot type of geometry called "projective geometry". This is a recognized and reasonable field -- for advanced students and practitioners of geometry. I doubt that it is taught anywhere else in state or private elementary or high schools as a regulary part of the curriculum.

And why is it taught in SWA schools? Because Steiner, and his cult followers and SWA people attach esoteric, spiritual meaning to it.

No, they don't teach the esoteric, spiritual meaning to the students -- that would be to openly contravene their oft-stated "guarantee" that Anthroposophy is not taught in the classrooms of SWA schools.

So what's wrong with teaching it? Will it harm the kids? Well, no. Does it make them spiritualists and cultists? Well, no. Does it have any practical educational or life value for them, either when it's taught or later? That's the debatable part: I and many other critics think not; SWA defenders say that it has benefits for the developing mind and future intellectual effort. May be. I think not. It's an area that researchers like David Mollet might spend some time looking at.

The only thing my son David, now a graduate of a public high school, remembers of his projective geometry lessons is that the teacher made a big point of telling the students that two parallel lines meet at infinity.

In the meantime, to me, it was just another example of the SWA stealthy and covert use of Anthroposophical tenets for spiritual purposes without my knowledge, understanding, and consent.

There's plenty in the archives on this subject; just search on "projective geometry". We've done it pretty well, and, of course, reached no agreement between critic and proponent, but there may be some life left in it yet, if there are new views or data.

Cheers from Godzone,

Michael Kopp
Wellington, New Zealand

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

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Pythagoras (Was Re: Biodynamic Gardening)
Date: Fri, 2 Apr 1999 05:02:34 +0200

Michael Kopp wrote:

Instead, they teach an offshoot type of geometry called "projective geometry". This is a recognized and reasonable field -- for advanced students and practitioners of geometry. I doubt that it is taught anywhere else in state or private elementary or high schools as a regulary part of the curriculum.

And why is it taught in SWA schools? Because Steiner, and his cult followers and SWA people attach esoteric, spiritual meaning to it.

Hey, we anthropops attach esoteric, spiritual meaning to absolutely everything - to ourselves, to the children, to the sunset, and to the morning news - even to the comic strips. Naturally, Waldorf teachers may attach esoteric, spiritual meaning to every subject they teach. That's the meaning that gives everything value - without it, it has no value.

The only thing my son David, now a graduate of a public high school, remembers of his projective geometry lessons is that the teacher made a big point of telling the students that two parallel lines meet at infinity.

And that's where Steiner meets Einstein. And that reminds me: A Russian once told me that in the Soviet atheist regime, Einstein's ideas, including his theory of relativity, was highly suspect, and its study was strongly discouraged. When I asked why, he said that Einstein's ideas bordered on the spiritual and miraculous. At least, the Soviet authorities thought so.

In the meantime, to me, it was just another example of the SWA stealthy and covert use of Anthroposophical tenets for spiritual purposes without my knowledge, understanding, and consent.

Stealthy and covert? You still haven't explained to me about the dangers that you say are lurking behind my back from Dornach. The paradox, perhaps about the Anthroposophical Society is that it is the only organization of its kind, namely an *occult and esoteric* organization that is completely *open.* And it was this very openness that resulted in so many powerful enemies for Rudolf Steiner.

Cheers,

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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From: Ezra Beeman
Subject: Re: Pythagoras (Was Re: Biodynamic Gardening)
Date: Thu, 01 Apr 1999 20:50:19 -0800

It (projective geometry) is great for trivia as well: Did you know Desarque (of projective geometry) was Decartes' (of the Cartesian coordinate system) roommate in college?

On a more serious note...

I learned Projective Geometry in 11th grade (approx 16), about the same time my art class was using horizons and vanishing points in form drawing (tables and other simple three dimensional objects).

Is this yet another instance of WE's interdisciplinary application of an abstract concept? Is the multifaceted approach not one of the finest methodologies for understanding complex subjects?

There is a proven role (the Sante Fe institute comes to mind) for this kind of (interdisciplinary) approach outside of a conspiracy of inculcated esoterica. And it sure beats memorizing geometric proofs...

e

[long quote snipped by editor]

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

From: "ksutphen"
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Fri, 2 Apr 1999 16:10:26 -0800

Robert Flannery posted:

But my request that you substantiate your claim that waldorf gardening classes inculcate anthroposophy or anthroposophical principles remains unanswered.

I don't know, experientially, that Waldorf gardening does inculcate Anthroposophy or its principles. What I know is that *all* the other pedagogical practices I was taught were based on Anthroposophical religious beliefs. Nothing on this list, since I first requested information about biodynamic gardening, would lead me to believe that teaching gardening ala Waldorf methods would be any different.

And yes, I did carry on once again about my own personal experience. Sorry . . . it was a period in my life that I still find personally horrifying and somewhat unbelievable in light of the fact that I was a public school teacher. What is pertinent about my experience, in light of biodynamic gardening, is that I was qualified to teach organic gardening, yet was not permitted to do so because of my refusal to subject myself to further indoctrination via Waldorf training.

Do I recall correctly that you are a Waldorf teacher? And, if so, why don't you simply describe to me how gardening in a Waldorf school curriculum is bereft of Anthroposophical influence. I am interested in a discussion on this subject. Clearly I have little personal information/experience re: biodynamic gardening - only suspicion based upon experience in the Public School Waldorf Teacher training courses.

Kathy

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

From: Robert Flannery
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Fri, 2 Apr 1999 20:23:51 -0500

Kathy requests:

Do I recall correctly that you are a Waldorf teacher? And, if so, why don't you simply describe to me how gardening in a Waldorf school curriculum is bereft of Anthroposophical influence.

First off, as I said in an earlier post, I don't know much about biodynamics--I know even less about how gardening is taught in waldorf schools.

Secondly, since most waldorf schools (at least in the U.S.) do not have a gardening curriculum, I can't share any experiences from school. There just isn't much to go on.

Gardening was not part of the original curriculum in Molt's school (take note, those of you who like to say the curriculum hasn't changed a whit since 1919). Steiner said and wrote nothing about teaching gardening.

But more to the point, I'm not interested in taking up your offer--I began this thread in order to challenge your claim that a waldorf gardening program is a vehicle for anthroposophical dogma.

Unlike you, I'm not going to make any claims about the content of such a program without any relevant personal experience.

Robert Flannery
New York

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

From: Dan Dugan
Subject: Re: Pythagoras (Was Re: Biodynamic Gardening)
Date: Fri, 2 Apr 1999 22:56:13 -0800

Ron Miller, you wrote,

p.s. Dan, please unsubscribe me. And thanks for inviting me in. Good luck to you.

Not until you promise to copy each of your son's lesson books to me as it is completed!

-Dan

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

From: Dan Dugan
Subject: Re: Pythagoras (Was Re: Biodynamic Gardening)
Date: Fri, 2 Apr 1999 23:27:22 -0800

Tarjei, you wrote,

You may be right about that. It is also my impression that Steiner misunderstood the young Einstein to begin with (his doctoral thesis of 1905), but gradually came to admire him.

I don't think so. Steiner participated in the Einstein-bashing that was part of the popular anti-intellectualism in Weimar Germany that also fed the fires of anti-Semitism.

"The time is now that we ought to speak of such things, all the brilliant nonsense which is called relativity theory through which Einstein became a great man. This would be able to be rejected if one were to have clear concepts about things, concepts which really correspond to the reality. ... This idea doesn't have the slightest relationship to reality. This whole unhealthy idea lives today as the theory of relativity and enjoys the widest acclaim."

[Rudolf Steiner, The True Nature of Substance & Energy, August 7, 1917 (Rick Mansell translation, tape SL266, Rudolf Steiner Research Foundation, Redondo Beach, California) The lecture of 7 Aug 1917 is the second lecture in the KARMA OF MATERIALISM.]

-Dan Dugan

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

From: Dan Dugan
Subject: Re: Pythagoras (Was Re: Biodynamic Gardening)
Date: Fri, 2 Apr 1999 23:32:55 -0800

Stephen Tonkin, you wrote,

Tarjei Straume wrote:

It is also my impression that Steiner misunderstood the young Einstein to begin with

I agree, in spades. Mind you, that was noting compared to the spectacular balls-ups made by Ernst Lehrs in _Man or Matter_, where he demonstrates the "I don't understand it so it can't be true" syndrome (e.g. Chapter X) and goes on to promulgate the easily-falsifiable Goethean misconception that colour can arise simply as a result of an interplay between light and dark.

Don't get me wrong, Tarjei -- I think Steiner and Goethe and Lehrs all had some valuable insights but, in the realm of the physical sciences, tehy all made some magnificent errors. Goethe and Steiner at least had the excuse of the times they lived in -- Lehrs, who survived into the latter part of this century, didn't.

When at the San Francisco Waldorf School I pointed out the absurdity of teaching that Goethe refuted Newton, I was advised to read Lehrs. I did, but I don't think it got the results the Waldorf teachers expected.

-Dan Dugan

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

From: Sune Nordwall
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Sat, 03 Apr 1999 13:18:42 +0200

Kathy wrote:

Could someone on this list clarify for me exactly what biodynamic gardening is. Are there spiritual beliefs that underly the specific practices that would define biodynamic gardening? What must one do to garden biodynamically?

Thanks for your input.

First, I want to say that I´m very unhappy about what happened to you as a teacher in a school, transformed into a public waldorf school. As I´ve said in another post, I don´t think existing schools with public teachers should be "taken over" and "transformed", "reeducating" teachers who have no choice if they don´t want to become unemployed.

A waldorf school in the south of Stockholm: "Martinskolan", started in about 1980 on the premises of a public school that had been closed down. But it was _completely_ closed and only the building remained, when it started up as a new waldorf school.

As for biodynamic gardening and farming, I´ve been trying to look around on the Internet for information.

Some results:

http://www.steinercollege.org/biodynamics.html contains a sort of introductory general summary on the subject.

http://www.angelfire.com/id/biobaby/contentslist.html describes the contents of the lecture cycle by Rudolf Steiner, on which biodynamic farming is based; "Spiritual Foundations for the Renewal of Agriculture", held in 1924. It costs about $22 and can bo ordered from Amazon books (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/093725035X/hppubli00/002-9405429-9092808).

Se also http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/AFSIC_pubs/srb9705u.htm and http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/AFSIC_pubs/srb97-05.htm

What is Biodynamic Agriculture? by Koepf (one of the pioneers of biodynamic farming) at $2.50 can be ordered from The Josephine Porter Institute of Applied Biodynamics in Woolwine WA see
http://igg.com/spiritual_ag/european/steiner/jpi/jpibks.html#steinerag.
[obsolete domain]

http://www.tiac.net/users/seeker/biodyn.html [no good] contains a text: What Is Biodynamic Farming? by a Melvin D. Saunders.

How biodynamic gardening is taught in waldorf schools, if or when taught, I don´t know. My personal experience of biodynamic farmers and gardeners is that are very down to earth people, working and talking in very concrete ways about their work.

As for the "theoretical" basis of biodynamic farming, my impression is that most biodynamic farmers and gardeners have great difficulties really understanding it.

Research done on the effect of different biodynamic preparations is often clear, yet sometimes showing contradictory results under different conditions that are difficult to analyze because of the complexity of field research.

Finally, when looking around on the web, I came across an interesting description of "anthroposophy, Rudolph Steiner (18611925) and Waldorf Schools" in a "Sceptics dictionary", put up by a Robert Todd Carroll, at It can be found at http://wheel.dcn.davis.ca.us/~btcarrol/skeptic/steiner.html [obsolete] and
http://skepdic.com/steiner.html

The dictionary contains no specific entry on biodynamic farming.

Regards,

Sune Nordwall
Stockholm, Sweden

http://hem.passagen.se/thebee/indexeng.htm
- a site on science, homeopathy, cosmological cell biology and
EU as a mechanical esoteric temple and threefolding of society

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

From: Bruce
Subject: Re: Pythagoras (Was Re: Biodynamic Gardening)
Date: Sat, 3 Apr 1999 08:51:17 EST

In einer eMail vom 03.04.99 12:04:12 (MEZ) - Mitteleurop. Sommerzeit schreibt Dan Dugan:

When at the San Francisco Waldorf School I pointed out the absurdity of teaching that Goethe refuted Newton, I was advised to read Lehrs. I did, but I don't think it got the results the Waldorf teachers expected.

Who told you that Goethe refuted Newton, the teachers or a Goethe biography? As I understand Goethe he had a great respect for Newton, and nowhere does he (IMHO) refute him.

Bruce

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

From: Bruce
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Sat, 3 Apr 1999 08:51:21 EST

I have skipped the thread here because I am no expert, but Gardening is taught in almost all German FWS (possible all); I also received gardening lessons when I was at (waldrof) school.

If there is still a need could SOMEONE state what still remains unresolved? Maybe this is one of Michaels statistics?

Bruce

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

From: Robert Tolz
Subject: Re: Pythagoras (Was Re: Biodynamic Gardening)
Date: Sat, 03 Apr 1999 10:05:48 -0500

Dan Dugan wrote:

Tarjei, you wrote,

You may be right about that. It is also my impression that Steiner misunderstood the young Einstein to begin with (his doctoral thesis of 1905), but gradually came to admire him.

[DAN DUGAN]

I don't think so. Steiner participated in the Einstein-bashing that was part of the popular anti-intellectualism in Weimar Germany that also fed the fires of anti-Semitism.

[snip Steiner quote from 1917, criticizing Einstein]

Dan,

All you've done is support the first leg (in time) of what Tarjei wrote. You've taken a snapshot rather than given us a movie. Can you (or Tarjei) help us out with the "gradually came to admire him" comment by Tarjei?

Bob

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

From: ksutphen
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Sat, 03 Apr 1999 14:46:37 -0800

Robert Flannery posted:

First off, as I said in an earlier post, I don't know much about biodynamics--I know even less about how gardening is taught in waldorf schools.

(snip - more about bd gardening)

But more to the point, I'm not interested in taking up your offer--I began this thread in order to challenge your claim that a waldorf gardening program is a vehicle for anthroposophical dogma.

But you haven't challenged my claim at all. I keep asking you to do so, but it seems you simply want to needle me about my suspicions that a Waldorf-based gardening curriculum would be steeped in Anthroposophical beliefs. I have simply asked that someone tell me what they know about the subject. If you have nothing to say on the issue, I wish you would have made that clear in your initial post.

Once again, it is my suspicion that bd gardening ala Waldorf would be like the rest of the curriculum - based on Anthroposophical spiritualism. I'm interested on what the unique beliefs/criteria are to practice bd gardening and how this is expressed on the curriculum level. For example: are all the practices the same (inside and outside the context of a Waldorf school), but the students simply aren't informed of the underlying beliefs for various bd practices? This would make it like the rest of the Waldorf curriculum/pedagogy I experienced.

Unlike you, I'm not going to make any claims about the content of such a program without any relevant personal experience.

Good for you. This was your opportunity to tell me it ain't so.

I also asked if you are a Waldorf teacher. I think I recall that you are, but perhaps I have you mixed up with another contributor.

Kathy

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

From: ksutphen
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Sat, 03 Apr 1999 17:35:22 -0800

Sune posts:

As for biodynamic gardening and farming, I´ve been trying to look around on the Internet for information.

Some results:

Thank you for your research. I appreciate the time it took for you to respond to my question.

Kathy

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

From: Michael Kopp
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Sun, 4 Apr 1999 15:08:50 +1200

Kathy Sutphen wrote:

Robert Flannery posted:

First off, as I said in an earlier post, I don't know much about biodynamics--I know even less about how gardening is taught in waldorf schools.

(snip - more about bd gardening)

But more to the point, I'm not interested in taking up your offer--I began this thread in order to challenge your claim that a waldorf gardening program is a vehicle for anthroposophical dogma.

But you haven't challenged my claim at all. I keep asking you to do so, but it seems you simply want to needle me about my suspicions that a Waldorf-based gardening curriculum would be steeped in Anthroposophical beliefs. I have simply asked that someone tell me what they know about the subject. If you have nothing to say on the issue, I wish you would have made that clear in your initial post.

Once again, it is my suspicion that bd gardening ala Waldorf would be like the rest of the curriculum - based on Anthroposophical spiritualism. I'm interested on what the unique beliefs/criteria are to practice bd gardening and how this is expressed on the curriculum level. For example: are all the practices the same (inside and outside the context of a Waldorf school), but the students simply aren't informed of the underlying beliefs for various bd practices? This would make it like the rest of the Waldorf curriculum/pedagogy I experienced.

Unlike you, I'm not going to make any claims about the content of such a program without any relevant personal experience.

Good for you. This was your opportunity to tell me it ain't so.

I also asked if you are a Waldorf teacher. I think I recall that you are, but perhaps I have you mixed up with another contributor.

Michael KOPP says:

My children, when at a Steiner/ Waldorf/ Anthroposophical school, were not "taught" even the rudimentary elements of gardening and horticulture (no real agriculture, it's an urban school with no large flat ground to plant) whether ordinary or biodynamic.

This does not mean that they didn't DO gardening; they did, quite a lot of it.

But it was never explained to them in either orthodox scientific terms or folk terms or Anthroposphical terms or biodynamic principles.

However, they did certain things only at certain times; they did most things in ways which seemed unusual to them; and they used "Preparation 500" and other things that are well-known as biodynamic agents.

And as my son formed a relationship with a classmate in the school who was the daughter of one of the main Anthroposophical families, both parents being teachers in the school, my son (a scientifically-minded skeptic long *before* going to a Steiner school) brought home tales of how the teachers planned and carried out the gardening activities of the students according to biodynamic principles.

The school also offered evening sessions for parents interested in learning about biodynamic principles, and all the school's landscaping and amenities were planned and executed (mostly by volunteer parent labour, when not done by students themselves) according to biodynamic principles.

So, in fact, my children were participating in relious rites without my permission, engaging in activities not just informed by, but controlled by, Anthroposophy, in direct contradiction of the school's promise to me that Anthroposphy was not in the curriculum or classroom. (Well, I guess the latter was technically true in this instance: all the gardening was outdoors. <G> )

Cheers from Godzone,

Michael Kopp
Wellington, New Zealand

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

From: Ezra Beeman
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Sun, 04 Apr 1999 14:47:23 -0400

I suppose I could contribute to this thread since I have first hand knowledge of the gardening curriculum at the Sacramento Waldorf school. I think gardening was a sporadic offering, and only applied to lower school (8-). Unfortunately (for critics and maybe for me), I do not recall any BD elements to the class. It mainly consisted of agrarian chores like tilling the soil, feeding the animals weeding the flower beds. Sometimes I wondered if we were not doing the gardener's work for him! I am somewhat familiar with the basic tenets of BD farming, but my knowledge of their application in the garden of SWS is not direct. I can speculate they were used in preparing the compost or fertilizer we used. (We were not told, but this does NOT mean it was concealed from us. Our class dealt with GARDENING, NOT BD farming, or RS.) In all probability, I think gardening in WE was nothing more than botany lab.

Growing up on a farm myself, I did not see a great deal of utility (ahh for the days when I was a pragmatist!) in gaping at the cows. Moreover, I can see why immigrants from agrarian countries would not find gardening useful and rather learn typing or accounting for its efficiency in making gonzo dollars in the Global Economy. That said, I think it extremely important people remain linked to the soil (Nature, whatever) so they do not grow up to epitomize the robot ideal in all its synthetic splendor. To the degree a society divorces itself from the soil (nature), classic schizophrenic tendencies of hopelessness, alienation, psychosis and universal disorientation will become pronounced in the population. The more one feels connected to nature, the more one will belong. (This is something often broached by futurists)

Pol Pot (and maniacs like him) aside, an appreciation for Nature is fundamental for our understanding of the Universe and how we fit it. You can examine all the literature you want, study all the abstracted texts you care to, none will approach the satisfied understanding a gardener reaps as he tills the soil, plants the seeds and observes his garden grow.

At the time I did not like gardening much, but weeding in the garden still beat most academic classes in terms of enjoyment. I think my classmates were the richer for it too.

e

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

From: "Alan S. Fine MD"
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Sun, 4 Apr 1999 22:53:29 -0600

If biodynamic gardening was proven superior by proper scientific methods, I doubt anyone would have any objection to the teaching of it, and the promotion of it. However, this system of agriculture, as well as many of the tenets of anthroposophy are not proven this way, and belong to a spiritual belief system, not the material world. Such tenets of your belief system have nothing to do with the mathematical reality of the pythagorean theorem. It is the consistant blurring of the boundaries between the material truths we all share, and the personal spiritual beliefs of yours (and your fellow anthroposophists) which is at the core of what makes those of us outside of your faith very uncomfortable.

Your objection, Kathy (and I apologize if I have misunderstood it), is that even if biodynamic farming is the best in existence, and even if it could save the ozon layer and the rain forests and the ecology, you would still protest against students learning about it in public schools because it is rooted in the spiritual-religious anthroposophical conception about natural laws, such as etheric and astral forces connected with the planets and phases of the moon.

By the same token, the law of the triangle works, it's very good geometry. Still, Pythagoras believed in the gods and the spiritual universe, and all his works are rooted in these views. For that reason, Kathy, the drums of the ancient Greeks as well as the drum of Shakespeare are reminders of the problem that is inherent in an objection of this kind. I believe that everyone involved with American public schools and the separation of church and state would feel relieved if this problem would disappear.

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

From: Michael Kopp
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Mon, 5 Apr 1999 23:33:21 +1200

Ezra Beeman wrote a reallllllyyyy looooonnnngggg pppaarrraaaagrraaapphh with hardly a pause for a deep breath, about his biodynamic gardening experiences at Waldorf school, humanity's deep psychological need for "connecting" with the land, and his view of his other classes at Waldorf school:

[snip most of it]

To the degree a society divorces itself from the soil (nature), classic schizophrenic tendencies of hopelessness, alienation, psychosis and universal disorientation will become pronounced in the population.

Michael KOPP says:

Thank you doctor Freudius Beemanius.

Now, is this a personal belief, or an observation of life in California cities, or is there some statistical and -- dare I say it, since you hate science so much -- scientific evidence for this grandiose, sweeping statement?

Sarcasm at your apparently deep understanding of the human psyche for a person of your tender years aside, can you please give us something to back up this assetion?

BEEMAN:

The more one feels connected to nature, the more one will belong. (This is something often broached by futurists).

KOPP:

The more one will belong to _what_? Again, can you please explain, and cite?

BEEMAN:

Pol Pot (and maniacs like him) aside, an appreciation for Nature is fundamental for our understanding of the Universe and how we fit it.

KOPP:

Yes, definitely, Pol Pot (and maniacs like him) aside, please. What does Pol Pot have to do with, or why do you mention him in context with, "our understanding of the Universe and how we fit in"?

If you mean an appreciation of Nature -- that is, real existence -- then I thank you for the ringing endorsement of science as a means of apprehending the Universe.

If you mean an acquaintance with rural landscape, pastorality, birds, bees, fish and fur, then I think you are wrong. Large numbers of city-born and -bred people who never venture far beyond the city limits have made big contributions to our understanding of the Universe, through science. And large numbers of people live happily in cities all their lives without becoming psychopaths.

BEEMAN:

You can examine all the literature you want, study all the abstracted texts you care to, none will approach the satisfied understanding a gardener reaps as he tills the soil, plants the seeds and observes his garden grow.

KOPP:

But these are ridiculous opposites: no one reads garden books as a replacement for green thumbs and dirt under the fingernails. And reading about scientific understanding of the universe (presuming this is the analogy you're straining at) is certainly a satisfactory substitute for my being able to do science itself. I don't need to get my fingernails dirty with garden soil to understand the Universe from Hawking.

BEEMAN:

At the time I did not like gardening much, but weeding in the garden still beat most academic classes in terms of enjoyment. I think my classmates were the richer for it too.

e

KOPP:

I thought you said your school was an enchanting academic environment, and you enjoyed every minute of every class, and were enriched by all of it?

You mean to say you have the same view of your classes -- taught by the Steiner pedagogy that is supposed to inculcate love of learning -- as those supposedly schizophrenic, psychotic, hopeless kids growing up in inner-city San Francisco schools have of theirs?

Well, again, thank you for the admission, Ezra. You're more helpful than you know.

Cheers from Godzone,

Michael Kopp
Wellington, New Zealand

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

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 1999 07:04:58 +0200

Kathy wrote:

Robert Flannery posted:

No he didn't. I did.

If Biodynamic farming was the "best in existence . . . save the ozone . . . rain forests . . . ecology . . ." what could I possibly have against it. Surely, if controlled tests proved the validity of these assertions, so what if it were rooted in Anthroposophical beliefs. The same holds true for the Pythagorean Theorem. It works and has an objective basis in testable reality - it is useful and holds true over time and application . . .

But, as far as I know, none of the Anthroposophical *spiritual scientific* beliefs can make this claim. The "heart is not a pump", "blood is pure spirit", biodynamic gardening is the best . . ." is all based on religious beliefs - not testable and proven theses.

The question is not whether or not something is testable or provable, but whether it works or not, and whether it is true or not. If an apple taste better and is richer in vitamins, I don't care if it cannot be tested.

I wrote:

I believe that everyone involved with American public schools and the separation of church and state would feel relieved if this problem would disappear.

Kathy wrote:

Which problem is that? Are you referring to what I perceive as *the* problem pertinent to this list, i.e.; the illegal funding and inclusion of Waldorf curriculum in public schools, because doing so violates the US Constitution's 1st Amendment and the California Constitution?

The illegality of such funding, if established to be so, is linked to the constitutional separation of church and state. That is a problem I don't envy you, on either side of the issue.

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 1999 07:04:45 +0200

Alan S. Fine wrote:

If biodynamic gardening was proven superior by proper scientific methods, I doubt anyone would have any objection to the teaching of it, and the promotion of it. However, this system of agriculture, as well as many of the tenets of anthroposophy are not proven this way, and belong to a spiritual belief system, not the material world.

You are contradicting yourself. First you say that you don't think anyone would object to biodynamic gardening if it were good. Then you object because it's anthroposophical.

Such tenets of your belief system have nothing to do with the mathematical reality of the pythagorean theorem.

It is not a question of a belief system and its tenets. Spiritual science is natural science extended to the spiritual realm, taking into account laws and principles in the universe and in nature that lie beyond the scope of natural science alone. You may call it anything you want, but so may I. I don't go along with your definitions, and you don't go along with mine. Let's leave it at that.

It is the consistant blurring of the boundaries between the material truths we all share, and the personal spiritual beliefs of yours (and your fellow anthroposophists) which is at the core of what makes thoseof us outside of your faith very uncomfortable.

So you want to be a resident of the material world we all share, but you don't want to be a resident of the spiritual world, which we also all share. Well, I see you as a part of the spiritual world whether you like it or not, and I see the spiritual and the material aspects of nature inter-acting as parts of one reality - not two separate ones. Take it or leave it.

It has never been my ambition to make people like yourself less uncomfortable, and I think it's a big mistake for bourgeois anthroposophists to try to do so. The truth should feel like a sharp knife sometimes.

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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

From: Daniel Sabsay
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Mon, 5 Apr 1999 22:40:11 +0100

The ever sure of himself Tarjei Straume wrote

The question is not whether or not something is testable or provable, but whether it works or not, and whether it is true or not.

Really? How do you know what works, and what is true?

If an apple tastes better

Let's leave this for a moment, since "tastes better" is not only subjective, it is subtly influenced by psychological/social conditions, just like taste and philosophical preferences among Scientologists.

and is richer in vitamins, I don't care if it cannot be tested.

Ah, but the very definition of vitamins is derived from a scientific consensus that is based on replicable testing. I fully appreciate that YOU don't care if it can be tested or not, since you seem both insensitive and ignorant of the epistemology of so much trusted knowledge that you take for granted.

-- Daniel

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Daniel Sabsay, president "Ignorance is the ultimate renewable resource"
East Bay Skeptics Society http://www.eb-skeptics.org

mail@eb-skeptics.org

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

From: Daniel Sabsay
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Mon, 5 Apr 1999 22:44:35 +0100

Tarjei Straume wrote

It is not a question of a belief system and its tenets. Spiritual science is natural science extended to the spiritual realm,

According to St. Rudi.

taking into account laws and principles in the universe and in nature that lie beyond the scope of natural science alone.

According to St. Rudi.

You may call it anything you want, but so may I.

I call it self-delusional hogwash.

I don't go along with your definitions, and you don't go along with mine. Let's leave it at that.

Oh no, we're not going to leave it at that. This is the essence of what is wrong with anthroposophy guiding public education. Your attitude is the evidence.

-- Daniel

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Daniel Sabsay, president "Ignorance is the ultimate renewable resource"
East Bay Skeptics Society http://www.eb-skeptics.org

mail@eb-skeptics.org

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

From: "Kathy"
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Mon, 05 Apr 1999 18:41:20 -0700

Robert Flannery posted:

Your objection, Kathy (and I apologize if I have misunderstood it), is that even if biodynamic farming is the best in existence, and even if it could save the ozon layer and the rain forests and the ecology, you would still protest against students learning about it in public schools because it is rooted in the spiritual-religious anthroposophical conception about natural laws, such as etheric and astral forces connected with the planets and phases of the moon.

If Biodynamic farming was the "best in existence . . . save the ozone . . . rain forests . . . ecology . . ." what could I possibly have against it. Surely, if controlled tests proved the validity of these assertions, so what if it were rooted in Anthroposophical beliefs. The same holds true for the Pythagorean Theorem. It works and has an objective basis in testable reality - it is useful and holds true over time and application . . .

But, as far as I know, none of the Anthroposophical *spiritual scientific* beliefs can make this claim. The "heart is not a pump", "blood is pure spirit", biodynamic gardening is the best . ." is all based on religious beliefs - not testable and proven theses.

By the same token, the law of the triangle works, it's very good geometry. Still, Pythagoras believed in the gods and the spiritual universe, and all his works are rooted in these views. For that reason, Kathy, the drums of the ancient Greeks as well as the drum of Shakespeare are reminders of the problem that is inherent in an objection of this kind.

You've lost me here.

I believe that everyone involved with American public schools and the separation of church and state would feel relieved if this problem would disappear.

Which problem is that? Are you referring to what I perceive as *the* problem pertinent to this list, i.e.; the illegal funding and inclusion of Waldorf curriculum in public schools, because doing so violates the US Constitution's 1st Amendment and the California Constitution?

Kathy

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

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Pythagoras (Was Re: Biodynamic Gardening)
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 1999 07:04:25 +0200

Dan Dugan wrote:

Steiner participated in the Einstein-bashing that was part of the popular anti-intellectualism in Weimar Germany that also fed the fires of anti-Semitism.

"The time is now that we ought to speak of such things, all the brilliant nonsense which is called relativity theory through which Einstein became a great man. This would be able to be rejected if one were to have clear concepts about things, concepts which really correspond to the reality. ... This idea doesn't have the slightest relationship to reality. This whole unhealthy idea lives today as the theory of relativity and enjoys the widest acclaim."

[Rudolf Steiner, The True Nature of Substance & Energy, August 7, 1917 (Rick Mansell translation, tape SL266, Rudolf Steiner Research Foundation, Redondo Beach, California) The lecture of 7 Aug 1917 is the second lecture in the KARMA OF MATERIALISM.]

I have read this lecture more than once, but it has been a while. It amazes me what kind of hogwash you cook up in your failure-doomed attempts to label Steiner as an anti-semite. You have a point what his derogatory remarks about blacks are concerned, but even in your selected quotes on the PLANS website about Steiner and the Jews, there isn't a single trace of anti-semitism. You're beating a dead horse.

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Pythagoras (Was Re: Biodynamic Gardening)
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 1999 07:04:32 +0200

Bob Tolz wrote (about Dan's pet theory about Steiner's anti-semitic Einstein-bashing):

Dan, All you've done is support the first leg (in time) of what Tarjei wrote. You've taken a snapshot rather than given us a movie. Can you (or Tarjei) help us out with the "gradually came to admire him" comment by Tarjei?

What I had in mind was Steiner's inclusion of Einstein in "Riddles of Philosophy," and that his criticism seemed to be mainly directed at people who kept talking about the theory of relativity without understanding any of it. In "Riddles of Philosophy," Steiner's says that Einstein's ideas are about physics, but they are so important and revolutionary that they belong to the realm of philosophy.

The question is, did Steiner understand Einstein? And if he did, was his criticism valid? This is a question for future generations to explore.

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 1999 08:06:28 +0200

I wrote:

The question is not whether or not something is testable or provable, but whether it works or not, and whether it is true or not.

Daniel Sabsay wrote:

Really? How do you know what works, and what is true?

Empirical experience.

If an apple tastes better

Let's leave this for a moment, since "tastes better" is not only subjective, it is subtly influenced by psychological/social conditions, just like taste and philosophical preferences among Scientologists.

Sure, even Scientologists eat apples.

and is richer in vitamins, I don't care if it cannot be tested.

Ah, but the very definition of vitamins is derived from a scientific consensus that is based on replicable testing.

So you may test the vitamins and ignore the taste. I don't care.

I fully appreciate that YOU don't care if it can be tested or not, since you seem both insensitive and ignorant of the epistemology of so much trusted knowledge that you take for granted.

If I seem insensitive and ignorant of epistemology, I hope that this impression of yours may help you sleep a little better. But taste and smell should not be ignored in a thorough investigation of epistemology. Neither should spiritual perceptions.

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 1999 08:10:36 +0200

Tarjei Straume wrote


It is not a question of a belief system and its tenets. Spiritual science is natural science extended to the spiritual realm,

According to St. Rudi.

and according to Uncle Taz.

taking into account laws and principles in the universe and in nature that lie beyond the scope of natural science alone.

According to St. Rudi.

and Uncle Taz.

You may call it anything you want, but so may I.

I call it self-delusional hogwash.

I call it apple pie.

I don't go along with your definitions, and you don't go along with mine. Let's leave it at that.

Oh no, we're not going to leave it at that. This is the essence of what is wrong with anthroposophy guiding public education. Your attitude is the evidence.

You have no business deciding who is to guide the education of my children. And you have no business imposing your set of values and your definitions on myself and my family. Period.

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 1999 14:45:46 +0200

Robert Flannery wrote:

Kathy, I didn't post this. It's Ezra, if I recall correctly.

The post was mine.

Tarjei

Uncle Taz posted:

Your objection, Kathy (and I apologize if I have misunderstood it), is that even if biodynamic farming is the best in existence, and even if it could save the ozon layer and the rain forests and the ecology, you would still protest against students learning about it in public schools because it is rooted in the spiritual-religious anthroposophical conception about natural laws, such as etheric and astral forces connected with the planets and phases of the moon.

<snip Kathy's response>

By the same token, the law of the triangle works, it's very good geometry. Still, Pythagoras believed in the gods and the spiritual universe, and all his works are rooted in these views. For that reason, Kathy, the drums of the ancient Greeks as well as the drum of Shakespeare are reminders of the problem that is inherent in an objection of this kind.

I believe that everyone involved with American public schools and the separation of church and state would feel relieved if this problem would disappear.

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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

From: Ezra Beeman
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Tue, 06 Apr 1999 10:10:11 -0400

None dare call it fascism.

e

Daniel Sabsay wrote:

You may call it anything you want, but so may I.

I call it self-delusional hogwash.

I don't go along with your definitions, and you don't go along with mine. Let's leave it at that.

Oh no, we're not going to leave it at that. This is the essence of what is wrong with anthroposophy guiding public education. Your attitude is the evidence.

-- Daniel

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Daniel Sabsay, president "Ignorance is the ultimate renewable resource"
East Bay Skeptics Society http://www.eb-skeptics.org

mail@eb-skeptics.org

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

From: Sune Nordwall
Subject: RS on Einstein (Was: Re: Pythagoras (Was ...))
Date: Tue, 06 Apr 1999 16:41:01 +0200

Tarjei wrote:

What I had in mind was Steiner's inclusion of Einstein in "Riddles of Philosophy,"

[snip]

The question is, did Steiner understand Einstein? And if he did, was his criticism valid? This is a question for future generations to explore.

"Riddles of Philosophy" is an enlarged version, written on the verge of the 1st WW in 1914, of a treatise from the turn of the century by RS ("At the end of a century, looking back at a century of spiritual development", Bd XIV and XIX, Berlin: Verlag S Crohnbach 1900).

It describes about 150 philosophers from the time of Antiquity to 1914 and ends with a short description of the place of the theory of relativity up to that time, as RS saw it, for the understanding of the theme of the book, that he describes as:

"The expositions of this book should show to what extent the knowledge of philosophy has arrived at a world picture, in which the selfconscious soul can find such a place for itself, that it can understand its meaning and importance in the world."

What RS has to say there is (my translation, as I don´t have the English version):

"A new thought tradition has been initiated through the transformation of basic physical concept that Einstein has tried. This strife is also important for the development of the world view.

Physics has so far studied its objects in such a way that it structured its thoughts about them in relation to the empty three dimensional space and the one dimensional time. Space and time were thought of as something having their existence outside of the objects and processes. They were thought of as independent, stiff quantities. For objects, distance in space was measured, for processes, their duration in time. According to this view, distance and duration belonged as qualities to space and time, not to the objects and the processes.

The theory of relativity of Einstein stands in opposition to this view. For this theory, the distance between two objects is something that belongs as a quality to the objects themselves. Just as an object has other qualities, it also has this quality of being at a specific distance from a second object. Except for this relation to one another, that objects have as part of their nature, something as a space in itself does not exist.

The hypothesizing of a space makes a thought geometry for this space possible. This geometry can then be used on the objects of the world. It arises in the pure world of thoughts. The objects have to obey it. You can say that the state of things must follow the laws established _before_ the observation of objects.

In the sense of the theory of relativity, this geometry is dethroned. Only the objects exist, and they stand in a relation to one another that stands out as geometrical. Geometry becomes a part of physics. But then you can´ t say any more that its laws are possible to establish _before_ the observation of objects. No object has a position in space, only distances in relation to other objects.

Something similar is hypothesized for time. No process exists at a specific point in time, but at a certain distance in time from another process. In this way the temporal and spatial distances between the objects flow into one another as something similar. Time becomes a fourth dimension that is similar to the three dimensions of space. A process of an object can only be determined as something that takes place at a distance in time and space to other processes. The movement of an object becomes something that can only be thought of in relation to other objects.

One expects that only this view can led to non contradictory explanations of certain physical processes, whereas such processes lead to contradictory thoughts if you assume an independently existing space to be a reality.

If you consider that to many thinkers only that was taken to be scientific about nature that could be described in mathematical terms, the theory of relativity is nothing less than an invalidation of the reality of such a science. Because the scientific in mathematics was only seen in that it could be established independently of the observation of the laws of space and time. Now the objects and processes of nature are to determine the states of space and time. The only certainty is abandoned because of its uncertainty.

According to this view, any thought of an essenciality, that determines itself out of itself in the world, is excluded from man´s relation to nature. Everything only exists in relation to something else.

Inasfar as man looks at himself as part of the objects and processes of nature, the conclusions of this theory of relativity stand out as inevitable. But if you, as the experience of your own essence (Wesen) makes necessary, don´t want to get lost in a psychic impotence, you must not continue to search for that which is "essential-in-itself" in nature, but in the raising over nature to the world of the spirit.

The theory of relativity is inevitable for the physical world; it drives you to the knowledge of the spirit (Geist-Erkenntnis). The importance of the theory of relativity lies in its pointing to the necessity of a knowledge of the spirit that is searched for on spiritual ways independently of the observation of nature. Its value for the development of the world view lies in its making such a thinking necessary."

Regards,

Sune
Stockholm, Sweden

http://hem.passagen.se/thebee/indexeng.htm
- a site on science, homeopathy, cosmological cell biology and
EU as a mechanical esoteric temple and threefolding of society

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

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 1999 17:16:44 +0200

Ezra Beeman

None dare call it fascism.

It's Nazism. The man who set the tone for all subsequent criticism of WE and anthroposophy was Dietrich Eckart with his anti-semitic fanzine "Auf Gut Deutsch." Eckart (1868-1923) was an early friend and comrade of Adolf Hitler, and he began his virulent and slanderous attacks against Steiner and anthroposophy in 1919.

Dietrich Eckart (1868-1923) is the original Father of Concern over Waldorf Schools and Anthroposophy, which is proven by the fascist character surfacing in certain posts.

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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

From: Ezra Beeman
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Tue, 06 Apr 1999 11:39:25 -0400

Definitely not me, I would never spell out anthro.

e

Robert Flannery wrote:

[repetition of quote snipped by editor]

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

From: "Alan S. Fine MD"
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 1999 09:45:17 -0600

You are contradicting yourself. First you say that you don't think anyone would object to biodynamic gardening if it were good. Then you object because it's anthroposophical.

I am saying that i support the objection to it being taught in schools without parents consent, because it is a spiritual concept and not a scientifically proven concept.

It is the consistant blurring of the boundaries between the material truths we all share, and the personal spiritual beliefs of yours (and your fellow anthroposophists) which is at the core of what makes those of us outside of your faith very uncomfortable.

So you want to be a resident of the material world we all share, but you don't want to be a resident of the spiritual world, which we also all share. Well, I see you as a part of the spiritual world whether you like it or not, and I see the spiritual and the material aspects of nature inter-acting as parts of one reality - not two separate ones. Take it or leave it.

What you call "the spiritual world", I call YOUR spiritual world. So when you say "I see you as a part of the spiritual world whether you like it or not", I interpret that as "I see you as a part of MY spiritual world whether you like it or not". I hope you can see how those of different faiths might feel disturbed by this point of view. This perspective of yours is not unique among anthroposophists. It is why I would not entrust my child to a Waldorf school, and it is why I support the principles of critics on this list.

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

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 1999 18:57:52 +0200

Alan S. Fine wrote:

What you call "the spiritual world", I call YOUR spiritual world. So when you say "I see you as a part of the spiritual world whether you like it or not", I interpret that as "I see you as a part of MY spiritual world whether you like it or not".

If it were MY spiritual world, I would be God Almighty. Being of a less megalomaniac disposition, however, I recognize that I am just a small part of it.

All things were made by him; and outside him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:3)

I hope you can see how those of different faiths might feel disturbed by this >point of view.

Sure. But I won't keep my tongue or change my words to please them. If my utterances offend anyone, or many, so be it. It has never been my ambition to be inoffensive.

This perspective of yours is not unique among anthroposophists. It is why I would not entrust my child to a Waldorf school,

I am not asking you to entrust your child to anyone,

and it is why I support the principles of critics on this list.

Some anthropops find that disturbing and uncomfortable, especially the fascist elements.

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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

From: Ezra Beeman
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Tue, 06 Apr 1999 13:59:23 -0400

Debate is not a scientifically proven, or provable, concept. Please cease and desist all such foolishness.

e

"Alan S. Fine MD" wrote:

I am saying that i support the objection to it being taught in schools without parents consent, because it is a spiritual concept and not a scientifically proven concept.

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

From: "Luke Schelly"
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: 6 Apr 1999 15:28:29 -0400

another gem from Alan S. Fine MD;

I am saying that i support the objection to it being taught in schools without parents consent, because it is a spiritual concept and not a scientifically proven concept.

What ever happened to hypotetical concept or proposition or area under research or investigation? Why must you distinquish things only into spiritual and scientifically proven? Is it because by labelling it spiritual you hope to exclude it from people considering it in light of the possibility of science trying to understand it? I am not saying that science will understand it, but I am saying that science has not falsified it yet. (although I could be wrong)

It is the consistant blurring of the boundaries between the material truths we all share, and the personal spiritual >beliefs of yours (and your fellow anthroposophists) which is at the core of what makes those of us outside of your faith very uncomfortable.

So you want to be a resident of the material world we all share, but you don't want to be a resident of the spiritual world, which we also all share. Well, I see you as a part of the spiritual world whether you like it or not, and I see the spiritual and the material aspects of nature inter-acting as parts of one reality - not two separate ones. Take it or leave it.

What you call "the spiritual world", I call YOUR spiritual world. So when you say "I see you as a part of the spiritual world whether you like it or not", I interpret that as "I see you as a part of MY spiritual world whether you like it or not". I hope you can see how those of different faiths might feel disturbed by this point of view. This perspective of yours is not unique among anthroposophists. It is why I would not entrust my child to a Waldorf school, and it is why I support the principles of critics on this list.

Let's try this:

What you call"*the* material world", I call *your* potentially limited material world. So when you say something like "I am disturbed by your definition of reality" I interpret that as "I am distrurbed by your unwillingness to accept only my definition of reality". I hope you can see how those of different opinions as to what may constitute the material world might feel disturbed by this point of view. This perspective of yours is not unique to self-righteous people like yourself. It is why I would not entrust my child to you and it is why I love reading your anti-anthroposophy and apparently by osmosis anti-waldorf posts.

Luke

(still waiting for the falsification to justify the denigration)

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

From: "MICHAEL RONALL"
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Tue, 06 Apr 1999 21:44:58 -0400

"Alan S. Fine MD" - 4/6/99 11:45 AM

replies to a post segment:

Well, I see you as a part of the spiritual world whether you like it or not, and I see the spiritual and the material aspects of nature inter-acting as parts of one reality - not two separate ones. Take it or leave it.

by saying:

What you call "the spiritual world", I call YOUR spiritual world. So when you say "I see you as a part of the spiritual world whether you like it or not", I interpret that as "I see you as a part of MY spiritual world whether you like it or not". I hope you can see how those of different faiths might feel disturbed by this point of view. This perspective of yours is not unique among anthroposophists. It is why I would not entrust my child to a Waldorf school, and it is why I support the principles of critics on this list.

Now (MRx here), what happens if we replace the phrase:

as a part of MY spiritual world whether you like it or not".

by

"through my thinking whether you like it or not"?

Should I still be concerend, Alan Fine; others, if those of different faiths might feel disturbed by this point of view.?

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

From: "Alan S. Fine MD"
Subject: Re: Biodynamic Gardening
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 1999 22:12:54 -0600

-Now (MRx here), what happens if we replace the phrase:

as a part of MY spiritual world whether you like it or not".

by

"through my thinking whether you like it or not"?

Should I still be concerend, Alan Fine; others,
if those of different faiths might feel disturbed by this point of view.?

It would depend on what you were thinking.

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


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