Fallacious Argumentation

As the title suggests, this thread addresses the issue of how some attacks by "critics" are based upon illogical non sequitor arguments. Watch also the return of Michael Kopp and observe his debating technique.

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From: Herman de Tollenaere
Subject: Medical care/religion [fwd]
Date: Sun, 31 Jan 1999 01:56:19 +0100

The Oregonian

Bill aims to lift all Oregon religious shields

The new law would, among other things, hold parents criminally liable for relying solely on prayer for healing children

Friday, January 22 1999

By Mark Larabee of The Oregonian staff

When Oregon parents treat their sick children with prayers instead of medical care under the tenets of their religion and the child is injured or dies, state law allows them to declare their religious beliefs as a legal defense to charges of homicide and child abuse.

But House Bill 2494, introduced Thursday by Rep. Bruce Starr, R-Aloha, would remove those religious shields from Oregon's criminal codes.

If approved, the new law would, among other things, hold parents criminally liable for the deaths of their children if they relied solely on prayer for healing.

"This levels the playing field for all children in Oregon," Starr said. "Regardless of their religion, parents must provide adequate medical care for their children."

The bill is the result of a debate that began last year after Clackamas County District Attorney Terry Gustafson refused to prosecute the parents of an 11-year-old Oregon City boy who died of treatable diabetes.

The dead boy's parents are member of the Followers of Christ Church, an Oregon City faith-healing sect whose 1,200 members believe that death, just as life, is God's will. Like thousands of faith-healing Christians across the nation, the Followers don't use doctors. Instead, they trust that God will heal all ills.

An investigation last year by The Oregonian found that more than 70 Followers of Christ children have died since the mid-1950s, many from treatable illnesses. This is perhaps the largest cluster of faith-healing deaths ever documented, experts have said.

Gustafson said Oregon's homicide statutes were so confusing that faith-healing parents were denied due-process rights if brought to trial. Attorney General Hardy Myers and most other Oregon prosecutors disagreed with Gustafson. But many, including Myers, have said they would support legislation to clarify parents' rights and responsibilities. Peter Cogswell, Myers' spokesman, said Thursday that Myers had not taken a position on Starr's bill.

The bill eliminates the shield laws from all Oregon's statutes, including murder by abuse, first- and second-degree manslaughter, criminal mistreatment and criminal nonsupport.

Only six states, including Oregon, allow such sweeping immunity for faith-healing parents whose children die without treatment, although more than 40 states include some kind of religious shields in their criminal, civil and juvenile codes.

Not only are Oregon's laws some of the weakest in protecting children of faith healers, but legislative records over the years show that lawmakers wrote the laws to suit the Christian Science Church.

Christian Scientists, the nation's largest religious group favoring spiritual healing methods, has been the chief defender of such religious shields nationwide. Oregon church members pushed through changes in 1995 and 1997 that strengthened parents' rights to use prayers in lieu of medical care, ironically as prosecutors were seeking stiffer sentences for child killers. The church's Oregon lobbyist, Bruce Fitzwater, said he will pay close attention to the debate, but said he couldn't comment Thursday because he hadn't yet seen the bill.

Despite the potential opposition, Starr said he believes the bill will pass this session with few problems. It has bipartisan support, and House Speaker Lynn Snodgrass, R-Boring, and Senate Minority Leader Kate Brown, D-Portland, are the chief co-sponsors. But Starr reluctantly acknowledges that the bill could get hung up in this chiefly conservative assembly in a debate over religious freedom.

"I hope that we will instead focus on children who are dying for a lack of medical care," he said.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon is considering whether to take a stand on the issue, after correspondence from one of its members last year, said David Fidanque, the group's Oregon lobbyist. Historically, the ACLU has favored a state's right to intervene in known cases where children are in danger but has been against prosecuting parents after a child dies.

"We're sympathetic to the concerns of people like the Christian Scientists whose religious beliefs prohibit them from seeking medical care," he said. "Prosecuting them later is not going to change their beliefs."

Rita Swan, president of Children's Healthcare Is a Legal Duty, based in Sioux City, Iowa, said Starr's bill is the national group's top priority. A former Christian Scientist whose son died of spinal meningitis, Swan has waged a battle against religious shields both on the state and federal levels.

"Because of the large number of children who have died in Oregon, we think it's extremely important for this bill to be passed this year," Swan said.

Two of the Oregon children who died were Russ Briggs' sons. The Oregon City resident was raised in the Followers of Christ Church and practiced its faith-healing doctrines into adulthood. His first two sons died shortly after birth of what he believes were preventable medical problems. He left the church years later and is now a member of Swan's group.

After appearing in The Oregonian, in Time magazine and on ABC's "20/20," Briggs said he is happy that something is finally being done to help the Followers' children. Each day that passes is another that children are at risk, he said.

"It just needed to be done to help the children to come," he said. "You can't go backward in time. The ones that need protecting are the ones there now."

Mark Larabee can be reached by phone at 503-294-7664; by mail at 1320 S.W. Broadway, Portland, Ore. 97201; or by e-mail at marklarabee@news.oregonian.com.

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Herman de Tollenaere
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My Internet site on Asian history and "new" religions:

http://stad.dsl.nl/~hermantl/

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

http://www.stelling.nl/simpos/simpoeng.htm
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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Medical care/religion [fwd]
Date: Sun, 31 Jan 1999 14:03:09 +0100

The Oregonian

Bill aims to lift all Oregon religious shields

The new law would, among other things, hold parents criminally liable for relying solely on prayer for healing children

From one point of view, medical negligence of children caused by members of Jehovah's Witnesses, the "Church" of $sientology and other groups, would be off-topic for a discussiion of Waldorf education, Anthroposophy, and anthroposophical medicine. Unless, of course, the idea is to erase all such distinctions and create the impression that anthroposophists are opposed to life-saving medical treatment in favor of prayer and faith healing.

I would like to see a documented case where Anthroposophy has been responsible for medical neglect, especially what death of children is concerned.

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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From: Bruce
Subject: Re: Medical care/religion [fwd]
Date: Sun, 31 Jan 1999 10:13:48 EST

Is Herman de Tollenaere suggesting by posting this on the waldorf-critics list that anthroposophical doctors are against surgery, medicine, health-care or what?

Just as a matter of interest!

Bruce

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From: Stephen Tonkin
Subject: Fallacious argumentation (was: Medical care/religion [fwd])
Date: Sun, 31 Jan 1999 17:52:21 +0000

Tarjei Straume wrote:

From one point of view, medical negligence of children caused by members of Jehovah's Witnesses, the "Church" of $sientology and other groups, would be off-topic for a discussiion of Waldorf education, Anthroposophy, and anthroposophical medicine. Unless, of course, the idea is to erase all such distinctions and create the impression that anthroposophists are opposed to life-saving medical treatment in favor of prayer and faith healing.

Considering that the bulk of Dr de Tollenaere's recent posts have precisely nothing to do with Waldorf education, on could certainly be forgiven for assuming that it is his amongst his intentions to blur such distinctions.

However, one should not assume malice; it may merely be that Dr de Tollenaere is unversed in formal logic and is therefore unaware that his posts on Scientology, Christian Science, etc. so wonderfully exemplify the fallacious form of argumentation which is normally called "Argument from spurious similarity".

Of course it may also be that Dr de Tollenaere actually believes that a criticism of Scientology or Christian Science or Newage Mumbojumbo is also a criticism of Waldorf education: they are all *not* secular humanism. -- if one defines things by what they are not, one could invent any similarity (which, logically, is as valuable as saying that Mt Blanc and a Wellington boot are similar because they are both not roast beef).

I don't know which, if any, of the above is true; for me to claim that any is would expose me to (rightful) accusation of employing the equally fallacious "argument by scenario".

Anyway, Tarjei, welcome to the WC -- you'll get used to Dr de Tollenaere's periodic irrelevant droppings after a while.

--
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From: Daniel Sabsay
Subject: Re: Fallacious argumentation (was: Medical care/religion [fwd])
Date: Sun, 31 Jan 1999 12:39:23 -0800

Stephen Tonkin wrote >

Considering that the bulk of Dr de Tollenaere's recent posts have precisely nothing to do with Waldorf education, on could certainly be forgiven for assuming that it is his amongst his intentions to blur such distinctions.

I have personally observed a homeopathic "first-aid" kit in a local Waldorf school. Maybe you and Tarjei are under the impression that this constitutes medicine.

-- Daniel

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

mail@eb-skeptics.org

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From: Debra Snell
Subject: Re: Fallacious argumentation (was: Medical care/religion [fwd])
Date: Sun, 31 Jan 1999 13:03:32 -0800

Stephen Tonkin (sft@aegis1.demon.co.uk) wrote

Considering that the bulk of Dr de Tollenaere's recent posts have precisely nothing to do with Waldorf education, on could certainly be forgiven for assuming that it is his amongst his intentions to blur such distinctions.

I have personally observed a homeopathic "first-aid" kit in a local Waldorf school. Maybe you and Tarjei are under the impression that this constitutes medicine.

-- Daniel

The now-named Yuba River Charter school sent permission slips to all parents requesting authorization to administer homeopathy to our children while they were at school. I refused to sign mine for two reasons:

A) My nephew died as a result of his homeopathic "treatment". For the record: Opium is not an appropriate cure for meningitus. Antibiotics are the only effective treatment. My sister-in-law received the diagnosis at the hospital, refused treatment, and the homeopathist was stupid enough to treat him. (The homeopathist has since joined Graham in his "after life". She died because homeopathy didn't work for her breast cancer either).

B) There was not even a trained homeopathist on staff at my children's school and I got no response when I asked [in writing] who was qualified to dispense this "treatment". In spite of no authorization and my vocal and written concern about this practice, my son was treated homeopathically anyway after a fall on the playground. (Is it arnica?) HELLO - why send out permission slips if you don't intend to honor the families wishes.

Deby

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Fallacious argumentation (was: Medical care/religion [fwd])
Date: Sun, 31 Jan 1999 23:26:44 +0100

Stephen Tonkin wrote

Considering that the bulk of Dr de Tollenaere's recent posts have precisely nothing to do with Waldorf education, on could certainly be forgiven for assuming that it is his amongst his intentions to blur such distinctions.

I have personally observed a homeopathic "first-aid" kit in a local Waldorf school. Maybe you and Tarjei are under the impression that this constitutes medicine.

-- Daniel

The now-named Yuba River Charter school sent permission slips to all parents requesting authorization to administer homeopathy to our children while they were at school.

And this practice of homeopathy was scheduled to take place without trained medical staff, and without a licenced homeopathist?

I refused to sign mine for two reasons:

A) My nephew died as a result of his homeopathic "treatment". For the record: Opium is not an appropriate cure for meningitus. Antibiotics are the only effective treatment.

For the record: I have always used antibiotics when needed. But it is a highly disputed topic, and the medical authorities here in Norway are discussing the consequences of too much usage over the years. But if antibiotics could have saved your cousin's life, I don't understand the reluctance at all. It's beyond me.

My sister-in-law received the diagnosis at the hospital, refused treatment, and the homeopathist was stupid enough to treat him.

So your nephew died because your sister-in-law refused your nephew treatment at the hospital?

(The homeopathist has since joined Graham in his "after life". She died because homeopathy didn't work for her breast cancer either).

I just saw some ladies on Oprah who had survived breast cancer because of some break-through research on diet. I lost my cousin to kidney cancer when she was 43, leaving behind two children, 6 and 8, and a very nice husband who is a good friend of mine. She was only getting the orthodox treatment though, cell poison. It didn't save her life either. (I don't know if I should say that the treatment didn't work, or if it killed her.) Cancer is often a vicious killer, and its curability or incurability is a difficult area of research.

B) There was not even a trained homeopathist on staff at my children's school and I got no response when I asked [in writing] who was qualified to dispense this "treatment". In spite of no authorization and my vocal and written concern about this practice, my son was treated homeopathically anyway after a fall on the playground. (Is it arnica?) HELLO - why send out permission slips if you don't intend to honor the families wishes.

This sounds alarmingly sloppy, irresponsible, and disrespectful. If this is true, the Waldorf movement in America obviously lacks discipline. As I pointed out in a previous post, the quality of an educational facility depends a great deal upon the qualifications and the personal characters, the integrity and trustworthiness, of the teachers and staff.

Your semi-satirical reference to the "after life" tells me that you were never comfortable with the supernatural aspects of Anthroposophy. From my perspective far away (in Norway), it looks like the Waldorf movement in America, or at least part of it, is pushing their pedagogy as well as their alternative medicine imprudently and unwisely, and that this is a major reason for the WC list.

Cheers,

Tarjei
http://www.uncletaz.com/

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Fallacious argumentation (was: Medical care/religion [fwd])
Date: Sun, 31 Jan 1999 23:48:41 +0100

Daniel wrote:

I have personally observed a homeopathic "first-aid" kit in a local Waldorf school. Maybe you and Tarjei are under the impression that this constitutes medicine.

Maybe you are under the impression that anthroposophical medicine has nothing to do with medicine. In that case, I recommend the book by Victor Bott, M.D. "Anthroposophical Medicine - Spiritual Science and the Art of Healing." (Translated from the original french: Thorsons Publishers Inc., New York.)

It is ignorant to say that a medical doctor is not practicing medicine - i.e. is not a medical doctor - because he is specializing in anthroposophical medicine. It's total nonsense. It reminds me of the old prejudice in the West against Chinese medicine. In the 1960's, I saw a television interview with a doctor in China who explained that they used Chinese medicine as a rule, but when Western medicine was more effective, they used it instead. You're promoting a cultural and philosophical prejudice that seeks to deprive people of available choices even when their lives may depend upon such options.

Are you also saying that acupuncture is not medical treatment? Oriental sciences and disciplines have their origin in a spiritual world view. Should only atheists and agonstics be licensed to develop medicines or to teach children?

Cheers,

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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From: Stephen Tonkin
Subject: Re: Fallacious argumentation (was: Medical care/religion [fwd])
Date: Mon, 1 Feb 1999 14:09:49 +0000

Daniel "Ignorance is the ultimate renewable resource" Sabsay, president East Bay Skeptics Society wrote:

Stephen Tonkin wrote

Considering that the bulk of Dr de Tollenaere's recent posts have precisely nothing to do with Waldorf education, on could certainly be forgiven for assuming that it is his amongst his intentions to blur such distinctions.

I have personally observed a homeopathic "first-aid" kit in a local Waldorf school. Maybe you and Tarjei are under the impression that this constitutes medicine.

????

This is a bit of a non-sequitur and also appears to, by innuendo, wish people to generalise from the particular. Surely the East Bay Skeptics Society should eschew such fallacious forms of argumentation in its public pronouncements?

Look in any first aid kit at the school at which I teach, you will find it conforms to current "First Aid at Work" practice, as does the advice therein on treating various ailments. Parents wanting anything other than this "approved" treatment (and that includes use of antiseptics) have to say so in writing. I know this because it is my responsibility to ensure that it is so -- and I periodically check.

Perhaps the EBSS would like to get back to the point and tell us precisely the relevance of Scientology, Christian Science, and homoeopathy to Waldorf education. We should be able to have a field day with the Coker-alarm!

As an aside, if the recent findings at the University of Utrecht are found to be replicable, the anti-homoeopath knee-jerkers may be eating their hats... (however, it would still not answer the charge that, statistically, homoeopathy is indistinguishable from placebo)

Debra Snell wrote:

A) My nephew died as a result of his homeopathic "treatment". For the record: Opium is not an appropriate cure for meningitus. Antibiotics are the only effective treatment.

That's very sad, Deby, and I certainly would want antibiotics *quickly* if meningitis was even suspected. However, we have had several recent meningitis deaths in this country, despite the use of antibiotics.

She died because homeopathy didn't work for her breast cancer either).

I know several people who have died from cancer, despite chemo- and radio-therapy.

The point I am making is only that medicine is not an exact science; the outcome of treatment, even allopathic treatment, is rarely a certainty.

That said, the homoeopath I will trust is the one who survives after injecting himself with live, unattenuated, rabies virus and treats himself only homoeopathically. Unsurprisingly, I have yet to find one who has that degree of faith in his "art".

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From: Stephen Tonkin
Subject: Re: Fwd: Re: Medical care/religion [fwd]
Date: Mon, 1 Feb 1999 14:13:52 +0000

ckzfrey wrote of Dr de Tollenaere:

What I do appreciate, though, is that he abstains from the kind of innuendo and ill-considered accusations that are so often posted on this list.

He doesn't. Read the archives.

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From: Debra Snell
Subject: Re: Fallacious argumentation (was: Medical care/religion [fwd])
Date: Mon, 1 Feb 1999 08:29:44 -0800

Debra Snell <snell@netshel.net> wrote:

A) My nephew died as a result of his homeopathic "treatment". For the record: Opium is not an appropriate cure for meningitus. Antibiotics are the only effective treatment.

That's very sad, Deby, and I certainly would want antibiotics *quickly* if meningitis was even suspected. However, we have had several recent meningitis deaths in this country, despite the use of antibiotics.

Very true, Stephen. My daughter was a lucky one to get very fast treatment for the terrifiying bacteria. My girlfriend's son is deaf [as a result] of meningitus. The hospital did an inquiry on Graham's death and decided that since they couldn't promise that Graham would have lived _with_ antibiotic treatment, no charges were filed. That incident occured in 1984. Since then, parents have been prosecuted for refusing treatment for their child's meningitus.

She died because homeopathy didn't work for her breast cancer either).

I know several people who have died from cancer, despite chemo- and radio-therapy.

Absolutely. My mother is battling cancer now, at age 81. (Cancer of the Lymph glands). Her cancer was arrested 32 years ago with radiation therapy and returned three years ago. Chemo has been hard on her body. Today I'm taking her in for an 8 hour chemo drip - her third in three weeks _this_ round. We practically lost her due to sepsus two weeks ago. A blood transfusion and new antibiotic brought her back. (My 8 year old neice, sitting vigil with her mother, drew a picture of Grandma in her hospital bed. Grandma was colored green. Unfortunately, it was a true depiction of her color.) One tough woman - she still runs the Water District in her small town. Applied for and received a grant to improve the system a couple months ago. I know she will breath her last breath with a full calandar.

The point I am making is only that medicine is not an exact science; the outcome of treatment, even allopathic treatment, is rarely a certainty.

That said, the homoeopath I will trust is the one who survives after injecting himself with live, unattenuated, rabies virus and treats himself only homoeopathically. Unsurprisingly, I have yet to find one who has that degree of faith in his "art".

Like I've said before. If all Waldorf teachers were like you, PLANS may be put out of business. <grin>

Deby

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From: Bruce
Subject: Re: Fallacious argumentation (was: Medical care/religion [fwd])
Date: Mon, 1 Feb 1999 13:56:29 EST

In einer eMail vom 31.01.99 21:45:13 MEZ, schreiben Sie:

I have personally observed a homeopathic "first-aid" kit in a local Waldorf school. Maybe you and Tarjei are under the impression that this constitutes medicine.

I reckon there are one or two besides Steven and Tarjei who recognise the immense wealth of benefits from Homeopathy!!

Bruce

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From: Bruce
Subject: Re: Fallacious argumentation (was: Medical care/religion [fwd])
Date: Mon, 1 Feb 1999 14:49:50 EST

In einer eMail vom 31.01.99 22:08:44 MEZ, schreiben Sie, Deby:

A) My nephew died as a result of his homeopathic "treatment". For the record: Opium is not an appropriate cure for meningitus. Antibiotics are the only effective treatment. My sister-in-law received the diagnosis at the hospital, refused treatment, and the homeopathist was stupid enough to treat him. (The homeopathist has since joined Graham in his "after life". She died because homeopathy didn't work for her breast cancer either).

Clearly one is sympathatic to such cases, and I wonder if to discuss deaths is really helpful..... however, there are many many women who have benefited (probably by having their lives saved, but that can never be proven) from the anthroposophical homeopathic treatment called ISCADOR - made from mistletoe.

As for treating playground accidents I personally feel more comfortable rendering homeopathic medecines (which most non homeopathics say are only water and therefore harmless) than alipathic ones - and they are far less dangerous! But I would rather a qualified homeopath argued this case - I am, and I suspect we all are, a layman in the medical field.

Bruce

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From: Bruce
Subject: Re: Fallacious argumentation (was: Medical care/religion [fwd])
Date: Mon, 1 Feb 1999 15:13:56 EST

In einer eMail vom 01.02.99 17:47:28 MEZ, schreiben Sie:

The point I am making is only that medicine is not an exact science; the outcome of treatment, even allopathic treatment, is rarely a certainty.

That said, the homoeopath I will trust is the one who survives after injecting himself with live, unattenuated, rabies virus and treats himself only homoeopathically. Unsurprisingly, I have yet to find one who has that degree of faith in his "art".

Stephen really!

Homeopaths may be different, but theyre not daft. Noone would play russian- roulette with what you describe as a non-exact science. BTW I have been cured by a homeopath (non-anthroposophist, she used MUCH stronger doses) for something I neednt go into here! "Normal" doctors had given up!

Bruce

PS The affliction I had was not life-threatening!

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Fallacious argumentation (was: Medical care/religion [fwd])
Date: Mon, 1 Feb 1999 22:09:18 +0100

Bruce wrote:

I reckon there are one or two besides Steven and Tarjei who recognise the immense wealth of benefits from Homeopathy!!

Bruce

As a matter of fact, I am not schooled in medicine, and I have minimal experience with homeopathy. My mother used it a lot, but she found no cure or effective treatment for the crippling and painful Parkinson disease, which took her life a year and a half ago at age 74.

When my mother was too crippled to live in her apartment, I arranged for her to be hospitalized at a regular hospital and then placed in a convalescent home for the elderly. She had for years hoped to move to a center for alternative medicine, but that kind of thing can cost a lot of money when it is not covered by your state health package. She was a dedicated anthroposophist who read volumes of books about health and illness written by *medical doctors* who had developed various kinds of alternative medicines. These medicines alleviated her sufferings better than what she was given by orthodox medicine at the convalescent home. I am very grateful to the staff for how well they took care of my mother and the other patients. They were warm and caring people. But my mother always complained about the terrible side-effects of the medication, which was basically painkillers. She also complained about the diet, especially the white sugar for her tea (instead of natural sugar), which she said was killing her. I made some purchases for her at the health food store, which helped a little. I did contact an anthroposophical doctor when she requested it, and I prepared an arrangement with the staff to set up a meeting with the resident orthodox physician who came once a week, and who had been treating my mother. She died before this came to pass.

One side-effect from some of the medication made her feel drugged, less mentally alert. That is why she refused to take it, preferring the pain. When the staff considered forcefully medicating her for her own good, I became alarmed, and I am grateful that she died before her will was violated in such a humiliating way. The worst things society can do to you are administered by caring, well-meaning people *for your own good.*

This post is about the rights of patients and respect for the elderly, and respect for free choice in medical care. It is also a little tirade against those who scorn our approach to "the afterlife." It is about the fact that a fatally ill anthroposophist has the right to an alert and awake consciousness, because he or she is actively at work, preparing to cross the threshold. This was a preparation for which my mother had dedicated her entire life. As long as I can remember, she was studying and talking about "the afterlife." Sometimes I criticized her for this, saying that our existence here and now was most important. But when I held her funeral speech (with a Christian Community ritual), I recognized that I have never experienced a departed soul more present and alert, an observation I pointed out. Since then, I always receive a feeling of liberation and relief from her, as though she is like a fish in the water on the other side. This is not only because she she experienced tremendous hindrances and opposition in this incarnation, and eventually a disease so painful that she wished to die (earlier, she had been dreading and fearing death), but precisely because she had spent a lifetime learning to understand and prepare for the journey between death and rebirth.

Some subscribers to this list may believe that my mother would have been cured of her Parkinson disease if she had first consulted an exit counsellor about her Anthroposophy and then a Freudian therapist about her interest in the afterlife and that I ought to do precisely those things for my own good.

Cheers,

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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From: Debra Snell
Subject: Re: Fallacious argumentation (was: Medical care/religion [fwd])
Date: Mon, 1 Feb 1999 14:03:17 -0800

As for treating playground accidents I personally feel more comfortable rendering homeopathic medecines (which most non homeopathics say are only water and therefore harmless) than alipathic ones - and they are far less dangerous! But I would rather a qualified homeopath argued this case - I am, and I suspect we all are, a layman in the medical field.

How about a cold compress, a bit of antiseptic and a bandaid?

-Deby

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From: Stephen Tonkin
Subject: Re: Fallacious argumentation (was: Medical care/religion [fwd])
Date: Tue, 2 Feb 1999 00:34:26 +0000

Debra Snell <snell@netshel.net> wrote:

How about a cold compress, a bit of antiseptic and a bandaid?

I'd need your written permission for the antiseptic. Current First Aid practice is that wounds should be cleaned with clean water only. (A growing number of people react to antiseptics)

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From: Stephen Tonkin
Subject: Re: Fallacious argumentation (was: Medical care/religion [fwd])
Date: Tue, 2 Feb 1999 00:40:02 +0000

Bruce wrote:

In einer eMail vom 01.02.99 17:47:28 MEZ, schreiben Sie:

That said, the homoeopath I will trust is the one who survives after injecting himself with live, unattenuated, rabies virus and treats himself only homoeopathically. Unsurprisingly, I have yet to find one who has that degree of faith in his "art".

Stephen really!

Homeopaths may be different, but theyre not daft. Noone would play russian- roulette with what you describe as a non-exact science.

Ah, but isn't that just what some allopaths did in the early days of vaccination? (Not rabies, but other life-threatening diseases)

--
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From: Stephen Tonkin
Subject: Re: Fallacious argumentation (was: Medical care/religion [fwd])
Date: Tue, 2 Feb 1999 06:34:55 +0000

Debra Snell wrote:

Like I've said before. If all Waldorf teachers were like you, PLANS may be put out of business. <grin>

I imagine that there is more than one person reading this who would suggest that it would be because, if all Waldorf teachers were like me, Waldorf schools would go out of business <g>.
--
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
+ Stephen Tonkin | ATM Resources; Astro-Tutorials; Astronomy Books +
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----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Debra Snell
Subject: Re: Fallacious argumentation (was: Medical care/religion [fwd])
Date: Mon, 1 Feb 1999 23:57:39 -0800

Debra Snell <snell@netshel.net> wrote:

How about a cold compress, a bit of antiseptic and a bandaid?

I'd need your written permission for the antiseptic. Current First Aid practice is that wounds should be cleaned with clean water only. (A growing number of people react to antiseptics)
-

I would sign that request _over_ a homeopathy permission slip anyday.

Deby

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

From: "Steve Premo"
Subject: Re: Fallacious argumentation (was: Medical care/religion [fwd])
Date: Tue, 2 Feb 1999 08:51:41 -0700

Bruce wrote:

In einer eMail vom 01.02.99 17:47:28 MEZ, schreiben Sie:


That said, the homoeopath I will trust is the one who survives after injecting himself with live, unattenuated, rabies virus and treats himself only homoeopathically. Unsurprisingly, I have yet to find one who has that degree of faith in his "art".

Stephen really!

Homeopaths may be different, but theyre not daft. Noone would play russian- roulette with what you describe as a non-exact science.

When we were first planning to have a child, my wife had not been exposed to Rubella (German measles), or vaccinated for it. Now, Rubella is a very common disease, and if a woman contracts Rubella in the early stages of pregnancy, it's likely to lead to birth defects.

Naomi's chiropractor, who also practices homeopathy, strongly advised against getting vaccinated for Rubella. He claimed that if she were exposed to it, he could give her a homeopathic remedy that would keep her from coming down with the disease and endangering our baby.

That's pretty close to Russian Roulette, except that he was only willing to play it with our child, not with himself. She stopped going to that idiot!

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

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

From: Bruce
Subject: Re: Fallacious argumentation (was: Medical care/religion [fwd])
Date: Tue, 2 Feb 1999 15:31:01 EST

In einer eMail vom 01.02.99 23:16:30 MEZ, schreiben Sie:

How about a cold compress, a bit of antiseptic and a bandaid?

-Deby

If bandaid is plaster then naturally I use that - it is neither homeo or alo- pathic, cold-compress is more likely homeopathic than alopathic, and antiseptic is not medicine, it is disinfectant, and thus neither. I would use a suitable homeopathic cream if I thought it would help - it certainly wouldnt harm (in non-burn cases). For burns BTW I really find that a homeopathic lotion is much safer than anything alopathic - I use Combodoron - diluted 10 to 1 - in the lab! Once someone was badly scalded, and rushed to casuality. The staff there were really HAPPY that I had used the stuff.

Bruce

PS I would STILL like a doctor to come in here - but I believe there can be no DANGER from using external homeopathic medicines, naturally with some knowledge, and a deal of common-sense!

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

From: Bruce
Subject: Re: Fallacious argumentation (was: Medical care/religion [fwd])
Date: Tue, 2 Feb 1999 15:31:06 EST

In einer eMail vom 02.02.99 06:58:48 MEZ, schreiben Sie:

Ah, but isn't that just what some allopaths did in the early days of vaccination? (Not rabies, but other life-threatening diseases)

well if the homeopaths arent daft.... maybe the alipaths were! The use of animals to test things is abhorrent - the use of other humans is inhumane.... the use of oneself is .. acceptable?? <g>

Bruce

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

From: Bruce
Subject: Re: Fallacious argumentation (was: Medical care/religion [fwd])
Date: Tue, 2 Feb 1999 15:31:16 EST

In einer eMail vom 02.02.99 18:11:32 MEZ, schreiben Sie:

Naomi's chiropractor, who also practices homeopathy, strongly advised against getting vaccinated for Rubella. He claimed that if she were exposed to it, he could give her a homeopathic remedy that would keep her from coming down with the disease and endangering our baby.

That's pretty close to Russian Roulette, except that he was only willing to play it with our child, not with himself. She stopped going to that idiot!

I would have stopped going to him/her too!

Bruce

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

From: Stephen Tonkin
Subject: Re: Fallacious argumentation (was: Medical care/religion [fwd])
Date: Tue, 2 Feb 1999 23:04:21 +0000

Bruce wrote:

I would use a suitable homeopathic cream if I thought it would help - it certainly wouldnt harm (in non-burn cases).

My opinion (as a trained first-aider, not a doctor) is that nothing other than clean water should be applied to broken skin in a *first* aid context. One day I'm going to have to take a swab from a long-opened tube of "patent-medicine" cream and see what grows on agar...

--
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
+ Stephen Tonkin | ATM Resources; Astro-Tutorials; Astronomy Books +
+ (N50.9105 W1.829)
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

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

 

From: Michael Kopp
Subject: Re: Fallacious argumentation (was: Medical care/religion [fwd])
Date: Sun, 7 Feb 1999 13:41:16 +1300

Tarjei Straume says in passing, while remarking on Deby Snell's disastrous experiences with Anthroposophical (homeopathic) medicine in a Steiner/ Waldorf/ Anthroposophical (SWA) school:

Your semi-satirical reference to the "after life" tells me that you were never comfortable with the supernatural aspects of Anthroposophy. From my perspective far away (in Norway), it looks like the Waldorf movement in America, or at least part of it, is pushing their pedagogy as well as their alternative medicine imprudently and unwisely, and that this is a major reason for the WC list.

And in New Zealand as well. All of the negative experiences with SWA of the many critical contributors to this list have been experienced by me and my family (except death or serious physical harm).

This list has recently become a gentle-persons chat room about philosophy. Some defenders of the faith [TM] have remarked that this is a welcome departure from the recent past. I take this to be an allusion to my strong criticism.

Some other defenders of the faith have used the usual dismissive `don't listen to him, he's just bitter/strident/paranoid'. Believe me, this is an effective technique, combined with my family's desire for me to close this chapter of our lives and get on.

Unfortunately, the SWA `movement' IS on the rise everywhere, along with the rise of many other `new age', but really medieval, world views.

And there are very few people within the SWA movement who would agree with Tarjei about their "imprudence". In fact, I believe, the expansion of the movement is not a grass-roots, blundering, amateur effort. I think it is quite calculating and shrewd.

I wonder how the SWA movement could _prudently_ push its pedagogy and faith? It would still be passing off old codswallop as new-age, trendy, touchy-feely communitarianism. The deception of parents would still be as deep and intended.

Recent articles on SWA in New Zealand -- one in the widest-circulating national magazine, the only one passing for intellectual -- have been almost totally uncritical of SWA. And the slickness of the PR job done on the (otherwise astute) senior reporter -- by the head Anthroposophist of my former school -- has to be seen in light of the prevailing spin doctoring of almost every public pronouncement in this country. George Orwell would recognise Godzone.

Far from being `uncomfortable' about what Tarjei calls the "supernatural aspects of Anthroposophy", I was blissfully unaware of their true extent and meaning at the start of our association with our SWA school. This was because I was duped by mis- and dis-information, and I could not have found the truth without having read half a shelf of original Steiner works. The standard references on SWA for the general public never give the truth in fullness or in plain language.

It was only after the weirdness of the occult, spiritualistic mumbo jumbo inherent in SWA education started coming home to me in my children's workbooks and minds that I took fright and began asking questions of the school -- none of which were ever answered.

It was only after I found this discussion list that everything that I had discovered and assembled into a picture of supernatural madness fell into place.

This list is vital not only for `keeping SWA honest' but for exposing its dark underbelly of irrational beliefs.

Let's get back to critical comment on what goes on in the schools, please. Steinerian erudition is peripheral to this concern, at best, and dilatory, obfuscatory and a smokescreen at worst

Belated cheers from Godzone (I've been off ill),

Michael Kopp
Wellington, New Zealand

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

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Fallacious argumentation (was: Medical care/religion [fwd])
Date: Sun, 7 Feb 1999 05:41:25 +0100

Michael Kopp wrote:

Unfortunately, the SWA `movement' IS on the rise everywhere, along with the rise of many other `new age', but really medieval, world views.

And there are very few people within the SWA movement who would agree with Tarjei about their "imprudence". In fact, I believe, the expansion of the movement is not a grass-roots, blundering, amateur effort. I think it is quite calculating and shrewd.

Calculating shrewdness has always been inimical to the very spirit of Anthroposophy. And so has proselytizing or any way of "pushing" the movement. Anthroposophy is experienced as something one seeks out and finds - not the other way around. That is how it has been in the twentieth century.

Rudolf Steiner and his Anthroposophy has been something you would find in a hidden niche in the library, or in the home of a special friend. It has never been something advertised on the street corners or in shopping malls. Anthroposophists have not been out there competing with preachers and gurus. It has been a quiet, candle-light experience for the discriminating, philosophically thoughtful. Personally, I have always been reticent and often silent about my anthroposophical cast of mind, except when responding to inquiries from genuinely interested individuals.

Now when Anthroposophy is beginning to catch the attention of the broader public, cultural collisions are inevitable. I have pointed out on several occasions that Anthroposophy is cultural heresy. We differ not only about the future of science, which we seek to spiritualize, to redeem from materialism, but also about the definitions of religion and faith. In addition to this, there are differences of opinion what the art of healing is concerned, about the relationship between orthodox and alternative medicine. When I emphasize this thing about cultural heresy and cultural collisions, it is because it is useful to think of it as similar to the differences between the national cultures of the past. We are living in an age when certain cultures are multi-national. Acupuncture is thought of as "mumbo jumbo" by many people because it comes from China. In fact, "mumbo jumbo" is an expression applied to something that is not understood, because it is foreign or alien or too demanding to comprehend, especially to the intellectually lazy.

When Rudolf Steiner's methods of education, agriculture, and other disciplines are gaining increased popularity on a worldwide basis, this has nothing to do with shrewd or calculating marketing by anthroposophists. It has to do with the needs of the times. People seek it because they feel drawn to it. The imprudent behavior of the Waldorf movement in America, New Zealand and elsewhere, probably has to do with funding, and the insensitivity among the new Waldorf enthusiasts toward those of a different persuasion whose rights and sensitivities should be respected with warmth. No anthroposophists are interested in holding back any information about their philosophy, but Rudolf Steiner's works consist of six thousand transcribed lectures and fifty written books - over 350 volumes - ranging over the most diverse of topics. Anyone interested in or curious about Steiner and Anthroposophy must choose a specific subject. In relation to Waldorf, it is pedagogy, about which I personally know almost nothing, because I have been studying other parts of Steiner's works.

Here in Norway, all Waldorf parents receive a few magazines about the pedagogy, the curriculum, and some of the philosophy. Many Waldorf parents are anthroposophists, or they have friends who are, and they accept it. Every anthroposophist has made an effort, and is still making an unceasing effort, to understand Rudolf Steiner. Anyone do does not feel moved to make such an effort - and all the literature is readily available - will not be pushed to do so by anybody. Who are saying, then, that information is being witheld from them, and begin to spin conspiracy theories about shrewd and calculating anthropops, just because these multiple and hard-to-digest volumes are not shoved down their throats?

I think it is healthy to discuss any theory of education critically, as well as a school system in general. It is not my field. I also think that the anthroposophical approach to science, whether it is the goethean method in general or Steiner's research of invisible realms, should be approached critically, but with respect - the same respect that I personally feel for atheists and agnostics, and that also Steiner felt for his atheist comtemporaries. The scientific aspect of Anthroposophy is fair game as far as I am concerned, and so is biodynamic agriculture, anthroposophical medicine, and Waldorf education.

What I resent is the slanderous attacks against Rudolf Steiner's personal character. What has impressed me about this man is not his gifts or his genius, but his lofty code of ethics which he practiced but hardly preached, his self-sacrificing love, and his ability to respond to hatred - a hatred that arsoned the Goethanum and shortened his life by poisoning - with love and compassion. His talents and his gifts are secondary to these human qualities. For this reason, I see such attacks against Steiner's personal character as signs of a desparate need for ammunition when objective and scientific arguments against Waldorf education or biodynamic agriculture are felt to be insufficient.

Secondly, I resent being personally labelled as a duped, indoctrinated, brainwashed fool out of touch with reality who does not lead a "normal" life, and who needs an exit counsellor, a deprogrammer, and a therapist to save me from my "mumbo jumbo." It is this arrogant lack of respect for every person on earth who happens to be an anthroposophist that I resent. Look, I have nothing to do with Waldorf schools, except that I have a son who attends one in a different city. So nobody should take their frustrations with their local schools out on me. Don't take your disagreements with homeopathy out on me either, because I have nothing to do with it. What I am convinced of is the truth in Rudolf Steiner's cosmology and Christology; his world conception. And what really ticks me off is being called a racist, because this charge is based upon either ignorance or malice, plus a total lack of understanding and respect for the Hindu Scriptures.

And it would be helpful, next time the anthroposophical cosmology is being maligned and dragged through the dirt with all kinds of disparaging adjectives, to describe a cosmology, a philosophy of life and its purpose, and a definition of truth and reality, that should be preferred and why. All I see is a lot of sniping, but the snipers are not playing with open hands. Since New Age is so bad, what is Old Age to you? The Old Testament? Or is it the world of Carl Sagan?

Cheers,

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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

From: Michael Kopp
Subject: Re: Fallacious argumentation (was: Medical care/religion [fwd])
Date: Sun, 7 Feb 1999 23:58:51 +1300

Tarjei Straume writes:

Michael Kopp wrote:

Unfortunately, the SWA `movement' IS on the rise everywhere, along with the rise of many other `new age', but really medieval, world views.

And there are very few people within the SWA movement who would agree with Tarjei about their "imprudence". In fact, I believe, the expansion of the movement is not a grass-roots, blundering, amateur effort. I think it is quite calculating and shrewd.

And STRAUME replied:

Calculating shrewdness has always been inimical to the very spirit of Anthroposophy. And so has proselytizing or any way of "pushing" the movement. Anthroposophy is experienced as something one seeks out and finds - not the other way around. That is how it has been in the twentieth century.

Rudolf Steiner and his Anthroposophy has been something you would find in a hidden niche in the library, or in the home of a special friend. It has never been something advertised on the street corners or in shopping malls. Anthroposophists have not been out there competing with preachers and gurus. It has been a quiet, candle-light experience for the discriminating, philosophically thoughtful. Personally, I have always been reticent and often silent about my anthroposophical cast of mind, except when responding to inquiries from genuinely interested individuals.

KOPP:

The recent reports here of the public appearances of Betty Staley, apparently one of the head proselytisers for Steiner/ Waldorf/ Anthroposophy (SWA) in the United States, and the glossy, slick, spin-doctored video about SWA in which she appears, put the lie to Tarjei's claims of SWA as a shy, retiring, esoteric, eccentric hobby.

Methinks he's out of touch with the reality of the modern, coordinated marketing effort, and the concerted push by SWA, to promote itself into public schools -- and not just for the money.

STRAUME:

Now when Anthroposophy is beginning to catch the attention of the broader public, cultural collisions are inevitable. I have pointed out on several occasions that Anthroposophy is cultural heresy. We differ not only about the future of science, which we seek to spiritualize, to redeem from materialism, but also about the definitions of religion and faith. In addition to this, there are differences of opinion what the art of healing is concerned, about the relationship between orthodox and alternative medicine. When I emphasize this thing about cultural heresy and cultural collisions, it is because it is useful to think of it as similar to the differences between the national cultures of the past. We are living in an age when certain cultures are multi-national. Acupuncture is thought of as "mumbo jumbo" by many people because it comes from China. In fact, "mumbo jumbo" is an expression applied to something that is not understood, because it is foreign or alien or too demanding to comprehend, especially to the intellectually lazy.

KOPP:

Mr Straume is misusing the term mumbo jumbo and trying to redefine it by putting the onus on the receiver of the information, accusing anyone who doesn't understand [Steiner/ Waldorf/ Anthroposophy] as being at fault themselves.

His attempt to blame the perceiver is in keeping with the best tradition of SWA defenders such as the teachers at my school who said of my questions about their pseudo-science and mystical historical legends that they (my questions) were good ones, but that the subject was deep and difficult, and it would take much explaining and study on my part to understand. Well, if that's so, why the hell were they telling these things to children just into Steiner's "age of reason"?

However much he might wish to blame the perceiver, Mr Straume cannot rewrite the English language (which I realise may not be his native language, and therefore, appears as mumbo jumbo to him, by his own definition).

Mumbo jumbo: "meaningless ritual; language or action intended to mystify or confuse; object of senseless veneration" (OED).

I use the term exactly and precisely to describe both Steiner's thought -- intended to mystify, for the purpose of creating a following and ensuring his place in history by the ceaseless effort of such gullible but well-meaning people as today's SWA adherents -- and the senseless veneration of his body of work and his person by people who exhibit such veneration whilst claiming the opposite to be the case.

[snip]

STRAUME:

In relation to Waldorf, it is pedagogy, about which I personally know almost nothing, because I have been studying other parts of Steiner's works.

KOPP:

Well, perhaps you would do us the favour of not going on ad nauseam about Steiner and Anthroposophy, unless you can relate it specifically to its use in the schools that bear the names Steiner or Waldorf (it varies from country to country).

As I've pleaded elsewhere, this list is not about understanding Steiner or Anthroposophy, but about whether SWA has any place or right in public or publicly-funded schools, and what are the effects of an SWA education, for the benefit of those people who wish to take a more critical, skeptical look at SWA before investing time, money and their children's lives in it.

For most rational people, I suggest, it is not necessary to become a novice, acolyte or devotee of SWA in order to see that it is mumbo jumbo, and to eschew it for their children.

STRAUME:

Here in Norway, all Waldorf parents receive a few magazines about the pedagogy, the curriculum, and some of the philosophy. Many Waldorf parents are anthroposophists, or they have friends who are, and they accept it. Every anthroposophist has made an effort, and is still making an unceasing effort, to understand Rudolf Steiner. Anyone do does not feel moved to make such an effort - and all the literature is readily available - will not be pushed to do so by anybody. Who are saying, then, that information is being witheld from them, and begin to spin conspiracy theories about shrewd and calculating anthropops, just because these multiple and hard-to-digest volumes are not shoved down their throats?

KOPP:

Would you be willing to provide copies of these publications for me? Are any of them in English? If not, I will pay to have them professionally translated for my own study, and, if they are not copyrighted, for the benefit of this list and anyone else who may wish to read them.

All the material of the sort you describe that I have come across is deviously indirect and incomplete about the true nature of SWA, in terms of the description written by Dan Saykalay which I have reposted here from time to time for the benefit of newcomers to the list.

Surely SWA owes it to people who are going to place their children in the care of others for up to 13 years to give those intending consumers full disclosure? And surely it can't be that difficult?

STRAUME:

I think it is healthy to discuss any theory of education critically, as well as a school system in general. It is not my field. I also think that the anthroposophical approach to science, whether it is the goethean method in general or Steiner's research of invisible realms, should be approached critically, but with respect - the same respect that I personally feel for atheists and agnostics, and that also Steiner felt for his atheist comtemporaries. The scientific aspect of Anthroposophy is fair game as far as I am concerned, and so is biodynamic agriculture, anthroposophical medicine, and Waldorf education.

KOPP:

Can you define the nature of this "respect", please?

Does it mean that one must automatically allow that someone else's belief system has as much validity as, say, science?

Certainly, SWA does not show much of this kind of "respect" for rational, modern science, judging by the SWA rubbishing of what is actually society's technological use of science, and SWA denigration of such scientific greats as Newton in class lessons designed to replace Newtonian optics with Goethean phenomenology.

Lip service is easy, Tarjei; the evidence is otherwise, in my and many other critics' personal experiences.

STRAUME:

What I resent is the slanderous attacks against Rudolf Steiner's personal character. [Snip hearts and flowers.] I see such attacks against Steiner's personal character as signs of a desparate need for ammunition when objective and scientific arguments against Waldorf education or biodynamic agriculture are felt to be insufficient.

Secondly, I resent being personally labelled as a duped, indoctrinated, brainwashed fool out of touch with reality who does not lead a "normal" life, and who needs an exit counsellor, a deprogrammer, and a therapist to save me from my "mumbo jumbo." It is this arrogant lack of respect for every person on earth who happens to be an anthroposophist that I resent.

KOPP:

Other than to say that Steiner was a self-made guru who used all the age-old tricks of the trade to gain a following and a place in history -- which seems like fair comment -- I don't think I or any other critic here has slandered Steiner (you can't slander the dead, anyway). Nobody has said, for instance, that he was guilty of buggery.

The only insufficiency in my and other skeptical scientists' "arguments against Waldorf education" is that they fall on totally deaf ears where the faithful are concerned -- even you, Tarjei, who claim to have some problems with things SWA.

And if you wish to consider yourself lumped in with the category of people I call defenders of the faith [TM], whom I label as uncritical, unskeptical believers in spirits and supernatural mumbo jumbo .... well, then, I guess you can take all the umbrage you wish.

There is a difference between respect for the person as a human being -- a frequent hobby horse of mine, you may have noticed -- and respect for ideas and beliefs.

I respect your right to believe anything you wish; to preach anything you wish; to educate your children in anything you wish (privately); and to proselytise anything you wish.

Your thought, beliefs and pronouncements are, however, fair game for attack.

We are entering an age of poliltical correctness where to attack someone's ideas is becoming forbidden in the name of "respect". We will thus turn back the clock to the days of the Inquisition. We will come to rue our carelessness with intellectual rigour, our fatal attraction to fascistic repression of debate.

It is just this "respect" for patently ridiculous and fantastic mumbo jumbo which I have seen inculcated in my children by their Steiner/ Waldorf/ Anthroposophical educations. The fostering of freedom of speech brings with it the duty to allow robust criticism of that speech; the opposite is the case in SWA schools. Every child may express an opinion, but, in the name of "respect", none may attack another's opinion.

Thus does the light of reason dim, and the "new age" become a "dark age".

STRAUME:

Look, I have nothing to do with Waldorf schools, except that I have a son who attends one in a different city. So nobody should take their frustrations with their local schools out on me. Don't take your disagreements with homeopathy out on me either, because I have nothing to do with it. What I am convinced of is the truth in Rudolf Steiner's cosmology and Christology; his world conception. And what really ticks me off is being called a racist, because this charge is based upon either ignorance or malice, plus a total lack of understanding and respect for the Hindu Scriptures.

KOPP:

The above statement seems to indicate Mr Straume's paranoia is showing. [Said with a malicious grin in Robert Flannery's direction.]

STRAUME:

And it would be helpful, next time the anthroposophical cosmology is being maligned and dragged through the dirt with all kinds of disparaging adjectives, to describe a cosmology, a philosophy of life and its purpose, and a definition of truth and reality, that should be preferred and why. All I see is a lot of sniping, but the snipers are not playing with open hands. Since New Age is so bad, what is Old Age to you? The Old Testament? Or is it the world of Carl Sagan?

KOPP:

Science is a ceaseless search for truth (and beauty) in our understanding of the Universe. Science is the only intentionally, self-designedly, _self-correcting_ method of apprehending the Universe.

Science is not philosophy. Why do you demand a philosophy of life, the Universe and everything from scientific, rationalist critics of Steiner, Anthroposophy, and Waldorf? Why should we have to replace mumbo jumbo with another metaphysics?

The world of Carl Sagan was -- and is -- the world of the search for physical, not mystical, truth.

Cheers from Godzone,

Michael Kopp
Wellington, New Zealand

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

From: Bruce
Subject: Re: Fallacious argumentation (was: Medical care/religion [fwd])
Date: Sun, 7 Feb 1999 08:10:42 EST

Michael Kopp wrote:

Unfortunately, the SWA `movement' IS on the rise everywhere,

Unfortunately for whom? I think its great, and I expect the majority of those who have any idea what SWA is would agree (not all are subscribers here!)...

Where would PLANS be if waldorf wasn't winning? <wg>

Bruce

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

From: Bruce
Subject: Re: Fallacious argumentation (was: Medical care/religion [fwd])
Date: Sun, 7 Feb 1999 08:10:45 EST

In einer eMail vom 07.02.99 12:05:44 MEZ, schreiben Sie:

......teachers at my school who said of my questions about their pseudo-science and mystical historical legends that they (my questions) were good ones, but that the subject was deep and difficult, and it would take much explaining and study on my part to understand. Well, if that's so, why the hell were they telling these things to children just into Steiner's "age of reason"? >>

It is one thing to teach something to a child in a certain way, it is quite another thing to explain to an adult WHY the thing is taught that way, especially when he is a waldorf critic.

Bruce

PS The same applies to some extent to use of homeopathic medicine! Known waldorf critics would not receive anything more than the clean water referred to by Stephen! Who suffers as a result need not be the subject of discussion! <wg>

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

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Fallacious argumentation (was: Medical care/religion [fwd])
Date: Sun, 7 Feb 1999 15:02:30 +0100

Michael Kopp wrote:

The recent reports here of the public appearances of Betty Staley, apparently one of the head proselytisers for Steiner/ Waldorf/ Anthroposophy (SWA) in the United States, and the glossy, slick, spin-doctored video about SWA in which she appears, put the lie to Tarjei's claims of SWA as a shy, retiring, esoteric, eccentric hobby.

I have not lied, and I have not made any claims. I gave an honest description of how I have experienced Anthroposophy.

Methinks he's out of touch with the reality of the modern, coordinated marketing effort, and the concerted push by SWA, to promote itself into public schools -- and not just for the money.

After many years as a saleman in the U.S., methinks that mr. Kopp knowledge about mr. Straume is extremely limited. The invasion of the Waldorf movement by the promotional marketing culture is obviously a pollutant that contributes to the problems and chaos at hand.

Mr Straume is misusing the term mumbo jumbo and trying to redefine it by putting the onus on the receiver of the information, accusing anyone who doesn't understand [Steiner/ Waldorf/ Anthroposophy] as being at fault themselves.

Not anyone who doesn't understand these things, but only those who match ignorance with bigotry.

His attempt to blame the perceiver is in keeping with the best tradition of SWA defenders such as the teachers at my school who said of my questions about their pseudo-science and mystical historical legends that they (my questions) were good ones, but that the subject was deep and difficult, and it would take much explaining and study on my part to understand. Well, if that's so, why the hell were they telling these things to children just into Steiner's "age of reason"?

I don't think anyone is qualified to answer that question except the teachers themselves, that are known to you, but not to us.

However much he might wish to blame the perceiver, Mr Straume cannot rewrite the English language (which I realise may not be his native language, and therefore, appears as mumbo jumbo to him, by his own definition).

Having an American-born mother, English was in fact my mother tongue, quite technically speaking. For almost twenty years of my life, I lived in English -speaking countries and used no other language. Methinks that mr. Kopp knowledge about mr. Straume is extremely limited and exceptionally bigoted and subjective.

Mumbo jumbo: "meaningless ritual; language or action intended to mystify or confuse; object of senseless veneration" (OED).

Mr Kopp is saying that anthroposophists intend to mystify and confuse him with their language and actions as a part of a shrewd conspiracy.

<snip>

Well, perhaps you would do us the favour of not going on ad nauseam about Steiner and Anthroposophy, unless you can relate it specifically to its use in the schools that bear the names Steiner or Waldorf (it varies from country to country).

I do not write my post to please you, and I do not tell you how to write yours.

As I've pleaded elsewhere, this list is not about understanding Steiner or Anthroposophy, but about whether SWA has any place or right in public or publicly-funded schools, and what are the effects of an SWA education, for the benefit of those people who wish to take a more critical, skeptical look at SWA before investing time, money and their children's lives in it.

In that case you may always delete those posts that do not interest you and continue your tirades against a world-conception about which you prefer to remain ignorant.

For most rational people, I suggest, it is not necessary to become a novice, acolyte or devotee of SWA in order to see that it is mumbo jumbo, and to eschew it for their children.

You're contradicting yourself. I am not a Muslim, but it is not mumbo jumbo to me because I have made an effort to understand it. You lack respect, and that is your loss, not mine.

Would you be willing to provide copies of these publications for me? Are any of them in English? If not, I will pay to have them professionally translated for my own study, and, if they are not copyrighted, for the benefit of this list and anyone else who may wish to read them.

They are in Norwegian. It should be a cinch to reach the appropriate parties for your purposes through the Waldorf links on the web. Good luck.

All the material of the sort you describe that I have come across is deviously indirect and incomplete about the true nature of SWA, in terms of the description written by Dan Saykalay which I have reposted here from time to time for the benefit of newcomers to the list.

Surely SWA owes it to people who are going to place their children in the care of others for up to 13 years to give those intending consumers full disclosure? And surely it can't be that difficult?

As I have pointed out, Waldorf education is not my field. Someone else should answer your question.

Can you define the nature of this "respect", please?

A positive regard for the dignity of a human being who holds opinions with which you strongly disagree. The recognition that such a human being can be as intelligent and talented as you are. It is a question of fraternity and equality.

Does it mean that one must automatically allow that someone else's belief system has as much validity as, say, science?

No, it does not mean that you must automatically allow anything whatsoever. It simply means that differences of opinion, also when it comes to science, may be sustained by mutual respect, and somtimes mutual admiration (like the case of George Bernard Shaw and Benjamin Tucker, or of Rudolf Steiner and Ernst Häckel).

Certainly, SWA does not show much of this kind of "respect" for rational, modern science, judging by the SWA rubbishing of what is actually society's technological use of science, and SWA denigration of such scientific greats as Newton in class lessons designed to replace Newtonian optics with Goethean phenomenology.

I think anyone should be entitled to the opinion that Goethe's theory of color is closer to reality than Newton's prism theory. I would also think it possible for the Newtonians and the Goetheans to respect and like each other.

Lip service is easy, Tarjei; the evidence is otherwise, in my and many other critics' personal experiences.

My statements are based upon thirty years of personal experience with Anthroposophy, when I have gathered empirical evidence for my points of view. I do not see what that has to do with lip service of any kind.

Other than to say that Steiner was a self-made guru who used all the age-old tricks of the trade to gain a following and a place in history -- which seems like fair comment -- I don't think I or any other critic here has slandered Steiner (you can't slander the dead, anyway). Nobody has said, for instance, that he was guilty of buggery.

You are ascribing to him egoistic motives that are not fair. By slander I was thinking of anti-semitism and the like.

The only insufficiency in my and other skeptical scientists' "arguments against Waldorf education" is that they fall on totally deaf ears where the faithful are concerned -- even you, Tarjei, who claim to have some problems with things SWA.

Like I said, Waldorf education is not my field, and I have not read the relevant material, so I am not competent to comment.

And if you wish to consider yourself lumped in with the category of people I call defenders of the faith [TM], whom I label as uncritical, unskeptical believers in spirits and supernatural mumbo jumbo .... well, then, I guess you can take all the umbrage you wish.

You may lump me anyway you like. The bigger and more stereotyped the category, and the more disparaging adjectives strewn on it, the more evident is the bigotry and the prejudice.

There is a difference between respect for the person as a human being -- a frequent hobby horse of mine, you may have noticed -- and respect for ideas and beliefs.

If you disrespect an idea, you also despise the act of holding the thought behind it. What respect is then left for the person with whom you disagree?

I respect your right to believe anything you wish; to preach anything you wish; to educate your children in anything you wish (privately); and to proselytise anything you wish.

Your thought, beliefs and pronouncements are, however, fair game for attack.

We are entering an age of poliltical correctness where to attack someone's ideas is becoming forbidden in the name of "respect". We will thus turn back the clock to the days of the Inquisition. We will come to rue our carelessness with intellectual rigour, our fatal attraction to fascistic repression of debate.

It is always possible to respectfully disagree. By isolating and making visible the logical error in a line of reasoning and then proposing a correction, makes it unnecessary to attack the entire mindset of the debater and stick all kinds of disparaging adjectives to it. When that point is reached, it is no longer a debate.

It is just this "respect" for patently ridiculous and fantastic mumbo jumbo which I have seen inculcated in my children by their Steiner/ Waldorf/ Anthroposophical educations. The fostering of freedom of speech brings with it the duty to allow robust criticism of that speech; the opposite is the case in SWA schools. Every child may express an opinion, but, in the name of "respect", none may attack another's opinion.

Perhaps you should start your own school.

<snip>

Science is a ceaseless search for truth (and beauty) in our understanding of the Universe. Science is the only intentionally, self-designedly, _self-correcting_ method of apprehending the Universe.

True. But it needs to be redeemed from the one-sidedness of materialism and extended to the spiritual realm.

Science is not philosophy. Why do you demand a philosophy of life, the Universe and everything from scientific, rationalist critics of Steiner, Anthroposophy, and Waldorf? Why should we have to replace mumbo jumbo with another metaphysics?

Why are you philosophizing?

The world of Carl Sagan was -- and is -- the world of the search for physical, not mystical, truth.

If man were only physical, devoid of soul and spirit, physical truth alone might have been sufficient. But it ain't necessarily so.

Cheers,

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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

From: Kathy
Subject: allacious argumentation (was: Medical care/religion [fwd]
Date: Sun, 07 Feb 1999 10:48:21 -0800

Tarjei posts (in response to Kopp):

(KOPP:) Unfortunately, the SWA `movement' IS on the rise everywhere, along with the rise of many other `new age', but really medieval, world views.

And there are very few people within the SWA movement who would agree with Tarjei about their "imprudence". In fact, I believe, the expansion of the movement is not a grass-roots, blundering, amateur effort. I think it is quite calculating and shrewd.

(Tarjei:) Calculating shrewdness has always been inimical to the very spirit of Anthroposophy. And so has proselytizing or any way of "pushing" the movement. Anthroposophy is experienced as something one seeks out and finds - not the other way around. That is how it has been in the twentieth century.

Rudolf Steiner and his Anthroposophy has been something you would find in a hidden niche in the library, or in the home of a special friend. It has never been something advertised on the street corners or in shopping malls. Anthroposophists have not been out there competing with preachers and gurus. It has been a quiet, candle-light experience for the discriminating, philosophically thoughtful. Personally, I have always been reticent and often silent about my anthroposophical cast of mind, except when responding to inquiries from genuinely interested individuals.

This is an interesting observation. How does the "hidden niche" description fit with the many films Rudolf Steiner College, Betty Staley, et al, have produced and deciminated over the past few years *advertising* and attempting to sell the Waldorf pedagogy and the (very expensive $$$) Rudolf Steiner College Waldorf training to public school districts?

Secondly, I resent being personally labelled as a duped, indoctrinated, brainwashed fool out of touch with reality who does not lead a "normal" life, and who needs an exit counsellor, a deprogrammer, and a therapist to save me from my "mumbo jumbo."

I thought it was you that introduced yourself to this list as an individual in need of help to leave the cult of Anthroposophy. Your tongue-in-cheek introduction in which you described yourself as indoctrinated led to responses you may be referring to.

In recent days I haven't been following the list as closely as I usually do; however, what I recall is that you came to us under a guise that was vastly divergent from who you really are. This is a Critics List, so I assume you know that your views are going to be questioned and the attempt will be made here to publicly discredit those that support the validity of Anthroposophical methods/beliefs and Waldorf. You write extremely well and hold your own with great aplomb, so I shouldn't think you would be so offended by Kopp or any of us that question what appears to be your unquestioning adherence to Anthroposophy. Surely you knew the dynamics of this forum before you joined.

Kathy

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

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Fallacious argumentation (was: Medical care/religion [fwd]
Date: Sun, 7 Feb 1999 21:06:58 +0100

Kathy wrote:

This is an interesting observation. How does the "hidden niche" description fit with the many films Rudolf Steiner College, Betty Staley, et al, have produced and deciminated over the past few years *advertising* and attempting to sell the Waldorf pedagogy and the (very expensive $$$) Rudolf Steiner College Waldorf training to public school districts?

My description of Anthroposophy as a quiet and low profile phenomenon is exactly how I have always experienced it. The activities of Rudolf Steiner College is something I have not yet encountered. It is not happening in my part of the world, and if this has been taking place during the past few years, it is a new phenomenon which in my view may jeopardize the survival of Anthroposophy in America (in its true form). This is what we in Europe would describe as an Americanization (in the negative sense) of Anthroposophy.

My description of Anthroposophy is not intended to fit local conditions in your part of the world, which I understand to be somewhat chaotic. My point is that anthroposophists are for the most part quiet, autonomous individualists whose personal philosophy of freedom is not to blame for your public school problems. The Waldorf schools were established in 1919 as a strictly private alternative to the public schools, with the expressed purpose of keeping the state authorities out of education - its bankroll and its administrators alike. The Waldorf schools were never intended for people who did not approve of its principles. If you Americans cannot manage to maintain a private, voluntary alternative school away from the politicians and their never-ending bickering about how to interpret the constitution in public schools, I'm beginning to wonder what the hell has happened to the Land of the Free.

I thought it was you that introduced yourself to this list as an individual in need of help to leave the cult of Anthroposophy. Your tongue-in-cheek introduction in which you described yourself as indoctrinated led to responses you may be referring to.

Dan Dugan didn't appreciate the satire and came with an immediate suggestion that anthroposophists had problems with re-adjusting to normal life after years in the cult, and he recommended an exit counsellor. So it looks like I hit the nail on the head with my opening post.

In recent days I haven't been following the list as closely as I usually do; however, what I recall is that you came to us under a guise that was vastly divergent from who you really are.

That is not true. I gave an accurate description of my autobiographical background in relation to Anthroposophy. The only twist was the adjustment of my attitude to that of recognizing my cult-problem like an alcoholic and his drinking problem. My cult, byt the way, consists of a bookshelf (Freudian bottle?), so I guess that book burning might be a recommended treatment?

This is a Critics List, so I assume you know that your views are going to be questioned and the attempt will be made here to publicly discredit those that support the validity of Anthroposophical methods/beliefs and Waldorf.

Interesting. Does that mean that the Waldorf critics wish to discredit *me* because of my philosophy and my sympathies? To prove that I am a person of poor character? I thought someone suggested I was paranoid....

Another thing you may notice is that I say rather little about Waldorf, because I am not too familiar with it. I only throw a punch when I see insulting and disparaging remarks about my philosophy (which is different from objective criticism). I find the logic somewhat strange that I should have to be discredited because of my philosophy so that extra weight can be added to the arguments against Waldorf education. That sidetracks the issue of education, child psychology, and curriculum to a ridiculing of spiritual-religious *people.* That is why I am here.

You write extremely well and hold your own with great aplomb, so I shouldn't think you would be so offended by Kopp or any of us that question what appears to be your unquestioning adherence to Anthroposophy. Surely you knew the dynamics of this forum before you joined.

Of course I did. And I thank you most sincerely for that compliment.

Cheers,

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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

From: Michael Kopp
Subject: Re: Fallacious argumentation (was: Medical care/religion [fwd])
Date: Mon, 8 Feb 1999 12:38:08 +1300

Tarjei Straume replied to Michael Kopp:

Michael Kopp wrote:

The recent reports here of the public appearances of Betty Staley, apparently one of the head proselytisers for Steiner/ Waldorf/ Anthroposophy (SWA) in the United States, and the glossy, slick, spin-doctored video about SWA in which she appears, put the lie to Tarjei's claims of SWA as a shy, retiring, esoteric, eccentric hobby.

[And STRAUME replied:]

I have not lied, and I have not made any claims. I gave an honest description of how I have experienced Anthroposophy.

KOPP:

I didn't say you lied. However, you have made claims for Anthroposophy. I said the evidence of Anthroposophy's marketing makes a nonsense of your claims that it is simply a personal philosophy.

[KOPP:]

Methinks he's out of touch with the reality of the modern, coordinated marketing effort, and the concerted push by SWA, to promote itself into public schools -- and not just for the money.

[STRAUME:]

After many years as a saleman in the U.S., methinks that mr. Kopp's knowledge about mr. Straume is extremely limited. The invasion of the Waldorf movement by the promotional marketing culture is obviously a pollutant that contributes to the problems and chaos at hand.

KOPP:

Move over, Tom Mellett! Tarjei Straume is out to cleanse Anthroposophy of the heretics and snake-oil salesmen. Hallelujah!

[KOPP:]

Mr Straume is misusing the term mumbo jumbo and trying to redefine it by putting the onus on the receiver of the information, accusing anyone who doesn't understand [Steiner/ Waldorf/ Anthroposophy] as being at fault themselves.

[STRAUME:]

Not anyone who doesn't understand these things, but only those who match ignorance with bigotry.

[Snip...]

Methinks that mr. Kopp knowledge about mr. Straume is extremely limited and exceptionally bigoted and subjective.

KOPP:

Well, it won't be the first time I've been called a bigot here. Last time I was a religious bigot. Now I'm just a personal bigot.

(Last time I actually got an apology. I kinda doubt I'm going to get one from Mr Straume. What does the list owner reckon about this?)

[KOPP:]

Mumbo jumbo: "meaningless ritual; language or action intended to mystify or confuse; object of senseless veneration" (OED).

[STRAUME:]

Mr Kopp is saying that anthroposophists intend to mystify and confuse him with their language and actions as a part of a shrewd conspiracy.

KOPP:

Yeah, but it didn't work. I saw through it -- just in time to save my kids from its worst excesses.

I think Mr Straume has got the gist of my views of Steiner/ Waldorf/ Anthroposophy.

The real danger is to the very large number of unsuspecting, uncritical, ignorant parents who send their kids to one of these SWA schools.

[Snip...]

[KOPP:]

Can you define the nature of this "respect", please?

[STRAUME:]

A positive regard for the dignity of a human being who holds opinions with which you strongly disagree. The recognition that such a human being can be as intelligent and talented as you are. It is a question of fraternity and equality.

KOPP:

I have stated my regard for Mr Straume's dignity as a human being. I think it's probably that he's as intelligent and talented as I am -- perhaps moreso.

It's just that he believes in something without evidence, despite his long years of study. He claims to have found "empirical evidence" of these things. All I'm asking is that he provide that evidence for us all to see. I don't think he can.

And telling me that it's right in front of my nose, that it's MY problem because I can't see it, because I refuse to understand the system by which it is elucidated, is insulting to MY intelligence.

Too bad that this guru trick (you will know it when you have arrived at the appropriate level of your own introspection) works on so many others.

[KOPP:]

Does it mean that one must automatically allow that someone else's belief system has as much validity as, say, science?

[STRAUME:]

No, it does not mean that you must automatically allow anything whatsoever. It simply means that differences of opinion, also when it comes to science, may be sustained by mutual respect, and somtimes mutual admiration (like the case of George Bernard Shaw and Benjamin Tucker, or of Rudolf Steiner and Ernst Häckel).

KOPP:

And what of the "respect" of Steiner for Madame Blavatsky, Annie Besant and all the others who didn't see it his way? And the "respect" of Shaw for those whose ideas he thought poorly of?

Here's a case of what you're talking about: Stephen Tonkin makes enough sense about the real world to merit my respect, though he still believes is something I do not. He is a good teacher, by his own description. And, despite the fact that I think he shortchanges students about the scientific method, I would have wanted him teaching my kids science at our Steiner school. (It would be immodest of me to characterise his regard for me ....)

You, Mr Straume, do not make that sort of sense to me, and you cannot provide for me anything emperical about Anthroposophy, Steiner or your world view. So I do not have the same regard for your thinking as for some others, especially scientists.

But I have full regard for you as a human being, and your right to believe in fairies, if you choose.

How does that make me an ignorant bigot?

Here's an example of why I have less respect for your ideas:

[KOPP:]

Surely SWA owes it to people who are going to place their children in the care of others for up to 13 years to give those intending consumers full disclosure? And surely it can't be that difficult?

[STRAUME:]

As I have pointed out, Waldorf education is not my field. Someone else should answer your question.

KOPP:

Yet you pontificate on a *WALDORF*-oriented mailing list! You beg off answering questions of substance about the pedagogy -- which even the SWA people say is based on Anthroposophy. Surely if you know so much about Anthroposophy, you can hold views on its relationship to the schools? If not, perhaps you should take your own advice, and get knowledgeable about Steiner/ Waldorf/ Anthroposophical schools BEFORE you contribute to a list about them.

You want me to be an Anthroposophist (the only way for me to know enough about the subject to engage you in discussion, according to your view of my knowledge of Steiner and Anthroposophy). But you claim ignorance of the topic of this list!

Pull the other one, Mr Straume.

[Snip ... snip ... snip]

[KOPP:]

The world of Carl Sagan was -- and is -- the world of the search for physical, not mystical, truth.

[STRAUME:]

If man were only physical, devoid of soul and spirit, physical truth alone might have been sufficient. But it ain't necessarily so.

KOPP:

Show me your emperical evidence, please.

Replicate Steiner's trips to the other side -- and bring back something other than dream stuff.

There have been geniuses equal to Newton and Einstein in science, and they are standing on the shoulders of those earlier giants to show us ever more physical truth. (Please don't tire us with the minuscule number of scientists who believe in something more than science: they can't provide emperical evidence, either.)

Where are the geniuses of Anthroposophy who can replicate Steiner's experiences -- and stand on his shoulders to advance and show us emperical evidence?

Cheers from Godzone,

Michael Kopp
Wellington, New Zealand

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

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Steiner's scientific method (was Re: WOW!)
Date: Mon, 8 Feb 1999 02:05:55 +0100

Michael Kopp wrote:

There is absolutely no evidence that anyone, Steiner or otherwise, can "enter" some supernatural realm through dreaming. There is no evidence of anything supernatural.

To you, there no evidence of the supernatural. To others, there is. It is interesting that you mentioned dreaming, because the initiatory technique in question consists of entering a different realm in full consciousness equivalent to waking consciousness. But when we sleep, dreaming or not, we leave our physical bodies and dwell in the realm that you say does not exist.

It sounds to me like what Steiner may have been experiencing (if he didn't just make all this stuff up wholesale out of his imagination, which is an equal possibility in my view) what brain scientists now call "lucid dreaming", in which the dreamer has a higher level of consciousness than in ordinary dreaming. In this state, the dreamer may in fact _direct_ the course of dreams.

The scientists you are referring to could be the brain surgeons in California who announced in a Newsweek cover story a few years ago that the human ego, or "I," is pure illusion resulting from certain chemical processes in the brain. That could bring us right back to the fatalistic conclusion held by some in the opium dens of Calcutta, namely that that life itself is an illusion. This conclusion is reached by two opposing paths, however. The Indian opium smoker has learned that the physical world is maya, illusion, and cognizing no spiritual reality, he finds all existence to be the figment of his imagination. The American brain surgeon, on the other hand, has fallen victim to naive realism by believing that nothing exists beyond what can be verified by our five senses or recorded by instruments and technology, which is an extension of these senses.

So it is likely that Steiner, having a belief in (or pretending to have a belief in) this "Akashic record", could use his lucid dreaming experiences, which he directed himself, like a movie director, to bolster his claims of communication with the supernatural.

If that is the theory you prefer and that fits your understanding of reality, it's fine with me, except that we obviously mean different things by the word "dreaming."

Steiner's writings of his "reading of the Akashic record", like all his other "spiritual science", are, to me, either self-delusion or fraud. Because of the absence of any evidence at all, other than the words of the guru, I cannot give any credence to any of Steiner/ Waldorf/ Anthroposophy (SWA) where it refers to the supernatural.

Nobody is asking you to change your opinions or points of view.

(This is not to say that I don't appreciate a few of Steiner's insights and innovations in education -- but these are few and far between, and don't carry enough weight to bear the rest of the mumbo jumbo on my kids or myself.)

I think you should teach and raise your kids the way that you believe is right, and you should find a school where you have a better mutual understanding with the teachers.

<snip>

As to slandering Steiner or Anthroposophy: Mr Straume has a fairly narrow view of what constitutes slander, if he thinks that the criticism found here is slander. Steiner, Waldorf and Anthroposophy were consigned to the heap of all spiritualistic world views by most scholars and scientists.

Slander has to do with personal moral character, not how one approaches science.

They are only enjoying a renascence now because of the poor science educations of today's generations of people who look to the `new age' for supernatural answers to questions that have already been answered by science, or are yet unanswerable.

I think it is a little deeper than that. Religious faith no longer meets the spiritual needs of as many people now as, say, a few hundred years ago. Our cognition of reality has become increasingly dominated by our logical intellect that we use in science and mathematics. If faith conflicts with reason, we are compelled to surrender to the latter unless we succeed in suspending it somehow. In other words, people feel a longing for religious truth, but they trust their reasoning intellect more than their feelings, and traditional religion is presented in mythical pictures that appeal to feeling only. the movement called New Age covers a very broad spectrum, and people are searching for cosmologies and theologies that make sense to them and can stand the test of critical thinking.

This is part of an anti-scientific trend science has brought upon itself by not properly educating the public on the true nature of scientific thought and progress, and the difference between pure science and applied technology. While the latter has been misused by society, and the former is not blameless, in general science has warned of the dangers of its misuse.

You mean that scientists have issued warnings of course. Science does no such thing. (Semantic drivel I admit.)

However, people love to hate that which they do not understand; and love to embrace that which promises attractive, fanciful answers to our questions about life, the Universe ... and everything.

You just took the words out of my ..... I guess keyboard is the right word under the circumstances.

STRAUME:

My father was one of the heroes of Telemark in the resistance movement against the Nazi occupation of Norway during World War II, and my mother was arrested and incarcerated by the Nazis in this country for the "crime" of being an American citizen. As an anarchist, I belong to the number one target group for the neo-Nazis, their prime enemy. So what are you trying to tell me? That I have been a Nazi-racist all along?

KOPP:
Excuse me? Can you point to anything said by anyone here which in any way impugns you in such a way?

I was referring to the link that is trying to be made between Anthroposophy and "Aryan Theosophy" (and Ariosophy). (I understand it has been debated on this list prior to my joining it, and I recently saw a reference to it by Dan Dugan in his posted reply to a Waldorf man in the Bay area.) My view of evolutionary epochs would, according to this line of reasoning, make me an Aryan racist. Perhaps I have been too counter-provocative.

Cheers,

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Fallacious argumentation (was: Medical care/religion [fwd])
Date: Mon, 8 Feb 1999 03:32:59 +0100

Michael Kopp wrote:

I didn't say you lied. However, you have made claims for Anthroposophy. I said the evidence of Anthroposophy's marketing makes a nonsense of your claims that it is simply a personal philosophy.

I have not said that Anthroposophy is *only* or *simply* a personal philosophy. All I said was that it happens to be *my* personal philosophy. Please note the difference.

Move over, Tom Mellett! Tarjei Straume is out to cleanse Anthroposophy of the heretics and snake-oil salesmen. Hallelujah!

I am not interested in doing anything to heretics, because if you check my website, you'll find that I am a heretical anarchosophist. I don't know about snake-oil, but there is a market for snake-venom among homeopaths. Amen.

Well, it won't be the first time I've been called a bigot here. Last time I was a religious bigot. Now I'm just a personal bigot.

(Last time I actually got an apology. I kinda doubt I'm going to get one from Mr Straume. What does the list owner reckon about this?)

I am quite generous with apologies, but you are still expressing bigotry, also in this post.

[STRAUME:]

Mr Kopp is saying that anthroposophists intend to mystify and confuse him with their language and actions as a part of a shrewd conspiracy.

KOPP:

Yeah, but it didn't work. I saw through it -- just in time to save my kids from its worst excesses.

So you do believe in an ahthroposophical conspiracy. I won't mention what groups published warnings of this kind in the early 1920's.

I think Mr Straume has got the gist of my views of Steiner/ Waldorf/ Anthroposophy.

The real danger is to the very large number of unsuspecting, uncritical, ignorant parents who send their kids to one of these SWA schools.

What you are clearly implying is that I am uncritical and ignorant because I sent my son to Waldorf school. I call that bigotry, because it is an indirect personal attack. The conclusion is that if I were knowledgeable and capable of critical thinkinhg, I would not send my son to Waldorf school.

It's just that he believes in something without evidence, despite his long years of study. He claims to have found "empirical evidence" of these things. All I'm asking is that he provide that evidence for us all to see. I don't think he can.

The fact that I cannot convince reluctant critics to recognize this kind of evidence without exertion, effort, does not make it untrue. The heliocentric astronomical theory of Galileo and Copernicus was not recognized by the Roman Catholic Church until 1827. (The Catholic church probably learned from this mistake, because they did not resist Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.)

And telling me that it's right in front of my nose, that it's MY problem because I can't see it, because I refuse to understand the system by which it is elucidated, is insulting to MY intelligence.

This is, I think, a misunderstanding, and it may be my fault if I have not expressed myself correctly. There is nothing lacking in a person's intelligence when a he or she is not capable or willing to grasp spiritual concepts. there is also a partial truth in saying that spiritual concepts are irrational, if we confine the meaning of "rational" to the strict, physical logical thinking that is entirely dependent upon those grey cells that the brain surgeons are so familiar with. In addition to such ordinary intelligence, the apprehension of spiritual concepts as something real requires a mode of cognition that belongs to the "extra-rational" realm, i.e. so-called sense-free thinking. This kind of thinking interacts with rational intelligence, but it is related to, though not identical with, religious feelings. This sounds perhaps awkward and clumsy, but it is the most accurate way to describe it.

The absence of such "sense-free thinking," which would also entail the adamant denial of its existence, does not diminish intelligence in any way whatsoever.

Too bad that this guru trick (you will know it when you have arrived at the appropriate level of your own introspection) works on so many others.

[KOPP:]

Does it mean that one must automatically allow that someone else's belief system has as much validity as, say, science?

[STRAUME:]

No, it does not mean that you must automatically allow anything whatsoever. It simply means that differences of opinion, also when it comes to science, may be sustained by mutual respect, and somtimes mutual admiration (like the case of George Bernard Shaw and Benjamin Tucker, or of Rudolf Steiner and Ernst Häckel).

KOPP:

And what of the "respect" of Steiner for Madame Blavatsky, Annie Besant and all the others who didn't see it his way? And the "respect" of Shaw for those whose ideas he thought poorly of?

Steiner had great respect for Helena Blavatsky. He praised her as a great pioneer and as a strong and thoroughly honest woman. He criticized the way her works were written, her literary style, which was strongly influenced by her fiery temperament. The only person of whom Steiner spoke with a marked dislike was Woodrow Wilson.

Here's a case of what you're talking about: Stephen Tonkin makes enough sense about the real world to merit my respect, though he still believes is something I do not. He is a good teacher, by his own description. And, despite the fact that I think he shortchanges students about the scientific method, I would have wanted him teaching my kids science at our Steiner school. (It would be immodest of me to characterise his regard for me ....)

You, Mr Straume, do not make that sort of sense to me, and you cannot provide for me anything emperical about Anthroposophy, Steiner or your world view. So I do not have the same regard for your thinking as for some others, especially scientists.

Rudolf Steiner's doctoral thesis on epistemology, "Truth and Knowledge," is the best preparation for an empirical appreciation of the "Philosophy of Freedom." If these principles are recognized, Anthroposophy may be approached. This is the hardest way to Anthroposophy. (I took the shorter route and did the hard homework much later.)

But I have full regard for you as a human being, and your right to believe in fairies, if you choose.

Actually, I do.

How does that make me an ignorant bigot?

Your bigotry seems to be something that comes and goes with you on these posts.

Here's an example of why I have less respect for your ideas:

[KOPP:]

Surely SWA owes it to people who are going to place their children in the care of others for up to 13 years to give those intending consumers full disclosure? And surely it can't be that difficult?



[STRAUME:]

As I have pointed out, Waldorf education is not my field. Someone else should answer your question.

KOPP:

Yet you pontificate on a *WALDORF*-oriented mailing list! You beg off answering questions of substance about the pedagogy -- which even the SWA people say is based on Anthroposophy. Surely if you know so much about Anthroposophy, you can hold views on its relationship to the schools? If not, perhaps you should take your own advice, and get knowledgeable about Steiner/ Waldorf/ Anthroposophical schools BEFORE you contribute to a list about them.

I understand, and your objection is not unjustified. Ihe thing is, I know a great deal about Anthroposophy (I think), but pedagogy is one of my weakest points. I simple have not done my homework on it. So I thoght it proper that someone more qualified than I should answer that question.

You want me to be an Anthroposophist (the only way for me to know enough about the subject to engage you in discussion, according to your view of my knowledge of Steiner and Anthroposophy). But you claim ignorance of the topic of this list!

As a Waldorf parent with a good knowledge of Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy in general, I thought I might fit the bill here. I am not claiming ignorance of Waldorf education, but very limited knowledge of the specifics in the classroom.

Pull the other one, Mr Straume.

[Snip ... snip ... snip]

[KOPP:]

The world of Carl Sagan was -- and is -- the world of the search for physical, not mystical, truth.

[STRAUME:]

If man were only physical, devoid of soul and spirit, physical truth alone might have been sufficient. But it ain't necessarily so.

KOPP:

Show me your emperical evidence, please.

Empirical means personal, direct experience. I cannot conduct your experiences. This demand for empirical evidence is equally absurd if I ask you to prove Carl Sagan's anti-mystical reality to me. When I say "It ain't necessarily so," it means we have some personal freedom to go on here. You cannot prove atheism to a non-atheist - that is absurd. Nor can you do it the other way around.

Cheers,

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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From: Stephen Tonkin
Subject: Re: Fallacious argumentation (was: Medical care/religion [fwd])
Date: Mon, 8 Feb 1999 05:31:36 +0000

Tarjei Straume wrote:

The heliocentric astronomical theory of Galileo and Copernicus was not recognized by the Roman Catholic Church until 1827.

I'm no defender of the Church on this one but, in all fairness, neither Galileo nor Copernicus (nor Kepler nor Giordano Bruno) showed any actual evidence that the Earth moved around the Sun. Galileo was a shameless self-publicist and was vindicated because he was correct, but his scientific argument in this respect was somewhat lacking -- it boiled down to "if you don't believe me, it's because you are an idiot".

The first evidence that earth moves was the discovery of the aberration of starlight by James Bradley in 1729, nearly a century after Galileo died.

If anyone wants more detail on this, it's a tad OT here, but I have a tutorial on historical astronomy on my web site.

Noctis Gaudia Carpe,

Stephen

--
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From: Dan Dugan
Subject: Re: Fallacious argumentation (was: Medical care/religion [fwd])
Date: Fri, 12 Feb 1999 01:35:28 -0800

Bruce, you wrote,

Clearly one is sympathatic to such cases, and I wonder if to discuss deaths is really helpful..... however, there are many many women who have benefited (probably by having their lives saved, but that can never be proven) from the anthroposophical homeopathic treatment called ISCADOR - made from mistletoe.

It is exactly this promotion of unproven remedies that earns Anthroposophical Medicine the name "quackery."

-Dan Dugan

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From: Bruce
Subject: Re: Fallacious argumentation (was: Medical care/religion [fwd])
Date: Fri, 12 Feb 1999 06:37:54 EST

In einer eMail vom 12.02.99 11:36:00 MEZ, schreiben Sie:

It is exactly this promotion of unproven remedies that earns Anthroposophical Medicine the name "quackery."

you and proof Dan - what do you want NOW? 25,000 people to write to you personally that Iscador has saved their stomach, breast, testicle, ....

Bruce J

PS I thought this was a *waldorf* critics list!

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