PRIVATE -- SUGGESTION

Michael Kopp sends a private message to John Morehead about me, apologizes for the blunder, and creates two threads. I can't help offering John a suggestion of my own about Michael, which gets them all riled up. The warm alliance between atheists and evangelists against the evil anthroposophists is almost as sweet as the alliance of white supremacist neo-Nazis and black Muslims against the Jews!

And BTW, do anthroposophists have any business being on this list at all? Not all critics think so, especially after I taunt Kopp and Morehead about where the former is destined to spend eternity.

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From: Michael Kopp
Subject: PRIVATE -- SUGGESTION Re: my introduction
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 11:44:27 +1200

John,

May I suggest that, even though some people are following your conversation, it would be good for the archives, and "thread comprehension", if you always said exactly who it is you're replying to, each time.

I'm enjoying your deconstruction of Tarjei's tortured mind, and learning a lot about both religion and logic that I never knew. I loved logic, but was not any better at it in college (35 years ago) than I was at maths.

You must have been a lurker for a long time; was your salvo strategically "PLANSed" to come into the debate late and sharp, or did you just get tired of all the BS and decide for yourself to write back?

Cheers from Godzone[*],

Michael Kopp
Wellington, New Zealand

[*]Reference to what the white descendents of the colonial British usurpers of this originally Polynesian-settled island call NZ: "God's Own Country".

At 09:59 PM 4/11/99 +0200, you wrote:

For example: Hypothetically, let's say that I now announce that I am now both an atheist (believing in the existence of no supernatural or

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From: Michael Kopp
Subject: Apology for misdirected private correspondence
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 12:18:44 +1200

Well, Michael Kopp finally committed the ultimate e-mail error and sent a private message for John Morehead to the list.

Add me to a long, if not distinguished, group of some of the best of our little community -- at least I'm not alone.

For the record:

I have never had any previous private correspondence with John Morehead.

I am not a member or "fellow-traveller" of PLANS, and am not privy to any of PLANS internal affairs.

I have very little private correspondence with any of PLANS' members; certainly no more than I have privately with other list folk, including those I characterise here as "Defenders of the Faith".

My pun on PLANS was nothing more than an attempt at wit, and my question to Mr Morehead nothing more than journalistic fishing expedition for my own knowledge. It's a life-time habit, and signals nothing sinister. Those who have experience with journalists know that they often assume a confidential, friendly, `you-can-tell-me' persona when asking questions.

Mr Morehead and PLANS have my unreserved apology for any embarrassment my gaffe may have caused them.

At least now those who have been asking what "Godzone" means will now know

Michael Kopp
Wellington, New Zealand

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: PRIVATE -- SUGGESTION Re: my introduction
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 02:13:01 +0200

Psssst John,

Here is your chance to save Michael's soul from the eternal hellfire of the fundies by witnessing to him about Jesus. (He thinks Jesus is Santa Claus or the tooth fairy and that only gullible twits believe in him.)

Tarjei

John,

May I suggest that, even though some people are following your conversation, it would be good for the archives, and "thread comprehension", if you always said exactly who it is you're replying to, each time.

I'm enjoying your deconstruction of Tarjei's tortured mind, and learning a lot about both religion and logic that I never knew. I loved logic, but was not any better at it in college (35 years ago) than I was at maths.

You must have been a lurker for a long time; was your salvo strategically "PLANSed" to come into the debate late and sharp, or did you just get tired of all the BS and decide for yourself to write back?

Cheers from Godzone[*],

Michael Kopp
Wellington, New Zealand

[*]Reference to what the white descendents of the colonial British usurpers of this originally Polynesian-settled island call NZ: "God's Own Country".

At 09:59 PM 4/11/99 +0200, you wrote:

For example: Hypothetically, let's say that I now announce that I am now both an atheist (believing in the existence of no supernatural or

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

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From: Michael Kopp
Subject: Addendum: Re: Apology for misdirected private correspondence
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 13:21:51 +1200

Have a field day, all you good Steiner/ Waldorf/ Anthroposphical folk -- Tarjei's kicked off with his view of my religious sensibilities (I don't know the difference between Santa Claus and Jesus Christ).

Enjoy.

Michael Kopp

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From: Robert Flannery
Subject: Re: Apology for misdirected private correspondence
Date: Mon, 12 Apr 1999 22:05:20 -0400

Michael comes to us on bended knee:

Well, Michael Kopp finally committed the ultimate e-mail error and sent a private message for John Morehead to the list.

Add me to a long, if not distinguished, group of some of the best of our little community -- at least I'm not alone.

<snip>

Mr Morehead and PLANS have my unreserved apology for any embarrassment my gaffe may have caused them.

Actually, Michael, it read pretty safely for a private email--just consider what it might've looked like if you and John had been more familiar.

The only thing you should be embarrassed by is your pun.

Robert Flannery
New York

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From: John & Wendy Morehead
Subject: Re: PRIVATE -- SUGGESTION Re: my introduction
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 14:00:35

At 02:13 AM 4/13/99 +0200, you wrote:

Psssst John,

Here is your chance to save Michael's soul from the eternal hellfire of the fundies by witnessing to him about Jesus. (He thinks Jesus is Santa Claus or the tooth fairy and that only gullible twits believe in him.)

Tarjei

Pssst Tarjei,

Maybe you ought to consider posting items of worth to the list rather than engage in continual ad hominems against me personally as well as orthodox Christianity. (Hmm. I thought it was only us conservative Christians that were intolerant. Guess Tarjei has single-handedly destroyed that myth.)

In the interests of this list I'll have to ask you to stick to the issues. I won't respond to future taunts such as this. Perhaps our list moderator could make known any rules which may apply to this list which might preclude future such immature actions.

John Morehead

=========================
John W. Morehead
Executive Vice President
TruthQuest Institute
P.O. Box 227
Loomis, CA 95650

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From: Bob Jones
Subject: Re: PRIVATE -- SUGGESTION Re: my introduction
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 15:40:43 -0700 (PDT)

--- John & Wendy Morehead wrote:

Pssst Tarjei,

Maybe you ought to consider posting items of worth to the list rather than engage in continual ad hominems against me personally as well as orthodox Christianity. (Hmm. I thought it was only us conservative Christians that were intolerant. Guess Tarjei has single-handedly destroyed that myth.)

In the interests of this list I'll have to ask you to stick to the issues. I won't respond to future taunts such as this. Perhaps our list moderator could make known any rules which may apply to this list which might preclude future such immature actions.

I second the motion. The charter of the Waldorf Critics List is to discuss Waldorf Education and it's inclusion in the public system. This would, by necessity, include Anthroposophy & Steiner.

The rest is off-topic. If the Anthroposophists must construe every critique as _personal criticism of their faith_, then perhaps they should post through the listmaster, so that the interested participants can get on with the discussion.

Critics are not allowed to post, or in some cases, to join, Anthroposophical/Waldorf lists.

Intelligent critique of a religious path does not deserve constant ad hominems towards all other paths. The critiques posted to this list are not name-calling, bigotry, or facism. Therefore, name-calling, expressions of bigotry against the critquer's path and facist methods of stopping the dialogue, are uncalled for.

Regardless of what the Anthroposophists think, they are not necessary to the conversation and are, frankly, here as guests. I honestly believe they should be treated on this list as critics are on their lists.

BJ

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From: Bruce
Subject: Re: PRIVATE -- SUGGESTION Re: my introduction
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 19:09:45 EDT

In einer eMail vom 14.04.99 00:54:32 (MEZ) - Mitteleurop. Sommerzeit schreibt Bob Jones:

The charter of the Waldorf Critics List is to discuss Waldorf Education and it's inclusion in the public system. This would, by necessity, include Anthroposophy & Steiner.

then why do you (the WCs) spend most of the time attacking waldorf per se - it is OK in private schools then per this Charter?!

<snip>

Critics are not allowed to post, or in some cases, to join, Anthroposophical/Waldorf lists.

We were there just recently. If we werent there who would you argue with? I will go amicably if that is what Dan wants - and I am not doing a Tarjei!

Bruce

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From: "Steve Premo"
Subject: Re: PRIVATE -- SUGGESTION Re: my introduction
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 16:21:49 -0700

On 13 Apr 99, at 15:40, Bob Jones wrote:

The charter of the Waldorf Critics List is to discuss Waldorf Education and it's inclusion in the public system. This would, by necessity, include Anthroposophy & Steiner.

The rest is off-topic. If the Anthroposophists must construe every critique as _personal criticism of their faith_, then perhaps they should post through the listmaster, so that the interested participants can get on with the discussion.

Critics are not allowed to post, or in some cases, to join, Anthroposophical/Waldorf lists.

The day anthroposophists are required to submit their posts through Dan is the day I unsubscribe. It's the dialogue between those of opposing viewpoints that makes the list interesting to me.

Intelligent critique of a religious path does not deserve constant ad hominems towards all other paths. The critiques posted to this list are not name-calling, bigotry, or facism. Therefore, name-calling, expressions of bigotry against the critquer's path and facist methods of stopping the dialogue, are uncalled for.

Yep. On both sides there are those who engage in name-calling and expressions of bigotry against the spiritual paths of others. We all need to remember not to take criticism of one's ideas personally, and to refrain from insulting one another.

Regardless of what the Anthroposophists think, they are not necessary to the conversation and are, frankly, here as guests.

As far as I'm concerned, they are necessary to the conversation.

If you want a list without anthroposophists, Bob, start your own.

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

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From: Robert Flannery
Subject: Re: PRIVATE -- SUGGESTION Re: my introduction
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 20:21:29 -0400

Bob Jones suggests:

Regardless of what the Anthroposophists think, they are not necessary to the conversation and are, frankly, here as guests. I honestly believe they should be treated on this list as critics are on their lists.

I am fascinated by your suggestion, Bob.

I doubt that Dan will ban any of us from the list, but I would like to propose a little experiment to test your claim.

Start any new thread you like, but clearly label it CRITICS ONLY in the subject line. The rules of the experiment are simple: no waldorf supporters (self-defined) can post to the thread labeled CRITICS ONLY, or make reference to it in any other thread on this list.

I'd be interested in observing two phenomena: 1) what the ensuing discussion is like, so long as the self-defined supporters stay out of it, and 2) how long the supporters can follow the single rule.

I will make the first pledge to stay out of your thread, should you initiate a CRITICS ONLY experiment.

Robert Flannery
New York

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From: Michael Kopp
Subject: Re: PRIVATE -- SUGGESTION Re: my introduction
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 14:36:23 +1200

Steve Premo writes:

On 13 Apr 99, at 15:40, Bob Jones wrote:

The charter of the Waldorf Critics List is to discuss Waldorf Education and it's inclusion in the public system. This would, by necessity, include Anthroposophy & Steiner.

The rest is off-topic. If the Anthroposophists must construe every critique as _personal criticism of their faith_, then perhaps they should post through the listmaster, so that the interested participants can get on with the discussion.

Critics are not allowed to post, or in some cases, to join, Anthroposophical/Waldorf lists.

And PREMO replies:

The day anthroposophists are required to submit their posts through Dan is the day I unsubscribe. It's the dialogue between those of opposing viewpoints that makes the list interesting to me.

KOPP:

But the "dialogue" between opposing viewpoints has led nowhere. It does not serve the practical purpose of the list of _critical thought_ about Steiner/ Waldorf/ Anthroposophy, and the goal of removing from public education and exposing its true nature, but descends to opposing diatribes.

BJ:

Intelligent critique of a religious path does not deserve constant ad hominems towards all other paths. The critiques posted to this list are not name-calling, bigotry, or facism. Therefore, name-calling, expressions of bigotry against the critquer's path and facist methods of stopping the dialogue, are uncalled for.

SP:

Yep. On both sides there are those who engage in name-calling and expressions of bigotry against the spiritual paths of others. We all need to remember not to take criticism of one's ideas personally, and to refrain from insulting one another.

KOPP:

Steve, I think you've gone a bit too far with the "bigotry" claim.

My review of the archives for my recent statistical exercise also gave me a firmer conviction that the "name-calling" essentially originated on the SWA side, particularly from people like David Schlesinger, aka "Lefty" or "Lefty Redux". Only after great provocation and the discovery that it is almost impossible to make any common ground with SWA apologists have the critics become in any way strident or pungent. And I think the balance of terror has always been in favour of the SWA side.

I really part company with your usually-astute comments when you say that there have been expressions of "bigotry against the spiritual paths of others" on the critics' side. Even at my worst, saying Tarjei is "full of [it]", or Ezra is illiterate and foaming at the mouth, I have NEVER expressed any bigotry against other people or their beliefs.

The operant word in the definition of "bigotry" is "intolerant".

Even when saying that to me, Anthroposophy is "mumbo jumbo", I am _most_ careful to say that anyone is entitled to believe in mumbo jumbo.

That is the greatest extent of tolerance required. Criticisms of anyone's beliefs should be completely protected, else we run the risk of having religous _fatwas_ -- and, while I am no Salman Rushdie, I have felt the heat of the Anthroposophists attacks on me much more than they can claim any hurt from my criticisms of their religion. They are equally cynical about such doings as I am.

Critics do not want to demolish SWA, but simply to see it made honest in the U.S., and exposed to all.

I would ask that you name names and cite specific quotes to back up your assertion that critics are guilty of bigotry in the strict sense of wishing the oppression or suppression of that which they criticize. Insult is in the eye of the beholder, as is inference.

Methinks some SWA people on this list have confused criticism of their religion with personal insult -- which is an easy charge to make, and difficult to disprove in such a spirited debate as we have here.

BJ:

Regardless of what the Anthroposophists think, they are not necessary to the conversation and are, frankly, here as guests.

ST:

As far as I'm concerned, they are necessary to the conversation.

If you want a list without anthroposophists, Bob, start your own.

KOPP:

It may be time. This list has run the gamut of all possible permutations of argument about Steiner/ Waldorf/ Anthroposophy between the opposing sides, and has become repetitive.

The list had a charter objective:

"waldorf-critics" is a mailing list for the discussion of Waldorf education as viewed from outside the cult of Rudolf Steiner. It is a networking resource for parents, teachers, writers, and people interested in separation of church and state.

Lately it has seemed as if it is a philosophical debating club, rather than what it seems to have been intended for.

It has been useful to have SWA apologists on the list, when they are interested in discussing the list's remit.

It has been frustrating and debilitating to have SWA apologists turn the list into their own private "anti-critic-critics" list, as Robert Tolz proclaims about his status.

I would hate to see the list heavily moderated. But I think Dan Dugan has been overly tolerant of the ranting and proselytising -- for that is what any apologia is -- by the SWA crowd.

And the list has, in recent months, focused way too much on the foundations of SWA, and not enough on the schools and issues of the charter.

SWA apologists would say that that is because critics bring little new evidence of their criticisms about the schools. Robert Flannery and Robert Tolz, particularly, have been very strident about this.

Flannery, as a Waldorf teacher, has been extremely defensive and unforthcoming about his own teaching and the inner realm of Waldorf education.

Stephen Tonkin, on the other hand, has been extemely open and candid about his experiences and what he knows and believes about the inner realm of Waldorf education.

Either this is a cynical, coordinated good-cop/bad-cop conspiracy, or it's what it seems to be: dogmatic, rigid, suspicious, and hectoring response to criticism versus rational, open, good-willed (though sometimes pretty sharp) engagement of critics in discussion.

I would not want to ban the Roberts. I would not want to censor them or moderate their views.

I would not mind seeing a moderator decide which posts are on topic to the list charter -- given the excesses of the anti-charter *lobby* on the list.

Reasonable, Steve, or what?

Cheers from Godzone,

Michael Kopp
Wellington New Zealand

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From: Michael Kopp
Subject: Re: PRIVATE -- SUGGESTION Re: my introduction
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 14:49:21 +1200

Robert Flannery says:

Bob Jones suggests:

Regardless of what the Anthroposophists think, they are not necessary to the conversation and are, frankly, here as guests. I honestly believe they should be treated on this list as critics are on their lists.

I am fascinated by your suggestion, Bob.

I doubt that Dan will ban any of us from the list, but I would like to propose a little experiment to test your claim.

Start any new thread you like, but clearly label it CRITICS ONLY in the subject line. The rules of the experiment are simple: no waldorf supporters (self-defined) can post to the thread labeled CRITICS ONLY, or make reference to it in any other thread on this list.

I'd be interested in observing two phenomena: 1) what the ensuing discussion is like, so long as the self-defined supporters stay out of it, and 2) how long the supporters can follow the single rule.

I will make the first pledge to stay out of your thread, should you initiate a CRITICS ONLY experiment.

Michael KOPP replies:

I hope this attempt to control the list gets the same sort of response from Steve Premo as Bob Jones' original suggestion did.

I'll remind Robert Flannery, as I did Steve Premo, of the list charter:

"waldorf-critics" is a mailing list for the discussion of Waldorf education as viewed from outside the cult of Rudolf Steiner. It is a networking resource for parents, teachers, writers, and people interested in separation of church and state.

Please see my response to Steve Premo for my futher views on this subject, so I don't have to repeat them here.

All I want say here is that Robert Flannery's suggestion is an incindiary device of propaganda mastery and demagoguery.

Cheers from Godzone,

Michael Kopp
Wellington, New Zealand

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From: Ezra Beeman
Subject: Re: PRIVATE -- SUGGESTION Re: my introduction
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 20:05:26 -0700

Tit for tat, an eye for eye, thus shall we all go blind.

If you honestly believe anthros should be treated as critics are/were, and the critics are complaining about this behavior (and you are a critic) here, then you would be spouting hypocrisy for suggesting an identical course of action.

Let's pretend being a hypocrite is not relevant to this debate, what would you prescribe for anthros? Extermination? Exile? Harsh words? What of people who are sympathetic to anthros, but are not anthros themselves? If they are not for you, are they against you? Shall we banish them as well?

Dead men tell no tales.

e

Bob Jones wrote:

Regardless of what the Anthroposophists think, they are not necessary to the conversation and are, frankly, here as guests. I honestly believe they should be treated on this list as critics are on their lists.

BJ

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From: Ezra Beeman
Subject: Re: PRIVATE -- SUGGESTION Re: my introduction
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 20:09:59 -0700

Yes please, I want to play too! I promise to not ever comment on the critics thread! Cross my heart, hope to die. Maybe the first post could begin with an exhaustive but relevant posting of all 'supporters.'

e

Robert Flannery wrote:

Bob Jones suggests:

Regardless of what the Anthroposophists think, they are not necessary to the conversation and are, frankly, here as guests. I honestly believe they should be treated on this list as critics are on their lists.

I am fascinated by your suggestion, Bob.

I doubt that Dan will ban any of us from the list, but I would like to propose a little experiment to test your claim.

Start any new thread you like, but clearly label it CRITICS ONLY in the subject line. The rules of the experiment are simple: no waldorf supporters (self-defined) can post to the thread labeled CRITICS ONLY, or make reference to it in any other thread on this list.

I'd be interested in observing two phenomena: 1) what the ensuing discussion is like, so long as the self-defined supporters stay out of it, and 2) how long the supporters can follow the single rule.

I will make the first pledge to stay out of your thread, should you initiate a CRITICS ONLY experiment.

Robert Flannery
New York

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From: "MICHAEL RONALL"
Subject: Re: PRIVATE -- SUGGESTION Re: my introduction
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 23:37:43 -0400

Ezra Beeman - 4/13/99 11:09 PM

Yes please, I want to play too! I promise to not ever comment on the critics thread! Cross my heart, hope to die. Maybe the first post could begin with an exhaustive but relevant posting of all 'supporters.'

Arch supporters? /MRx (Hi, Michael)

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From: Bruce
Subject: Re: PRIVATE -- SUGGESTION Re: my introduction
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 09:23:33 EDT

In einer eMail vom 14.04.99 02:26:23 (MEZ) - Mitteleurop. Sommerzeit schreibt
Robert Flannery:

I will make the first pledge to stay out of your thread, should you initiate a CRITICS ONLY experiment.

and I will join you

Bruce

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From: "Tolz, Robert"
Subject: RE: PRIVATE -- SUGGESTION Re: my introduction
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 11:00:46 -0400

-----Original Message-----
From: Robert Flannery [mailto:litvas@icu.com]

So, Michael, I would appreciate it greatly if you could provide examples of where I have ever "been extremely defensive and unforthcoming about [my] own teaching and the inner realm of Waldorf education."

I doubt you'll be able to find any such instances, so feel free to ask me those questions now.

It's a spiritual and ascetic exercise to maintain reserve while responding to Kopp. You are doing an excellent job.

Bob

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From: "Steve Premo"
Subject: Re: PRIVATE -- SUGGESTION Re: my introduction
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 09:07:24 -0700

On 14 Apr 99, at 14:36, Michael Kopp wrote:

But the "dialogue" between opposing viewpoints has led nowhere. It does not serve the practical purpose of the list of _critical thought_ about Steiner/ Waldorf/ Anthroposophy, and the goal of removing from public education and exposing its true nature, but descends to opposing diatribes.

It has been very valuable to me in several ways. First, without the Anthroposophists on the list, I would have no way of ascertaining the accuracy of representations made by critics about the nature of anthroposophy. If something specific is posted about, say, Steiner's view of history, and anthroposophists respond to the effect that it does not do justice to the big picture without asserting that it is substantively inaccurate, that tells me that the post is probably substantively accurate (although it may not be complete).

Second, in evaluating the claim that Waldorf education fails to instill critical thinking skills in students, it has been helpful to me to read the posts of the several Waldorf graduates who have posted to this list. Sure, it's a small sample, but it's all I've got. And this was an important issue to me while my son was in Waldorf. More important, really, than the issue of Waldorf in public education, because it affected me personally.

SP:

Yep. On both sides there are those who engage in name-calling and expressions of bigotry against the spiritual paths of others. We all need to remember not to take criticism of one's ideas personally, and to refrain from insulting one another.

KOPP:

Steve, I think you've gone a bit too far with the "bigotry" claim. . . .

I really part company with your usually-astute comments when you say that there have been expressions of "bigotry against the spiritual paths of others" on the critics' side. . . .

The operant word in the definition of "bigotry" is "intolerant". . . .

I would ask that you name names and cite specific quotes to back up your assertion that critics are guilty of bigotry in the strict sense of wishing the oppression or suppression of that which they criticize.

I have never seen bigotry in that sense, but I don't define "bigotry" so narrowly. When one is prejudiced against a particular religious group, so that one becomes likely to believe bad things about those groups without adequate evidence, I consider that bigotry.

I've seen two instances where I suspect that bigotry was involved on the part of certain critics. One was in the discussions concerning the murder of a cop by a Denver kid who was a racist skinhead. Some on the list seemed to believe that this kid's white supremacist beliefs stemmed from his upbringing in an anthroposophical household, with the implication that kids who are raised by anthroposophists are more likely to join white supremacist groups. I thought that assumption was more likely to be an expression of bigotry than a reasonable conclusion.

The other instance is the claim, on *very* slim evidence, that anthroposophy contributed to the rise of the Nazis in Germany. Again, I think this is more a product of a willingness to believe bad things about anthroposophy than a product of reason.

I don't think that the people involved made these assertions out of ill-will or a desire to hurt or oppress anyone, and I don't think less of the people who made the assertions. We all have prejudices, and need to be on guard against making assertions based on those prejudices rather than on reason.

I'm not going to search the archives for these discussions in order to quote particular posts or name the folks who posted these views, because I don't think the issue of whether these concepts are products of bigotry is particularly important. The important thing is to try to avoid crossing the line between logical criticism and prejudice in the future.

I would not mind seeing a moderator decide which posts are on topic to the list charter -- given the excesses of the anti-charter *lobby* on the list.

Reasonable, Steve, or what?

It's not unreasonable, although it's a lot of work for the moderator. But I would not be interested in participating in a moderated list. It takes too long for the posts to show up.

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

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From: "Tolz, Robert"
Subject: Propaganda and Demagoguery
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 12:19:55 -0400

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Kopp

All I want say here is that Robert Flannery's suggestion is an incindiary device of propaganda mastery and demagoguery.

Are you the pot or the kettle, Michael?

Bob Jones suggests that Waldorf Critics Critics are merely guests on this list and implies (oops, maybe I should say that the rest of us have inferred from his comments) that perhaps they ought not be given full freedom to speak. Robert Flannery volunteers to refrain from entering any thread which Bob Jones or any other Waldorf Critic initiates with a header containing the words "CRITICS ONLY."

You call that "an incendiary device of propaganda mastery and demagoguery"????

Give us a break. Whenever anybody on this list (I'm not restricting this to any "camp") starts putting the tar and feathers on another person's posts with words like you have used, the very act of characterizing the other person's posts, by questioning motivation and style instead of content, is itself a technique of propaganda designed to undercut the value of the content by deflecting attention elsewhere.

I am reminded of a recent post by Bob Jones responding to my comment that I doubted that the courts would give much weight to expert opinion regarding whether or not anthroposophy was a religion. Though his writings are usually rather even-tempered, he said "Mr. Tolz appears to be on a fishing expedition, on one hand, and to be engaged in a psych-out, on the other." That sort of thing is pure BS.

A demagogue, according to my little Merriam Webster's, is a person who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power. If Robert Flannery's suggestion to refrain from entering any thread that's labeled "CRITICS ONLY" is "an incendiary device of propaganda mastery and demagoguery" ... well, I'd eat my hat if I had one.

Wait, maybe you're right and Flannery *is* a demagogue, because I feel his charismatic and magnetic pull working on me. Gosh, it's working. Yes! I will follow him! I too will refrain from entering into any thread that's labeled "CRITICS ONLY"!

Can we PLEASE all try our best to respond more directly to content rather than trying to diminish that content by casting aspersions on the person?

Bob Tolz (not Robert Flannery and not Bob Jones)

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From: Michael Hirsch
Subject: Re: PRIVATE -- SUGGESTION Re: my introduction
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 12:54:40 -0400 (EDT)

Bruce writes:

In einer eMail vom 14.04.99 02:26:23 (MEZ) - Mitteleurop. Sommerzeit schreibt Robert Flannery:

I will make the first pledge to stay out of your thread, should you initiate a CRITICS ONLY experiment.

and I will join you

I'm a little confused as to whether I'd be allowed to play. My last three arguments were with Tarjei, Kopp, and Tonkin.

I think I fall under the "critic critic" category and by definition I am allowed to contribute to the CRITICS ONLY thread. :)

But I'd probably not contribute either. Being critical is not useful without opposing viewpoints.

--Michael

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From: "Tolz, Robert"
Subject: RE: PRIVATE -- SUGGESTION Re: my introduction
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 13:01:05 -0400

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Kopp [mailto:mkopp@xtra.co.nz]

KOPP:

It may be time. This list has run the gamut of all possible permutations of argument about Steiner/ Waldorf/ Anthroposophy between the opposing sides, and has become repetitive.

The list had a charter objective:

"waldorf-critics" is a mailing list for the discussion of Waldorf education as viewed from outside the cult of Rudolf Steiner. It is a networking resource for parents, teachers, writers, and people interested in separation of church and state.

Lately it has seemed as if it is a philosophical debating club, rather than what it seems to have been intended for.

[TOLZ]

Maybe we need the founder of the list to intervene here and provide guidance and direction for the future of the list. I never read that "charter objective" to mean that all discussion had to be centered around the ultimate objective of closing down public Waldorf schools and exposing the "true nature" of Waldorf, as Michael Kopp describes the goals of the list. I always read the charter objective at face value, which was to have a free-wheeling discussion about Waldorf education, without being limited by the strictures of a list moderated by people who are integrally involved with Waldorf or the "cult of Rudolf Steiner," whatever that was supposed to mean.

[KOPP] It has been frustrating and debilitating to have SWA apologists turn the list into their own private "anti-critic-critics" list, as Robert Tolz proclaims about his status.

[TOLZ]

I would not have coined the term Waldorf Critic Critic had you not painted me with the broad brush of your own trademarked term, a Defender of the Faith.

I can empathize with Michael's feelings of frustration and debilitation. I too feel frustrated and enervated if I'm hell-bent on accomplishing or obtaining something and somebody criticizes my logic or my objectives. But that doesn't mean that the criticisms levied against me by the other person have no weight and should be summarily dismissed.

If I see statements or logic from a Waldorf Critic which warrant criticism, I will continue to provide that criticism unless Dan tells me that's not what he wants me to do as a guest. We are *all* guests of Dan here, Critics and Critic-Critics alike. Of course, if Dan tells me he thinks that sort of contribution from me is not to be tolerated, then there really isn't much purpose in sticking around, is there?

[KOPP]

I would hate to see the list heavily moderated. But I think Dan Dugan has been overly tolerant of the ranting and proselytising -- for that is what any apologia is -- by the SWA crowd.

[TOLZ]

You characterize all who disagree with you as engaging in ranting and proselytising. Hogwash. When you criticize anything which is an essential aspect of another person's life, that person is very naturally going to provide a defense. That is what I see the anthroposophists doing on this list agains and again. Of course, you use the word "apologia" rather than "defense," which could be viewed as having a very different connotation. If you were on this side of the argument, you would say that Mr. Kopp's very choice of words is a propaganda attempt to imply that not only are the anthroposophists on the run but they are at the same time "apologizing" for their position while seeking to provide justification for it.

An apologia, if you insist on using that word, is nothing more than a defense of a position. The word does not equate to a rant or to proselytizing, as you suggest. While you may think that Tarjei rants when defending his understanding of anthroposophy or Steiner, you could hardly believe that he's trying to proselytize either you, John Moorehead, me or any of the lurkers on this list.

[KOPP]

Either this is a cynical, coordinated good-cop/bad-cop conspiracy, or it's what it seems to be: dogmatic, rigid, suspicious, and hectoring response to criticism versus rational, open, good-willed (though sometimes pretty sharp) engagement of critics in discussion.

[TOLZ]

I hope my criticisms of your posts and those by other Waldorf Critics remain rational, open and good-willed. If they do not remain so, hold up the mirror for me for a reality check. You know for sure I won't hesitate to hold up a mirror for you.

Bob Tolz

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Addendum: Re: Apology for misdirected private correspondence
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 19:37:58 +0200

Michael Kopp wrote:

Have a field day, all you good Steiner/ Waldorf/ Anthroposphical folk -- Tarjei's kicked off with his view of my religious sensibilities (I don't know the difference between Santa Claus and Jesus Christ).

What I had in mind, Michael, was the view frequently esposed by skeptics/atheists that belief in Jesus or Mary is just like belief in the Easter Bunny. To them, Christ crucified *is* the Easter Bunny, as illustrated by a comic magazine published by the Norwegian Heathen Society.

In earlier posts, you have indicated that you identify with this position (though not necessarily its expression).

Cheers

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: PRIVATE -- SUGGESTION Re: my introduction
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 20:35:38 +0200

John W. Morehead wrote:

Pssst Tarjei,

Maybe you ought to consider posting items of worth to the list rather than engage in continual ad hominems against me personally as well as orthodox Christianity.

It would be better to use the expression "personal attack" rather than "ad hominem", because the latter is being abused to the hilt. If my remarks about orthodox Christianity are ad hominems, most posts from the WE critics about anthroposophy are full of them. And by a closer analysis with this in mind, almost every post to this list can be said to contain ad hominems.

"Ad hominem" means "to the man." Is orthodox Christianity a man, John?

The only reason why I suggested that you should try to save Kopp's soul by witnessing to him is that he obviously has a more sympathetic ear for evangelism than for anthroposophy. And I thought you shared my view that leading people to Christ is a good thing. Is that a personal attack against you, John ?

(Hmm. I thought it was only us conservative Christians that were intolerant.

Thank you for your confession. It took me by surprise.

Cheers

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

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From: "Steve Premo"
Subject: Re: Addendum: Re: Apology for misdirected private correspondence
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 11:52:44 -0700

On 14 Apr 99, at 19:37, Tarjei Straume wrote:

What I had in mind, Michael, was the view frequently esposed by skeptics/atheists that belief in Jesus or Mary is just like belief in the Easter Bunny.

No, the view is that belief in the divinity of Jesus (or belief in God or in multiple gods) is like belief in the Easter Bunny.

Lots of atheists believe that Jesus existed, and taught lots of great stuff. They just don't believe that he is God incarnate.

(Of course, non-Christians who are not atheists also generally don't believe that Jesus is God incarnate; the difference is that atheists don't believe that God exists.)

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

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Addendum: Re: Apology for misdirected private correspondence
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 23:15:44 +0200

Steve Premo wrote:

On 14 Apr 99, at 19:37, Tarjei Straume wrote:

What I had in mind, Michael, was the view frequently esposed by skeptics/atheists that belief in Jesus or Mary is just like belief in the Easter Bunny.

No, the view is that belief in the divinity of Jesus (or belief in God or in multiple gods) is like belief in the Easter Bunny.

The view in question includes all deities and supernatural phenomena - Allah or Jehovah or Christ or Krishna or Shiva. They are all Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, or whatever.

Lots of atheists believe that Jesus existed, and taught lots of great stuff. They just don't believe that he is God incarnate.

Right. Believing in the divinity of Jesus Christ is like believing he was human and Donald Duck at the same time.

(Of course, non-Christians who are not atheists also generally don't believe that Jesus is God incarnate; the difference is that atheists don't believe that God exists.)

The difference is that non-Christians who are not atheists don't compare deities to cartoon or comic strip characters.

Cheers

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

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From: "Steve Premo"
Subject: Re: Addendum: Re: Apology for misdirected private correspondence
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 15:21:10 -0700

On 14 Apr 99, at 23:15, Tarjei Straume wrote:

(Of course, non-Christians who are not atheists also generally don't believe that Jesus is God incarnate; the difference is that atheists don't believe that God exists.)

The difference is that non-Christians who are not atheists don't compare deities to cartoon or comic strip characters.

Actually, some deities are comic book characters. Thor is a major Marvel character, and Wonder Woman often deals with various deities from the Greek pantheon. Be that as it may, it would not surprise me to hear a Christian compare belief in some American Indian or pagan deity to belief in a cartoon character.

The question is whether one is respectful toward the religious beliefs of others, not whether one is atheist.

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

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From: Michael Kopp
Subject: Re: Addendum: Re: Apology for misdirected private correspondence
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 11:34:43 +1200

Tarjei Straume writes:

Michael Kopp wrote:

Have a field day, all you good Steiner/ Waldorf/ Anthroposphical folk -- Tarjei's kicked off with his view of my religious sensibilities (I don't know the difference between Santa Claus and Jesus Christ).

What I had in mind, Michael, was the view frequently esposed by skeptics/atheists that belief in Jesus or Mary is just like belief in the Easter Bunny. To them, Christ crucified *is* the Easter Bunny, as illustrated by a comic magazine published by the Norwegian Heathen Society.

In earlier posts, you have indicated that you identify with this position (though not necessarily its expression).

KOPP:

Sorry, Tarjei, you're losing me again. Can you refresh my memory with quotes from the "earlier posts" where I have "identified with" ... _what_ position?

I can't recall ever making any remarks about Mary, and few about Jesus or "Christ crucified".

Unless you're referring to my genral statement that I think all religions are belief systems that match Anthroposophy's irrational belief in the supernatural? But I've always said people are entitled to believe anything they want before breakfast, even as many as six different, mutually exclusive, mumbo jumbo things.

Lemme help you out here -- are you accusing me of religious bigotry, like someone else once did here on this list, only to have to apolgize?

I have never compared any religious figure to a cartoon character, that I can remember. If you have evidence, please produce it.

Could you be a little clearer with what you're accusing me of? Take lessons from Robert Flannery, eh?

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Addendum: Re: Apology for misdirected private correspondence
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 01:50:53 +0200

Steve Premo wrote:

Actually, some deities are comic book characters. Thor is a major Marvel character, and Wonder Woman often deals with various deities from the Greek pantheon.

That is different. In this case, comic art is inspired by religion and mythology, just like the art of painting, music, and literature. What I was getting at was the comparison of supernatural beings to obvious figments of imagination. We should perhaps be careful with pursuing this much further, because the parallell can also be drawn between Egyptian mythology and Disney-ideas, because both involve humanoid animals, though that would be stretching it and really diverting my original point.

Be that as it may, it would not surprise me to hear a Christian compare belief in some American Indian or pagan deity to belief in a cartoon character.

You're absolutely right, that wouldn't be any different at all.

The question is whether one is respectful toward the religious beliefs of others, not whether one is atheist.

Absolutely. It was the respect I was challenging, not the world view.

Cheers

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

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From: Michael Kopp
Subject: Re: PRIVATE -- SUGGESTION Re: my introduction
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 12:11:35 +1200

Tarjei Straume writes:

John W. Morehead wrote:

Pssst Tarjei,

Maybe you ought to consider posting items of worth to the list rather than engage in continual ad hominems against me personally as well as orthodox Christianity.

STRAUME:

It would be better to use the expression "personal attack" rather than "ad hominem", because the latter is being abused to the hilt. If my remarks about orthodox Christianity are ad hominems, most posts from the WE critics about anthroposophy are full of them. And by a closer analysis with this in mind, almost every post to this list can be said to contain ad hominems.

"Ad hominem" means "to the man." Is orthodox Christianity a man, John?

The only reason why I suggested that you should try to save Kopp's soul by witnessing to him is that he obviously has a more sympathetic ear for evangelism than for anthroposophy.

KOPP:

Well, here we go again. Painted with Tarjei's wild imagination that leads to his conclusion that it is "obvious" that I am more sympathetic to "evangelism" than "anthroposphy".

Wherever did you get that idea, Tarjei?

If I prefer John Morehead's arguments in regard to whether Anthroposophy is a religion, or is religious, how is that a preference for "evangelism" over "anthroposophy"?

I think I've suggested that Morehead's arguments are coherent in terms of language and yours are not. You've responded that you talk your own brand of higher logic and language, not anyone else's. You've also said you argue from your own frame of reference. All fine and dandy, except there's no common ground.

It seems to me Morehead's arguments are based on his theological training, not his choice of an evangelical movement to be involved with. Of course, it is possible that his arguments proceed from the theology of evanglicalism; I'm not that astute about theology to know, and it's not germane to my understanding of his general arguments.

In my case, I look for the common ground of non-esoteric discussion, whereas you (and other Anthroposophists) insist on discussion from esoteric ground only.

This is all old ground; we've been going around like this for years, and never the twain shall meet. So critics will have to use the common ground of the rest of society and leave Steiner/ Waldorf/ Anthroposophical people to themselves.

I reject the idea that the only way to criticise something is from within it, using its own frame of reference and language.

But I come back to your assertion that I prefer evangelism. There is no support for that idea, and it is slanderous for you to say that I have a religious bias, when I have said repeatedly that I am irreligious, though I admit the possiblity that I may be wrong, and there may be something supernatural that is not in evidence.

For the record, I have no interest in evangelism, just as I would have had no interest in Anthroposophy if the school we sent our kids to had not duped me about the place of Anthroposophy in the school, and had it been so difficult to discern that in advance (there being no WC list eight years ago).

Michael Kopp

Wellington, New Zealand

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From: Michael Kopp
Subject: Re: Propaganda and Demagoguery
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 13:28:54 +1200

Robert Tolz writes:

Michael Kopp said:

All I want say here is that Robert Flannery's suggestion is an incindiary device of propaganda mastery and demagoguery.

TOLZ "

Are you the pot or the kettle, Michael?

[snip discussion about demagoguery]

Can we PLEASE all try our best to respond more directly to content rather than trying to diminish that content by casting aspersions on the person?

Bob Tolz (not Robert Flannery and not Bob Jones)

KOPP:

From another recent post by Robert Tolz, to which I have answered in a message titled "Tolz impugns Kopp's journalistic ethics""

TOLZ:

So, frankly, I wouldn't put it past you to sift through whatever you received with a view to producing only that which supported your arguments while ignoring that which detracted.

KOPP:

Are you Robert Flannery's twin (depite your assurances you're not him), or are you just his understudy?

Pot, kettle, black.

Cheers from Godzone,

Michael Kopp
Wellington, New Zealand

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From: John & Wendy Morehead
Subject: Re: Addendum: Re: Apology for misdirected private
correspondence
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 08:18:42

At 11:15 PM 4/14/99 +0200, you wrote:

No, the view is that belief in the divinity of Jesus (or belief in God or in multiple gods) is like belief in the Easter Bunny.

I think I get it now. Tarjei simply makes assertions, without offering any sound arguments (except perhaps those using "higher logic") and then is free to denigrate orthodox Christianity, because this, somehow, establishes the validity of anthroposophy and the appropriateness of Waldorf education. Whew! I'm slow, but I think I'm getting it now. :)

By the way, just how is belief in a supersensible occult reality or Akashic records more rational than affirming that Jesus of Nazareth had both a human and divine nature? I'm looking forward to the philosophical defense of this position.

The view in question includes all deities and supernatural phenomena - Allah or Jehovah or Christ or Krishna or Shiva. They are all Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, or whatever.

But the belief in reincarnation and anthroposophical metaphysical principles does not flow from the same metaphysical cartoon factory I take it....? Again, nice assertion, no argumentation or evidence. We've got a pattern here.

Right. Believing in the divinity of Jesus Christ is like believing he was human and Donald Duck at the same time.

Let's see: To say that Jesus had a nature X, and another nature Y, within his one person is like saying he was human and Donald Duck. You've lost me on the logic here. Please enlighten me.

(Of course, non-Christians who are not atheists also generally don't believe that Jesus is God incarnate; the difference is that atheists don't believe that God exists.)

The difference is that non-Christians who are not atheists don't compare deities to cartoon or comic strip characters.

How does orthodox Christianity do this? Tarjei, you consistently set up a straw man with regards to Christianity, then you knock it down, however weakly, and assume you have demonstrated the "strenght" of an anthroposophical worldview. All I've been trying to do in my responses to you is 1) Ask you to correctly characterize orthdox Christianity, 2) Stop misrepresenting both ancient gnosticism and your contemporary neo-gnosticism as the original and orthodox form of Christianity, and 3) To acknowledge that you must be rational in your thinking, and then apply that rationality to your exchanges on this list.

I hope my requests won't go unheaded.

John Morehead
=========================
John W. Morehead
Executive Vice President
TruthQuest Institute
P.O. Box 227
Loomis, CA 95650

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From: John & Wendy Morehead
Subject: Re: PRIVATE -- SUGGESTION Re: my introduction
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 09:30:21

At 08:35 PM 4/14/99 +0200, you wrote:

John W. Morehead wrote:

Pssst Tarjei,

Maybe you ought to consider posting items of worth to the list rather than engage in continual ad hominems against me personally as well as orthodox Christianity.

It would be better to use the expression "personal attack" rather than "ad hominem", because the latter is being abused to the hilt. If my remarks about orthodox Christianity are ad hominems, most posts from the WE critics about anthroposophy are full of them. And by a closer analysis with this in mind, almost every post to this list can be said to contain ad hominems.

I thought we used such justifications only as children. "Oh, yeah! Well so and so attacked me so I attacked them." Personal attacks by one group do not justify them by another. Part of your problem is that you confuse a philosphical critique of Anthropsophy/esoteric Christianity with an attack and fascism. You don't even acknowledge that you have engaged in personal attacks, straw man argumentation and irrationality. That makes it very difficult for Waldorf critics to dialogue with you and perpetuates the polarization on this list.

"Ad hominem" means "to the man." Is orthodox Christianity a man, John?

How can someone who eschews logic instruct anyone on rational thinking? Interesting idea. No, Christianity is not a man, I am, and you *have* used ad hominems against me, and you have set up a straw man in your mischaracterization of orthodox Christianity only to knock down the false edifice that you constructed. Hardly a sound method of debate.

The only reason why I suggested that you should try to save Kopp's soul by witnessing to him is that he obviously has a more sympathetic ear for evangelism than for anthroposophy. And I thought you shared my view that leading people to Christ is a good thing. Is that a personal attack against you, John ?

Come on, Tarjei. You phrased your alleged well intentioned suggestion in a taunting ad hominem fashion. Please acknowledge that. And the purpose of this list is not personal evangelism by either side. Either way, your post was inappropriate.

(Hmm. I thought it was only us conservative Christians that were intolerant.

Thank you for your confession. It took me by surprise.

You missed the tongue planted firmly in cheek. It wasn't a confession. It was taking a common misunderstanding of orthodox Christianity (that it is allegedly intolerant) and applying it to at least one Anthroposophist, to demonstrate that even you "enlightened" neo-gnostics can be intolerant.

John Morehead

=========================
John W. Morehead
Executive Vice President
TruthQuest Institute
P.O. Box 227
Loomis, CA 95650

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: PRIVATE -- SUGGESTION Re: my introduction
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 17:43:56 +0200

Michael Kopp wrote:

Well, here we go again. Painted with Tarjei's wild imagination that leads to his conclusion that it is "obvious" that I am more sympathetic to "evangelism" than "anthroposphy".

OK Michael, let me re-phrase that by saying you're less angry with the evangelists than you are with the anthroposophists, so you might lend them a better listening ear.

Wherever did you get that idea, Tarjei?

Well, I haven't seen that venom of yours poured over the evangelists like you pour it over us anthros.

If I prefer John Morehead's arguments in regard to whether Anthroposophy is a religion, or is religious, how is that a preference for "evangelism" over "anthroposophy"?

If John Morehead has just a few drops of the same venom against
anthroposophy that you have, such hostile feelings should bring you
together in the name of Jesus.

I think I've suggested that Morehead's arguments are coherent in terms of language and yours are not. You've responded that you talk your own brand of higher logic and language, not anyone else's.

Have I said "not anyone else's"?

You've also said you argue from your own frame of reference. All fine and dandy, except there's no common ground.

Not with hardcore critics and skeptics like yourself, no. That does not mean there is no common ground with a lot of other people.

It seems to me Morehead's arguments are based on his theological training, not his choice of an evangelical movement to be involved with. Of course, it is possible that his arguments proceed from the theology of evanglicalism; I'm not that astute about theology to know, and it's not germane to my understanding of his general arguments.

But you obviously respect the orthodox theology of evangelism while you disrespect anthroposophy and its founder, which is my point.

In my case, I look for the common ground of non-esoteric discussion, whereas you (and other Anthroposophists) insist on discussion from esoteric ground only.

Spiritual esoteric matters are discussed on a spiritual esoteric ground.

This is all old ground; we've been going around like this for years, and never the twain shall meet. So critics will have to use the common ground of the rest of society and leave Steiner/ Waldorf/ Anthroposophical people to themselves.

I reject the idea that the only way to criticise something is from within it, using its own frame of reference and language.

But I come back to your assertion that I prefer evangelism. There is no support for that idea, and it is slanderous for you to say that I have a religious bias, when I have said repeatedly that I am irreligious, though I admit the possiblity that I may be wrong, and there may be something supernatural that is not in evidence.

It is not slanderous of me to say you prefer evangelism to anthroposophy if you respect the former and despise the latter.

Cheers

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

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From: John & Wendy Morehead
Subject: Re: PRIVATE -- SUGGESTION Re: my introduction
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 09:55:40

At 05:43 PM 4/15/99 +0200, you wrote:

Well, I haven't seen that venom of yours poured over the evangelists like you pour it over us anthros.

It's "evangelicals" not "evangelists."

If John Morehead has just a few drops of the same venom against anthroposophy that you have, such hostile feelings should bring you together in the name of Jesus.

Well, at least you said "if." Perilously close to another personal attack, against me, and the orthodox Christ you so vehemently denounce in the name of tolerance.

Have I said "not anyone else's"?

So we all have this "higher logic?"

You've also said you argue from your own frame of reference. All fine and dandy, except there's no common ground.

Not with hardcore critics and skeptics like yourself, no. That does not mean there is no common ground with a lot of other people.

I submit there is no common ground between a a-rational, esoteric Anthroposophist and any critic, hardcore or otherwise.

But you obviously respect the orthodox theology of evangelism while you disrespect anthroposophy and its founder, which is my point.

He said no such thing. He pointed out that he appreciated the coherency of the logical argumentation, not the theology which may or may not be behind it. And againk, it's "evangelicalism" not "evangelism". And if disrespecting the religious views of others or the founder of a given religious tradition invalidates that individual's credibility, then I submit that Tarjei refutes his own position.

Spiritual esoteric matters are discussed on a spiritual esoteric ground.

But this makes "sense" only if I understand you plainly, not if I interpret you esoterically. Suppose we said that esoterically, you really mean that we should understand esoteric matters on rational grounds. Esoteric epistemology can be a very dangerous thing and is self-refuting.

John Morehead

=========================
John W. Morehead
Executive Vice President
TruthQuest Institute
P.O. Box 227
Loomis, CA 95650

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Addendum: Re: Apology for misdirected private correspondence
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 17:06:18 +0200

I wrote:

What I had in mind, Michael, was the view frequently esposed by skeptics/atheists that belief in Jesus or Mary is just like belief in the Easter Bunny. To them, Christ crucified *is* the Easter Bunny, as illustrated by a comic magazine published by the Norwegian Heathen Society.

In earlier posts, you have indicated that you identify with this position (though not necessarily its expression).

Michael Kopp wrote:

Sorry, Tarjei, you're losing me again. Can you refresh my memory with quotes from the "earlier posts" where I have "identified with" ... _what_ position?

What I had in mind was an exchange between March 6 and 9 in the thread "Why RS and not a contemporary?" I don't remember if you've mentioned any cartoon characters, and I apologize if I've had too much fun with them here at your expense, but my point was that the philosophical position held by those who compare theism to comic strips and the like seems to be shared by you.

In the exchange referred to, you wrote:

"In the absence of any credible evidence that there is a supernatural world, I have to assume that all people who `hear voices', _and attribute them to spirits or gods_, are either self-delusional or attempting to delude me."

I responded:

"These self-delusional people include Krishna, Buddha, Socrates, Jesus Christ, Mohammed, Francis from Assissi, Swedenborg, Baily, Blavatsky and Steiner. And many many others. And all those who believe that these individuals were witnesses to truths, you call "the credulous, gullible or weak." You obviously despise all religious people."

Your reply was extensive; here is a highlight:

"But I received a message from a reader of this list who prefers to remain anonymous in answer to Tarjei's list of great madmen <g>."

Your anonymous friend said that all religious founders and all witnesses to the spiritual were schizophrenic nuts. Your posting of his message left me the impression that he expressed your viewpoint too, namely that all religious-spiritual pioneers were madmen.

I can't recall ever making any remarks about Mary, and few about Jesus or "Christ crucified".

I didn't say that such remarks were made by you, but by other people with a similar outlook.

Unless you're referring to my genral statement that I think all religions are belief systems that match Anthroposophy's irrational belief in the supernatural? But I've always said people are entitled to believe anything they want before breakfast, even as many as six different, mutually exclusive, mumbo jumbo things.

...such as believing in the Easter Bunny and the Mystery of Golgotha at the same time?

Lemme help you out here -- are you accusing me of religious bigotry, like someone else once did here on this list, only to have to apolgize?

You are inconsistent with your posts on the issue of religion. One day you say you respect religion and might even consider the possibility of a spiritual world; the next day your remarks about religion and spirituality are condescending and disrespectful. There seems to be an element of uncertainty here that might make me hesitate to use the word "bigotry" for lack of clarity at this point My old Webster defines a bigot as "one obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his own church, party, belief, or opinion. If you're not a bigot, you're only a hair's breath from it, and that hair's breath consists of inconsistency in your own philosophy and attitude. But you are certainly prejudiced against anthroposophy, and that prejudice may easily be classified as bigotry. I would not apologize for accusing you of bigotry, but I do apologize if I have given the impression that you have said anything about Donald Duck or the Easter Bunny.

I have never compared any religious figure to a cartoon character, that I can remember. If you have evidence, please produce it.

No you haven't. But your fellow skeptics have.

Could you be a little clearer with what you're accusing me of? Take lessons from Robert Flannery, eh?

Disrespect for anthroposophy.

Cheers

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: PRIVATE -- SUGGESTION Re: my introduction
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 20:59:44 +0200

John Morehead wrote:

It's "evangelicals" not "evangelists."

Very well. Evangelicals.

If John Morehead has just a few drops of the same venom against anthroposophy that you have, such hostile feelings should bring you together in the name of Jesus.

Well, at least you said "if." Perilously close to another personal attack, against me, and the orthodox Christ you so vehemently denounce in the name of tolerance.

I have made a personal attack against Christ? Absolute nonsense.

Have I said "not anyone else's"?

So we all have this "higher logic?"

Obviously not.

You've also said you argue from your own frame of reference. All fine and dandy, except there's no common ground.

Not with hardcore critics and skeptics like yourself, no. That does not mean there is no common ground with a lot of other people.

I submit there is no common ground between a a-rational, esoteric Anthroposophist and any critic, hardcore or otherwise.

You are gravely and seriously mistaken. My father, who was very close to me, was critical of anthroposophy and an agnostic. We had plenty of common ground, both on and off the topic at hand.

But you obviously respect the orthodox theology of evangelism while you disrespect anthroposophy and its founder, which is my point.

He said no such thing. He pointed out that he appreciated the coherency of the logical argumentation, not the theology which may or may not be behind it. And againk, it's "evangelicalism" not "evangelism".

Very well. Evangelicalism.

And if disrespecting the religious views of others or the founder of a given religious tradition invalidates that individual's credibility, then I submit that Tarjei refutes his own position.

I did not say that Michael had said so. And I do not disrespect evangelical Christianity. What I have pointed out is that you are thwowing bricks from a glass-house when you attack esoteric Christianity, because you logic is flawed, and these flaws are also reflected in your theological argumentation. I have also pointed out why I and others cannot accept the orthodox evangelical version of Christianity. That does not mean disrespect at all, but respect is often a two-way street.

Spiritual esoteric matters are discussed on a spiritual esoteric ground.

But this makes "sense" only if I understand you plainly, not if I interpret you esoterically. Suppose we said that esoterically, you really mean that we should understand esoteric matters on rational grounds. Esoteric epistemology can be a very dangerous thing and is self-refuting.

Dangerous? Do you know of a lot of cases where esoteric epistemology has killed people or caused them serious illnesses?

Self-refuting? Again, you're throwing another brick from your glass-house. All one needs to do is hold up a mirror facing your way.

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: PRIVATE -- SUGGESTION Re: my introduction
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 22:34:28 +0200

I wrote:

It would be better to use the expression "personal attack" rather than "ad hominem", because the latter is being abused to the hilt. If my remarks about orthodox Christianity are ad hominems, most posts from the WE critics about anthroposophy are full of them. And by a closer analysis with this in mind, almost every post to this list can be said to contain ad hominems.

John Morehead wrote:

I thought we used such justifications only as children. "Oh, yeah! Well so and so attacked me so I attacked them."

That is a false description of my statement above, which was an analysis of the consequences of your logic.

Personal attacks by one group do not justify them by another.

I did not say that the critics engage in personal attacks. I said that your definition, or rather misdefinition, of "ad hominem" would automatic label many of these posts likewise, and I meant from both sides.

Part of your problem is that you confuse a philosphical critique of Anthropsophy/esoteric Christianity with an attack and fascism.

No I don't. I see religious fascism on your part as part of the reason for your disrespect for esoteric Christianity. I don't confuse fascism with disrespect per se.

You don't even acknowledge that you have engaged in personal attacks, straw man argumentation and irrationality. That makes it very difficult for Waldorf critics to dialogue with you and perpetuates the polarization on this list.

Even if there is a grain of truth in your allegations concerning what I have engaged in, they are so grossly exaggerated that they are automatically invalidated thereby. And your pile of straw men is so enormous that they represent a serious fire-hazard in your heap of broken glass.

"Ad hominem" means "to the man." Is orthodox Christianity a man, John?

How can someone who eschews logic instruct anyone on rational thinking?

I would never try to instruct you in anything. I only asked you a simple semantic question.

Interesting idea. No, Christianity is not a man, I am, and you *have* used ad hominems against me, and you have set up a straw man in your mischaracterization of orthodox Christianity only to knock down the false edifice that you constructed. Hardly a sound method of debate.

The only statement from me that could remotely be construed as an ad hominem is that you seem to be a religious fascist.

The only reason why I suggested that you should try to save Kopp's soul by witnessing to him is that he obviously has a more sympathetic ear for evangelism than for anthroposophy. And I thought you shared my view that leading people to Christ is a good thing. Is that a personal attack against you, John ?

Come on, Tarjei. You phrased your alleged well intentioned suggestion in a taunting ad hominem fashion. Please acknowledge that. And the purpose of this list is not personal evangelism by either side. Either way, your post was inappropriate.

It was a psychological experiment of sorts, because I am seriously trying to understand how evangelical Christians and radical skeptics and atheists can find such a warm bond based upon a common enemy. And the enemy is not limited to American school boards and American Waldorf administrators and teachers; it is extended to the school my son attends in Norway, to all anthroposophists worldwide, including actors, dancers, composers and poets, and to the founder of anthroposophy Rudolf Steiner, whose personal character and integrity is constantly under attack. So my psychological experiment was not intended as a counter-attack, but as an investigation of the passions involved in this and their nature. And it is very, very interesting to see how riled up you have become because of this, and to what extent you have abused the expression "ad hominem."

(Hmm. I thought it was only us conservative Christians that were intolerant.

Thank you for your confession. It took me by surprise.

You missed the tongue planted firmly in cheek. It wasn't a confession.

In that case, it was a Freudian slip.

It was taking a common misunderstanding of orthodox Christianity (that it is allegedly intolerant) and applying it to at least one Anthroposophist, to demonstrate that even you "enlightened" neo-gnostics can be intolerant.

Not very convincing.

Cheers

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

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From: John & Wendy Morehead
Subject: Re: PRIVATE -- SUGGESTION Re: my introduction
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 17:10:20

At 08:59 PM 4/15/99 +0200, you wrote:

I did not say that Michael had said so. And I do not disrespect evangelical Christianity. What I have pointed out is that you are thwowing bricks from a glass-house when you attack esoteric Christianity, because you logic is flawed, and these flaws are also reflected in your theological argumentation. I have also pointed out why I and others cannot accept the orthodox evangelical version of Christianity. That does not mean disrespect at all, but respect is often a two-way street.

Tarjei, I would dearly love to establish some common ground from which to continue a more fruitful dialogue. Perhaps to begin with, I could acknowledge the possibility in using flawed logical with regards to an "attack" on esoteric Christianity. To help me re-evaluate that, could you provide one or two examples of such flawed logic?

John Morehead

=========================
John W. Morehead
Executive Vice President
TruthQuest Institute
P.O. Box 227
Loomis, CA 95650

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Addendum: Re: Apology for misdirected private correspondence
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 21:48:32 +0200

I wrote:

No, the view is that belief in the divinity of Jesus (or belief in God or in multiple gods) is like belief in the Easter Bunny.

John Morehead wrote:

I think I get it now. Tarjei simply makes assertions, without offering any sound arguments (except perhaps those using "higher logic") and then is free to denigrate orthodox Christianity, because this, somehow, establishes the validity of anthroposophy and the appropriateness of Waldorf education. Whew! I'm slow, but I think I'm getting it now. :)

This was no assertion, and it had nothing to do with argumentation. I was referring to the view expressed through a comic magazine published by the Norwegian Heathen Society and statements from other skeptics I have seen. If you think I'm making it all up, be my guest.

By the way, just how is belief in a supersensible occult reality or Akashic records more rational than affirming that Jesus of Nazareth had both a human and divine nature? I'm looking forward to the philosophical defense of this position.

Esoteric Christianity as derived from the Akashic Record also affirms that Jesus of Nazareth had both a human and divine nature, so there is nothing to defend here. Besides, I have not been in a defensive position in these exchanges with you. Quite the contrary. (First straw man.)

The view in question includes all deities and supernatural phenomena - Allah or Jehovah or Christ or Krishna or Shiva. They are all Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, or whatever.

But the belief in reincarnation and anthroposophical metaphysical principles does not flow from the same metaphysical cartoon factory I take it....? Again, nice assertion, no argumentation or evidence. We've got a pattern here.

The cartoon factory in question is targeting Christianity in general first of all, but they may have the same view of reincarnation. Again, I'm describing a view, not arguing a point. (Second straw man.)

Right. Believing in the divinity of Jesus Christ is like believing he was human and Donald Duck at the same time.

Let's see: To say that Jesus had a nature X, and another nature Y, within his one person is like saying he was human and Donald Duck. You've lost me on the logic here. Please enlighten me.

The logic is not mine, but that of the Norwegian Heathen Society. If you wish to be enlightened, you should check out their website:

http://www.hedning.no/hedning/e-index.html

or write to them:

Det norske Hedningsamfunn
Collettsg. 31 B
0169 OSLO

or call them on the phone:

(47) 22 56 65 55

(Of course, non-Christians who are not atheists also generally don't believe that Jesus is God incarnate; the difference is that atheists don't believe that God exists.)

The difference is that non-Christians who are not atheists don't compare deities to cartoon or comic strip characters.

How does orthodox Christianity do this?

Do what? Compare deities to cartoon characters? I have not said that orthodox Christianity does this. Besides, I think it's a discredit to orthodox Christianity to keep projecting all your blunders on it. (Third straw man.)

Tarjei, you consistently set up a straw man with regards to Christianity, then >you knock it down, however weakly, and assume you have demonstrated the "strenght" of an anthroposophical worldview.

A straw man? Look who's talking. My description of the skeptics' comic strips and utterances about religion has nothing to do with demonstrating the strength of an anthroposophical world view. (Fourth straw man.)

All I've been trying to do in my responses to you is 1) Ask you to correctly characterize orthdox Christianity,

The Church of Norway is a perfect example of orthodox Christianity. For a correct characterization you should check out my friend Larry Wenzel, an American pastor who works for the Norwegian Evangelical-Lutheran state church, has made a website for this church with a link to my site ("The Church's Encounter with New Age):

http://members.xoom.com/_XOOM/KIMNA/english.htm

and a website for himself. Check out

http://home.sol.no./~wenzel/

2) Stop misrepresenting both ancient gnosticism and your contemporary neo-gnosticism as the original and orthodox form of Christianity,

You have been trying to stop your misrepresentations? About time.

and 3) To acknowledge that you must be rational in your thinking, and then apply that rationality to your exchanges on this list.

Another brick from the house that once stood. Don't walk around barefoot. (Fifth straw man.)

I hope my requests won't go unheaded.

I have answered your questions, but I don't think you qualify as my spiritual advisor.

Cheers

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

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

From: Michael Kopp
Subject: Re: Addendum: Re: Apology for misdirected private correspondence
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 22:28:29 +1200

Tarjei Straume writes:

But you are certainly prejudiced against anthroposophy, and that prejudice may easily be classified as bigotry.

Michael KOPP replies:

No, Tarjei, I am certainly "post-judiced" against Anthroposophy and its having anything to do with the education of my children.

I am the sole judge of that, not you.

I did not prejudge Anthroposophy before I sent my kids to a Steiner/ Waldorf/ Anthroposophical education: I did more homework that most to find out what Anthroposophy was about, and I obtained a contractual promise from our prospective school that Anthroposophy was not IN the education in any way.

Five years of experience with my kids in a Steiner school, and a great deal more delving into Anthroposophy, including attending lectures at the school, and, later, the appearance of several discussion lists on SWA, all of which I joined, gave me enough information to judge that Anthroposophy WAS in fact *IN* all aspects of my children's education, that it was a religion believing in things not in evidence to me, and which I did not choose to believe in, and that Steiner's pedagogy according to his invented religion, Anthroposophy, an integral part of Waldorf schools, and the school and its teachers, were *failing to properly educate my children,* and that the school had **lied** about Anthroposophy not being in the education ... and only then did I JUDGE -- not PREjudge -- Anthroposphy.

STRAUME:

I would not apologize for accusing you of bigotry, but I do apologize if I have given the impression that you have said anything about Donald Duck or the Easter Bunny.

I have never compared any religious figure to a cartoon character, that I can remember. If you have evidence, please produce it.

No you haven't. But your fellow skeptics have.

KOPP:

So, therefore, I am as guilty of all the crimes you ascribe to them as you say they are, and, by association, I am a "bigot".

Reminds me of what the fascist Steiner/ Waldorf/ Anthroposphy apologist and propagandist David Schlesinger, aka "Lefty" and "Lefty Redux", said when he kicked me off the Waldorf list:

Date: Wed, 23 Apr 1997 16:57:18 -0700
To: mkopp
From: Lefty
Subject: Your Removal From the WALDORF List
Status: RO

Since Mr. Dugan has been utterly uncooperative in agreeing not to respect the rights of the subscribers to the WALDORF list, I am forced to take the step of removing anyone who I think _might_ be forwarding postings on to him.

It's a shame how one bad apple can spoil the fun for everyone, isn't it?
--
Lefty

For the record, I had NEVER done what Lefty said I was being dropped for _suspicion_ of doing.

Now, Tarjei, this really IS the LAST response from me to one of your interminable asinine ad hominems.

Cheers from Godzone,

Michael Kopp
Wellington, New Zealand

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: PRIVATE -- SUGGESTION Re: my introduction
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 13:37:29 +0200

John Morehead wrote:

Tarjei, I would dearly love to establish some common ground from which to continue a more fruitful dialogue. Perhaps to begin with, I could acknowledge the possibility in using flawed logical with regards to an "attack" on esoteric Christianity. To help me re-evaluate that, could you provide one or two examples of such flawed logic?

Your attack against esoteric Christianity is based in part on the allegation that it is not logical. As an example of this, you claim that subscribing to Buddhism and Christianity at the same time, which is the essence of anthrosophical, esoteric Christianity, is an impossibility because of self-contradiction. Millions of people think otherwise, but because your logic is flawed, you fail to appreciate their point of view. For the same reason, you attack Catholic anthroposophists by saying that they cannot and should not have such a philosophy.

Cheers

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

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

From: Michael Kopp
Subject: Re: Addendum: Re: Apology for misdirected private correspondence
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 14:33:25 +1200

Tarjei Straume writes about Michael Kopp's view of religion:

What I had in mind, Michael, was the view frequently esposed by skeptics/atheists that belief in Jesus or Mary is just like belief in the Easter Bunny. To them, Christ crucified *is* the Easter Bunny, as illustrated by a comic magazine published by the Norwegian Heathen Society.

In earlier posts, you have indicated that you identify with this position (though not necessarily its expression).

Michael Kopp wrote:

Sorry, Tarjei, you're losing me again. Can you refresh my memory with quotes from the "earlier posts" where I have "identified with" ... _what_ position?

What I had in mind was an exchange between March 6 and 9 in the thread "Why RS and not a contemporary?" I don't remember if you've mentioned any cartoon characters, and I apologize if I've had too much fun with them here at your expense, but my point was that the philosophical position held by those who compare theism to comic strips and the like seems to be shared by you.

In the exchange referred to, you wrote:

"In the absence of any credible evidence that there is a supernatural world, I have to assume that all people who `hear voices', _and attribute them to spirits or gods_, are either self-delusional or attempting to delude me."

Michael KOPP now replies:

Big jump (as usual for you when you want to denigrate a person) between what _other_ people say or do and what _I_ say or do.

I "identify with" skeptics, in your mind; skeptics are in the same class as athiests ("skeptics/athiests"); skeptics (how many? all?) characterise religion as comical; this comic view of religion is shared by a "heathen society"; so I must therefore "identify" with heathenism.

Big jump from me _being_ skeptical, to being characterized _as_ an atheistic, heathen bigot.

And where is your evidence of skeptics or anyone else on this list (which is what we're concerned with, not the rest of humanity) holding such attitudes?

Nor have you given any evidence to support your claim that: "In earlier posts, you [Kopp] have indicated that you identify with this position [theists are comical]" etc.

STRAUME:

I responded:

"These self-delusional people include Krishna, Buddha, Socrates, Jesus Christ, Mohammed, Francis from Assissi, Swedenborg, Baily, Blavatsky and Steiner. And many many others. And all those who believe that these individuals were witnesses to truths, you call "the credulous, gullible or weak." You obviously despise all religious people."

Your reply was extensive; here is a highlight:

"But I received a message from a reader of this list who prefers to remain anonymous in answer to Tarjei's list of great madmen <g>."

Your anonymous friend said that all religious founders and all witnesses to the spiritual were schizophrenic nuts.

KOPP:

"My anonymous friend"??? More guilt by association (though which way is unspecified). It was a contact, nothing more. Do not assume that anyone I quote is a friend of mine.

So did you: "These self-delusional people ..." My reference, or my informant's reference, to "madmen" is no more or less than yours. It is common to refer to such people as "saints or madmen".

This is a reasonable hypothesis from a scientific point of view in regard to things which are not in evidence. Call it a `materialist science hypothesis of why people believe in a spiritual world'. The fact that we're talking about a sizeable portion of humanity, including many scientists, does not mean the hypothesis is invalid as a hypothesis. There is no evidence to prove it yet, because we can't get inside people's minds with any scientific instruments. But neither can, say, Anthroposophy's "spiritual science", prove the existence of any such supernatural realms.

It is perhaps unfortunate that I talk layman's language rather than scholar's language, as some people on this list, like John Morehead, do. But that does not prove anything about my beliefs, and it certainly doesn't prove bigotry.

STRAUME:

Your posting of his message left me the impression that he expressed your viewpoint too, namely that all religious-spiritual pioneers were madmen.

KOPP:

You assume something not in evidence. Like Robert Tolz assuming that I would pick and choose my facts and sources about Anthroposophy and SWA in general journalistic article. You are painting me with the brush you should be using on the person being quoted.

STRAUME, quoting MK:

I can't recall ever making any remarks about Mary, and few about Jesus or "Christ crucified".

I didn't say that such remarks were made by you, but by other people with a similar outlook.

KOPP:

Again, guilt by association, blurring and diffusing of the actual issues ("people with a similar outlook"), and backing away from it "I didn't say you're a jerk ...". Standard propaganda techniques, Tarjei.

STRAUME quoting KOPP:

Unless you're referring to my genral statement that I think all religions are belief systems that match Anthroposophy's irrational belief in the supernatural? But I've always said people are entitled to believe anything they want before breakfast, even as many as six different, mutually exclusive, mumbo jumbo things.

STRAUME:

...such as believing in the Easter Bunny and the Mystery of Golgotha at the same time?

KOPP:

What's your point? If someone wants to believe both of those things at the same time, it's their business, not mine. Except when they try to teach such things to my children.

As when my child's chemistry teacher, at our former Steiner school, told the class that alchemy (real transmutation of elements, and not ordinary chemical reactions, or trans-atomic ones) was true, and that the ancients had more powers than we do, and that if we could only recover those powers, we could make the world over.

Or when another teacher said that the Egyptians had built the pyramids by using acoustic (sound) power to move the huge, massive blocks of sandstone.

Then it's my business.

STRAUME [quoting KOPP]:

Lemme help you out here -- are you accusing me of religious bigotry, like someone else once did here on this list, only to have to apolgize?

STRAUME:

You are inconsistent with your posts on the issue of religion. One day you say you respect religion and might even consider the possibility of a spiritual world; the next day your remarks about religion and spirituality are condescending and disrespectful. There seems to be an element of uncertainty here that might make me hesitate to use the word "bigotry" for lack of clarity at this point My old Webster defines a bigot as "one obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his own church, party, belief, or opinion. If you're not a bigot, you're only a hair's breath from it, and that hair's breath consists of inconsistency in your own philosophy and attitude. But you are certainly prejudiced against anthroposophy, and that prejudice may easily be classified as bigotry. I would not apologize for accusing you of bigotry, but I do apologize if I have given the impression that you have said anything about Donald Duck or the Easter Bunny.

MK:

I have never compared any religious figure to a cartoon character, that I can remember. If you have evidence, please produce it.

TS:

No you haven't. But your fellow skeptics have.

MK:

Could you be a little clearer with what you're accusing me of? Take lessons from Robert Flannery, eh?

TS:

Disrespect for anthroposophy.

KOPP:

Well, first I'm almost a bigot, and now I'm "disrespectful" to Anthroposophy.

It appears, from your and other diatribes, that you equate this "disrespect" towards Anthroposophy with bigotry and prejudice and religious intolerance.

What -- about Anthroposophy, its founder, Rudolf Steiner, and its missionaries, the Steiner/Waldorf school teachers, in terms of the anti-rational beliefs I have described them practicing on my children (as above), without my permission, and against my will as expressed to them when they promised me Anthroposophy was not in their curriculum -- do you think deserves my "respect"?

I'll say it again: I respect the right of people to believe and practice anything they want, freely and without hindrance, as long as it does not impinge on others, or they do not defraud others.

That does not stop me from criticizing their founders, gods, high priests, adherents, dogma, practices or any other aspect, as long as I do not impinge upon their freedom or hinder their practice or call for their repression or denigration. But I am perfectly free to call them mumbo jumbo, and I do. That's not bigotry.

I have not called for repression of Anthroposophy. I have not included myself with any group of people, such as PLANS or the people on the WC list you seem to want to see as an enemy, which is calling for legal regulation of public schools and the exclusion of SWA from them. I have not called Steiner names, I have not called anyone who espouses SWA names, I have defended constantly their rights.

I have spoken out for myself, about my experiences, my understanding of SWA, and what I think about it, including my belief that it should not be allowed in public or publicly-funded schools.

The use of strong language, satire, and other rhetorical devices in pursuit of that account and position is protected by the universal human right to free speech -- even if that speech offends the ones spoken of.

And isn't it interesting that Tarjei Straume, who is one of the strongest arguers that Anthroposophy is not a religion, is offended by what I say about Anthroposophy that he interprets as anti-religous?

Which is it, Tarjei: I can't be a religious bigot if Anthroposophy's not a religion.

Enough of this. I will no longer respond to ad hominems from Tarjei Straume.

Cheers from Godzone,

Michael Kopp
Wellington, New Zealand

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Addendum: Re: Apology for misdirected private correspondence
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 15:04:23 +0200

Michael Kopp wrote:

Big jump (as usual for you when you want to denigrate a person) between what _other_ people say or do and what _I_ say or do.

I "identify with" skeptics, in your mind; skeptics are in the same class as athiests ("skeptics/athiests"); skeptics (how many? all?) characterise religion as comical; this comic view of religion is shared by a "heathen society"; so I must therefore "identify" with heathenism.

Not exactly. the Norwegian Heathen Society is a radical wing of the Humanist-Skeptic Movement. I see you as belonging to that movement, not to any particluar organization or branch of such.

Big jump from me _being_ skeptical, to being characterized _as_ an atheistic, heathen bigot.

I have not called you an atheistic, heathen bigot.

And where is your evidence of skeptics or anyone else on this list (which is what we're concerned with, not the rest of humanity) holding such attitudes?

The common denominator is scorn for, and ridicule of, anthroposophy and some ways this is expressed.

Nor have you given any evidence to support your claim that: "In earlier posts, you [Kopp] have indicated that you identify with this position [theists are comical]" etc.

I did not say that you share the view that deities resemble cartoon characters and the like, but that you seem to share the basic philosophy of those who hold such views.

"My anonymous friend"??? More guilt by association (though which way is unspecified). It was a contact, nothing more. Do not assume that anyone I quote is a friend of mine.

Point well made and accepted, Michael.

So did you: "These self-delusional people ..." My reference, or my informant's reference, to "madmen" is no more or less than yours. It is common to refer to such people as "saints or madmen".

This is a reasonable hypothesis from a scientific point of view in regard to things which are not in evidence. Call it a `materialist science hypothesis of why people believe in a spiritual world'. The fact that we're talking about a sizeable portion of humanity, including many scientists, does not mean the hypothesis is invalid as a hypothesis. There is no evidence to prove it yet, because we can't get inside people's minds with any scientific instruments. But neither can, say, Anthroposophy's "spiritual science", prove the existence of any such supernatural realms.

That depends entirely upon your definition of conclusive evidence. A student of esoteric science must search for the evidence within his own soul, in his own empirical experiences. You may dismiss it because you cannot manage to conduct this kind of trial-and-error experimentation, but for those who can, there is indeed scientific evidence of supersensible
realms.

It is perhaps unfortunate that I talk layman's language rather than scholar's language, as some people on this list, like John Morehead, do. But that does not prove anything about my beliefs, and it certainly doesn't prove bigotry.

I have already stated that I do not see you as an outright bigot because your views seem to vary what your personal philosophy is concerned, but you are sometimes perilously close to bigotry. You tend to give the impression that skeptics are more intelligent than esotericists, and even that the latter are more morally suspect than the former.

STRAUME:

Your posting of his message left me the impression that he expressed your viewpoint too, namely that all religious-spiritual pioneers were madmen.

KOPP:

You assume something not in evidence. Like Robert Tolz assuming that I would pick and choose my facts and sources about Anthroposophy and SWA in general journalistic article. You are painting me with the brush you should be using on the person being quoted.

If you do not share the views of the non-subscriber you quoted, I stand corrected.

STRAUME, quoting MK:

I can't recall ever making any remarks about Mary, and few about Jesus or "Christ crucified".

I didn't say that such remarks were made by you, but by other people with a similar outlook.

KOPP:

Again, guilt by association, blurring and diffusing of the actual issues ("people with a similar outlook"), and backing away from it "I didn't say you're a jerk ...". Standard propaganda techniques, Tarjei.

"I didn't say you're a jerk ..." is not backing away from "people with a similar outlook". this is *your* propaganda technique, Michael.

<snip>

As when my child's chemistry teacher, at our former Steiner school, told the class that alchemy (real transmutation of elements, and not ordinary chemical reactions, or trans-atomic ones) was true, and that the ancients had more powers than we do, and that if we could only recover those powers, we could make the world over.

Or when another teacher said that the Egyptians had built the pyramids by using acoustic (sound) power to move the huge, massive blocks of sandstone.

More remarks for the Waldorf teachers on the list.

Then it's my business.

The private Waldorf school my son attends in Norway is not.

<snip>

Could you be a little clearer with what you're accusing me of? Take lessons from Robert Flannery, eh?

TS:

Disrespect for anthroposophy.

KOPP:

Well, first I'm almost a bigot, and now I'm "disrespectful" to Anthroposophy.

Right.

It appears, from your and other diatribes, that you equate this "disrespect" towards Anthroposophy with bigotry and prejudice and religious intolerance.

They are closely related.

What -- about Anthroposophy, its founder, Rudolf Steiner, and its missionaries, the Steiner/Waldorf school teachers, in terms of the anti-rational beliefs I have described them practicing on my children (as above), without my permission, and against my will as expressed to them when they promised me Anthroposophy was not in their curriculum -- do you think deserves my "respect"?

As I have said before, I need to hear both sides of this story before I can make a private judgement about it. But by the question in the last sentence, you admit your disrespect for anthroposophy. This disrespect of yours seems to be extended to all anthroposophists world wide and to Rudolf Steiner. The venomous vocabulary in so many posts of yours testify to that.

I'll say it again: I respect the right of people to believe and practice anything they want, freely and without hindrance, as long as it does not impinge on others, or they do not defraud others.

Yet you seem to think that everything anthroposophists think and do is impinging on others and defrauding them. You may respect rights, but you don't respect people who happen to be anthroposophists.

That does not stop me from criticizing their founders, gods, high priests, adherents, dogma, practices or any other aspect, as long as I do not impinge upon their freedom or hinder their practice or call for their repression or denigration. But I am perfectly free to call them mumbo jumbo, and I do. That's not bigotry.

Disrespect of people because of their religious-spiritual philosophy, and suspecting them of being fraudulent liars and the like because of it, is very much akin to bigotry.

I have not called for repression of Anthroposophy. I have not included myself with any group of people, such as PLANS or the people on the WC list you seem to want to see as an enemy, which is calling for legal regulation of public schools and the exclusion of SWA from them. I have not called Steiner names, I have not called anyone who espouses SWA names, I have defended constantly their rights.

I have not opposed the effort to keep WE out of American public schools, because that's none of my business. I have reacted to slander, lies, and misrepresentation of anthroposophy, and to disrespect for it.

I have spoken out for myself, about my experiences, my understanding of SWA, and what I think about it, including my belief that it should not be allowed in public or publicly-funded schools.

The use of strong language, satire, and other rhetorical devices in pursuit of that account and position is protected by the universal human right to free speech -- even if that speech offends the ones spoken of.

In that case, you should tolerate a little satire from me too - about Jesus Christ and Donald Duck and my hope for your conversion to evangelical Christianity.

And isn't it interesting that Tarjei Straume, who is one of the strongest arguers that Anthroposophy is not a religion, is offended by what I say about Anthroposophy that he interprets as anti-religous?

Am I one of the strongest arguers that anthroposophy is not a religion? Quote me please. I have said time and time again that anthroposophy is a synthesis of religion, science, and art - which means that it is *much more than* a mere religion.

Which is it, Tarjei: I can't be a religious bigot if Anthroposophy's not a religion.

Anthroposophy incorporates a religious-spiritual philosophy that you do not respect.

Cheers

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Addendum: Re: Apology for misdirected private correspondence
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 15:25:15 +0200

Tarjei Straume writes:

But you are certainly prejudiced against anthroposophy, and that prejudice may easily be classified as bigotry.

Michael KOPP replies:

No, Tarjei, I am certainly "post-judiced" against Anthroposophy and its having anything to do with the education of my children.

I am the sole judge of that, not you.

I did not prejudge Anthroposophy before I sent my kids to a Steiner/ Waldorf/ Anthroposophical education: I did more homework that most to find out what Anthroposophy was about, and I obtained a contractual promise from our prospective school that Anthroposophy was not IN the education in any way.

Five years of experience with my kids in a Steiner school, and a great deal more delving into Anthroposophy, including attending lectures at the school, and, later, the appearance of several discussion lists on SWA, all of which I joined, gave me enough information to judge that Anthroposophy WAS in fact *IN* all aspects of my children's education, that it was a religion believing in things not in evidence to me, and which I did not choose to believe in, and that Steiner's pedagogy according to his invented religion, Anthroposophy, an integral part of Waldorf schools, and the school and its teachers, were *failing to properly educate my children,* and that the school had **lied** about Anthroposophy not being in the education ... and only then did I JUDGE -- not PREjudge -- Anthroposphy.

If prejudice does not fit the bill, bias does.

STRAUME:

I would not apologize for accusing you of bigotry, but I do apologize if I have given the impression that you have said anything about Donald Duck or the Easter Bunny.

I have never compared any religious figure to a cartoon character, that I can remember. If you have evidence, please produce it.

No you haven't. But your fellow skeptics have.

KOPP:

So, therefore, I am as guilty of all the crimes you ascribe to them as you say they are, and, by association, I am a "bigot".

I haven't ascribed anything to the skeptics that could be classified as crimes. I am hesitant to call you a bigot, but I believe you are close.

Cheers

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

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From: Dan Dugan
Subject: Re: Addendum: Re: Apology for misdirected private correspondence
Date: Sun, 18 Apr 1999 00:50:53 -0700

What -- about Anthroposophy, its founder, Rudolf Steiner, and its missionaries, the Steiner/Waldorf school teachers, in terms of the anti-rational beliefs I have described them practicing on my children (as above), without my permission, and against my will as expressed to them when they promised me Anthroposophy was not in their curriculum -- do you think deserves my "respect"?

I'll say it again: I respect the right of people to believe and practice anything they want, freely and without hindrance, as long as it does not impinge on others, or they do not defraud others.

That does not stop me from criticizing their founders, gods, high priests, adherents, dogma, practices or any other aspect, as long as I do not impinge upon their freedom or hinder their practice or call for their repression or denigration. But I am perfectly free to call them mumbo jumbo, and I do. That's not bigotry.

Good shot, Michael.

I have not called for repression of Anthroposophy. I have not included myself with any group of people, such as PLANS or the people on the WC list you seem to want to see as an enemy, which is calling for legal regulation of public schools and the exclusion of SWA from them. I have not called Steiner names, I have not called anyone who espouses SWA names, I have defended constantly their rights.

I will. I think Steiner was a big fake. Tragically, however, I think he believed most of it himself.

Enough of this. I will no longer respond to ad hominems from Tarjei Straume.

Hooray!

-Dan Dugan

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From: Dan Dugan
Subject: Re: Addendum: Re: Apology for misdirected private correspondence
Date: Sun, 18 Apr 1999 00:56:19 -0700

I did not prejudge Anthroposophy before I sent my kids to a Steiner/ Waldorf/ Anthroposophical education: I did more homework that most to find out what Anthroposophy was about, and I obtained a contractual promise from our prospective school that Anthroposophy was not IN the education in any way.

My experience was very similar.

-Dan Dugan

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Addendum: Re: Apology for misdirected private correspondence
Date: Sun, 18 Apr 1999 17:01:08 +0200

Dan Dugan wrote:

I think Steiner was a big fake. Tragically, however, I think he believed most of it himself.

What you believe about Steiner is a tragedy for yourself and for those of your ilk.

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

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From: Dan Dugan
Subject: Re: PRIVATE -- SUGGESTION Re: my introduction
Date: Sun, 18 Apr 1999 01:53:55 -0700

Tarjei, you said,

It was a psychological experiment of sorts, because I am seriously trying to understand how evangelical Christians and radical skeptics and atheists can find such a warm bond based upon a common enemy.

Thanks for admitting you've been trying to manipulate the list.

And the enemy is not limited to American school boards and American Waldorf administrators and teachers; it is extended to the school my son attends in Norway, to all anthroposophists worldwide, including actors, dancers, composers and poets, and to the founder of anthroposophy Rudolf Steiner, whose personal character and integrity is constantly under attack.

Why should you be scared? Because Anthroposophy is being exposed to the light of day? Poor baby! If it's worth it's salt, it will stand up. If knowledge of Anthroposophy is damaging to Anthroposophy, so be it.

-Dan Dugan

P.S. I like this thread, but please minimize text about who offended whom.

So my psychological experiment was not intended as a counter-attack, but as an investigation of the passions involved in this and their nature. And it is very, very interesting to see how riled up you have become because of this, and to what extent you have abused the expression "ad hominem."

-dD-

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: PRIVATE -- SUGGESTION Re: my introduction
Date: Sun, 18 Apr 1999 13:58:30 +0200

Dan Dugan wrote:

Tarjei, you said,

It was a psychological experiment of sorts, because I am seriously trying to understand how evangelical Christians and radical skeptics and atheists can find such a warm bond based upon a common enemy.

Thanks for admitting you've been trying to manipulate the list.

If an endavor to expose the mutual contradiction of Christian evangelism and secular humanism means manipulating the list, the attempt do do the same with anthroposophy and its relation to Catholocism and Buddhism is equally manipulative.

And the enemy is not limited to American school boards and American Waldorf administrators and teachers; it is extended to the school my son attends in Norway, to all anthroposophists worldwide, including actors, dancers, composers and poets, and to the founder of anthroposophy Rudolf Steiner, whose personal character and integrity is constantly under attack.

Why should you be scared? Because Anthroposophy is being exposed to the light of day? Poor baby! If it's worth it's salt, it will stand up. If knowledge of Anthroposophy is damaging to Anthroposophy, so be it.

The only thing I am scared of is the war in Europe and the danger of its expansion. If the allegations voiced by PLANS against Steiner and anthroposophy were entirely truthful, they would be exposing it. But it is not, and they are not. Knowledge of anthroposophy has never been damaging to anthroposophy. Abuse of such knowledge, like slanderous misrepresentations, is a different matter.

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

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