Frome Steiner Academy: Absurd Educational Quackery

ahriman-vs

Having recently moved to Somerset, and as the parent of a couple of small children, potential future schools are obviously of interest.

One that I will not be considering is the new Steiner Academy in Frome. Following the current government’s plans to remove schools from local democratic control and place them in the hands of various private, religious and commercial interests, the Frome Steiner School has received agreement in principle from Michael Gove to open later this year.

A principal reason for my decision is that Steiner schools (sometimes called Waldorf Schools) are not open about the true nature of their origins, beliefs and methods. The new web page of the Frome Steiner Academy gives the impression that they follow a progressive approach to teaching that uniquely follows a child’s personal development. That all sounds wonderful. What they do not say is that this approach is based on occult thinking, astrology, clairvoyance and esoteric cult-like beliefs.

Even if their beliefs may have some positive effects for children, the apparent secrecy is a deep cause for concern.

[See my follow up post: What Every Parent Should Know About Steiner-Waldorf Schools]

But why I am I writing about this superstitious teaching approach on my blog about superstitious medicine? Steinerism, or Anthroposophy to give it its proper name, does not limit its mysticism to teaching. Rudolf Steiner, the founder, had clairvoyant revelations into many areas of life which have created Steinerist movements in agriculture, medicine, business and finance. There are good reasons to think that Anthroposophical medical beliefs present a direct threat to the wellbeing of children if they have any influence at all in Steiner Schools. We shall look at some evidence for this later.

In researching this article, a great difficulty has been getting beyond the facade. Steinerism exhibits classic esoteric traits. How the beliefs are presented to the world is very different from internal initiated beliefs. The real beliefs of Steiner education, which include reincarnation, spirits, gnomes and karma, are only revealed to those who progress into the organisation. We may see similarities with Scientology where people’s first experience is with a form of self-help psychology – it is only much later, after significant investments has been made, the weirder forms of beliefs are revealed. As such, I am often reliant on individuals who write about their experiences after removing themselves from close experiences with Steinerists. Steiner himself told teachers to be coy about the aims of the school for fear that “people would break the Waldorf [Steiner] School’s neck.”

To give you a flavour of the sort of beliefs held by Anthroposophists, let’s look at agriculture and medicine first.

Biodynamic Agriculture

You may well have already bought Steinerist food products. Biodynamics is the name most often associated with Steiner’s methods. Many wine producers appear to adopted these techniques and you may have bought such products thinking that Biodynamics is a strict variant of Organic agriculture. In some ways it is, but the strictness noticeably comes in adhering to Steiner’s beliefs in astrology and occultism.

For example, the use of artificial fertilisers is strictly forbidden. But it is not enough for manure to be used. No. It needs to be magically ‘activated’. Depending on what you are doing, you may need recipes such as,

  • Filling a cow horn with crushed quartz and burying it in the field you wish to help
  • Yarrow flowers are stuffed into the bladder of a Red Deer and then buried over-winter before digging up in Spring
  • Oak bark is stuffed into the skull of a dead cat, or other domestic animal, and then also buried in peat
  • Chamomile flowers are stuffed into cattle intestines and buried in Autumn

Teaspoon quantities of these concoctions can then be added to manure to create potent fertilisers. These recipes are clearly not based on any evidence or reason,  but on the astrological and spiritual symbology of these entities.

Astrology plays a crucial role. If you have an infestation of field mice, catch a few, then kill and cremate them. Sprinkle the ashes around, but do this only when Venus is in Scorpio.

Biodynamic farming presents itself as a ‘sustainable approach to agriculture’ and ‘founded on a holistic and spiritual understanding of nature and the human being’. Scrape away the rhetoric and we see a a philosophy based on the rejection of science and technology and an embrace of the occult, astrological and magical. This theme appears to be common to all strands of Steinerism.

Of course, Prince Charles has embraced Biodynamics as part of his commitment to reversing the enlightenment.

Anthroposophical medicine

Steiner’s approach to medicine is also based on various forms of superstitious thinking. Anthroposophical medicine makes claims to the public that it intends to extend scientific medicine to include spiritual aspects of human experience. That sounds nice. What this appears to mean in practice is no different from any other form of quackery in that it accepts unproven, disproven and nonsensical superstitious and pseudoscientific practices into its repertoire. Practicing superstition cannot extend medicine but only undermine it. Most commonly, Anthroposophists embrace the pre-scientific form of medicine known as homeopathy and then distort it with their own unique thinking. For example, a homeopath will say they will look at all aspects of your life in selecting a remedy; a Steinerist doctor will not just look at your current problems, but try to take into account your previous and future lives through their ideas about reincarnation.

The best known example of Steinerist medicine is its treatment for cancer. Rudolf Steiner was heavily influenced by homeopathic thinking. He saw mistletoe growing on trees and likened it to an arboreal cancer. Given the homeopathic dictum that “like cures like”, he thought mistletoe would be a cure for cancer. As such, the Anthroposophical company Weleda, best known for their cosmetics and skin care, manufacture mistletoe injections under the name of Iscador. Such injections appear to be popular in Germany, and some Steinerist doctors in the UK will also a offer them, such as at University College London’s RLHIM.

Finance and Commerce

The number of anthroposophical organisations appears to be very large. But the true extent of the influence of this occult organisation is quite hard to fathom. One good example is the financial services organisation Triodos Bank, who market themselves as an ethical investment bank based in the Netherlands and the UK. You will struggle to find any mention of Sterinerism on the bank’s website, but look in their articles of association [pdf] and you will find that the first paragraphs tell us, “Triodos Bank is – at its sole discretion – associated with anthroposophy, this being the humanities science initiated by Rudolf Steiner that accordingly forms an important basis for the work of Triodos Bank.”

Triodos is coy about disclosing its Steinerist origins and influences. However, they are still there. I understand that within the bank there are daily ritual chants. However, Triodos is very open about who it lends to. And whilst many loans may well be to admirable ventures, you can see from its website that the alternative medicine world relies heavily on investment from the bank. In the UK, the Homeopathic Supply Company, the Penny Brohn Alternative Cancer Therapy Clinic in Bristol, various chiropractors, osteopaths, natural health clinics all have benefited from their loans. I would argue that lending to pseudoscientific and superstitious therapists is not ethical but simply irresponsible.

Education

So, what of Steiner’s educational philosophy? You may have heard of a few of the characteristics of such schools. You may hear that children learn to read years later than their peers. Steiner schools claim that they want children to develop at their own speed and to learn when they are developmentally ready.

But by now you will not be surprised to learn that this approach to reading is based on the psychology of child development but on Steinerist concepts of reincarnation and spirituality. Steiner said,

People will object that the children then learn to read and write too late. That is said only because it is not known today how harmful it is when the children learn to read and write too soon. It is a very bad thing to be able to write early. Reading and writing as we have them today are really not suited to the human being till a later age – the eleventh or twelfth year – and the more a child is blessed with not being able to read and write well before this age, the better it is for the later years of life. A child who cannot write properly at thirteen or fourteen (I can speak out of my own experience because I could not do it at that age) is not so hindered for later spiritual development as one who early, at seven or eight years can already read and write perfectly.

We can see that teaching reading late not an act of waiting for the child to be ready, but a deliberate attempt to supress these vital skills for as long as possible. To me, it is frightening that parents could be unwittingly sending their children to a school where some teachers actively attempt to suppress a child’s desire to learn to read.

The reasons for this deliberate delay lie in Steinerists’ belief that people are reincarnated and children’s spirits have to be helped to properly incarnate in their new bodies. Reading should not be taught until arbitrary incarnation milestones have been reached, such as the acquisition of permanent teeth .

Another open aspect of Steinerist education is its desire to limit children’s exposure to technology. Computer use is discouraged. Often this reluctance to expose children to computers is expressed in reasonable terms by suggesting the solitary computer screen discourages the child learning “cooperatively with peers [which] is particularly important at this stage in the child’s life.” By now you will not be surprised to learn that Steinerists have associated computers with a spiritual being called Ahriman. (Steiner’s model of Ahriman is shown at the start of this article.) In Steiner’s world. Ahriman is a spirit of darkness opposed to Christ. Technology is an incarnation of such evil and as such should be shunned.

There are of course many aspects of Steiner education that cannot be discussed in a blog post without making it far too long. I would like to discuss eurhythmy – the strange spiritual dance movement classes that pupils have to take. Again, these dances are designed to help the reincarnated spirits within a child develop properly within the body.

Harms

So what harm is there in this strange and occult approach to teaching children? Indeed, there will be people who claim a Steiner education is a positive experience that has created well rounded adults. This will indeed be true as each child will be uniquely affected by their own parents influence and by encountering particular teachers who encourage academic and creative success. Some children may well thrive in a more artistically focussed environment. But to conclude from these anecdotes that Steinerism provides a general learning environment that can benefit most children’s needs would be an error. Indeed, it would be incredible that a pedagogy based on the occult thinking of a mystic has hit upon a successful teaching formula at all. We must indeed be concerned about teaching that delays the learning of basic literacy skills, allows the acquisition of important learning by not much more than happenstance, and whose philosophy is directly contradicted by science. We live in times where future young adults will have to compete with technically literate, scientifically educated peers from around the world. To treat such knowledge as suspicious can only provide handicaps to success.

Beyond the direct educational issues, exposure to anthroposophical medicine has direct health risks. Being heavily influenced by the ineffective ideas of homeopathy, there appears to be a tendency to distrust vaccination. It only takes a relatively small number of parents to decline vaccines to create conditions within a school where disease can outbreak.

Indeed, a recent review entitled Anthroposophy: A Risk Factor for Noncompliance With Measles Immunization documents measles outbreaks in the UK after the virus was able to gain a foothold in anthroposophic communities. Steiner believed that measles was an important disease for children to have as it aided their “spiritual development”. It is a disease that will kill and injure some of the children it infects.

Steiner was also against the eradication of smallpox by vaccination as he believed that this would only delay the spirit’s karmic destiny in other lives. Belief in reincarnation is not harmless. Steiner appeared to accept the death of a child as an acceptable part of helping spirits through their incarnations. Your child is just an expendable vessel.

Unpleasant aspects of Steiner’s mysticism no doubt arise from its development in early 20th Century. Racist views of human development thread their way through his beliefs. He saw life being based on a hierarchy with Aryans being placed at the pinnacle. Disabled people and other races were seen within his beliefs in karma and reincarnation as being ‘degenerate’ or inferior. The blogger and ex-Steiner parent ThetisMercurio discusses the troubling response to criticism of racism by UK Steinerists here and gives us cause for concern that such beliefs are still influential.

You may argue that huge numbers of publicly funded schools in the UK are already in the control of spiritual organisations that may well too have troubling philosophies. The Church of England is one of the biggest providers of education in the UK. Indeed, there are aspects I would worry about. But let me repeat where I started off. Steiner schools appear to be less than forthcoming about their approaches and philosophy. There is evidence that many aspects of their teaching methods are deliberately concealed from parents. CoE schools also exist within the general framework of inspection and accountability. The new Steiner schools want to remove themselves from current external scrutiny. Indeed, when their goals are more to do with incarnating a child’s spirit and preparing the child for future lives, then being judged on their maths and language literacy levels are just not important.

Steiner schools have existed in small numbers as private institutions for many years. And in a free society, providing there is proper disclosure, you may argue they have a right to exist. But for the government to hand over tax money to organisations that appear to be deliberately obscure, absurd in their ideas and potentially dangerous to health with superstitious views of medicine, is reckless and an abdication of responsibility to our children. Michael Gove has denounced critics of his Free Schools plan as ‘Trots’. I cannot see how objecting to public funding of secretive occult schools can be anything other than absolutely necessary.

Right now, the coalition government is rightly being attacked for its misconceived approach to healthcare provision. I predict that the rise of such institutions as the Frome Steiner Academy will provide a new front of opposition to this government’s obsession with meaningless ‘choice’.

Just who does this Steiner School extend choice to? There would appear to be three classes of parents where such a choice might apply. 1) Those who do not care how their school is run or what is taught. 2) Those who have been misled by the Steiner school’s representation of themselves, and 3) Those who believe in the literal existence of gnomes (which Rudolf Steiner did). For parents like myself who may want to make a choice based on such mundane things as location, academic emphasis and support, the Frome Steiner Academy actually decreases my choice.

It is difficult to imagine a more clear cut example of the dangers and absurdity of Gove’s grand plan. It’s time to break the Steinerist School’s neck, and with it, this profoundly anti-educationalist schools policy.

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Follow Up

The subject of anthroposophy and Steiner Schools is obviously huge and I could never do justice to it here. I suggest you read these three linked articles, which have been very helpful in informing this article, to help you learn more.

The true nature of Steiner (Waldorf) education. Mystical barmpottery at taxpayers’ expense. Part 1

The Steiner Waldorf cult uses bait and switch to get state funding. Part 2

Steiner Waldorf Schools Part 3. The problem of racism

And my follow up post that sets out the problems in much more detail: What Every Parent Should Know About Steiner-Waldorf Schools

 

392 comments for “Frome Steiner Academy: Absurd Educational Quackery

  1. February 27, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    Great piece, Andy. You managed to cover several important areas of concern.

    ‘Indeed, there will be people who claim a Steiner education is a positive experience that has created well rounded adults.’

    I suspect these people will arrive in time. To tell people that they had a friend who sent her kids to waldorf and they seemed just nice. Or similar things.

    So I conclude by saying I had a waldorf Steiner education, and I can’t recommend it. In general, it’s not for children who want to read, write, learn science and who enjoy facts (especially if the children want this when they’re still very young).

    • t.
      January 17, 2014 at 5:44 pm

      Hey Alicia!

      I´m from Germany.
      I cannot agree with your comment at all; I´ve been through the steiner education from First to 12th. I had an amazing experience, learned a lot about people, math and science. Next Fall I´m going to Med school.
      The thing thats different from a Waldorf to a “normal” school is, that you DON´T learn just facts, like you said and that is, in my opinion a good thing, because isn´t it stupid to think that you go to school to learn facts or so. School should teach you things for life, it should make you social, how to act to other people..and all those things and I think that is the important thing of going to school, not just studying for a degree, but learning how to be social, in a world like our its pretty important to have this ability!

      And by the way, you can become whatever you want, its not depending on what school you go, its depending on what you really want!

      • January 18, 2014 at 3:59 am

        “The thing thats different from a Waldorf to a “normal” school is, that you DON´T learn just facts, like you said and that is, in my opinion a good thing, because isn´t it stupid to think that you go to school to learn facts or so. ”

        Really? What did you believe school is for?

        “School should teach you things for life, it should make you social, how to act to other people..”

        No seriously? You require your school to teach you social skills? Most people just learn how to act to other people by being around other people. Maybe you’re confusing regular school with “charm school”? School is supposed to be for learning… and if you’re going to learn things… facts are nice things to learn.

        “and all those things and I think that is the important thing of going to school, not just studying for a degree, but learning how to be social, in a world like our its pretty important to have this ability!”

        Yes… and what better place to learn socialization, than from social isolationists? Find the most secretive, most deceptive, most anti-social (per instructions from their guru) people on the planet… and hope they will teach you their social skills… that’s the ticket!

        • Nicolas
          June 26, 2014 at 5:49 am

          Mocking is a sign of weakness in your argument…

          • June 26, 2014 at 3:35 pm

            And having NO argument at all is a sign of what?

    • lori
      September 9, 2014 at 11:12 pm

      As a Steiner educated women i would like to just clear up some things.I have also had the experience of going to a state secondary.
      Firstly this racism etc and differentiating children by there features is absolute nonsense. Steiner education taught me many worthy things and one of them was that people are not just what you see there are a whole person. I was taught never to judge and this was something that was firmly taught.
      I will tell you what Steiner taught me. It taught me that i shouldn’t believe everything i read and hear that i just form my own opinions that i just question and understand. It taught me to be myself know matter what that looked like. It taught me key skills i needed in life sewing, knitting, farming, cooking things i would like to add are things that are not taught in traditional state and primary schools.
      Something that is very brilliant about Steiner schools is how freeing it is….. it allows you to think you are not just asked to look at a textbook and learn parrot fashion. You are asked to question and understand different cultures and the world around you.
      I would also like to add to the comment above i am currently undertaking a masters degree so thinking that it in some way effects your learning is rubbish.
      Yes you learn later and i may be wrong but from what i have researched Steiner did this because he believed the child should learn to socialise and gain key skills before being tested and loaded with information.
      It meant that i had a fantastic childhood i was allowed to play and learn at the same time because learning was made to be fun, while in the infants they were undergoing sats tests etc.
      My point is this that for whatever reason Andy Lewis has got this idea of a Steiner in his mind, please go to a school and look at how a school is conducted. Yes of course it isn’t conventional and it can be a little kooky but that the beauty of it.
      Steiner for me was amazing and something that has helped me immensely it has not just made me a better person but i felt like i mattered that i wasn’t just another child in a class full of students with a stressed out teacher.
      I am more creative, i look at things from different points of view and question and learn more.
      so maybe you should listen to some of the students and rather than worrying about Steiner schools worry about state schools where bullying is rife and students are struggling to hit there grades and the teacher doesn’t have the time because they are understaffed write something on that because that is the bigger issue.

      • September 10, 2014 at 9:22 am

        Lori – I can understand that it would be very difficult to re-appraise what you saw as very positive childhood experiences.

        Nonetheless, there is much more to the world of Rudolf Steiner than would have been made aware to you in your school. The Anthroposophists make a big thing of saying that they “do not teach Anthroposophy in the schools”. To a certain extent this is true in that they will not make children or parents aware of the reasons for why they do many things. Classification of children according to these ‘temperaments’ would have been done without your involvement.

        One thing that Steiner Schools are very good at is inculcating the view they they are somehow superior to other educational systems and that students are more ‘questioning’ and ‘artistic’. I take this with a large pinch of salt. Questioning is a valubale tool for children. But so is understanding the world. Empty questioning will never produce insight. And indeed can be used to indoctrinate children by teaching them to reject genuine sources of authoritative knowledge.

      • September 10, 2014 at 5:48 pm

        Lori, this is what Waldorf brainwashing looks like. Your feeling of superiority in your ability to think and your confidence in the knowledge that you are more creative than your non-Waldorf counterparts is almost universal among Waldorf students. Who told you this was true?

        “As a Steiner educated women” who is “undertaking a masters degree” you may be having some difficulty understanding why some of us might question your opinion and glowing description of the value of your Steiner education – not to mention your opinion of non-Steiner education and what might be happening in a non-Steiner classroom environment.

        Looking at things from a different point of view isn’t always a good thing. Poor grammar and punctuation are good examples of what happens when teachers and students have too much “freedom” and not enough academic discipline. Good luck on that master’s degree!

  2. February 28, 2012 at 1:19 am

    Steiner education seems to polarise opinions strongly into pro and anti camps. As a skeptic with some experience of one small Steiner school (which one of my kids attended and another is still at) I find myself in a seemingly very small group who don’t regard it in purely black-or-white terms. (On the internet, at least: in practice many other skeptical friends and other parents at the school seem more pragmatic.)

    Much of the material in the article above has been covered in the articles and susequent discussions on David Colquhoun’s blog (linked to at the bottom of the article) and I won’t waste my time or the universe’s finite supply of electrons rehashing arguments here. I have, however, written about my experience with and thoughts about Steiner education here, which I hope may be of interest to readers not already committed to one position or another on the subject.

    • February 28, 2012 at 4:06 pm

      @John Stumbles

      “I find myself in a seemingly very small group who don’t regard it in purely black-or-white terms.”

      I don’t see how it can be anything but black or white John. Waldorf schools exist for the SOLE purpose of teaching what Steiner taught. Once you realize this, you will either accept what Steiner taught and send your child to a Waldorf school, or reject what Steiner taught and avoid such schools. That there may be a Waldorf school somewhere that doesn’t teach what Steiner taught is a fantasy, I’m afraid. Waldorf schools are centers for the promotion of Anthroposophy – it’s really THAT simple for anyone who cares to look at it. If you are finding a gray area, it’s because you haven’t looked closely enough.

      • Prof Peter Stebbing
        June 26, 2014 at 9:59 am

        Can education be based on the occult? I do not believe it can because it has no basis in reality. Education is a preparation for life. The four Earth spirits of Steiner’s biodynamics, a pseudo-ecology, include gnomes…We are not going to solve any problems beyond creating characters for nursery tales with this nonsense.

  3. Graham
    February 28, 2012 at 4:20 am

    Professor Albus Dumbledore and Professor Minerva McGonagall both work there. Until reading this excellent article, I was under the impression Hogwarts was a work of fiction.

  4. February 28, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Great article!

    Waldorf schools today do indeed teach Steiner’s racist philosophy as science. I have documented my own child’s “physiology” lesson extensively. His teacher, at Highland Hall Waldorf school in California, presented the lesson that “the blood of people from Europe is more evolved than the blood of people from Africa and Asia”. When I questioned this lesson with the school, it was required that I had several meetings with teachers and administrators from Highland Hall – and they DEFENDED the lesson. They continue to claim no racism is being taught at Highland Hall rather than revise their curriculum. When people don’t recognize racism in the first place, they are hardly in a position to suggest racism doesn’t exist in their school. http://petekaraiskos.blogspot.com/2011/05/awsna-comments-on-racism.htm

    To clarify one thing… Steiner/Waldorf schools ABSOLUTELY want to attract children of all races. They don’t discriminate based on race when ENROLLING. Their racial discrimination stems from what Steiner taught about the races and what to expect from each of them. It isn’t unlike Steiner’s other teachings (to teachers) about the temperaments, left-handedness, large-headed and small-headed children, and so forth. Steiner’s indications about the races plays into Waldorf just like the temperaments do. Waldorf schools wouldn’t discriminate against small-headed children, just because they are prone to “intellectualism” – something Steiner frowned on… these children are to be “developed in the right way”. Steiner even suggested there were “demonic” children without souls in Waldorf schools. Waldorf schools don’t discriminate about which children they take in (families is another matter, however)… they believe they can help all children… by covertly teaching them Anthroposophy.

  5. Diana
    February 28, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    Regarding anthroposophical medicine, the importance of karma cannot be overstated. Here are some karmic connections to illness that Steiner promulgates in Theosophy of the Rosicrucian, Lecture VI: “The law of destiny” available at: http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/TheoRosic/19070530p01.html

    * Bad inclinations and passions in a past life cause you to have an unhealthy physical body and a tendency to illness in the next life.

    * Good qualities in a past life will lead to good health in the next life.

    * A loving nature in a past life will grant you, in the next life, a physical body that remains young and fresh until late in life.

    * Conversely, a tendency to criticize and grumble in the past life will cause you to age prematurely, in the next life.

    * Acquisitiveness and hoarding behavior in the past life will result in a tendency to infectious diseases in the next life.

    * Conversely, working for the well-being of all mankind in the past life will give you resistance to infectious diseases in the next life.

    * Pain and suffering in the past life will grant you wisdom in the next life.

    * Bearing illness calmly in the past life results in great physical beauty in the next life.

    So: keep this in mind if the anthroposophic physician is devising a remedy for your child who has caught an infectious disease. In the back of his mind, he/she knows that Steiner would have said this child may be prone to infectious illnesses because he or she was selfish and acquisitive in a past life. Your child may have caught a nasty disease because of “bad inclinations” in the last incarnation.

    Steiner said that we need illnesses to correct our spiritual failings; that we actually attract illnesses to ourselves, seek them out, for our own spiritual development. This is the reason anthroposophic physicians are unenthusiastic about vaccination. They thwart karma by preventing an illnesss the child “needed” spiritually. If the child avoids the disease via vaccination, the karma will just have to be worked out some other way. In this reasoning, therefore, you aren’t doing your child a favor by sparing them the vaccine-preventable diseases – even the truly awful ones. Steiner said smallpox, for instance, was the result of “unlovingness” in a past life.

    According to this theory, if a child dies from a preventable disease, it is because his or her spiritual “tasks” in this incarnation were already completed. Either the child needed to make amends for evil deeds in a past life, or, sometimes, a person who dies young is said to be gathering strength for important spiritual tasks in a future life. I don’t think this is a lot of comfort to most normal parents, who are concerned for a sick child.

    • Jonathan
      February 29, 2012 at 6:10 pm

      I fear your theories are hor$esh!t.

      • Diana
        March 1, 2012 at 3:21 am

        They aren’t my theories. They’re Rudolf Steiner’s theories. I don’t agree with them.

  6. February 28, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    Great article. I knew Steiner schools were kooky (and the potential sources of outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases)but I didn’t know they were racist kooks until now.

    • David
      June 17, 2012 at 10:48 pm

      You seriously telling me you think State schools *don’t* have racism? Let me ask you this. Has your school a points system? Star of the Week? Kids wearing tee-shirts that say things like “Be fast or be last” and no-one thinks there’s anything wrong with that? Steiner schools can be a bit kooky, but state schools – while certainly more integrated – are far worse. Do yourself a favour and start taking a close look at your own state-run school. I went to one and my kids are at one now. A lot of bad things happen in these places but no one notices because they think that’s how things have to be. Or are you seriously telling me you don’t know that…?

      • Badly Shaved Monkey
        June 18, 2012 at 6:57 am

        State schools are generally free of gnomes.

        Mind you, so are Steiner schools, but the staff think otherwise.

      • saucyturtles
        June 18, 2012 at 7:50 pm

        This is akin to the “conventional medicine has problems, so homeopathy therefore works” argument. Steiner schools and their relationship to Steiner’s wacky ideas; that is the topic under discussion here. I’m sure there’s much to discuss about alternatives to Steiner schools, but that would be another discussion.

  7. Muscleguy
    February 28, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    It gets worse when it comes to bullying and harassment. Steiner schools will absolutely not step in to prevent one child openly bullying, including physically other children. This is apparently put down to the bullied kids being reincarnated bullies and the bullies being reincarnated victims so karma is being rebalanced by the bullying.

    • February 29, 2012 at 3:05 am

      @Muscleguy It’s a pretty extraordinary claim to make about any school that it “will absolutely not step in to prevent one child openly bullying, including physically other children”. It’s an even more extraordinary claim to make that this applies to *all* schools of a certain type.

      Please produce correspondingly extraordinary evidence to support your claim.

      • February 29, 2012 at 3:14 am

        “Please produce correspondingly extraordinary evidence to support your claim.”

        I believe he already DID. His claim of accepting bullying is supported by what Waldorf teachers are taught about how their students relate to each other (and their teacher) through karma. We see further evidence of this kind of thinking right in the article: “Steiner believed that measles was an important disease for children to have as it aided their “spiritual development”. ” and “Steiner was also against the eradication of smallpox by vaccination as he believed that this would only delay the spirit’s karmic destiny in other lives. ” Steiner ALSO believed teachers shouldn’t stop bullying since it is useful in striking a karmic balance.

  8. Keith Thompson
    February 29, 2012 at 4:45 am

    I hear a lot about bullying and karma but could someone point me to actual evidence that this is stated policy in a Steiner school? They deny it (and I guess understandably so), so where is it written? I’d really like to know.

    • February 29, 2012 at 5:06 am

      I wrote quite a bit about this on my blog:

      Why Waldorf Permits Bullying and Abuse
      Every time I speak with a member of the Highland Hall community who doesn’t get it, I find myself compelled to carry on my letter-writing campaign. This time it was a Highland Hall board member who claimed we will “never agree” on the philosophy. Fair enough… but there’s still one big problem… THE PHILOSOPHY IS ABUSIVE TO CHILDREN… so simply not agreeing with Highland Hall’s philosophy is not acceptable to me – especially while they are abusing children. Those of you who know me know how close to home this particular issue strikes. Highland Hall has abused my kids for decades and that abuse continues.

      There is no question that bullying and abuse have occurred regularly at Highland Hall since its inception in 1955. Back then, it was easier to cover up the occasional abuse of students by teachers (and sometimes parents) – and still cases of abuse at Highland Hall were documented throughout the years. Abuse of children is still acceptable today at Highland Hall. I have personally documented many cases of abuse and brought them to the Highland Hall Board’s attention without too much success (It was because of the combined voices of a few brave parents that a couple of the worst teachers finally left voluntarily). But the question remains, why does Highland Hall turn a blind eye to the bullying and abuse of children by its teachers – both on and off campus?

      It may not come as a surprise to many who have been reading my previous letters about racism at Highland Hall, that it’s the same hidden philosophy behind Highland Hall and Waldorf – Anthroposophy, the philosophy that permits racism – which also permits Waldorf teachers to stand by while children bully children, and while teachers abuse children (and parents).

      Where exactly does Anthroposophy say abuse of children is permitted? Well, first, it helps if one believes some children aren’t really “children” but “demons”.

      “Demons are born through man’s immoral conduct. Let us look at the difference between the demons that arise through immoral behaviour and the spiritual entities – spiritual in so far as they only achieve a watery existence on Earth – the spiritual forms that are created by moral actions.” …

      “The demons created out of immoral actions also have an astral body, an ether body and a physical body, at the watery level of course, but they do not have the basis for developing an ego. They are born headless, as it were. They do not take up the basis for regular evolution to Jupiter existence but reject it. By doing so they condemn themselves to a fate of dropping out of evolution and adding to the hordes of luciferic beings, falling into their power. Unable to progress in a regular way they become parasites. This is what happens to all the spirits who reject normal evolution; they have to attach themselves to others in order to progress. Spirits who arise through immoral actions have a particular tendency to be parasites in human evolution on Earth under Lucifer’s leadership, and to seize hold of the evolution of human beings before these make their physical entry into the world. They attack human beings during the embryonic stage and share their existence between conception and birth. Some of these spirits, if they are strong enough, can continue to accompany the human being after birth, creating the phenomena seen in children who are possessed.

      “The criminal demons attached as parasite to unborn children cause deterioration in the succession of the generations; this eats into human beings, making them less good than they would be if these demons did not exist. There are various reasons for the decline of families, tribes, people and nations, but one of them is the existence of these criminal demon parasites during the period mentioned.

      “These things play an important part in Earth evolution as a whole, and we are here touching on deep secrets of human existence. People often acquire certain prejudices and points of view even before they are born because of this. They are then tormented by doubts and uncertainties in life, and all kinds of other things, because of these demonic parasites.

      “These spirits cannot do very much once human beings develop their ego, but they prey on them all the more before they are born or in their earliest years.” (from “Future Jupiter Existence” (Dornach, 3 January 1915), reprinted in Angels: Selected Lectures by Rudolf Steiner; London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1996 reprinted 1998). (pp 167-168))

      And directly from the Waldorf Teacher Training reading list:

      Dr. Steiner: “That little girl L.. in the first grade must have something very wrong inside. There is not much we can do. Such cases are increasing in which children are born with a human form, but are not really human beings in relation to their highest I [the highest element of one’s spiritual being]; instead, they are filled with beings that do not belong to the human class. Quite a number of people have been born since the [1890s] without an I, that is, they are not reincarnated, but are human forms filled with a sort of natural demon. There are quite a large number of older people going around who are actually not human beings, but only natural; they are human beings only in regard to their form. We cannot, however, create a school for demons.”

      A teacher: “How is that possible?”

      Dr. Steiner: “Cosmic error is certainly not impossible. The relationships of individuals coming into earthly existence have long been determined. There are also generations in which individuals have no desire to come into earthly existence and be connected with physicality, or immediately leave at the very beginning. In such cases, other beings that are not quite suited step in…. They are also quite different from human beings in regard to everything spiritual. They can, for example, never remember such things as sentences; they have a memory only for words, not for sentences….

      “I do not like to talk about such things since we have often been attacked even without them. Imagine what people would say if they heard that we say there are people who are not human beings. Nevertheless, these are facts. Our culture would not be in such a decline if people felt more strongly that a number of people are going around who, because they are completely ruthless, have become something that is not human, but instead are demons in human form.

      “Nevertheless, we do not want to shout that to the world. Our opposition is already large enough. Such things are really shocking to people. I caused enough shock when I needed to say that a very famous university professor, after a very short time between death and rebirth, was reincarnated as a black scientist. We do not want to shout such things out into the world.” (Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER, Anthroposophical Press, 1998, pp. 649-650.)

      Note that in the last two paragraphs, Steiner makes it clear to Waldorf teachers that this “demon” stuff is to be kept secret from “the world”. Nonetheless, demons can appear in the form of children, according to Steiner.

      So if children may be demons, who decides if they are demons? Well, that would have to be the best trained people for this – Waldorf teachers. Do some Waldorf teachers really think children’s bodies can be inhabited by demons? YES, they REALLY DO! By some unfortunate stroke of bad luck, Waldorf teacher (and now teacher trainer at Highland Hall) Christine Leonard announced my own daughter was demonically possessed when she was 10 years old. To exercise these demons, apparently exercise (running laps) was a good thing. So was cleaning toilets, having her belongings searched, labeled as a liar (for revealing what she saw), endless verbal abuse and being singled out as a… well… a demon – to the whole class. My daughter started on a path of self-destruction from that time on. Mrs. Leonard’s diagnosis has taken its toll on my daughter over the years – despite the therapy she has required. Some Waldorf teachers may believe Mrs. Leonard was right about her diagnosis of my daughter. They definitely believe Steiner when he says demons exist in children. If you ask me… there are demons at work at Waldorf – but they are not in our children. Not YET…

      But what does it say about the role models we are providing for our kids when they are known to be dishonest? We know many teachers at Highland Hall have lied to the parents. We know this because under pressure, they have had to admit it. Nonetheless, we allow them to be our children’s role models. Dishonest people don’t make very good role models… in fact DISHONEST PEOPLE MAKE LOUSY ROLE MODELS.

      And why are Waldorf teachers dishonest? Because Steiner TOLD THEM they should be. Again, from the paragraph above:

      “I do not like to talk about such things since we have often been attacked even without them. Imagine what people would say if they heard that we say there are people who are not human beings. Nevertheless, these are facts. Our culture would not be in such a decline if people felt more strongly that a number of people are going around who, because they are completely ruthless, have become something that is not human, but instead are demons in human form.”

      Steiner instructed Waldorf teachers to keep their knowledge from the outside world. Does that mean parents too? On page 10 of Faculty Meetings with Rudolf Steiner:

      “However, there is something else that I would ask you to be aware of. That is, that we, as the faculty—what others do with the children is a separate thing—do not attempt to bring out into the public things that really concern only our school. I have been back only a few hours, and I have heard so much gossip about who got a slap and so forth. All of that gossip is going beyond all bounds, and I really found it very disturbing. We do not really need to concern ourselves when things seep out the cracks. We certainly have thick enough skins for that. But on the other hand, we clearly do not need to help it along. We should be quiet about how we handle things in the school, that is, we should maintain a kind of school confidentiality. We should not speak to people outside the school, except for the parents who come to us with questions, and in that case, only about their children, so that gossip has no opportunity to arise.”

      So secrecy is the name of the game with Waldorf. Parents aren’t given a truthful story when abuse happens… not because some teacher made bad choices during a crisis, but because that’s what Waldorf teachers are TRAINED to do. And THAT is why when they are finally fired for their bad behavior, they simply transfer to another school. They haven’t done anything wrong in Waldorf/Steiner’s view. Lying to parents and covering up bad behavior is part of Waldorf. If you have any doubts, read FACULTY MEETINGS with RUDOLF STEINER – starting at page 377. Read how, when an incident involving Waldorf students happened, Steiner himself worked with teachers to hide the truth from the public.

      This is why Waldorf teachers are deceptive. They are TAUGHT to be deceptive. It’s part of Waldorf education to be deceptive… to lie to parents… even about their own children. Why? Because according to Steiner, the Waldorf teacher is more important to the spiritual development of the child than the parents are.

      Also, if you want an example of Steiner himself abusing a child – read his physical assessment of a student:

      “And now, if you will begin to observe the child for yourselves — [to the boy] Come here a minute! — you will find many things to notice. Let me draw your attention, first of all, to the strongly developed lower half of the face. Look at the shape of the nose and the mouth. The mouth is always a little open, which has an effect on dental development. It is important to note these things, for they are unquestionably bound up with the whole soul-and-spirit constitution of
      the child… The formation you see here in the jaws — the jaws belong, of course, to the limb system — is wholly part of the head system … (Look, he’s amused! I think Fraulein B. was asking him why he keeps his mouth open, and his reply was: ‘To let the flies come in.’ This is a firmly fixed opinion of his.)

      “… Here (in the front) as we remarked, the head is pressed together. In all probability this points back to a purely mechanical injury, either at birth or during pregnancy, a mechanical injury in which we can see nothing else than a
      working of karma …

      “[T]he whole breathing system … is very little under control … Hence the symptom that is so conspicuous in a child of this kind … What ought to happen is that gradually, in the course of life, the whole system of movement in man should become a servant of the intellectual system. [To the boy] Stand still a
      minute! And now come here to me and do this! (Dr. Steiner makes a movement with his arm as if to take hold of something; the boy does not make the movement.) Never mind! We mustn’t force him. Do you see? It is difficult for him to do anything; he has not the power to exercise the right control over his metabolism-and-limbs system….” [Rudolf Steiner, EDUCATION FOR SPECIAL NEEDS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), pp. 106-110.]

      • March 6, 2012 at 2:01 pm

        Pete raises a good point. Steiner certainly had some very wacky ideas (a point I’ve made in my own web pages about Steiner education at http://stumbles.org.uk/John/Steiner/) and if one goes through his writings and speeches you can find material to support claims that Steiner education is racist, allows or even encourages bullying, is anti-technology etc etc.

        There’s another irrational belief system I’ve come across. It holds that children are born bad: even as they emerge from the womb they acquire guilt for a wrong-doing that some distant ancestors committed; and they must atone for this by subjugating their will and their lives to making obeisance to an invisible but all-powerful being, the existence of whom they must believe in unconditionally and without evidence, and whose wishes – as interpreted and conveyed by various, often-conflicting, human authorities – they must follow not just in deed but even in thought, for this supernatural being is more pervasive, remorseless and sadistic that even the Thought Police of Orwell’s nightmare fiction. At least in “1984″ suffering ended with death: this cult threatens children with torment – besides which Big Brother’s torture chambers pale – starting with death and lasting for eternity. This horrific belief system holds that unless one makes obeisances in exactly the right way one will be condemned to these eternal tortures, and that others – even friends, family members and loved-ones – who follow slightly different interpretations of the necessary obeisances are so condemned. It holds that women are inferior to men, that most forms of sexuality are suspect and many will absolutely lead to eternal torture … and so on.

        And in practically every school in the Western world – and many elsewhere – there are teachers who follow this belief system. Some schools are actually dedicated to the promotion of such beliefs, but all teachers following this belief system are encouraged to think they are doing good by promoting it to their children, overtly or covertly.

        Across the world we can see the results of such indoctrination: people discriminating against, beating, shooting and bombing each other over differences in their interpretations of this toxic dogma. And yet, perhaps more remarkably, there are millions more who are not doing so. If everyone brought up in this belief system carried the most hateful and vicious strains of the meme the world would be a constant bloodbath but actually it is not. Somehow it seems the human mind and conscience has, in most people, acquired a certain degree of resistance to hateful stupidity.

        Religious extremists – ultra-orthodox Zionist settlers, suicide-bombing Jihadists, funeral-picketing Westboro Baptists etc – can and do justify themselves in terms of their religious doctrines, but it seems that most followers of these faiths actually ignore the more psychopathic parts of the doctrines they claim to follow in order to lead decent, tolerant, humane lives.

        Likewise one could choose from Steiner’s words to justify racism, bullying etc – as Pete claims[1] happens at Highland Hall Waldorf School in California. But even if Pete’s allegations regarding that school were true and it had chosen a brutal, nasty interpretation of Steiner’s words to justify a Waldorf Dotheboys Hall, that wouldn’t show how Steiner/Waldorf education was conducted elsewhere, any more than the Phelps family is a reliable guide to the vast majority of Christians.

        [1] Pete has also claimed that Waldorf education instils an anti-technology prejudice in its pupils; a claim which doesn’t seem to be entirely borne out by a sample of Highland Hall’s alumni

      • March 6, 2012 at 6:00 pm

        There doesn’t seem to be a Reply button on John’s post… cool huh?

        John Stumbles wrote: “[1] Pete has also claimed that Waldorf education instils an anti-technology prejudice in its pupils; a claim which doesn’t seem to be entirely borne out by a sample of Highland Hall’s alumni”

        Highland Hall has been around since 1955. It has been producing graduates for over 50 years. There are 11 graduates TOTAL listed on their alumni page. Out of them, 5 are in scientific or technological careers. Where are the other 1500 people that must have graduated from Highland Hall? Where are the 15,000 who have had their educations interrupted by Highland Hall?

        Everyone who contacts a Waldorf grad can test my theory. See how they relate to technology… is it the thing of the future, or is it some horrible Orwellian creation that is enslaving us all?

  9. February 29, 2012 at 11:09 am

    One may have a theory, e.g. that water molecules retain a memory of a substance they were once in contact with, or that all Steiner-Waldorf schools are riddled with bullying and/or racism.

    That theory may be based on some ideas about the subject e.g. quantum entanglement between particles, or the writings of Rudolf Steiner.

    Those ideas are not evidence. Evidence is observations of things happening in the real world. So for example we observe quantum entanglement occuring in certain experiments in the laboratory, and even apparently in photosynthesis. And we observe bullying and racism (you tell us) in one Waldorf school.

    Do those observations – that evidence – support our memory-of-water or all-Steiner-schools-abusive theories?

    I leave answering that question as an exercise for the reader :-)

    • Adzcliff
      February 29, 2012 at 11:49 am

      Hi John

      I think you’re right to question whether some of the absolutist claims here are a true reflection of reality inide a Steiner school. However, it seems we are stuck with the fact that Steiner doctrine supports and/or permits some concerning practices regarding child development, race, health and bullying to name a few. This leaves us with the dilemma of whether we send our kids to these schools hoping that they ignore their underpinning philosophies (and see them for what they are); or hold-off until we can be assured their policies and procedures reflect what we’d like to see in practice?

      Ta.

      Adzcliff

  10. February 29, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Apart from Steiner’s woo-woo esoteric doctrines, which the critics always quote, he seems to have had rather more down-to-earth ideas about actual teaching practice, which is what I think the more pragmatic teachers are informed by in their work. I could just about imagine that a Steiner (or Waldorf) school *could* go down the crazy dogmatic and abusive route that Pete K paints Highland Hall school as, but the school I’m familiar with bears absolutely no resemblance to the monstrous depiction that ultra-critics like Pete wish us to accept as necessarily representing all S-W schools everywhere.

    But please don’t take my word for it: if there’s a Steiner school near you please go and talk to them at an Open Day or arrange a prospective parent visit or whatever. Maybe ask to be put in contact with families there, or talk to them at the school gate. Maybe you have friends (or foafs) with kids there who you can talk to. See if you can find former pupils – either moved on as they got older or moved out because they didn’t like it – and talk to them. Do some good sceptical investigation! Decide for yourself what seems good and what’s bad about them. I suspect they’re all quite different from each other – certainly the character of our local school has changed over the years as different teachers have come and gone, so I’d expect other schools to have different characteristics, strengths and weaknesses (just as mainstream schools do). And be aware that many teachers and others within Steiner education have experienced the vociferous all-Steiner-is-evil types, so be clear that you’re asking with an open mind if you don’t want to be met by defensiveness.

    And Andy – how about doing the same with Frome school, to see how well the impressions you’ve gained from reading about Steiner match up with the reality there?

    • Diana
      March 1, 2012 at 3:24 am

      John: “please don’t take my word for it: if there’s a Steiner school near you please go and talk to them at an Open Day or arrange a prospective parent visit or whatever. Maybe ask to be put in contact with families there, or talk to them at the school gate”

      Great advice. Also, ask to take a peek in a classroom. A classroom IN SESSION. Open days are carefully stage managed events. You need to see classroom reality. Getting in isn’t easy.

    • Diana
      March 1, 2012 at 3:27 am

      John:
      “Are parents welcome to observe classes in mainstream schools?”

      Yes.

      “The teachers at my kids’ Steiner school – like those in other schools, I guess – aren’t keen on having outsiders sitting in on classes because (as any parent will be aware) children behave differently when they have an audience.”

      This is nonsense. You’ve been sold a bill of goods by Waldorf teachers who are insecure about having their classes observed. It isn’t a good sign.

      “I always suggest to parents…”
      “Suggest away. But if the person you’re offering your advice to decides to do something different based on their own thinking and judgement then I suggest you respect their decision.”

      Thanks for the suggestion. What would make you think I wouldn’t respect another parent’s decision? What could I do about another parent’s decision anyway? Your comment is intended to imply I’ve done something wrong. I don’t think so.

  11. Diana
    February 29, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Rudolf Steiner:

    “Cosmic error is certainly not impossible. The relationships of individuals coming into earthly existence have long been determined. There are also generations in which individuals have no desire to come into earthly existence and be connected with physicality, or immediately leave at the very beginning.”

    “Immediately leave at the very beginning” – i.e., die as infants or young children – perhaps from a vaccine-preventable disease? Please note that Steiner is suggesting that the death of a young child may occur because that child was actually a “criminal demon parasite.”

    John Stumbles wrote:

    “Evidence is observations of things happening in the real world.”

    Yes. Unfortunately, in Waldorf schools, parents are frequently not allowed open observation in the classroom (they may be permitted for specially prearranged events, but are generally unwelcome to simply observe their child’s class).

    Adzcliff wrote: “This leaves us with the dilemma of whether we send our kids to these schools hoping that they ignore their underpinning philosophies (and see them for what they are); or hold-off until we can be assured their policies and procedures reflect what we’d like to see in practice?”

    I always suggest to parents that it doesn’t make much sense to send your child to a school where you have to hope that the teachers aren’t actually following their own underpinning philosophy. Choose a school where you AGREE with the underlying philosophy, then you don’t have to be always watching the teachers to make sure they’re not following it.

    • February 29, 2012 at 8:48 pm

      Are parents welcome to observe classes in mainstream schools?

      The teachers at my kids’ Steiner school – like those in other schools, I guess – aren’t keen on having outsiders sitting in on classes because (as any parent will be aware) children behave differently when they have an audience. Nevertheless they do have observers in classes at various times: whether learning support people, OFSTED or sometimes parents. I have sat in on my children’s classes a few times so I do have some idea what goes on.

      “I always suggest to parents…”
      Suggest away. But if the person you’re offering your advice to decides to do something different based on their own thinking and judgement then I suggest you respect their decision.

  12. February 29, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    @John Stumbles: “Apart from Steiner’s woo-woo esoteric doctrines, which the critics always quote, he seems to have had rather more down-to-earth ideas about actual teaching practice, which is what I think the more pragmatic teachers are informed by in their work.”

    Do you have any evidence to support to support this claim John? Oh yeah, your evidence is that you haven’t noticed problems at your Waldorf school. Oh yeah, and they don’t teach Anthroposophy. What’s next… are they going to convince you they don’t READ Anthroposophy either? This is almost comical.

  13. February 29, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Here are some of Steiner’s “down-to-earth” ideas about actual teaching practice which are REQUIRED READING for Waldorf teacher trainees.

    “With the students, we should at least try to…make it clear that, for instance, an island like Great Britain swims in the sea and is held fast by the forces of the stars. In actuality, such islands do not sit directly upon a foundation; they swim and are held fast from outside.” (FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER, p. 607.)

    “It is not that the planets move around the Sun, but these three, Mercury, Venus, and the Earth, follow the Sun, and these three, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, precede it.” (FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER., pp. 30-31.)

    “For the seventh, eighth, and ninth grade independent religious instruction we could move into a freer form and give a theoretical explanation about such things as life before birth and after death. We could give them examples. We could show them how to look at the major cultural connections and about the mission of the human being on Earth. You need only look at Goethe and Jean Paul [i.e., Johann Paul Friedrich Richter, a German author] to see it. You can show everywhere that their capacities come from a life before birth.” (FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER, p. 184.)

    “From the stone there flows into the soul one kind of feeling, and from the animal another … Out of these feelings and the thoughts that are bound up with them, the organs of clairvoyance are formed.” [KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIGHER WORLDS AND ITS ATTAINMENT, p. 29.]

    “The brain is an instrument for purely intellectual apprehension.
    Intellectualism and materialistic thinking are one and the same … [T]he materialistic brain represents a process of decay: materialistic thinking unfolds only through processes of destruction, death-processes, which are taking place in the brain.” [THE FESTIVALS AND THEIR MEANING, pp. 147-148.]

    “The brain “thinks” only in a very inferior manner. “When people are as blinded by materialistic thoughts as they became during the nineteenth century and right into the present … it is not incorrect to say that the brain thinks. It is then, in fact, correct. By being firmly enmeshed in materialism, we have people
    who not only think poorly about the body, soul, and spirit, but people who think materially and feel materially. What that means is that materialism causes the human being to become a thinking automaton, that the human being then becomes something that thinks, feels, and wills physically.” … “The human
    being is thus in danger of drifting into the Ahrimanic world, in which case the spirit-soul will evaporate into the cosmos.” [FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER, p. 115.]

    [Good children] “have a respect that forbids them, even in the deepest recess of their heart, to harbour any thoughts of criticism or opposition.” [KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIGHER WORLDS AND ITS ATTAINMENT, p. 10.] (BTW, this is why John and others like Waldorf grads – they’ve had their corners ground down and their edges filed off.)

    “All materialistically thinking souls work on the production of evil race-formations, and what is done of a spiritual nature causes the bringing forth of a good race.” [ROSICRUCIAN WISDOM, p. 150.]

    “The task of Anthroposophy is not simply to replace a false view of the world with a correct one…The task is to raise the spirit-soul into the realm of the spiritual, so that the human being is no longer a thinking and feeling automaton…The human being is…in danger of drifting into the Ahrimanic world, in which case the spirit-soul will evaporate into the cosmos.” (FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER, p. 115.)

    If Waldorf teachers only taught HALF of what Steiner told them to teach… well, which half of the above nonsense would you like YOUR child to learn?

  14. Jan Luiten
    March 4, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    Dou you really think the British tax payer wants only “Richard Dawkins schools” or “David Colquhoun schools”, based upon a sceptic dogmatic ideology?
    There is a meter for stupid sceptic dogamtic utterings: the Gruizelgruismeter. Your score is pretty high: knowing nothing about anthroposophy but still publishing about it.

    • March 4, 2012 at 10:51 pm

      Just for the record, Google says this:
      “Your search – gruizelgruismeter – did not match any documents. ”

      Well done for scoring so high on a non-existent scale! Jan gets a WTF point for “sceptic dogamtic utterings” and I get a good laugh.

      Jan, I think you’ll find most taxpayers actually expect their children to get an education, not an indoctrination.

      • Jan Luiten
        March 6, 2012 at 5:54 pm

        hi teapot,
        yes a bit of humor muss sein.
        I like anarchists, but I don’t like dogmatic sceptics.
        Do you think it is ok to indoctrinate children with the deplorable sceptic dogmatic ideology?

    • Badly Shaved Monkey
      March 6, 2012 at 8:14 am

      Jan, which of LCN’s statements about anthroposophy are factually incorrect?

      My bet is that you will not answer this, but I’d love to be surprised.

      • Jan Luiten
        March 6, 2012 at 6:01 pm

        Monkey,
        The article is real bullshit.
        This is because Andy has the prejudice that all what comes from anthroposophy must be nonsense because there is no evidence for it according to his own materialistic sceptic rules.

      • March 6, 2012 at 8:19 pm

        Jan, you didn’t answer the question.

        “Jan, which of LCN’s statements about anthroposophy are factually incorrect?”

      • Jan Luiten
        March 7, 2012 at 10:06 pm

        What is factually incorrect?
        A few examples:
        Andy talks about “superstition” within anthroposophy.
        There is none. What Steiner brought is on the basis of the anthroposophical inquiry method.
        The same about “beliefs”. “Don’t believe a single word I said” are Steiners words…(sounds almost sceptic).
        “rejection of science”. No, anthroposophy fully recognizes science and the scientific method (but not the sceptic-dogmatic variant of it).

      • Le Canard Noir
        March 7, 2012 at 10:09 pm

        I would suggest that superstitious people never admit their beliefs are superstitious. Nor pseudo-scientific, admit their errors.

      • Jan Luiten
        March 7, 2012 at 10:34 pm

        Andy,
        Very easily said.
        Do you know the anthroposophical method of inquiry?

      • March 8, 2012 at 12:00 am

        Jan asked: Do you know the anthroposophical method of inquiry?

        Apparently, Anthroposophical inquiry isn’t encumbered by any actual thinking.

        “The brain is an instrument for purely intellectual apprehension. Intellectualism and materialistic thinking are one and the same … [T]he materialistic brain represents a process of decay: materialistic thinking
        unfolds only through processes of destruction, death-processes, which are taking place in the brain.” [THE FESTIVALS AND THEIR MEANING, pp. 147-148.]

        “Human beings must embark upon the unpleasant task of abandoning the mode of thinking [i.e., intellect] which the universities produce in the so-called educated classes today….” [BEHIND THE SCENES OF EXTERNAL HAPPENINGS, Nov. 6, 1917.]

        The brain “thinks” only in a very inferior manner. “When people are as blinded by materialistic thoughts as they became during the nineteenth century and right into the present … it is not incorrect to say that the brain thinks. It is then, in fact, correct. By being firmly enmeshed in materialism, we have people who not only think poorly about the body, soul, and spirit, but people who think materially and feel materially. What that means is that materialism causes the human being to become a thinking automaton, that the human being then becomes something that thinks, feels, and wills physically.” [FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER, p. 115.]

        “[T]he brain and nerve system have nothing at all to do with actual cognition….” [THE FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE, p. 60]

        “The danger of succumbing to the realm of Ahriman was at its greatest around the year 333 BC. This was the moment in time when humanity began to make use of mere intellect, mere logic.” [GUARDIAN ANGELS, pp. 96-97.]

        “Essentially, people today have no inkling of how people looked out into the universe in ancient times when
        human beings still possessed an instinctive clairvoyance … If we want to be fully human, however, we must struggle to regain a view of the cosmos that moves
        toward Imagination again….” [ART AS SPIRITUAL ACTIVITY, p. 256]

        “A man who would receive Anthroposophy with his intellect kills it in the very act.” [LIFE, NATURE, AND CULTIVATION OF ANTHROPOSOPHY, p. 15.]

        How does this nonsense affect how Waldorf school teachers teach children:

        [Good children] “have a respect that forbids them, even in the deepest recess of their heart, to harbour any thoughts of criticism or opposition.” [KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIGHER WORLDS AND ITS ATTAINMENT, p. 10.]

        That’s why Waldorf grads are so “nice” when people meet them.

  15. Jan Luiten
    March 4, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    To specify my question above:
    Do you really think the British tax payer wants governnment funding only for “Richard Dawkins schools” or “David Colquhoun schools”?

    • March 6, 2012 at 5:08 pm

      Jan asked twice:
      “Do you really think the British tax payer wants governnment funding only for “Richard Dawkins schools” or “David Colquhoun schools”?”

      Do you really think the British tax payer wants government funding for Rudolf Steiner schools? If so, why are they being dishonest about what they teach. They TEACH ANTHROPOSOPHY – but say they don’t. THAT’S the problem with them. Waldorf teacher training teaches Waldorf teachers how to slip Anthroposophy into the lessons. Naturally, they don’t call it that. You have to really know what Anthroposophy is in order to recognize it in the curriculum. Some of us have done our homework. ;)

      • Jan Luiten
        March 6, 2012 at 5:47 pm

        What is, according to you, anthroposophy?

      • March 6, 2012 at 8:16 pm

        You want an elevator speech about what constitutes Anthroposophy? Anthroposophy was Rudolf Steiner’s attempt to suggest that esoteric “wisdom” is supported by science. It’s an abandonment of science in preference of spirituality and uncritical thinking. This is exactly what we see in Waldorf school curriculum. One has to completely abandon science to suggest in PHYSIOLOGY class something that Steiner taught… that the blood of Europeans is more evolved than the blood of Africans and Asians. The preference in Waldorf, indeed the purpose in Waldorf is to teach what Steiner said. To find out what Steiner said, one needs to read Steiner. My blog, among other sites, has some of Steiner’s most offensive comments listed.

      • Jan Luiten
        March 7, 2012 at 9:32 pm

        Sceptics want evidence?
        Here is the evidence that Pete Karaistos does not know what anthroposophy really is.
        What is anthoposophy? An inquiry method.
        The best modern description of this method you will find in “Meditation as Contemplative Inquiry”, by Arthur Zajonc.

      • March 7, 2012 at 11:47 pm

        Jan said: “What is anthoposophy? An inquiry method.”

        Sure… Steiner came up with an inquiry method that was in OPPOSITION to natural science and he called it “spiritual” science. It’s a lot of malarkey based on his belief that he was clairvoyant. But Steiner never stopped at describing a method of “inquiry”… oh NO… he gave 6000 about the results of his PERSONAL inquiry using this method. And the RESULTS of this is the body of work known as Anthroposophy. It covers everything from racial hierarchies, to Esoteric Christianity, to pan-European politics, to reincarnation, to why potatoes make you stupid, to why dogs can’t bark when they’re removed from people, to why the human brain is not unlike human excrement… Steiner’s Anthroposophy was all about HIS clairvoyant inquiries into the spirit world.

        If you’re looking for a method of inquiry, try science.

  16. Le Canard Noir
    March 4, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Jan – dogma “is a an established belief that is not to be disputed, doubted, or diverged from.”

    Scepticism is a “questioning attitude towards knowledge, facts, or opinions/beliefs stated as facts”.

    It is therefore difficult to understand what a “sceptic dogmatic ideology” could be as these terms are contradictory.

    Whilst I cannot speak for all British tax payers, I would suggest that most people want schools that provide for children’s creative, academic and physical development, where pedagogy is based on good practice and evidence and not on mystical mumbo jumbo and occultism. I think that is a fair thing to expect of a state funded school.

    • Jan Luiten
      March 6, 2012 at 5:43 pm

      Andy
      This is theory. In praxis the sceptics have dogmas.
      Your dogma is that you wants evidence according to the sceptic rules. The world is suffering from that rules. They are reductionist and materialistic.
      I do respect sceptic thinking that does not exclude the the existence of a world that is supersensible.
      The other sceptics, I am sorry, are dogmatics. Not only they have dogmas, but mostly they are also prejudiced, like you.

      Children do have right to a good education, not only indoctrination with the sceptic dogmatic ideology.

      • Will
        March 6, 2012 at 6:16 pm

        Interesting that reductionist, evidence seeking sceptics OFTEN have to throw their hands up and say “we just don’t know, we don’t have a solution, there’s nothing we can do”.

        Alternative thinkers, not limited by that narrow view can ALWAYS say “we know, we have a solution, and we take cash or most major credit cards”.

        Not requiring nasty old proof is lucrative, no?

        Doesn’t that make you just a little suspicious?

      • Jan Luiten
        March 7, 2012 at 10:20 pm

        Will,
        As said before anthroposophy fully recognizes modern science. When physical evidence is required, there must be physical evidence. What I am opposing here is the prejudice that it is impossible to do inquiries in a non physical world and that the result of these inquiries could be valid.
        For scientists or others who have this prejudice (that is functioning as a dogma), I am developing and testing the “Gruizelgruismeter”.
        A blog can receive the status of “Gruizelgruisblog” when the meter indicates certain values.

      • Le Canard Noir
        March 7, 2012 at 10:28 pm

        Jan – where I have done most of my reading on anthroposophy is in medicine. Although it claims to extend science and “fully recognise modern science” as you claim, this is not true.

        In fact, it undermines science and tries to interject unproven and nonsensical treatments. Homeopathy being the classic example.

        You cannot extend science by extending it with the occult. It’s like mixing an apple pie with a cow pie – the apple pie is not going to be improved.

      • Jan Luiten
        March 7, 2012 at 10:45 pm

        Andy
        Is your judgment based on one article?

        I repeat: on the physical level anthroposophy fully recognizes modern science and its methods.

        For non-physial phenomena there are other methods.
        The question is are you open to research these methods (as they are described in the book that I mentioned)or do you a priori say: “that is impossible”.
        Science should not be indentified with the sceptic dogmatic ideology.

      • Will
        March 7, 2012 at 11:59 pm

        Hmmm… Science can explain the physical world, in which it operates, with physical evidence. But it can’t explain ghosts and elves and homeopathy and qi because they exist in the non-physical realm. I.e. science is tolerated unless it impinges on your superstitious beliefs.

        Yeh, that’s how it works.

        Genius.

      • March 8, 2012 at 12:08 am

        Jan wrote: “I repeat: on the physical level anthroposophy fully recognizes modern science and its methods.

        For non-physial phenomena there are other methods.”

        So, Steiner’s indications about head size in children is a very physical phenomenon… yet Steiner’s own Antroposophical doctors couldn’t distinguish large-headed from small-headed children. This “physical” phenomenon can only be appreciated with a “spiritual” eye. The same thing goes for other criteria Waldorf teachers use including the temperaments, how well a child has incarnated into their body, and let’s not forget demonic possession. This are “physical” traits that are observed “spiritually” by Waldorf teachers all over the world. It’s shameful NONSENSE!

  17. March 6, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    @Andy

    “The new web page of the Frome Steiner Academy gives the impression that they follow a progressive approach to teaching that uniquely follows a child’s personal development. That all sounds wonderful. What they do not say is that this approach is based on occult thinking, astrology, clairvoyance and esoteric cult-like beliefs.”

    Well they don’t say it in so many pejorative words of your choice! But from their web site (which you link to) at the top of the page is a link to STEINER EDUCATION which makes pretty clear that they are teaching to a “Steiner curriculum”. What more do you want, them to Google it for you? ;-)

    It does also clearly state “The school … will neither promote or teach his wider philosophy which is known as “anthroposophy””

    Be fair: you don’t have to like Anthroposophy or that they’re a Steiner school, but don’t accuse them of not being open about it!

    • March 6, 2012 at 5:29 pm

      John Stumbles wrote: It does also clearly state “The school … will neither promote or teach his wider philosophy which is known as “anthroposophy””

      Yes, but they’re lying, John. Steiner schools are in business to promote Anthroposophy. It’s their reason for existing.

      Most parents don’t have a decade to invest learning what Anthroposophy is… So they trust that educators wouldn’t lie to them. They are wrong – and Steiner educators are indeed motivated to lie to parents (and the state) – and to teach Anthroposophy in accordance with their own teacher training. They are on a spiritual mission – so little things like lying don’t matter in the overall scheme of things. Steiner school teachers have a strong spiritual connection with other people’s children, according to Steiner.

      Let’s say Britain opens a dozen state-run Steiner schools. It won’t take long for parents to discover that their kids aren’t getting the education they were promised. In private school situations, the blame for this falls primarily on the parent. If Steiner schools are public schools, the blame for poor education falls on the state!

      All one has to do is look at the Waldorf curriculum to see that it promotes Anthroposophy. To do that, however, one needs to know what Anthroposophy is. The page linked to by the Frome school give NO indication of what Anthroposophy is.

      • March 6, 2012 at 11:29 pm

        You assert that every Steiner school and every Steiner teacher everywhere are lying. I would ask you to provide evidence to back up this assertion but from earlier in this discussion I see that you think an assertion *is* evidence.

        Presumably that rule only works for assertions you make? I mean, if *I* were to assert that someone were a bigoted zealot with a pathological disconnection from reality that wouldn’t count – right?

      • March 7, 2012 at 3:18 am

        Well, if you were asserting this about Steiner, it would certainly count.

        You assert that Waldorf teachers are in the habit of going AGAINST what Steiner told them Waldorf’s purpose is, AGAINST what he told them to teach, how he told them to deal with parents, AGAINST how he told them to evaluate children… and AGAINST what they teach them in Waldorf teacher training.

        I assert that one would have to be very gullible to believe you.

  18. Melanie Byng
    March 6, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    John – the Steiner curriculum (pedagogy) is based on anthroposophy.

    It is not Steiner’s ‘wider philosophy’, it IS his philosophy. There isn’t anything else. Rudolf Steiner wasn’t an educationalist, he wasn’t a scientist – he was an occultist.

    In fact, when the Frome Steiner Academy write it thus: “anthroposophy” – they are, in my opinion, showing a disregard for prospective parents and for the wider community in Frome. So no, they are not open about it. They’re pretending it doesn’t matter. It does.

    You want to defend your children’s education and your own choices. That’s understandable. No one is suggesting that nothing positive ever happens in these schools.

    But here is your school: http://www.alderbridge.w-berks.sch.uk/www.alderbridge.org.uk/Our_school.html

    ‘Anthroposophy is not taught to the children; rather it is studied by the teachers in order to further their own development and to aid their understanding of the children in their care.’

    So, what is anthroposophy, John? In what way are the teachers ‘furthering their development’? How does anthroposophy – an esoteric belief system reliant on clairvoyance, ‘aid their understanding’ of children?

    If you shut your eyes you can pretend it doesn’t matter. But that is no basis for tax-payers funding Free Schools based on occult doctrine and filled with poorly trained teachers pursuing their own ‘spiritual’ development.

    From your comment above (featuring Orwell) I think you just don’t know very much about anthroposophy or how it informs the Waldorf pedagogy, and would rather talk about anything else than do the research necessary to rectify that lack. In some ways it’s easier not to know – and you wouldn’t be the only Waldorf parent in that position. But we all know about christianity, most people don’t know about anthroposophy. That’s why this post is so important right now.

  19. March 7, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Melanie, you assert:

    “Steiner curriculum (pedagogy) is based on anthroposophy. … Frome Steiner Academy … [are] … pretending it doesn’t matter. It does”.

    and

    “If you shut your eyes you can pretend it doesn’t matter.”

    OK: *why* does it matter?

    What objective evidence can we expect to find from Steiner pupils that would show us that the Anthroposophy aspect of their education matters? What observable phenomena can we detect that would be different if it didn’t matter?

    • Helen
      March 7, 2012 at 4:34 pm

      John
      you ask why does it matter that some parents do not know that Steiner pedagogy is based on anthroposophy, and where is the evidence.

      I think simply reading what former pupils and parents have said about their sometimes very damaging personal experiences tells us why it matters; They feel they have failed if they have not been happy at a school where everyone expects them to be happy and they do not realise it is because their educaton has been guided by teachers consulting angels.

      How would they even suspect this? It is outside most people’s experience of how education works.

      They are not told by teachers that their behaviour or treatment by others is put down to their ‘karma’, or the shape of their head. So how can they rationalise their feelings?

      At least tell them this and they have something to go on. They could accept these explanations as reasonable or decide it is batty and move on.

      With other forms of education a disatisfied customer knows how decisions are made about them and can therefore object if they wish.

      • March 9, 2012 at 12:29 pm

        Pupils can be happy or unhappy at school regardless of whether their teachers believe in superstitious nonsense and consult supernatural beings – which plenty in mainstream schools do too. I’d guess that there might be an inverse correlation between teacher superstitiousness and pupil happiness but I challenge you to produce evidence that *all* pupils of such teachers, or all pupils whose teachers subscribe to a particular flavour of supernatural nonsense, are unhappy.

      • Le Canard Noir
        March 9, 2012 at 1:06 pm

        No one is claiming that all pupils will be happy or unhappy in any given environment. That is an absurd position to take.

        But it is also worth pointing out that happy children and happy parents does not mean educated children and informed parents.

        It is easy to make children happy. It is easy to make parents feel good about their school choices. Just as it is easy to make a cancer patient satisfied with their doctor by giving them pain killers and telling them everything will be fine. That does not make the doctor a good doctor.

        And a school with high satisfaction ratings may also not be a good school.

  20. March 10, 2012 at 12:51 am

    @Andy

    It was Helen who brought up the issue of pupils being happy (or otherwise) in response to my challenge to Melanie (which she has not reponded to) to justify her assertion that “Anthroposophy matters” with some actual evidence.

    I read (or maybe mis-read) Helen’s post as claiming that Anthroposophy matters because it makes children unhappy and I was challenging that there was a strong correlation let alone a causal relationship. What was your reading of it?

    “And a school with high satisfaction ratings may also not be a good school”.
    I totally agree: happiness and effectiveness are orthogonal.
    Testimonials: ptui!
    Give us OFSTED, at least, preferably something more rigorous.

    I’m inclined to think that pupils’ happiness *and* schools’ effectiveness may be related to teachers’ beliefs in gnomes, angels, talking snakes, parthenogenesis or ramen-based supernatural life-forms, but that there are many other factors involved. To coin a phrase “I think you’ll find it’s a bit more complicated than that” ; – )

  21. Jan Luiten
    March 10, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    The more research I do on skeptic sites the more it becomes clear to me that the scpetic-dogmatic ideology is a major obstacle for understanding and estimating anthroposophy. Skeptic dogmatists are not open for the fact that science is also possible for the supersensible realm. They dogmatically exclude this possibility. They say that doubt is one of their principles, but they do not doubt this dogma.
    They identify science with the skeptic rules in which this dogma plays an important role. claiming with these rules the monopoly on science and judging others who do not obey these rules. Doing so they have developed themselves to a kind of modern inquisition or thought police. Main characteristics of the skeptic-dogmatic subculture are therefore: arrogance, believe in the own superiority, and elitist thinking.
    More about the skeptic-dogmatic subculture you find in the essay “Why I am no longer a skeptic” by Stephen Bond. You find it here:
    http://plover.net/~bonds/nolongeraskeptic.htm

    • Le Canard Noir
      March 10, 2012 at 10:40 pm

      Jan

      Can you give an aspect of anthroposophy that cannot be understood from a sceptical point of view?

      Can you give an example of any aspect of what you call the ‘supersensible’ and how science can investigate it?

      • Jan Luiten
        March 11, 2012 at 10:51 pm

        Andy,
        Of course scientists, like other people, can understand anthroposophy.
        Science however is not the same as the skeptic dogmatic ideology. Skeptic dogmatists have problems to understand anthroposophy because they reject it as superstition or just a belief. They reject also the possibility that there are methods to make observations in a supersensible world. Why rule out that possibility? Is that a scientific position?
        Scientists should be impartial, unprejudiced. Steiner had a method and on the basis of this method he could do his observations which he described en detail, not vague. He brought is content in a coherent logical way. Made an appeal to his public to follow him critically and not simply swallow all he was saying.
        So, how can science investigate the supersensible world? Steiner described a method by which that is possible. It is no secret, everybody can read it. In a modern way Arthur Zajonc did the same in his book “Meditation as Contemplative Inquiry”, published in 2009. Everybody can develop the means by which he or she can make observations in the supersensible realm.

      • Le Canard Noir
        March 11, 2012 at 11:52 pm

        Jan,

        Yes, you have made these claims. As a dogmatic sceptic, I would like to see if they have merit by asking for some examples.

        You did not answer my questions, so I shall repeat them:

        Can you give an aspect of anthroposophy that cannot be understood from a sceptical point of view?

        Can you give an example of any aspect of what you call the ’supersensible’ and how science can investigate it?

      • Jan Luiten
        March 12, 2012 at 10:05 pm

        “Can you give an aspect of anthroposophy that cannot be understood from a sceptical point of view?”

        I have already stated that anthroposophy is in the core a method.
        Of course also skeptics can understand this method, if they want to.

        “Can you give an example of any aspect of what you call the ’supersensible’ and how science can investigate it?”

        Of course. I give you a simple example. Scientists sometimes want to solve complex problems.
        E.g. a scientist has been investigating a certain scientific problem for months , but he can not solve this problem.
        Suddenly when he has almost lost his hope, the solution appears to him, suddenly everything is clear. This solution is a certain idea. This idea is a non-physiacal phenomenon. He has observed this idea in the non-physical realm.

      • Le Canard Noir
        March 13, 2012 at 1:14 am

        Jan

        Yet again you have failed to give examples.

        What is it about anthroposophy that cannot be understood by a ‘dogmatic sceptic’? You tell me it is to do with the method – but what?

        I then ask you to give an example of the ‘supersensible’. You answer suggests that sometime scientists can have ideas after long failing to solve a problem. Quite happy about that – but cannot see what is ‘supersensible’ about having ideas.

      • jan luiten
        March 13, 2012 at 10:16 pm

        Andy,
        Again you failed to understand.
        Anthroposophy IS a method. There are absolutely NO aspects in this method skeptics (also the dogmatic ones) COULD not understand.

        As an example of something supersensible I mentioned the observation of a new idea.
        What are ideas according to you?

      • Le Canard Noir
        March 14, 2012 at 5:46 pm

        Jan you are now contradicting yourself.

        Let me remind you.

        You said, “The more research I do on skeptic sites the more it becomes clear to me that the scpetic-dogmatic ideology is a major obstacle for understanding and estimating anthroposophy. ”

        You now say “There are absolutely NO aspects in this method skeptics (also the dogmatic ones) COULD not understand.”

        Could you explain which of these statements are true and, once again, answer my question as to “give an aspect of anthroposophy that cannot be understood from a sceptical point of view?”

        You say that ‘ideas’ are an aspect of the ‘supersensible’. You ask me “what are ideas according to me”.

        Well they are not supernatural.

        Indeed, ideas play a vital role in science. They are the basis of hypotheses.

        But I have a feeling you think they are more than this – that they can provide revealed knowledge. Am I right?

      • Jan Luiten
        March 16, 2012 at 9:26 pm

        Andy, there is no contradiction here.
        In the second statement I am saying that skeptics COULD understand the anthroposophical method. COULD, if they want to. There are no aspects they COULD not understand.
        But are they seriously investigating it? Without prejudice?
        There is something else standing in the way. This “something else” is not originating from the anthroposophical method. It is in the belief system of the dogmatic skeptics. They do not believe (dogma) that something supernatural exists. This belief unfortunately hinders serious investigation of anthroposophy. This is what I meant with the “obstacle” mentioned in the second statement.

        About ideas:
        When an idea comes as an inspiration it has supersensible character

    • March 12, 2012 at 12:07 am

      Jan: you say “science is also possible for the supersensible realm”. I don’t know what your “supersensible realm” is but you’re quite right that science “is possible” for it. Just tell us what evidence we can observe with our senses (assisted as necessary by engineering e.g. microsopes, telescopes, electrical detection apparatus etc.) that will tell us unambiguously whether something is or is not happening in this supersensible realm and we’ll know it is real and not make-believe.

      Because that’s how science works.

    • March 12, 2012 at 8:42 pm

      Jan, may I ask why you are even talking about science in relation to anthroposophy? Do you actually want to examine anthroposophy in a scientific way, to determine whether it is objectively real or make-believe (as the ‘dogmatic skeptics’ assert it is) or do you just want to be able to apply the term ‘scientific’ to it to give it respectability? I’m sure many people here suspect the latter, but if you really think anthro can be understood scientifically then we need to find some way of establishing its objective reality.

      “Steiner had a method and on the basis of this method he could do his observations which he described en detail, not vague. He brought is content in a coherent logical way. Made an appeal to his public to follow him critically and not simply swallow all he was saying.”

      Sounds as if you’re saying he was describing a mental process in a way that others could repeat. Can you do it yourself? Or do you know others who can? What goes on when one’s doing it? Now supposing someone had heard about Steiner’s method, and couldn’t do it, but was faking that they could: how could an independent observer tell the difference between the person with the real ability and the faker?

      I don’t know if you’ve come across the phenomenon of lucid dreaming? That has been widely regarded as pseudo-scientific, but despite the obvious difficulties of establishing the accuracy of what someone reports they experienced while they were dreaming, ingenious ways have been found of doing just that. If you get the chance go to hear one of Peter Harrison’s talks (here’s one he gave at our Skeptics in the Pub last year) where he talks about establishing the scientific reality of this phenomenon. Maybe it’ll give some clues how we might verify the reality of Anthroposophy.

      • Jan Luiten
        March 12, 2012 at 10:13 pm

        John, a short answer for now, because time is lacking.
        This is the core of anthroposophy.
        Should there not be a method, there were no anthroposophy.
        Steiner saw the natural science method as a necessarily preparation for people who want to work with the anthroposophical method. The same methods, but now for phenomena that are not physical.

  22. March 11, 2012 at 4:30 am

    Jan wrote: “They identify science with the skeptic rules in which this dogma plays an important role. claiming with these rules the monopoly on science and judging others who do not obey these rules.”

    That’s correct Jan. Science plays by a certain set of rules. If you don’t play by those rules, you aren’t doing science, you’re doing something else – so don’t confuse it with science. And, people who don’t understand what constitutes science, shouldn’t be TEACHING it. “Spiritual science” has absolutely NO connection to science.

    • Jan Luiten
      March 11, 2012 at 10:55 pm

      I just explained that real science is not the same as the skeptic dogmatic ideology. I do not agree with the rules of this ideology,
      dogmatically rejecting the supersensible realm.

      • March 12, 2012 at 3:45 am

        “I do not agree with the rules of this ideology,
        dogmatically rejecting the supersensible realm.”

        Your agreement is not necessary, Jan. YOU cannot alter the rules of science. Scientific method has set rules. You can reject those rules if you like… but you can’t call what you’re doing “science”. It’s very simple really.

        The game of Yahtzee requires five dice. You can’t introduce more dice to the game and claim to be playing Yahtzee. You can call it a different game if you like… but you can’t make up your own rules AND STILL CALL IT YAHTZEE.

        And NO, science doesn’t have a gray area that extends beyond what is available to scientists by the examination of evidence.

      • Badly Shaved Monkey
        March 12, 2012 at 7:56 am

        You completely failed to answer LCN’s questions.

        They are;

        Can you give an aspect of anthroposophy that cannot be understood from a sceptical point of view?

        Can you give an example of any aspect of what you call the ’supersensible’ and how science can investigate it?

        These require specific answers.

      • Will
        March 12, 2012 at 4:42 pm

        Jan,

        What you call ‘real science’ almost certainly bears little or no resemblance to ‘science’ as I and most other scientists see it. This is because it is something you have invented: You then feel you understand it and it doesn’t threaten your absurd world view. Neither of these things are true of ‘science’.

        Your ‘skeptic dogmatic ideology’ is the classic example of a straw man. Few rational skeptics dismiss the ‘supersensible realm’ out of dogmatism. Just out of understanding.

        If I show you a shoe box, don’t allow you to touch it and ask ‘Is there a tennis ball inside?’ You can answer with one of three things: 1) I believe there is. 2) I believe there isn’t. 3) I don’t know at the moment. If you chose 1 or 2 a skeptic will dismiss your belief. Not out of dogmatism, but because they understand that you have no evidence either way as to the existence of the ball and believing one or the other is pointless. If you answer with 3 (as a scientist would) you are quite right.

        Should you take the experiment further you could shake the box. Something rolls about. you could then assert ‘Yes, there’s a tennis ball inside the box’. Ah, no. That’s another belief. You can only assert (as a scientist would) that there is something round and approximately the same size/weight as a tennis ball inside the box. And so you could go on. But which sounds more open minded to you? Which sounds more dogmatic?

        The truth is, that dogma is the retreat of believers and open mindedness is way forward in science. When you put childish notions of the ‘supersensible’ world out of your mind, then you can move forward.

        Or to put it more simply: You have invented the notion that skeptics have rejected the ‘supersensible realm’ out of dogmatism because then it isn’t a threat to you.

        A truly scientific mind needs not fear close inspection of their reasoning as, win or lose, they only gain knowledge from the experience. This is because they have perspective, and no expectation of the truth to be pleasing to them.

      • March 13, 2012 at 3:05 am

        Jan, I believe you are thoroughly confused. You have confused the notion that scientists have an open mind to new evidence with the notion that scientists believe in a supersensible realm. Scientists absolutely do NOT believe in any “realm” that exist outside of evidence.

  23. Deuteronomiser
    March 13, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Ahhh yes, the good old ‘don’t believe me, find out for yourselves’ response. Several sons of various gods are also purported to have used that logical obfuscation but that didn’t stop billions of people from contracting (through torture) the religion virus. There is no reasonable defence for teaching children that Gnomes are living beings and then expecting them in all their childhood naievity, to go and spontaneously conduct ‘anti-educational research’. Please try to be less pathetic in your retorts lest you be branded a gnome fancier.

  24. jan luiten
    March 13, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    Could it be that dogmatic skeptics are only used to critisize others, but that they do have problems to receive critique?
    My statements are clear. I fully accept the rules of science.
    But I do not accept the skeptic dogmatic rules, because they maintain the dogma that there can not be a spiritual world.
    Is it scientific to exclude a priori?
    Pete Karaistos is one of the persons who confuses both, not me.

    Could it be that the skeptic dogmatic movement has sectarian traits? Some observers think they have indeed. There is no doubt about their own dogma, although the skeptic doctrine says doubt is a main principle.
    I think the skeptic subculture is as such an interesting object for further investigation.

    • Will
      March 13, 2012 at 10:52 pm

      Again; these dogmatic sceptics are a figment of your imagination. They can declare that there can be no spiritual world. If you like. They can declare what ever words you put in their straw mouths.

      Scientists would declare that they have yet to see compelling evidence of a spiritual world. So why factor it into their equations? It wouldn’t alter the outcome.

      You can not, as you claim, fully accept the rules of science. This is because, as you reveal time and time again, you have no grasp whatsoever of the rules of science.

      • Jan Luiten
        March 14, 2012 at 5:15 pm

        Thank you.
        The only skeptic conlusion about the existence of a spiritual world should be: we have up to now not found evidence for it.
        This conclusion does not permit denial of a spiritual world. This is however what skeptic dogmatists are doing in practice.

      • Le Canard Noir
        March 14, 2012 at 5:37 pm

        Jan

        Just because I have no evidence for tigers lurking in my kitchen does not mean I should remain undecided about their existence. I could quite rationally deny their existence based on reason and the lack of evidence for tigers.

        Since one could reasonably expect strong evidence of kitchen-based tigers, the lack of evidence is a good indication of there being none. And whilst I might have to concede that I have not looked hard enough or they are very shy tigers, or they are small or invisible, I am confident I can live my life without worrying about them.

        The same goes for the “spititual world”. Since, despite thousands of years of trying, we have yet to come up with any way of showing supernatural phenomena are real, then we might reasonable come to the conclusion that they do not exist. And, equally, we might have to concede that spiritual phenomena are very hard to spot, invisible or shy, it is quite rational to continue your life as if such things are just made up rubbish.

      • Will
        March 14, 2012 at 6:48 pm

        Jan,

        You say:

        “Thank you.
        The only skeptic conlusion about the existence of a spiritual world should be: we have up to now not found evidence for it.”

        May I offer a slightly corrected version?

        “The only conclusion about the existence of a spiritual world should be: we have up to now not found evidence for it.”

        When there is no evidence for the existence of something (like LCN’s kitchen tigers) choosing to believe in it doesn’t aid you in getting things done (which is what scientists like to do). However, choosing to believe in it (a spiritual world, god, whetever) can make one feel significant, at the centre of something meaningful, of importance etc. etc.

        I get that from my friends, family and loved ones; from looking at rainbows, trees and sunsets; from listening to loud rock music; from cooking and sharing tasty food… I could go on. What need have I of a ‘spiritual world’ for which there is no evidence and which does not affect any aspect of my life whatsoever in any measurable way.

        What is the point?

        I mean, I am moral, honest, thoughtful, helpful. Not because I fear supernatural or divine wrath, but simply because it’s how I would like people to be to me.

        What do I want with believing one particular set of nonsense (as opposed to many other equally valid/invalid (depending on your point of view) delusions)?

        Needing to believe in a lot of spiritual mumbo-jumbo to cope with life if like taking crack to cope with life. Yes, you may have had a very challenging time; and yes, it might make you feel better.

        But is it healthy and sustainable?

    • March 14, 2012 at 12:27 am

      Jan wrote: “Could it be that the skeptic dogmatic movement has sectarian traits?”
      Since you invented it, I suppose it could. I suppose it could be said that you create your own reality. If you believe there’s a movement of scientists who are not open to new ideas, that’s completely up to you.

      “Is it scientific to exclude a priori?”

      Yes, absolutely – when no evidence exists for a line of reasoning. You could “invent” a line of reasoning that says “Zeus” actually existed. Would scientists be obliged to investigate that line of reasoning? Now, substitute Steiner for you. Why do you think scientists (who are not invested in Anthroposophy) would be interested in investigating Steiner’s nonsense any more than they would be interested in investigating anyone elses nonsense?

      Scientists actually have better things to do than to invent “realms” of spiritual activity in order to explain away stuff. I agree with Will, you don’t seem to be using the same dictionary as the rest of the world when you talk about “science”. This isn’t surprising to me at all as I’ve witnessed many Waldorf teachers who have no grasp AT ALL about what constitutes science.

      There was actually a study done about Waldorf science: http://www.awsna.org/jelinekarticle.pdf

      The authors are optimistic about Waldorf and science… as long as they DISCARD everything Steiner had to say about it!

      From the conclusion:
      Once again we return to the question: How Could Waldorf Offer a Viable Form of Science Education? We believe we have answered it by pointing to a rigorous process that distinguishes
      pseudoscience from science –with a rejection of pseudoscientific ideas, however pivotal they may have
      been to Waldorf science education in the past. This includes removal of Rudolf Steiner and anthroposophy as sources of accurate scientific concepts, a separation of Waldorf science education from anthroposophy, specific attention to bringing the “good ideas” of Waldorf into a secular environment, a
      critical review Waldorf science resource materials, and expungement of materials that don’t make the grade. We then pointed to the five “big ideas” that Waldorf needs to come to terms with: (1) physics’model of the Atom; (2) chemistry’s theory of Periodic Law; (3) astronomy’s “Big Bang” theory; (4)
      geology’s “Plate Tectonics” theory; and (5) biology’s theory of “Evolution”.

    • Deuteronomiser
      March 14, 2012 at 9:12 am

      Okay, maybe this will work. Once upon a time there was a Gnome who wondered what it might be like to ask questions. Not the taught questions which everyone had to repeatedly ask and answer by wrote but a new question. One day, while learning about Gnome history, he became so bored that he forgot rule No.1,’Never question anything’ and asked the Unicorn who was teaching the class a question. The Unicorn became angry with the little Gnome and summoned all the demons from the spirit world to help scare the little Gnome back into moronic servitude. This, however, didn’t work because as soon as the little Gnome had asked the question, he realised that he was not in fact a Gnome at all and that all along, the deranged lunatics who were old enough to know better but who preferred to make up fantasies for others to enact, all had restraining orders. This caused the young boy to get up and leave of his own accord, much to the dismay of the large sweaty nutcase, who had some time ago refused to self medicate as instructed by his psychiatrist.
      What had happened, was that a very small minority of people who had been in search to a solution for the failings of state education, had discovered a bizarre little nutter called Herr Steiner and in their urgency, had subscribed not themselves but their babies to this nonsense.

    • Jan Luiten
      March 17, 2012 at 9:48 am

      Andy, Will
      The basis of your view is primarily rationalistic and less empirical.
      I am sorry but I find this basis rather thin, especially in the light of the hard judgments you have on other convictions.
      “Just because I have no evidence for tigers lurking in my kitchen does not mean I should remain undecided about their existence. I could quite rationally deny their existence based on reason and the lack of evidence for tigers.”
      When nobody claims there were tigers in your kitchen the example is absurd. Why should you prove it?. For the existence of a spiritual world there are many claims.
      Since you are leaning on rationalism: Is it not a fact that rationalists exclude as evidence on principle everything that could not be seen, measured, and empirically analyzed? To trace evidence for kitchen based tigers this exclusion is not a problem, but for evidence for spiritual phenomena it is.
      Because of this exclusion skeptics cannot have evidence from a spiritual world p e r d e f i n i t i o n, since evidence for it has a different quality.

      • Will
        March 17, 2012 at 10:21 am

        Andy, I hereby claim that you have tigers in your kitchen.

        Ha! Now prove you don’t!

        Oh… Wait… I made the claim, so the burden of proof is on me.

        I’ll be round in a bit.

  25. Jan Luiten
    March 14, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Pete Karaistos:

    “Jan wrote: “Could it be that the skeptic dogmatic movement has sectarian traits?”
    Since you invented it, I suppose it could. I suppose it could be said that you create your own reality. If you believe there’s a movement of scientists who are not open to new ideas, that’s completely up to you.”

    No Pete, the phenomenon exists I just gave it a name.

    • March 14, 2012 at 7:54 pm

      “No Pete, the phenomenon exists I just gave it a name.”

      When you invent a phenomenon, step one is to NAME it. So, WHAT exactly do these scientists who aren’t open to new ideas study? Or more importantly, WHY?

  26. Jan Luiten
    March 14, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    About the skeptic subculture.
    I found some observations on a discussion forum.
    http://forum.frontrowcrew.com/index.php?p=/discussion/8681/why-i-am-no-longer-a-skeptic/p1
    Here is an observation by Luke Burrage, who calls himself a skeptic and stands for the skeptic principles.
    “I went to the two premier skepticism events in the UK in 2009 and 2010. The intellectual elitism at the first put me off big style, but I returned the next year because it happened to coincide with a trip to London and my brother was there too. The intellectual elitism was worse, and the sneering tone of many of the participants was even more off putting. So much so that I probably won’t attend another large event like that again. Besides, it was expensive compared to juggling festivals, and juggling festivals are many times more fun.

    I didn’t read the original article (This is the essay ”Why I am no longer a skeptic”, JL) but unless you’ve been in a room with 800 self declared sceptics, and also grown up attending jesus-camp style church conferences, you might have a hard time believing how similar they felt. To me. Personal anecdote only.”

    • Le Canard Noir
      March 14, 2012 at 5:56 pm

      I think it is worth pointing out that just because some people find Skeptics’ Conferences overbearing (which is understandable) does not mean that homeopathy works or gnomes live in the woods.

      Being sceptical of claims does not make you a self-identified Skeptic (and indeed vice versa).

    • March 14, 2012 at 8:03 pm

      Jan wrote: “I didn’t read the original article”

      Maybe you should have… it’s nonsense. Among other things it accuses skeptics of being SEXIST. It takes more than an idiot writing an article to start a “phenomenon”.

      • March 15, 2012 at 1:21 am

        I disagree with many aspects of Bond’s rant but regarding the sexism thing, one thing Elevatorgate demonstrated (as Bond points out) is that there is a nasty strain of entitled MRA pondlife crawling out of the woodwork[1] of the skeptic movement.

        Another thing I find myself reluctantly[2] agreeing with is that there can be a culture of sneering and jeering. Now I’m up for pointing and laughing at homeopathy, sky-fairies, psychics and creationists as much as the next skeptic but I also go with the late Barry Beyerstein‘s[3] exhortation in his excellent “Skeptics’ Toolbox“: “The skeptic who refuses to give a claimant a fair hearing (if he or she is making an honest attempt to present the evidence for the claim) is just as bad as the gullible fool who uncritically accepts every tall tale that comes down the pike”, and I am disappointed when so-called skeptics act as closed-mindedly as those we are supposedly challenging.

        [1] OK I *know* pondlife doesn’t live in woodwork, but why let mere facts get in the way of a juicy metaphor ;-)

        [2] I find his whole piece intensely irritating and am reluctant to identify with *any* of it, but must admit occasionally he has a point. Some of the commentators at Front Row Crew make far more intelligent and perceptive analyses of it than I can hope to do.

        [3] I heard about Beyerstein from David Colquhoun in a discussion on his blog many years ago.

      • Jan Luiten
        March 16, 2012 at 8:22 pm

        Pete, dear man, it is a quote.
        I read the article, Luke Burrage did not.

        Do you think skeptics are standing above all criticism?
        The writer brings evidence however.
        There are also female skeptics making the same statement.

  27. Mike
    March 16, 2012 at 12:42 am

    My child goes to a Steiner school. We know dozens of children that go to various Steiner schools across England. All of them are happy well balanced children. Bullying in Waldorf schools is considerably less rife then your average state school. Most of you are basing your opinions of speculative nonsense with no real contact with a school, the teachers, the parents or the children. Quite frankly, don’t send your kids if you dont like it. I for one will be glad you don’t. Good luck.

  28. March 16, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    “Bullying in Waldorf schools is considerably less rife then your average state school.”

    What an odd statement? And you know this HOW? If it was true (which it isn’t), it would go against what Waldorf teachers are trained to do. Waldorf schools are famously problematic for bullying and there is a very good reason for this. It has to do with “karma” and what Steiner taught teachers about how karma is balanced between individuals. Waldorf teachers PERMIT bullying for the reason that they are instructed NOT TO INTERFERE when children are bullied. They believe the students will work it out… It is PART OF WALDORF to permit bullying! It’s one of the very stupid ideas Steiner had and compiled as Anthroposophy.

    When bullying goes unchecked, children can be very cruel. Victims can reach the point where they will never completely recover. I know this first hand.

    • Mike
      March 16, 2012 at 8:55 pm

      …to add.

      Has anybody in this whole thread even been on a Waldrof teacher training course? I would guess not. Because if any of you think for one minute that they instruct the teachers to ignore bullying, then you need a reality check. Its completely not true. I know this for a fact.

      • Lecanardnoir
        March 16, 2012 at 9:07 pm

        Mike

        The problem is – and the point of my blog post – is that it is very hard to know quite what Steiner teaching is all about. It is shrouded in secrecy and what looks like deliberate attempts to mislead and be obscure.

        I don’t want to have to take your work for it. I would like to see SWSF being open and honest about their philosophy and methods.

      • Daisy
        March 16, 2012 at 10:02 pm

        Hi there,

        I am in my final year of a Steiner teacher training course, albeit I have a more sceptical view of it than most – in fact, my dissertation is on the Waldorf critics. However, I can tell you that we have not been instructed to NOT interfere with bullying, and I’m not aware that Steiner ever said as much either. During class I did query a statement in one of his education lectures in which he suggested it was best not to take notice of negative behaviour, and I asked if this might be the basis for some of the stories I’d heard about bullying not being dealt with in Steiner schools. But it seems that the general consensus amongst thinking Steiner practitioners is that the karma does not just implicate the bully and the bullied, but that the teachers too have a karmic responsibility to step in and intervene if there’s an issue. I don’t know if I believe in karma, but I think the concept is more nuanced and less fatalistic than you suggest.

        By the way, if any critics here feel like contributing to an interesting debate by responding to some questions for my dissertation, let me know!

      • March 16, 2012 at 11:59 pm

        You can’t “know this as fact.” My experience says so. How do you wriggle past my experience?

      • Jan Luiten
        March 17, 2012 at 8:41 am

        Andy
        You may ask that from the SWSF, but on the basis of such a bad article it is almost inpertinent.
        Is this typical for the skeptic-dogmatic subculture: severe critique on others, but thinking to easy about their own standards?

      • Michael
        March 17, 2012 at 3:03 pm

        Hi Daisy

        I would very much be interested in answering some of your questions regarding my views on Steiner education, as long as you would return the favour and answer some of mine.

        How shall we do this? My address is penlington[dot]michael[at]gmail[dot]com

        I look forward to hearing back from you.

      • Daisy
        March 21, 2012 at 9:36 pm

        Hi Michael,

        I sent you an email a couple of days ago, just letting you know in case it went to your spam folder. Hope to hear from you soon.

        Daisy

  29. Mike
    March 16, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    And how big exactly is the cross section you use to make these judgements? Of the tens of thousands of children in the UK based in Waldorf schools, how many of them do you come into contact with including their parents? You may know of examples of bullying, but the vast majority are *very* happy with the system and the way it nurtures their children. Saying Waldorf schools permit bullying is so far for the reality, I’m not sure how to respond. It is NOT part of Waldorf to permit bullying. We know dozens of teachers. None of them “permit” bullying. What they do is ( as well as protect the children ) help to support the child doing the bullying. And in 95% of cases it works. Within weeks, incidents can be straightened out and in many cases the two children then get on. Instead of outright punishment, which usually keeps the two children from settling their differences.

    What you are doing is taking a few rare examples and taking the 100 year old writings of the founder and coming to your conclusions. What I have seen are children across all ages coming out of Waldorf schools confident, bright and very creative. Whilst I agree, that it doesn’t suit children whos parents would rather their child have a more academic based education, it works very well for parents who want their children bought up on the principles of play and creativity. These guiding principles are the strongest by far in modern schools. This talk of demons & karma is all based on Steiner’s writings, not the reality of what goes on in the actual schools today.

    Honestly, this whole blog and most of the responses are completely speculative. At at the very best, based on rare incidents that in no way at all reflect reality.

    • March 16, 2012 at 9:58 pm

      Mike wrote: ‘Saying Waldorf schools permit bullying is so far for the reality, I’m not sure how to respond. It is NOT part of Waldorf to permit bullying. We know dozens of teachers. None of them “permit” bullying. What they do is ( as well as protect the children ) help to support the child doing the bullying. And in 95% of cases it works. Within weeks, incidents can be straightened out and in many cases the two children then get on. Instead of outright punishment, which usually keeps the two children from settling their differences.’

      This is quite telling, Mike. You see it as a question of two children who have ‘differences’, not as one child (or often a group of children) attacking another child, often for no obvious reason at all. And definitely for no justifiable reason. The waldorf ‘method’ of letting children work out their ‘differences’ too easily leads to unnecessary suffering for the child who is at the receiving end of the bullying.

      Also, in my experience, at the waldorf school I went to, is that many teachers permitted violence and bullying. As Pete and others have pointed out, this follows from Steiner philosophy. Such events are ‘conflicts’ which originate in earlier lifetimes and need to be worked through. This doesn’t mean it can’t be in the teacher’s karma to help, but, as is common with human beings, they are lazy, they’re complacent, they’re too busy to take time to help… waldorf teachers are no exception. Karma is the best excuse ever, if you choose to use it that way. And, sadly, it seems some are prepared to do that.

      ‘What I have seen are children across all ages coming out of Waldorf schools confident, bright and very creative.’

      Maybe your vision is selective. Because it’s not what I saw as a waldorf student.

      ‘parents who want their children bought up on the principles of play and creativity.’

      I don’t think it’s creative. I’m sorry. I think that even from that viewpoint, waldorf education is overrated.

      ‘This talk of demons & karma is all based on Steiner’s writings, not the reality of what goes on in the actual schools today.’

      Waldorf teachers study Steiner’s writings. Why would they do that if they weren’t expected to use what they have learnt in their profession as teachers? That would be nonsensical. Why study a lot of stuff that is of no importance at all?

      ‘Honestly, this whole blog and most of the responses are completely speculative.’

      Lots of what waldorf proponents and waldorf schools do seems completely speculative too, if I may say so.

      • Daisy
        March 16, 2012 at 10:13 pm

        “This is quite telling, Mike. You see it as a question of two children who have ‘differences’, not as one child (or often a group of children) attacking another child, often for no obvious reason at all. And definitely for no justifiable reason.”

        True. I was bullied pretty much all the way through school (not a Steiner school btw), and I despaired at every attempt by teachers to play it down or justify it in any way. Putting it down to “differences” is one such example. Sometimes children are just targeted for no reason at all.

        “This doesn’t mean it can’t be in the teacher’s karma to help, but, as is common with human beings, they are lazy, they’re complacent, they’re too busy to take time to help… waldorf teachers are no exception. Karma is the best excuse ever, if you choose to use it that way.”

        If Steiner teachers can use karma as an excuse, then I wonder what excuses teachers in other schools have for not doing anything? In some cases I think teachers don’t know WHAT to do, other times I think they lack empathy for the victim and thus don’t feel compelled to act. This could apply to any teacher though. Is bullying more common in Steiner schools? Not a clue. I don’t know how we could prove this one way or another.

      • March 17, 2012 at 12:01 am

        “Maybe your vision is selective. Because it’s not what I saw as a waldorf student.”

        Maybe your vision is selective, Alicia, because what you describe isn’t what I see.

        Actually we *all* have selective vision: none of us can see everything, everywhere, at every time. But *some* people here claim to be able to tell us what goes on at *all* Steiner/Waldorf schools *everywhere*, *always*, based only on their limited experience of those they’ve had contact with, at the time they’ve experienced them.

        That and some theorising and pronouncing that it must be so because they think it ought to be.

  30. March 16, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    Mike believes he’s the only one posting who has an understanding of Waldorf. He’s wrong. What is taught in Waldorf teacher training is known by what is on the REQUIRED READING list. Perhaps Mike is another one of those who believes Waldorf’s purpose is to work in OPPOSITION to what Steiner taught and CONTRARY to what they teach in Waldorf teacher training. That position is rather naive, I’m afraid.

    “This talk of demons & karma is all based on Steiner’s writings, not the reality of what goes on in the actual schools today.”

    Karma is the heart of Waldorf. Anyone who says otherwise is lying.
    I’m again sorry to inform Mike but diagnosis of demonic possession DOES INDEED go on in actual Waldorf schools today. It happened to my own child. The abusive actions taken by her teacher were supported by the teachers at the school! I have all this DOCUMENTED. If, as you claim, this doesn’t happen in Waldorf, then WHY DID IT HAPPEN – with the support of the ENTIRE SCHOOL? The school where this happened is the Waldorf teacher TRAINING CENTER for Southern California. The teachers who abused my child TRAIN other teachers. It doesn’t get any more plain than that!

  31. March 16, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    “It is NOT part of Waldorf to permit bullying. We know dozens of teachers. None of them “permit” bullying. What they do is ( as well as protect the children ) help to support the child doing the bullying.”

    So we’re down to defining what “permit” means. Supporting the child doing the bullying sounds suspiciously like permitting bullying. The child who is doing the bullying, remember, is the one who has been karmically wronged in a past life. The victim was previously the bully. For Waldorf teachers this all makes sense.

    Here’s a novel idea – maybe Waldorf should try it? Why not HELP THE CHILD WHO’S BEING BULLIED?

  32. March 16, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    Interesting. I have my own experience. My step son was bullied by three boys at Christchurch steiner because his bike wasn’t cool enough. He went to the staff several times but got no support. Now my boy does karate which he is not allowed to use unless there is no choice. After some discussion, I told him to defend himself but don’t go too far. Needless to say, he took care of all three boys one at a time. The support NVC response was to stand my boy down for 3 days. Nothing happened to the bullies except the hiding they got from my son. Nuff said….

  33. Jan Luiten
    March 16, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    An independent non- anthroposophical researcher compared regular schools with Waldorf schools in the Netherlands.
    One of the conclusions:
    When you want a broad development (not only cognitive) for your child, Waldorf is a good choice. It delivers stable children with a high self esteem.
    “Vrije en reguliere scholen vergeleken” Hilde Steenbergen, Groningen 2009

    http://www.rug.nl/gion/rapporten/VrijeScholen.pdf,

    summary in English

    • Ulf
      March 17, 2012 at 9:35 pm

      Another conclusion; Waldorf is a bad choice if you want your kids to learn language, mathematics and problem-solving skills.

      “The disappointing results from Waldorf schools on the cognitive outcomes are surprising because based on the socio-economic background, more can be expected of these students. Furthermore, students in Waldorf schools spend more time at school. Research on schooleffectiveness shows, that increasing the academic learning time has positive effects on cognitive development.”

      Anyone is free to draw their own conclusions …

      • Jan Luiten
        March 18, 2012 at 9:03 am

        Of course, therefore I mentioned the summary in English.
        Do you want just brain development for your child, or do you want for your child a broad development in which also other qualities play a part?

      • Ulf
        March 18, 2012 at 10:45 pm

        I guess it’s all about how you define a broad development. Waldorf/Steiner schools rarely openly tell parents that: “When parents find the cognitive development of their children of main importance, then a Waldorf school will not be a good choice.” Actually I think we might agree in how we interpret the findings from this dissertation. Thanks for sharing it!

  34. Mike
    March 17, 2012 at 12:26 am

    I’m sorry your personal experiences in Steiner education were not great. But I can only go by my own experiences, just like you. I see a long thread, generally speaking badly of an education system, that to me, is making a lot of people very happy. Across the 4 schools in London I’m familiar with I hear mostly very good stories. Virtually all our closest friends have put their children through various Steiner schools. Not to mention some adult friends I have who also went through the education several years back. Virtually all my experiences have been positive. I’m very interested in the Frome academy, but searching about it online brings up this thread. How do you expect me to react? It’s actually quite upsetting that people could find this thread and come away with what is clearly a completely unbalanced view.

    I should never really have got involved, but like I said, it was upsetting reading. Thats pretty much all I have to say.

    • March 17, 2012 at 12:51 pm

      Mike: ‘Across the 4 schools in London I’m familiar with I hear mostly very good stories.’

      I don’t doubt that, and I’ve heard people say the same/similar things many times before. I would still say that’s only half the picture. Those who were unhappy or felt let down are not likely to speak to you. They often leave in silence.

      Personally, I think a state-funded Frome Steiner academy should be opposed on theoretical grounds — ie, it should be a consequence of scrutinizing what Steiner schools are — not because there are personal anecdotes speaking for or against them. These anecdotes — whether they are mine or yours! — at most serve as illustrations of possible problems (or benefits) with these schools. (In one comment you indicated you thought people replying in this thread had little personal experience — that isn’t true. And, I think, worth saying.)

  35. Jan Luiten
    March 17, 2012 at 10:13 am

    “1984″

    One mother to another to another mother:
    “How is your daughter doing at school?”
    “Oh just fine, she is now on the XXlll Richard Dawkins school, she is learning that we have no souls and no spirits and we are determined by processes in our brain”. Religion is nonsense. But tell me how is your son doing?”
    “Well he is on the LXll Richard Dawkins school. Yes, he is learning the same things , but he especially loves the two minutes hate . They show a portrait of that ….how is his name again….., o yes, Steiner, and then they may say all things they are not allowed to say on other moments. At lunchtime they go outside and gather round the statue of Pete Karaistos, the American who campaigned for a general ban on Waldorf schools, they dance and sing.”
    “Nice to hear, and have good day! ” “Yes have a good day”

    • March 17, 2012 at 3:44 pm

      “At lunchtime they go outside and gather round the statue of Pete Karaistos, the American who campaigned for a general ban on Waldorf schools, they dance and sing.”

      The thought of that brought a tear to my eye. Yeah, a school system based on presenting actual facts would be horrible to some people. Which ones? The ones who have something to hide. Here’s American presidential candidate Rick Santorum “As you know, 62% of children who enter college with a faith conviction leave without it.” So, his idea is to keep kids out of college. It’s no different with Waldorf proponents… keep the facts out of children’s heads and you can put any nonsense you want in there.

      • Mike
        March 17, 2012 at 5:10 pm

        Utterly horrible and false post, Pete. So now Steiner children have their heads filled with rubbish, keeping them out of college. Where do you get this nonsense from? Where’s your evidence?

      • Jan Luiten
        March 18, 2012 at 8:55 am

        Don’t mix up “facts” with your own ideology Pete!

      • March 19, 2012 at 5:04 pm

        Mike wrote: “Utterly horrible and false post, Pete. So now Steiner children have their heads filled with rubbish, keeping them out of college. Where do you get this nonsense from? Where’s your evidence?”

        It isn’t just NOW, Waldorf has been filling children’s heads with rubbish since its inception. My evidence is what Steiner told teachers to teach (supported by Waldorf teacher training reading lists TODAY) – and what they are actually teaching (for example, “the blood of Europeans is more evolved than the blood of Africans and Asians”).

        Jan said: “Don’t mix up “facts” with your own ideology Pete!”

        I’m not the one with the loose idea of what constitutes facts. ;)

  36. Sam
    March 17, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Daisy asked ‘Is bullying more common in Steiner schools? Not a clue. I don’t know how we could prove this one way or another.’

    p9, Bullying Presentation to Faculty – Handout
    May 13, 1999

    Alan Howard Waldorf School

    Prepared by Cynthia Kennedy and Betty Robertson

    Destiny

    We have labored over this section and it has been written and rewritten a number of times. Can a child’s karma or destiny be that of a victim or bully? Is it a child’s destiny to seek certain experiences to build his or her self-esteem and inner self? Should a potentially abusive situation be stopped, and if so, at what point? We do not know the answers; however, when dealing with bullying behavior we thought that caution is necessary. If intervention can change the experiences that our children encounter then conceivably it is not entirely destiny we are dealing with. And perhaps all the children are better served if they are given tools to better handle aggression, be it their own, or their peers.

    For a child who is being victimized, it must be the teacher’s role and responsibility to determine how much victimization is healthy to enable the child to be strengthened through the experience and at what point the exposure is excessive and detrimental. This situation is something that all teachers must struggle with, and the obligation becomes that much more onerous given that, in all likelihood, most of what a child is subjected to will be unknown to the teacher.

    It appears that the bully, primarily through child rearing, arrives at our school with a predisposition to aggressive and bullying behavior. The research is not clear as to how much these children can be helped without the support of the parents. However, parental commitment is one of the qualities expected of any Waldorf family so there may be more success with our families than the average. In addition, we understand that doing biography work with the affected child(ren) and families may increase understanding and help the situation. Curative work, including assessments and curative eurythmy, perhaps in consultation with specialists like Anthroposophical doctors, may provide additional information to both the family and teacher(s).

    • March 21, 2012 at 3:41 pm

      I couldn’t let this go without comment:

      “For a child who is being victimized, it must be the teacher’s role and responsibility to determine how much victimization is healthy to enable the child to be strengthened through the experience and at what point the exposure is excessive and detrimental. This situation is something that all teachers must struggle with, and the obligation becomes that much more onerous given that, in all likelihood, most of what a child is subjected to will be unknown to the teacher. ”

      So, again, it falls to the best-trained psychologists in the world… WALDORF TEACHERS to determine exactly how much VICTIMIZATION must be endured by the child before it becomes detrimental. They must do this by clairvoyance, I’m guessing, since they admit that most of the victimizing will be unknown to the teacher anyway.

      So parents… if your child is being victimized at their Waldorf school, you can TRUST that your child’s Waldorf teacher will step in at EXACTLY the right moment – before anything detrimental to your child actually happens… to console the bully!

  37. Mike
    March 17, 2012 at 10:39 am

    @Pete Karaiskos

    “Mike believes he’s the only one posting who has an understanding of Waldorf.”

    No. But im the only one in this thread who has experience of several schools, lots of teachers and the teacher training course in the UK, rather then a single focused experience that you people seem comfortable using to slander a whole eduction system. Does that not qualify me to comment no? You would think you sceptics would want me to chime in. Obviously not.

    Is it that hard for you to grasp that lots of Waldorf schools dont allow the kind of abuse you mention? You just want to be able to slander and get patted on the back and agreed with. Anybody who says otherwise don’t know what they are talking about, right? All based on your own specific personal experience.

    As for the “recommended reading” claim somehow equating to putting all the recommended reading into practise. You do realize that things evolve, right? You think all systems based on writings over 100 years old stick rigidly to the original writings with no evolution at all? Recommended reading does not mean absolute blind implementation. The world is a different place. The teacher training courses in the UK reflect that. I know this for a fact.

    But you don’t want to hear that. No, you just want to point to an incident and then use a VERY wide brush to tarnish everything under the same system.

    Bad teachers and bad schools happen in every system. Doesn’t mean the whole thing can be written off. I have pointed out several times that I know lots of Waldorf parents and teachers. None of them are anything like whats been suggested in this biased thread. So, I decide to post, so that anybody reading this, whos on the fence can get a little balance to the argument, and you decide to dismiss my views. Like enough people in this thread dont agree with you already? You want to pick apart the few people who come in with a counter perspective. As if somehow, Im delusional or naive.

    I cant debate with people like you. This whole thread is designed to prove the Steiner system as nonsense. Not the place for sensible balanced debate. I guess the name of the website should have given me a clue that most of you are not interested in genuine information.

    In closing, anybody reading this thread who are interested in a Steiner School, please go read more about it. Remember, these schools get OFSTED inspected. They are not some secret cult that hides abuse.

    Adios all. I’m out of here.

    • March 17, 2012 at 3:37 pm

      “No. But im the only one in this thread who has experience of several schools, lots of teachers and the teacher training course in the UK, rather then a single focused experience that you people seem comfortable using to slander a whole eduction system. Does that not qualify me to comment no? You would think you sceptics would want me to chime in. Obviously not.”

      Oh, please chime in Mike. You’re making my case for me. Again, you seem confused, thinking that perhaps I’ve only experienced a single Waldorf school. You want to trump everyone’s experience with reports of your own. You’ve gone through Waldorf teacher training and you think (like all Waldorf teachers do) that you have achieved some higher level of understanding than ordinary people. I find that very telling.

      “Is it that hard for you to grasp that lots of Waldorf schools dont allow the kind of abuse you mention? ”

      Is it hard for you to grasp that lots of Waldorf schools DO? It’s in their NATURE to permit bullying. They have good reasons for doing so – it’s right in their belief system. You yourself described their approach as “supporting the bully”. So clearly, you know about it!

      “Recommended reading does not mean absolute blind implementation. The world is a different place. The teacher training courses in the UK reflect that. I know this for a fact.”

      I know EXACTLY why they recommend new teachers read the things they do. They implement Steiner’s work. IF THEY DIDN’T DO THIS, THEY WOULD BE STUDYING SOMEBODY ELSE! Again, suggesting they read this stuff but don’t take it in is ridiculous.

      “Bad teachers and bad schools happen in every system”

      NOPE! Some systems are ripe for abuse. Some systems, like Waldorf (and unlike public school systems), are held together by a common religion. In such systems, abuse is far more likely to occur. Covering up harm means preserving the system Waldorf people… and that notion comes STRAIGHT FROM STEINER. If Steiner himself didn’t TELL teachers to hid information from parents you could blame individual schools… but the directive comes from Steiner himself. Waldorf teachers who cover up the abuse of children are the GOOD Waldorf teachers – according to Steiner.

      • Mike
        March 17, 2012 at 5:32 pm

        My quote was:
        “What they do is ( as well as protect the children ) help to support the child doing the bullying.”

        Which you conveniently dilute down to “support the bully”.

        and:
        “You’ve gone through Waldorf teacher training and you think (like all Waldorf teachers do) that you have achieved some higher level of understanding than ordinary people. I find that very telling.”

        How is that not complete presumptuous? Where did I say I went through the training? And saying “like all waldorf teachers do” is showing your juvenile side. Your ability to paint an entire cross section based on next to nothing is becoming quite legendary.

        Which is pretty much how all your arguments go. A snip here. A bit of speculation there… and bingo! Steiner schools suck.

  38. Mike
    March 17, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Sorry, not “recommended” reading…but “required reading”. My mistake. Everything I wrote still stands. “required reading” is just that… “reading”. Not blind implementation. To be clear.

  39. Mike
    March 17, 2012 at 11:40 am

    From wiki:

    STUDIES

    UK comparison with mainstream education

    A UK Department for Education and Skills report noted significant differences in curriculum and pedagogical approach between Waldorf/Steiner and mainstream schools and suggested that each type of school could learn from the other type’s strengths: in particular, that state schools could benefit from Waldorf education’s[73] early introduction and approach to modern foreign languages; combination of block (class) and subject teaching for younger children; development of speaking and listening through an emphasis on oral work; good pacing of lessons through an emphasis on rhythm; emphasis on child development guiding the curriculum and examinations; approach to art and creativity; attention given to teachers’ reflective activity and heightened awareness (in collective child study for example); and collegial structure of leadership and management, including collegial study. Aspects of mainstream practice which could inform good practice in Waldorf schools included: management skills and ways of improving organizational and administrative efficiency; classroom management; work with secondary-school age children; and assessment and record keeping.

    A 2008 report by the Cambridge-based Primary Review found that Steiner/Waldorf schools achieved superior academic results to English state schools.[74]

    ___________________________________________

    Swedish evaluation of schools

    A 2007 study in Sweden comparing Waldorf and state schools reported that Waldorf pupils were more likely to have a positive learning attitude, less likely to have passing tests as the goal of their learning, and had a “more in-depth study style” in higher education. They also showed more tolerant attitudes to minority groups and less tolerance of racist ideologies, were more involved with social and moral questions and were more likely to believe in the social efficacy of love, solidarity, and civil courage as opposed to legislation or police control. In addition, Waldorf students tended to wait longer before attending university.[5]:pp. 60-61

    ___________________________________________________

    Report of the Dutch Inspectorate of Education

    The Dutch Inspectorate of Education reported that a significantly higher percentage of Waldorf elementary schools than state elementary schools visited were judged weak or very weak in the following areas: providing differentiated instruction and lesson plans, the curriculum meeting primary goals in mathematics and language arts, and pupil assessment.[75]

    ________________________________________________

    Australian studies

    A major quantitative and qualitative study of senior secondary students in the three largest Steiner schools in Australia was undertaken by Jennifer Gidley in the mid-1990s.[76][77] It investigated the Steiner-educated students’ views and visions of the future, replicating a major study with a large cross-section of mainstream and other private school students undertaken a few years prior.[78] The findings as summarised below contrasted markedly in some areas with the research from mainstream students at the time.[79]

    Steiner-educated students were able to develop richer, more detailed images of their ‘preferred futures’ than mainstream students.

    About three-quarters were able to envision positive changes in both the environment and human development; almost two-thirds were able to imagine positive changes in the socio-economic area;
    They tended to focus on ‘social’ rather than ‘technological’ ways of solving problems;

    In envisioning futures without war, their visions primarily related to improvements in human relationships and communication through dialogue and conflict resolution rather than a ‘passive peace’ image;

    75% had many ideas on what aspects of human development (including their own) needed to be changed to enable the fulfilment of their aspirations. These included more activism, value changes, spirituality, future care and better education;

    In spite of identifying many of the same concerns as other students – global-scale environmental destruction, social injustice and threats of war – most of the Steiner students seemed undaunted in terms of their own will to do something to create their ‘preferred future’;

    There were no gender differences found in the students’ preferred futures visions or in the richness and fluidity of their creative images.

    An Australian study comparing the academic performance of students at university level found that students who had been at Waldorf schools significantly outperformed their peers from non-Waldorf schools in both the humanities and the sciences.[80]

    In 2008, the Rudolf Steiner Schools Association of Australia funded a research project to investigate the relationships between Steiner pedagogy and related 21st century academic discourses. The report on the project is called “Turning Tides: Creating Dialogue between Rudolf Steiner and 21st Century Academic Discourses”.[81] A bibliography[82] of all the studies that were identified is also available online as is the extended project data.[83]

    ________________________________________________

    Creativity and artistry

    A study comparing the drawing ability of children in Steiner/Waldorf, Montessori and traditional schools concluded that “the approach to art education in Steiner schools is conducive not only to more highly rated imaginative drawings in terms of general drawing ability and use of color but also to more accurate and detailed observational drawings,”[84] while another study found that Waldorf pupils average higher scores on the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking Ability than state-school students.[85]

    ________________________________________________

    Comparative study of moral development

    An American study found that Waldorf-educated students scored significantly higher on a test of moral reasoning than students in public high schools and students in a religiously-affiliated high school. Waldorf students were also far more likely to volunteer opinions about the survey and research in general, suggesting possible improvements in the survey technique and offering new possibilities to resolve the moral dilemmas raised in the survey.[8]

    ________________________________________________

    U.S. Waldorf schools survey

    A 1995 survey of U.S. Waldorf schools found that parents overall experienced the Waldorf schools as achieving their major aims for students, and described the education as one that “integrates the aesthetic, spiritual and interpersonal development of the child with rigorous intellectual development”, preserving students’ enthusiasm for learning so that they develop a better sense of self-confidence and self-direction. Some parents described upper grades teachers as overextended, without sufficient time to relate to parental needs and input, and wished for more open and reciprocal parent-school support. Both parents and students sometimes described colleges of teachers as being insular and unresponsive.

    _______________________________________________

    Rudolf Steiner School, New York City

    The students overall were positive about the school and its differences; experienced the school as a “community of friends”; and spoke of the opportunity to grow and develop through the broad range of activities offered, to learn when they were ready to learn, to develop imagination, and to come to understand the world as well as oneself. Many students spoke of the kindness of their peers and of learning to think things through clearly for themselves, not to jump to conclusions, and to remain positive in the face of problems and independent of pressure from others to think as they do. Improvements the students suggested included more after-school sports programs, more physical education classes, more preparation for standardized testing, a class in world politics and computer classes. Faculty, parents and students were united in expressing a desire to improve the diversity of the student body, especially by increasing representation of minority groups such as African-Americans and Hispanic Americans.[6]

    _________________________________________________

    Approach to at-risk students

    The T. E. Mathews Community School in Yuba County, California serves high-risk juvenile offenders, many of whom have learning disabilities. The school switched to Waldorf methods in the 1990s. A 1999 study of the school found that students had “improved attitudes toward learning, better social interaction and excellent academic progress.”[86][87] This study identified the integration of the arts “into every curriculum unit and almost every classroom activity” of the school as the most effective tool to help students overcome patterns of failure. The study also found significant improvements in reading and math scores, student participation, focus, openness and enthusiasm, as well as emotional stability, civility of interaction and tenacity.[87]

    __________________________________________

    Standardized testing

    USA and Germany

    Waldorf students are less exposed to standardized testing; such tests are generally absent in the elementary school years, and this is sometimes controversial. Despite this, U.S. Waldorf pupils’ SAT scores have usually come above the national average, especially on verbal measures.[22] Studies comparing students’ performance on college-entrance examinations in Germany found that as a group, Waldorf graduates passed the exam at double to triple the rate of students graduating from the state education system,[22][26] and that students who had attended Waldorf schools for their entire education passed at a much higher rate (40% vs. 26%) than those who only had part of their education at a Waldorf school.[88] Educational successes of private Waldorf schools may partially reflect the social status of their students.[26]

    ____________________________________________________

    Health

    Studies have found Waldorf pupils to have a lower incidence of allergies and allergic-like symptoms, an effect which correlated with the extent to which they lived an “anthroposophic lifestyle” generally – in particular with reduced use of antibiotics, and antipyretics. Children who had received MMR vaccine showed an increased risk of rhinoconjunctivitis.[89]

    • March 17, 2012 at 3:54 pm

      LMAO! If these are independent studies, I’ll eat my hat! Wikipedia is controlled by Waldorf teacher Harlan Gilbert. Check the history of any Waldorf related article and you will see it is controlled by either Mr. Gilbert or any of a number of other Waldorf representatives. Remember what I said about covering up abuse? Are there any cases of abuse mentioned in Wikipedia? How do they treat Steiner’s racism? Do the articles glorify Waldorf? Wikipedia is a very poor place to learn about controversial topics. Everyone knows this. Shameful!

      • Mike
        March 17, 2012 at 4:56 pm

        Haha! You crack me up Pete! Where is *your* proof?! Its all very well dismissing every article I might post, but I don’t see any studies at all proving them wrong. Not one.

        So, every single piece ive posted has been concocted by the evil secret Steiner society and can all be dismissed as nonsense without any proof at all?

        Please.

        I’m going to ask you one more time. How many children do you know that have come through a Steiner school? How many schools have you visited? How many parents have you interviewed?

        Ridiculous.

      • March 17, 2012 at 5:48 pm

        “I’m going to ask you one more time. How many children do you know that have come through a Steiner school?”

        I’d say easily 300. You?

        “How many schools have you visited?”

        At least six. You?

        How many parents have you interviewed?

        Personally, probably 30. On-line, probably more like 500. You?

      • Mike
        March 17, 2012 at 6:10 pm

        Sure, my experiences cover a much smaller group, but the common theme is very happy children and very happy parents. You can choose not to believe me. I am a spiritualist after all.

        Ok. So post your findings. I would love to see them.

        And you know what? I’ll dismiss them. You know why? Because you are clearly biased. Which is exactly the same attitude you have to any seemingly pro Steiner articles. I’ve got zero faith that you wont be completely selective.

        You like using the word “independent”. You certainly are not.

        You run an anti-Steiner blog for god sake. Listening to you is no different to taking wiki as 100% fact. Can you not see this?

      • March 19, 2012 at 5:25 pm

        Mike finally admitted: “Sure, my experiences cover a much smaller group, but the common theme is very happy children and very happy parents. You can choose not to believe me. I am a spiritualist after all.”

        The ones that are LEFT might be happy. Remember, when you go to a Waldorf school, you only get a snapshot of what the school actually is. The parents who are there are presumably happy with their choice. The ones who weren’t happy are, in all likelihood GONE!

        “Ok. So post your findings. I would love to see them.”

        I’ve been doing that throughout the comments here.

        “And you know what? I’ll dismiss them. You know why? Because you are clearly biased.”

        You BET I’m biased. What part of Waldorf critic don’t you understand? I came into Waldorf with an open mind… I even helped START a Waldorf school… and now I’m dead set against it! Why? Because I discovered Waldorf teachers are abusive and Waldorf schools are abusive environments.

        “Which is exactly the same attitude you have to any seemingly pro Steiner articles. I’ve got zero faith that you wont be completely selective.”

        I’m pointing out that the articles are biased. Readers are welcome to read them anyway… just be honest about what they are when you post them.

        “You like using the word “independent”. You certainly are not.”

        Not sure what you mean by that. If you mean unbiased, no, I’m not. I’m independent – in that I don’t belong to any organization… and, of course, I think for myself. ;)

        “You run an anti-Steiner blog for god sake. Listening to you is no different to taking wiki as 100% fact. Can you not see this?”

        My blog is honest about what it is. Wikipedia is supposed to be unbiased. Big difference… whether you can see it or not.

      • dan
        March 26, 2012 at 2:44 am

        Just wanted to chime in. The Amish have the lowest rates of Autism and they don’t vaccinate… Just saying..

      • Vicky
        March 26, 2012 at 8:46 am

        Dan, that wouldn’t even be a sufficient argument if it were true (it doesn’t seem to be true) because the Amish renounce all sorts of modern things.

      • Vicky
        March 26, 2012 at 8:55 am
      • Vicky
        March 26, 2012 at 8:57 am

        Sorry, linking didn’t work so I’ll post it like this:
        http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa052773#t=article

      • le canard noir
        March 26, 2012 at 11:28 am

        The Amish/Autism thing is a myth trotted out by anti-vaxxers who do not fact check.

  40. March 17, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Lecanardnoir on March 16, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    Mike

    The problem is – and the point of my blog post – is that it is very hard to know quite what Steiner teaching is all about. It is shrouded in secrecy and what looks like deliberate attempts to mislead and be obscure.

    I don’t want to have to take your work for it. I would like to see SWSF being open and honest about their philosophy and methods.

    How, specifically, Andy?

    I’ve just had a look at the SWSF’s website and I think they do a reasonable job of conveying the gist of how Steiner Ed differs from mainstream. But it’s hard for me, having been around it for a decade and a half, to see it with fresh eyes. So I’d really like to know what’s missing or unclear from what they’re presenting?

    In all the time my kids have been at our local school I’ve found teachers and others most enthusiastic to convey what they’re teaching the children, both formally, at parent’s evenings, and informally at the school gate.

    At parents’ evenings my son’s teacher generally talks about what they’re curently working on in their classes and how the curriculum will progress over the next term with a briefer overview of the following terms/academic years. We are encouraged to look at the books in which our children do their work (the meetings are held in the classroom) and the subject matter of their main lesson is usually visible on the blackboard. Sometimes she’s also given us a sample of lesson content – including javelin-throwing when the class was preparing for its once-in-a-lifetime inter-schools’ Olympics.

    She also talks about how the children are developing personally and as a group (I recall the teacher of my older son telling parents that in their first year out of kindergarten and in school, one of her principal goals was for them to establish socially healthy relationships with each other).

    I don’t know if my children’s teachers are ‘informed’ in their thinking and perception by mystical Anthroposophical ideas, any more than I know if the teachers in the state school my older son attended after Steiner school were ‘informed’ by religious or spiritual ideas; I would have been disconcerted if either Steiner or state school teachers had talked about karma, angels, God or Jesus in relation to my kids’ schooling!

    AlderBridge is a ‘lower’ school so children go to other secondary schools; my older son went to our local comprehensive. I think it was generally pretty good – I was particularly impressed that they embraced the ideal of being comprehensive, and their head teacher struck me as intelligent and humane and committed beyond the call of duty – but I had a much better idea of what was going on when he was at the Steiner school. I don’t take that to be the comprehensive attempting to mislead and be obscure, just that with far more children in each class and in the school generally we parents – and also our children – had less contact with their teachers.

    As I said earlier I think the SWSF is doing a fair job of trying to communicate the nature of Steiner education to the outside world. I also think it’s doing so in good faith. Their attempts may not be suceeding entirely: from your dissatisfaction it’s obvious they’re not! But with regard to your “looks like deliberate attempts to mislead and be obscure” complaint, I’ve got to say it doesn’t look deliberate to me, and I respectfully suggest the application of Hanlon’s/Heinlein’s Razor!

    And please can you be specific in your complaint, Andy: what do you want to know from them that they’re not telling you?

    • March 17, 2012 at 4:17 pm

      “As I said earlier I think the SWSF is doing a fair job of trying to communicate the nature of Steiner education to the outside world. I also think it’s doing so in good faith. ”

      Aren’t they the ones who PAY Sune Nordwall to threaten to sue websites who post views that are critical of Steiner? Doesn’t sound like good faith to me. Maybe we should define what “good faith” means.

  41. Mike
    March 17, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    http://www.mountainsagecommunityschool.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Section-4.-Waldorf-Schools.pdf

    Compared to the general US population (1991-2002 graduates), Waldorf graduates were nearly three times as likely as the general US college population to have studied arts and humanities.

    However, compared to their non-Waldorf educated peers, up to twice as many Waldorf graduates go on to study science overall in college, including both the life sciences and physical sciences
    (Mitchell & Gerwin, 2007). This is in sharp contrast with popular thinking that Waldorf alumni are choosing careers only in arts or attending art colleges (e.g. Schreiber, N. (2007, October 30).

    • March 17, 2012 at 4:00 pm

      Ida Oberman is an Anthroposophist. PLEASE, Mike, bring an INDEPENDENT study to the discussion.

      • Mike
        March 17, 2012 at 4:19 pm

        @Pete Karaiskos

        I knew you would respond with exactly that Pete. I’m guilty of baiting you a little. How about you bring me an independent study that supports your claims that Waldorf children are anti science.

        Are you suggesting the study is falsified? If so, where are the counter studies?

        Why should anybody consider your opinion any more valid then the opinion of a Anthroposophist? Both of you can be considered biased. Therefore, if you can write of the study from Ida, then we can write off everything you’ve written in this thread, right?

      • March 17, 2012 at 5:23 pm

        “I knew you would respond with exactly that Pete. I’m guilty of baiting you a little. How about you bring me an independent study that supports your claims that Waldorf children are anti science.”

        I already did. Read my eariler post. It isn’t from an “independent” study, since there are none – it’s from a BIASED study. Even so… here’s what it said:

        There was actually a study done about Waldorf science: http://www.awsna.org/jelinekarticle.pdf

        The authors are optimistic about Waldorf and science… as long as they DISCARD everything Steiner had to say about it!

        From the conclusion:
        Once again we return to the question: How Could Waldorf Offer a Viable Form of Science Education? We believe we have answered it by pointing to a rigorous process that distinguishes
        pseudoscience from science –with a rejection of pseudoscientific ideas, however pivotal they may have
        been to Waldorf science education in the past. This includes removal of Rudolf Steiner and anthroposophy as sources of accurate scientific concepts, a separation of Waldorf science education from anthroposophy, specific attention to bringing the “good ideas” of Waldorf into a secular environment, a
        critical review Waldorf science resource materials, and expungement of materials that don’t make the grade. We then pointed to the five “big ideas” that Waldorf needs to come to terms with: (1) physics’model of the Atom; (2) chemistry’s theory of Periodic Law; (3) astronomy’s “Big Bang” theory; (4)
        geology’s “Plate Tectonics” theory; and (5) biology’s theory of “Evolution”.

      • March 17, 2012 at 5:31 pm

        “Are you suggesting the study is falsified?”

        I’m suggesting it’s biased… and that the data may very well be misleading. For example, LOTS of Waldorf students go on to college… being generally from affluent families. The problem is… LOTS of the same kids DROP OUT when they realize they are completely lost. I know of a Waldorf grad who attended college chemistry class. He was asking questions about material he should have learned in the 5th grade (according to his professor). A biased article would say 90% of Waldorf kids go on to college… an unbiased one would follow up to determine how many stay past the first year. Where is the Waldorf study to show this?

      • Mike
        March 17, 2012 at 5:47 pm

        @pete

        You write:

        “I’m suggesting it’s biased… and that the data may very well be misleading. For example, LOTS of Waldorf students go on to college… being generally from affluent families. The problem is… LOTS of the same kids DROP OUT when they realize they are completely lost. I know of a Waldorf grad who attended college chemistry class. He was asking questions about material he should have learned in the 5th grade (according to his professor). A biased article would say 90% of Waldorf kids go on to college… an unbiased one would follow up to determine how many stay past the first year. Where is the Waldorf study to show this?”

        Utter rubbish. There is no evidence that Waldorf parents are mostly affluent. Of the parents we know ( at least 40 ) 3 of them are well off. the rest work very hard to pay the fees.

        Also, this idea that they mostly drop out of college. What proof do you have of that? Seriously, where do you pull this stuff out of?? Because you have already decided that no Waldorf child will ever learn anything scientific, you’ve put 2 and 2 together and made the assumption that they will drop out quickly. Based on the experience of a single grad student you know.

        You have, up to know, produced no evidence to back up anything you have said. Nothing. I don’t really see why I should bother arguing any more. I didn’t write this stuff for you. I wrote it so some parents who stumble across this thread might come away thinking that maybe there’s more to it then the author suggests. I’ve tried to do that to the best of my ability. I’m more then keen to here what other people have to say, but I’m not interested in continuing this nonsense with you. Enjoy your crusade. I’ll be thinking of you grinding your teeth as more and more Waldorf schools become state funded.

      • March 17, 2012 at 6:52 pm

        Mike wrote: “Utter rubbish. There is no evidence that Waldorf parents are mostly affluent. ”

        How about looking at tuition rates then:
        http://www.privateschoolreview.com/school_ov/school_id/3392
        Yearly Tuition Cost $13,250
        http://www.sfwaldorf.org/grade-school/admissions/tuition-and-fees
        Nursery 2-Day $5,310
        Nursery 3-Day $7,950
        Kindergarten $19,200
        Grades 1 – 4 $19,400
        Grades 5 – 8 $20,400
        Grades 9 – 12 $29,700

        Early Childhood 3-Day
        Tuition $5,475
        Activity & Supply Fee $195
        Tuition Protection $100
        Enrollment Fee $100

        Early Childhood 5-Day
        Tuition $7,475
        Activity & Supply Fee $280
        Tuition Protection $140
        Enrollment Fee $100

        Grades 1 – 4
        Tuition $11,575
        Activity & Supply Fee $355
        Tuition Protection $200
        Enrollment Fee $100
        http://www.lindenwaldorf.org/admissions/tuition
        Grades 5 – 8
        Tuition $11,575
        Activity & Supply Fee $455
        Tuition Protection $200
        Enrollment Fee $100
        http://rudolfsteinerschool.org/admissions/tuition-rates/
        Grades Five Through Eight
        $ 14,500
        Grades One through Four Sliding Scale
        from $ 5,130 to $ 14,500
        Early Childhood—Nursery and Mixed Age Kindergarten Sliding Scale from $ 2,330 to $ 11,070

        I think it’s pretty obvious that families who can spend the equivalent of college tuition on their pre-schooler can probably afford to send their kids to college too.

        “You have, up to know, produced no evidence to back up anything you have said. Nothing.”

        Really? I see it as the opposite. You have provided nothing honestly. You present reviews you KNOW are from Anthroposophists hoping nobody will notice… and when I did, you claim you did it to bait me. You’re just another dishonest Waldorf teacher Mike… and that has become obvious to me. Have you posted ANYTHING that’s honest?

        “Enjoy your crusade. I’ll be thinking of you grinding your teeth as more and more Waldorf schools become state funded.”

        And I’ll be thinking of you grinding your teeth as one by one, Waldorf schools are brought down by their own deceit. The world is becoming a MUCH smaller place – and Waldorf has been outed as the abusive environments they are. Their non-reaction to this will gain them NO support… so they can only go down hill from here by pretending there is no problem. Mine will be the first of many lawsuits against Waldorf for FRAUD and ABUSE! I suspect the teeth-grinding may be on their part. ;)

      • Mike
        March 17, 2012 at 9:19 pm

        Lots of words there Pete. But to the point…

        Of course its expensive. £3k to £6k a year in the UK. That’s not evidence that the parents are affluent. Easily most of the parents at our current school are normal people with normal jobs who make massive sacrifices to send their children to the school. Because they want to send their children to a Waldorf school.

        If the Steiner school is in an affluent area, then sure. That may well be the case. But once again, you assume things based on nothing solid. You think the same about everything I say. My, what a wonderful “debate” this is turning out to be.

      • Mike
        March 17, 2012 at 9:46 pm

        Pete: “You present reviews you KNOW are from Anthroposophists hoping nobody will notice… and when I did, you claim you did it to bait me.”

        I was baiting you Pete. I wanted to make the point that you are just as biased as the articles. And yet, you expect people to take your views as objective… even though you are as anti-Waldorf as the articles I posted are pro-Waldorf.

      • Mike
        March 17, 2012 at 9:54 pm

        Pete: “You’re just another dishonest Waldorf teacher Mike… and that has become obvious to me. Have you posted ANYTHING that’s honest?”

        I’m not a teacher. I never said I was. I’m a parent whos entrenched in Steiner culture. A few teachers are very close to me. Now you are resorting to calling me dishonest? Like, everything Ive written ive pulled from my ass?? How do you figure anything ive written to be dishonest, considering ive been clear that most of it is based on my personal experiences.

      • March 19, 2012 at 5:38 pm

        “I’m not a teacher. I never said I was.”

        Yet, you claimed to have taken Waldorf teacher training, right? – Or was that you misleading the readers again? Here’s what you wrote:

        “Has anybody in this whole thread even been on a Waldrof teacher training course? I would guess not. Because if any of you think for one minute that they instruct the teachers to ignore bullying, then you need a reality check. Its completely not true. I know this for a fact.”

        There’s a clear implication here that you’ve at least attended Waldorf teacher training. Have you?

        “I’m a parent whos entrenched in Steiner culture. A few teachers are very close to me. Now you are resorting to calling me dishonest?”

        If the shoe fits?

        ” Like, everything Ive written ive pulled from my ass?? ”

        That’s becoming more and more apparent.

        “How do you figure anything ive written to be dishonest, considering ive been clear that most of it is based on my personal experiences.”

        See my example above, and the articles you produced from Anthroposophists as if they were unbiased.

      • March 19, 2012 at 5:51 pm

        Mike concluded: “Of course its expensive. £3k to £6k a year in the UK. That’s not evidence that the parents are affluent.”

        OK… so now we have to define “affluent”. The whole point was, if they can afford this much money for pre-school, they can probably afford college.

        ” Easily most of the parents at our current school are normal people with normal jobs who make massive sacrifices to send their children to the school. Because they want to send their children to a Waldorf school.”

        Are you suggesting they won’t equally sacrifice to send their kids to college? Why not?

        “If the Steiner school is in an affluent area, then sure. That may well be the case. But once again, you assume things based on nothing solid.”

        Nothing solid? Like the tuition rates Waldorf schools charge? That’s pretty solid evidence that Waldorf schools aren’t for the common family… whether you agree or not.

        ” You think the same about everything I say. My, what a wonderful “debate” this is turning out to be.”

        I’m sorry you see it that way. Your experience is your experience… and that may be the most “solid” thing for you. As you say, you’re fully invested in Waldorf, and it isn’t uncommon to find someone who drank the Kool-aid boasting about having found the educational system of their dreams (which it is, quite literally).

        I’m bringing real evidence to this debate. I’m bringing quotes from Steiner, quotes from Waldorf school representatives, real enrollment figures, real reports, required reading material, stuff like that. It’s all “biased” in that it shows Waldorf in an unfavorable light.

      • Mike
        March 23, 2012 at 10:54 am

        My partner is a qualified teacher. I have several friends who are qualified teachers. We have all of the Steiner writings here at my home. Thats what “experience” means, Pete, you sensationalist so-and-so.

        Nothing I have written implies I took the training course. Thats just you and your magic formula for drawing conclusions on this topic.

        I suppose if somebody comes along and claims to have some “experience” in astral physics, you would imply they are claiming to be a qualified astral physicist?

        But I understand. It’s hard to read objectively whilst standing on top of a very tall soap box shouting unsubstantiated nonsense all the time.

      • Mike
        March 23, 2012 at 1:09 pm

        af·flu·ent

        1. Generously supplied with money, property, or possessions; prosperous or rich.
        2. Plentiful; abundant.
        3. Flowing freely; copious.

        Completely *not* what 90% of Steiner parents that I’ve met can be defined as. According to you, all parents who send their kids to college are affluent? Have you been to any UK colleges? Obviously not. They are full of students from what you call “common” families. I’m from a common family and went to college. None of my friends from college are from affluent families. My partner came from a single parent family from one of the poorest parts of England and yet got a degree in Medical Biochemistry.

        What. Utter. Rubbish.

  42. March 17, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Daisy: ‘If Steiner teachers can use karma as an excuse, then I wonder what excuses teachers in other schools have for not doing anything? In some cases I think teachers don’t know WHAT to do, other times I think they lack empathy for the victim and thus don’t feel compelled to act. This could apply to any teacher though. Is bullying more common in Steiner schools? Not a clue. I don’t know how we could prove this one way or another.’

    I don’t think we can either. The more important thing, as far as I’m concerned, is to highlight a ‘weakness’ in the underlying philosophy that is worth being aware of. I would not exclude that if steiner schools and steiner teachers were consciously aware of the risk that they use karma as an excuse not to intervene they would be less likely to do so. The only way to get that to change would be to openly discuss it and to admit that it might play a role (which they actually don’t want to admit at this stage).

    Actually I think ‘desert’ could be an excuse for regular teachers too. (Although not going back to previous lives!) Not liking the child. Not ‘seeing’. Sadly, I think there are many reasons why people don’t do what perhaps they should. And there are many excuses. It’s not unique to waldorf teachers, obviously. It’s more a question of the beliefs about karma providing waldorf teachers with en element that is not there for regular (non-anthroposophist) teachers.

  43. Mike
    March 17, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    http://uncletaz.com/steinerrace.html

    Specifically:

    Racial equality

    The Commission regrets that in the debate about racism Rudolf Steiner’s view of society is always left out. According to Steiner, the end of the nineteenth century marked the beginning of a new era. One of the most important characteristics of this new era is a cosmopolitan element, the effort to overcome nationalistic tendencies and racial discrimination. In part for these reasons, and also in reaction to World War I, Steiner devoted himself actively to the development of a new view of society he called the “threefold social order.” A key point in this view of society is the emphasis Steiner placed on the freedom of each individual, who continually must throw off old forms of group connections.
    Steiner wanted to examine the differences between races and, especially, peoples for the purpose of promoting greater mutual understanding. In regard to races he was of the opinion that racial differences are no longer of our time. In his participation in the debates after World War I about the structure of society, Steiner argued not only for cultural diversity but also for the equality of all peoples and races as a universal principle. He did this at a time when equality before the law was not at all self-evident, not even among white people. As a matter of fact, the peace conference of Versailles after World War I rejected a proposal to include the principle of equality of races in the Covenant of the League of Nations.

    Steiner emphatically opposed every effort to join the concepts of “race” and “people” with the concept of “nation.” In his criticisms of the American President Woodrow Wilson, and of the concept of self-determination of peoples, Steiner issued strong warnings against the rise of nationalism. It is remarkable, the Commission says, that Steiner’s opposition to the merger of the concepts of race and nation was never brought into public debate.

    Steiner repeatedly argued against Wilson that such self-determination rights would lead to xenophobia and the rise of ethnically homogeneous nations. In addition, said Steiner, Wilson overlooked the fact that the question of what constitutes a “people” would inevitably end up in the political sphere. That means that the question as to who belongs to a certain people can become subjected to the whims of nationalistically oriented politicians, with potentially dire consequences. Whenever someone tries to answer the question as to who belongs to a particular people ­ and especially who does not ­ there lurks the danger of the aspiration after “purity of blood.” In his criticism of Wilson, Steiner used the ethnic conflicts in the then newly formed Yugoslavia as an example.

    The Commission also says that in the recent debates about racism in Anthroposophy another factor has been overlooked. This is that by its very nature Anthroposophy cannot possibly be racist. It simply does not encompass any theory of mutation and selection with regard to human races. The question of which race is “stronger” or “superior” is therefore irrelevant. On the other hand, Anthroposophy encompasses an idea of reincarnation that considers the possibility that the spiritual-moral core of the human being, in the course of centuries, reincarnates in different bodies (woman/man, white/black, etc.). There is, therefore, no objection against mixing of races, and cultural exchanges among different peoples are encouraged.

    • March 17, 2012 at 4:05 pm

      Mike, are you reading this stuff thinking it’s from an independent source?

      Tarjei Straumm (Uncle Taz) is an Anthroposophist and an apologist for Steiner. Again, Mike, bring something from an independent source perhaps? Or do you want to discuss Tarjei’s apologia of Steiner’s racism?

      • Mike
        March 17, 2012 at 4:42 pm

        Once again, Pete. Who are you to discredit anything, coming from your obviously biased viewpoint?

        You discredit the above piece, and in the same paragraph then threaten to bring up another piece from the same source because it suits your argument. Which is it? Should we discard it all, or only selectively.

        So, again, I’ll ask *you* to produce some independent studies to prove you points.

      • March 17, 2012 at 5:19 pm

        “So, again, I’ll ask *you* to produce some independent studies to prove you points.”

        There are no “independent” studies of Waldorf (at least that anyone knows of). But the BIASED study of science education in Waldorf indicated that in order to be a viable source of education, Waldorf has to dump EVERYTHING it teaches in science and address several scientific topics (which they ignore) specifically.

        The BIASED study done by 16 Dutch Anthroposophists found that indeed Steiner made statements that, if he had made them today, would have landed him in JAIL.

        So if studies by Anthroposophists have shown Waldorf to be problematic, one doesn’t have to stretch their imagination too much to suspect independent studies would find Waldorf even MORE problematic.

      • Mike
        March 17, 2012 at 6:27 pm

        Ahhh… so no studies? Nothing? In all your time crusading, you’ve not found any studies to debunk the pro Waldorf articles? I figured as much.

        Instead you come out with this gem:

        “So if studies by Anthroposophists have shown Waldorf to be problematic, one doesn’t have to stretch their imagination too much to suspect independent studies would find Waldorf even MORE problematic.”

        Of course its problematic. What alternative system isn’t? Find me one. Stretching your imagination seems to be something you are good at.

      • March 17, 2012 at 7:01 pm

        Mike wrote: “Of course its problematic. What alternative system isn’t?”

        There ya go! And VERY well said! Alternative systems ARE problematic. Whenever there’s an “alternate” to teaching reality to children, there’s a problem. When there’s an “alternate” to treating parents with respect and being honest about what they teach, there’s a problem. When there’s an “alternate” to science, there’s a problem. When there’s an “alternate” to punishing bullies, there’s a problem.

        Alternative schools are problematic… Waldorf too! They should NOT be afforded public funding.

      • Mike
        March 17, 2012 at 10:05 pm

        “Alternative schools are problematic… Waldorf too! They should NOT be afforded public funding.”

        Yes they should. If enough parents want it, who are you to say otherwise.

  44. Mike
    March 17, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    You know, its all becoming clear to me…

    - Apparently, bullying is a problem in Waldorf schools due to the principles of Steiner himself regards Karma… and yet, the reality is that there is zero evidence to suggest, that in Waldorf schools today, bullying is a bigger problem then just about any other school. Seeing as apparently teachers are trained to ignore it… doesn’t that mean the technique works? Because if it didn’t and the teachers turned a blind eye, the class would be carnage, right? Or, maybe, the idea that they *all* ignore it is just plain ridiculous.

    - Apparently, Steiner school are based on racist teachings… and yet, the reality is that Steiner schools today, are just as multicultural as any other private schools within the same vicinity. ( My sons class is 1 x Irish/Greek. 2 x Indian. 1 x German. 1 x Israli/Icelandic. 1 x African/English. 3 x English. There is no racism between the actual pupils. They don’t even notice they are different in any way.

    - Apparently, Steiner teaches that Science and technology is evil… and yet, in the hours I have spent researching these claims, I have found absolutely no evidence of anything except modern Steiner graduates not only keen to take Science in Uni, but generally excelling at it.

    Where are these studies that highlight all these issues? Not personal accounts. Studies… that cover a large number of schools. Has there even been one in this whole debate? Instead we get individuals pointing out sentences from the original text as if that seriously mirrors what actually goes on in the schools *generally*. It doest. You might get the occasional dogmatic lunatic for a teacher, which I accept is an awful thing when its your child in their class. But this is NOT the norm. Just like every other school type, sometimes your child gets a bad teacher. In that instance, the teacher is bad, not the whole system.

    Might I add that all the Steiner texts are translated, with some of them translated very badly.

    • March 17, 2012 at 6:29 pm

      Mike: ‘Apparently, bullying is a problem in Waldorf schools due to the principles of Steiner himself regards Karma…’

      I don’t it’s due to that, I don’t think Steiner’s ideas *cause* the problem. I do think, however, that belief in karma is an impediment to dealing effectively and safely with the problem though.

      ‘Apparently, Steiner school are based on racist teachings… and yet, the reality is that Steiner schools today, are just as multicultural as any other private schools within the same vicinity. ( My sons class is 1 x Irish/Greek. 2 x Indian. 1 x German. 1 x Israli/Icelandic. 1 x African/English. 3 x English. There is no racism between the actual pupils. They don’t even notice they are different in any way.’

      Might I suggest that one reason your son’s class is fairly well-functioning is that he must be in a very small steiner school? 9 pupils in a class, jeez.

      Btw, I didn’t see any racism either. But of course virtually all 600+ students at the school were white/european!

      ‘Where are these studies that highlight all these issues?’

      Some of the claims can be substantiated by reading waldorf proponents themselves. The anti-technology stance is not exactly difficult to find on waldorf school websites, for example. Organisations like AWSNA regularly promote anti-technology stuff.

      ‘You might get the occasional dogmatic lunatic for a teacher, which I accept is an awful thing when its your child in their class. … In that instance, the teacher is bad, not the whole system.’

      I’d say the relative sanity of the individual teacher is not worth that much when the system is characterized by dogmatic lunacy. In my case, my main teacher was probably fairly ok; most other teachers I encountered were either utter loons or incredibly bad teachers. The school was crap. The pedagogy sucked. And no accountability.

      ‘Might I add that all the Steiner texts are translated, with some of them translated very badly.’

      Believe me when I say critics are aware of this! For example, some blatant instances of racism have been omitted from translations. Sometimes without a word!

  45. Badly Shaved Monkey
    March 17, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Can one of the commenters who is defending Steiner/Waldorf schools tell me something about the gnomes?

    • March 17, 2012 at 5:41 pm

      “Apparently, Steiner school are based on racist teachings… and yet, the reality is that Steiner schools today, are just as multicultural as any other private schools within the same vicinity.”

      You’ve completely misunderstood this Mike. This isn’t about allowing children of various races in their schools. They WANT children of all races… they want to teach Anthroposophy to all children. The racism isn’t racial discrimination against students, it’s about HOW THEY VIEW THE STUDENTS. Steiner specifically taught teachers to view children of different races DIFFERENTLY. That’s why his racist texts are STILL REQUIRED READING in Waldorf teacher training. They want children of all races… they just don’t believe they’re created equal.

      • Mike
        March 17, 2012 at 6:23 pm

        No, you misunderstand. Its about the children today. Its about how happy they are. Its about how their teachers relate to them. Of the 500 teachers you have interviewed, how many of them say they look at children differently according to race?

        But no. I know your answer. Steiner wrote it. Waldorf schools are based on those writings. Therefore what he wrote is what goes on, right? ( except you would have shouted a lot more )

        Whatever. We will never agree. I’m a spiritualist. You certainly are not. People like me suit Steiner schools. people like you don’t. It really is that simple.

      • March 17, 2012 at 7:10 pm

        “No, you misunderstand. Its about the children today. Its about how happy they are.”

        This is a very naive comment. What in the world does this have to do with racism?

        “Its about how their teachers relate to them. ”

        Absolutely! Steiner taught that Waldorf teachers should relate to children in accordance WITH THEIR RACE!

        “Of the 500 teachers you have interviewed, how many of them say they look at children differently according to race?”

        EVERY ONE OF THEM! – If they are true to their Waldorf teacher training. They ALL look at children differently in accordance with their temperament… which is based on genetics. Do you really think they draw the line at skin color – especially when Steiner said it was PRECISELY what defines individuals? Really Mike?

        “But no. I know your answer. Steiner wrote it. Waldorf schools are based on those writings. Therefore what he wrote is what goes on, right?”

        Doesn’t that make more sense than Waldorf schools exist to DENY what he wrote? Could your position be more naive?

        “Whatever. We will never agree. I’m a spiritualist. You certainly are not. People like me suit Steiner schools. people like you don’t. It really is that simple.”

        State-funded schools shouldn’t be spiritual schools. There are special schools for that… they’re called Sunday schools. They’re open on Sundays so there would be no conflict with regular education. It’s really that simple!

      • Mike
        March 17, 2012 at 7:37 pm

        Temperament is linked to genetics but has nothing to do with race. People of all races can be sanguine, for example. Teachers interact differently to each of the 4 temperaments, regardless of race.

        If enough people want a certain type of school in their area, then why should they not get state funding? Because it’s spiritual, we shouldn’t consider it, even if the parents in the area want it? Because you think its quack? Newsflash friend… its got nothing to do with you.

        And stop with the shouting. Whats the matter with you. I’m fed up with your soap box technique. I’m gonna go get stoned and watch a film about Nordic mythology. bye.

      • Mike
        March 17, 2012 at 7:39 pm

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Temperaments

        Cause I know you love wiki so much.

        x

      • March 17, 2012 at 10:19 pm

        “Temperament is linked to genetics but has nothing to do with race.”

        So race and genetics aren’t linked. There’s Waldorf science for ya…

        “People of all races can be sanguine, for example. Teachers interact differently to each of the 4 temperaments, regardless of race.”

        Yes… and they interact differently with large-headed vs small-headed children, with left-handed vs right-handed children, with children who are incarnating properly vs children who aren’t (or who may be demons), but they aren’t noticing race… despite Steiner’s specific remarks about race (required reading for teachers). That’s really believable.

        “If enough people want a certain type of school in their area, then why should they not get state funding?”

        Because it’s not up to the state to pay for every weird group’s idea of education. That’s why the state has standards.

        ” Because it’s spiritual, we shouldn’t consider it, even if the parents in the area want it?”

        Yep! Undereducated people are a burden to society. The state is already going to have to pay for the under-educated/under-employed children produced by these schools. Why should the state have to pay for under-educating them in the first place?

        If parents want a spiritual education for their children, they should pay for it THEMSELVES… like the hundreds of other private Waldorf schools in existence. That system works great!

      • Mike
        March 17, 2012 at 10:37 pm

        No. Race and Temperament are not linked. Teachers respond to temperament. In practise, this is the extent of it. In theory, well… I cant control what you theorise.

        So now I belong to a weird group, according to you? A weird group that support a system that produces under educated children that are a burden on society?

        *sigh*… this debate is over.

      • March 18, 2012 at 12:15 am

        “No. Race and Temperament are not linked.”

        You don’t understand the temperaments then.

        “Teachers respond to temperament. In practise, this is the extent of it. In theory, well… I cant control what you theorise.

        Remember, when we were kids, we used to play “which one does not belong?” Five out of the six statements are taken DIRECTLY from Faculty Meetings with Rudolf Steiner.

        “It is certainly a major deficiency that many educational systems pay no attention to such things as, for example, the external appearance of the children.”

        “A small head is connected with brooding and reflecting whereas large-headed children are more flighty.”

        “Such cases are increasing in which children are born with a human form, but are not really human beings in relation to their highest I; instead, they are filled with beings that do not belong to the human class.”

        “In those children with a physically oversized head, you will be able to find what I have just described as deficiencies, namely, lack of attention or a too-strongly developed phlegma.”

        “If the blonds and blue-eyed people die out, the human race will become increasingly dense if men do not arrive at a form of intelligence that is independent of blondness. Blond hair actually bestows intelligence…”

        “The phenomenon of left-handedness is clearly karmic, and, in connection with karma, it is one of karmic weakness.”

        “They [demons] are also quite different from human beings in regard to everything spiritual. They can, for example, never remember such things as sentences; they have a memory only for words, not for sentences.”

        Steiner said may stupid and disturbing things to teachers as part of their instruction. Steiner DID NOT believe all children are equal – just as he didn’t believe all humans are equal (and that’s a fact!).

        It is my firm belief that parents don’t actively seek out anti-intellectual, racially inspired educational systems to put their children into… so I guess we won’t agree.

      • Mike
        March 18, 2012 at 12:07 pm

        How does seeing people as not equal automatically equate to considering them inferior or superior? You love to word stuff so it suits your agenda. No. It simply means they are different and need different methods of education for them to *all* reach their potential, which is the whole point of recognizing temperament to begin with. I completely agree with this.

        And so what if there are physical characteristics to each of the temperaments? How is that a negative or positive thing? Its about the teachers recognizing the temperaments of their children and responding to that. Physical properties is one of the many methods of gaining a complete picture. None of the 4 temperaments are better or worse then the others. It just means we are different. Some temperaments are deficient in some qualities and proficient in others. However, with your selective quoting, you like to focus on words like “deficient” because you know they pack punch and make your fear-mongering so much more efficient.

        Are you suggesting that state schools that treat every child exactly the same regardless of temperament is a better way? I disagree. It means some children will always be behind others which is exactly what happens in state schools. My temperament is Melancholic. I had a hard time concentrating in class when I was very young. I needed more years of imaginative play, but instead got shoved in a classroom and forced to study intellectual topics. I got moved into the “lower” classes and stayed there for my whole school life, coming out with barely any qualifications. I had to then spend years training myself to become the professional ( graphic artist ) I am today. From what I can see, the current state system is more guilty of punishing children of certain temperaments then Steiner schools are. If I went to a Waldorf school, I would have been nurtured according to my temperament and I have no doubt I would have come out the other side happier with more possibilities.

        And for the last time, anybody of any race and be any temperament. Therefore temperament is not linked to race. Or to put it in a way you will understand, people of any race can have a big head.

        People are different. That’s what not being equal means. You want everybody to believe it means negative prejudices are involved. That is completely not how I, and MANY others see it.

        None of what ive written is trying to convince you of anything, Pete. But I hope anybody reading this can see that it’s not as negative as you portray it with your selective quoting and sensationalist wording.

      • March 18, 2012 at 4:07 pm

        Mike wrote: “How does seeing people as not equal automatically equate to considering them inferior or superior?”

        This may be a question for your math gnomes. Steiner placed the white race above all other races. Other races were in “decline” or “degrading”. Do you want me to supply quotes?

        ” You love to word stuff so it suits your agenda. No. It simply means they are different and need different methods of education for them to *all* reach their potential, which is the whole point of recognizing temperament to begin with. I completely agree with this.”

        Thank you for confirming what I said. And their “potential”, according to Steiner, is to be WHITE. According to Steiner, the white race is the race of the future.

        “And so what if there are physical characteristics to each of the temperaments? How is that a negative or positive thing? Its about the teachers recognizing the temperaments of their children and responding to that.”

        For one thing, temperaments are nonsense. They don’t exist. So “responding” to non-existent criteria when dealing with children is hardly positive.

        ” Physical properties is one of the many methods of gaining a complete picture. None of the 4 temperaments are better or worse then the others.”

        Really? That’s not the impression I get. Look at Steiner’s descriptions… if you’re not a phlegmatic and therefore too “lazy”.

        ” It just means we are different. Some temperaments are deficient in some qualities and proficient in others. However, with your selective quoting, you like to focus on words like “deficient” because you know they pack punch and make your fear-mongering so much more efficient.”

        Ah, fear-mongering… I’ve entered Waldorf’s domain here, right? Waldorf survives on fear. They want parents to fear public schools… to fear outsiders… to fear sports… they survive by fear-mongering. If you think I’m selectively quoting, please, quote something from Steiner that suggests ALL RACES ARE EQUAL. Anything?

        “Are you suggesting that state schools that treat every child exactly the same regardless of temperament is a better way?”

        Considering temperament doesn’t exist? The equivalent of what Waldorf does would be for teachers to treat and teach children in accordance with what COLOR they are wearing on a particular day. IT’S NONSENSE!

        ” I disagree. It means some children will always be behind others which is exactly what happens in state schools. My temperament is Melancholic. I had a hard time concentrating in class when I was very young.”

        My friend, you would have had a hard time concentrating anyway… it has NOTHING to do with being a melancholic. Hey, maybe if your mom dressed you in brighter colors, your level of concentration might have increased.

        ” I needed more years of imaginative play, but instead got shoved in a classroom and forced to study intellectual topics. I got moved into the “lower” classes and stayed there for my whole school life, coming out with barely any qualifications. I had to then spend years training myself to become the professional ( graphic artist ) I am today.”

        Yes, you could have, instead, just slipped into the Waldorf Graphic Arts program… I hear they kick out lots of graphic artists.

        ” From what I can see, the current state system is more guilty of punishing children of certain temperaments then Steiner schools are.”

        If temperaments existed you mean…

        ” If I went to a Waldorf school, I would have been nurtured according to my temperament and I have no doubt I would have come out the other side happier with more possibilities.”

        I have no doubt you believe this.

        “And for the last time, anybody of any race and be any temperament. Therefore temperament is not linked to race. Or to put it in a way you will understand, people of any race can have a big head.”

        Yes, and Steiner had indications for every race, for head sizes, for left-handedness, temperaments and a bunch of other imaginary stuff… all of which is REQUIRED reading for Waldorf teachers.

        “People are different. That’s what not being equal means. You want everybody to believe it means negative prejudices are involved. That is completely not how I, and MANY others see it.”

        I can see I’ll have to post some of the negative things Steiner said about ALL the races EXCEPT the white race.

        “None of what ive written is trying to convince you of anything, Pete. But I hope anybody reading this can see that it’s not as negative as you portray it with your selective quoting and sensationalist wording.”

        You won’t convince me of anything. Waldorf worked on me for years trying to convince me of this nonsense… it’s unlikely you will. I’m sure anyone reading this will realize Waldorf teachers use RIDICULOUS criteria in determining how to deal with children in Waldorf environments. That’s part of the reason they have such poor success rates and huge attrition rates.

        BTW, thank you Mike, for presenting Waldorf’s position on the temperaments… it helps parents to realize how committed Waldorf teachers are to this nonsense.

      • Mike
        March 18, 2012 at 4:37 pm

        Pete, why not allow me to take some out of context quotes from the same talk:

        “The black [eyed and haired] ones have more stamina; they have a larger pushing force. The blond ones have a lesser pushing force, and [therefore] will perish earlier.”

        or how about:

        “The blond ones were always the weaker ones with regard to the body, they were only stronger with regard to the soul.”

        Now. Lets look as your god damn ridiculous quote:

        “Thank you for confirming what I said. And their “potential”, according to Steiner, is to be WHITE. According to Steiner, the white race is the race of the future.”

        Really?

        What you do, is idolize intellectualism. You value it above all else. Anthroposophists don’t. There is much more to a healthy human then intellect, in my opinion. Just because he might make a statement connecting blonds to “cleverness”, it doesn’t mean they are superior. Because you consider intellect so important, these statements come across as racist. Outside of the total context, this stuff does not portray the meaning of these statements. Neither you or I can pick out snippets to prove anything.

        And the word “lazy”. If it was translated as “lethargic tendencies” would that be better? What wrong with that? Some children *are* lethargic. In a state school, they pretty much stay that way. They would get herded in with everybody else, doing sports and other stuff they dont like. In a Waldorf school they are treated differently. In a way them helps them rise above it and balance themselves. These techniques are all about helping the children become more complete. So regardless of temperament, they come out with high self esteem and a full range of capabilities. That’s the aim. Even if it doesn’t always get it right.

        And telling me temperaments dont exist doesn’t mean a thing. That’s your opinion. You cant prove a thing. Just like most of your “opinions”, which is all most of your statements are.

        You really don’t understand a thing about what these schools represent. You take minuscule sections from a total text that is enormous, and present a case. Backed up with individual stories about specific schools that are not well run… which exist, unfortunately. But thats the case with every type of school.

      • March 19, 2012 at 8:42 pm

        Mike wrote:
        Pete, why not allow me to take some out of context quotes from the same talk:

        (and he did)

        Now. Lets look as your god damn ridiculous quote:

        “Thank you for confirming what I said. And their “potential”, according to Steiner, is to be WHITE. According to Steiner, the white race is the race of the future.”

        Really?”

        Yes really! Do you want more examples? There are many, but let’s first start with the one I quoted from:

        “On the one hand there is the black race, which is the most earthly. When this race goes toward the West, it dies out. Then there is the yellow race, in the middle between the earth and the cosmos. When this race goes toward the East, it turns brown, it attaches itself too much to the cosmos and dies out. The white race is the race of the future, the race that works creatively on the spirit.” (Rudolf Steiner, “Farbe und Menschenrassen”, lecture in Dornach March 3, 1923, in Steiner, Vom Leben des Menschen und der Erde, Dornach 1993, p. 67)

        Steiner considered races other than white as degenerate: “We are not justified in thinking that human beings were originally like the savages of today. The savages have developed into what they now are–with their superstitions, their magical practices and their unclean appearance–from states originally more perfect. The only superiority we have over them is that, while starting from the same conditions, we did not degenerate as they did. I might therefore say: The evolution of man has taken two paths. It is not true that the savages of today represent the original condition of mankind. Mankind, though to begin with it looked more animal-like, was highly civilized. … Just as the present savages have fallen from the level of the human beings of primeval times, so the apes are beings who have fallen still lower.” (Steiner, Rudolf. The Evolution of the Earth and Man and the Influence of the Stars. (1924) Trans. Gladys Hahn. Hudson, NY: Anthroposophic Press, 1987, p126)

        And his hatred of blacks caused him to make up nonsense about them… oops, I mean science…

        “Recently I went into a bookstore in Basel and found an example of the latest publishing agenda: a Negro novel, just as the Negroes in general are entering into European civilization step by step! Everywhere Negro dances are being performed, Negro dances are being hopped. But we even have this Negro novel already. It is utterly boring, dreadfully boring, but people devour it. I am personally convinced that if we get more Negro novels, and give these Negro novels to pregnant women to read during the first phase of pregnancy, when as you know they can sometimes develop such cravings, if we give these Negro novels to pregnant women to read, then it won’t even be necessary for Negroes to come to Europe in order for mulattoes to appear. Simply through the spiritual effects of reading Negro novels, a multitude of children will be born in Europe that are completely gray, that have mulatto hair, that look like mulattoes!” (Rudolf Steiner,lecture in Dornach December 30, 1922, in Steiner, Über Gesundheit und Krankheit, Dornach 1994, p. 189)

        “What you do, is idolize intellectualism. You value it above all else. Anthroposophists don’t.”

        Then maybe education isn’t a good place for them to do business.

        “There is much more to a healthy human then intellect, in my opinion.”

        Yes, and those aspects of being a healthy human can be accumulated OUTSIDE of school. School is for EDUCATION, not indoctrination.

        “Just because he might make a statement connecting blonds to “cleverness”, it doesn’t mean they are superior. ”

        That’s certainly not the only statement he made in this regard.

        “Because you consider intellect so important, these statements come across as racist.”

        They ARE racist! It has nothing to do with the individual traits Steiner described in people (which he invented).

        ” Outside of the total context, this stuff does not portray the meaning of these statements. Neither you or I can pick out snippets to prove anything.”

        That’s right. That’s why I’ve spent close to two decades studying Steiner… to CONFIRM what I am saying. There are dozens of examples of Steiner elevating the white race above all others. And I haven’t even touched on his anti-Semitic statements yet.

        “And the word “lazy”. If it was translated as “lethargic tendencies” would that be better?”

        NO!

        “What wrong with that?”

        There’s NO reason for a teacher to put that label on a child.

        “Some children *are* lethargic. In a state school, they pretty much stay that way. They would get herded in with everybody else, doing sports and other stuff they dont like.”

        That sounds like a good way to AVOID being lethargic to me.

        ” In a Waldorf school they are treated differently. In a way them helps them rise above it and balance themselves. ”

        What a pile of steaming crap… oops, did I say that out loud?

        “These techniques are all about helping the children become more complete. So regardless of temperament, they come out with high self esteem and a full range of capabilities. That’s the aim. Even if it doesn’t always get it right.”

        So, speaking of self-esteem, we have the popular Olympic games… at which children are divided and dressed in colors in accordance with their temperament. All the “lethargic” kids are on one team. All kids need to do is look at their “color” to know what their teachers believe they are like.

        “And telling me temperaments dont exist doesn’t mean a thing. That’s your opinion. You cant prove a thing. Just like most of your “opinions”, which is all most of your statements are.”

        We’re back to the tigers in the kitchen. If YOU want TAXPAYERS to pay for this nonsense. It’s up to YOU to prove it isn’t nonsense.

        “You really don’t understand a thing about what these schools represent.”

        If that was the case, I wouldn’t be making my case now would I?

        ” You take minuscule sections from a total text that is enormous, and present a case.”

        Yes, based on extensive study of Anthroposophy and Waldorf environments. I can take a minuscule quote from Steiner and determine, based on my FULL knowledge of what he wrote, whether it is representative of his overall opinion or not. That’s why it’s important to study this stuff… to be sure you’re not misrepresenting what Steiner actually meant.

        “Backed up with individual stories about specific schools that are not well run… which exist, unfortunately. But thats the case with every type of school.”

        Nope… Waldorf is a CLOSED system… so there are reasons very unique to Waldorf why Waldorf schools are problematic. The are deceptive in their advertising about what they teach and why. They cover up abuse as with other closed religious groups and move abusive teacher from school to school. Do you really think all the teachers who were problematic at Highland Hall are still there? Many have moved away… They’re EVERYWHERE – in other Waldorf schools around the world. The ones who aren’t are training other Waldorf teachers. Those are the facts!

  46. Helen
    March 17, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Yes, please, tell us about the gnomes…

    • Melanie Byng
      March 17, 2012 at 7:59 pm

      Yes, where would we be without our little bearded friends?

      @Mike – you say:

      ‘Whatever. We will never agree. I’m a spiritualist. You certainly are not. People like me suit Steiner schools. people like you don’t. It really is that simple.’

      Are all the parents who will send their children to future Steiner Free Schools also spiritualists? In other words – they believe they can communicate with the dead?

      I don’t believe there’s a school system or a school in which all the children involved are perfectly happy. That’s what makes your posts so difficult to believe. And it’s pretty insulting for any child who wasn’t happy in a Steiner school, and who left, to hear that unhappiness is impossible (or invisible).

      Pete’s right – you’re quoting a lot of sources which when analysed turn out to be biased. You can hardly blame him for pointing that out.

      “Steiner wrote it. Waldorf schools are based on those writings. Therefore what he wrote is what goes on, right?”

      To a certain extent, your assessment is correct.

      ‘You might get the occasional dogmatic lunatic for a teacher, which I accept is an awful thing when its your child in their class. …’

      It’s a bit of a lottery, isn’t it?

      • Mike
        March 17, 2012 at 9:25 pm

        Short of home education, what isn’t a lottry when it comes to placing your trust to somebody else, regards your children?

        Shall we start exchanging horror stories as to the grim goings on in many state schools?

      • March 17, 2012 at 10:26 pm

        “Short of home education, what isn’t a lottry when it comes to placing your trust to somebody else, regards your children?”

        Waldorf schools openly lie about the presence of Anthroposophy in the classroom. Many deceive parents right on their websites. Others openly lie about many aspects of the education when questioned by parents. It’s what Steiner himself told them to do.

        This is NOT the case in other state-run school systems. There is no religious philosophy binding the teachers… no “guru” to refer to, no outdated philosophies that excuse bullying, racism and abuse. Waldorf schools are practically unique in this regard.

  47. Helen
    March 17, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    Mike you say Steiner schools are not for us because we are not spiritualists.
    If only Waldorf schools would say this to prospective parents, it would save a lot of confusion and suffering.
    But how long would the schools thrive once they had gone public about their nature?

    • Mike
      March 17, 2012 at 9:06 pm

      Are you implying that most parents go into these schools without knowing what they are about? Some do, for sure. But come on now… any parent sending their child to a private school is going to research it to death. In my experience, most of the parents know what its about and want it for their children.

      As for how the schools will thrive once they have gone public? Well… Typing “Frome Steiner Academy” into google brings this thread up at position #2. Directly after the school website. Its not like the critique of the system is hidden. And yet, from what I gather, Frome has no problem with admission numbers. They’ll probably be over subscribed. Seems like, despite the objections of those who disprove, enough people still want it.

      • March 17, 2012 at 10:33 pm

        “Are you implying that most parents go into these schools without knowing what they are about? Some do, for sure. But come on now… any parent sending their child to a private school is going to research it to death. In my experience, most of the parents know what its about and want it for their children.”

        Research it how exactly? Waldorf school websites hide their connection to Anthroposophy. SWSF employs people to go to websites and disrupt critical discussion of Waldorf practices. For most parents, “research” involves a visit to a Waldorf school. That is where many are convinced that they are in a healthy, safe environment. When a group has a demonstrated commitment to avoid disclosing their nature, there’s something seriously wrong.

        Highland Hall reported a turnover rate of 25% of students per year. The more deceptive the school, the greater the turnover. Obviously, a great number of parents were dissatisfied with what they signed up for.

      • Mike
        March 18, 2012 at 4:08 pm

        You do realize that typing “Steiner school issues” into google ( hardly a deep investigation ) brings up a myriad of threads just like this one. Countless. Lots of family stories about not so good experiences. It’s all there from the first page.

        Thank to the efforts of critics like your good self, all issues regards Waldorf schools are well documented, even if sensationalist sometimes. I don’t think, in this modern age, you need to worry about parents getting misinformed. This isn’t the illuminati we are talking about.

      • March 18, 2012 at 4:40 pm

        “You do realize that typing “Steiner school issues” into google ( hardly a deep investigation ) brings up a myriad of threads just like this one. Countless. Lots of family stories about not so good experiences. It’s all there from the first page.”

        And yet, you want PROOF that what I’m saying is true. Where do you think all these dissatisfied customers came from?

        “Thank to the efforts of critics like your good self, all issues regards Waldorf schools are well documented, even if sensationalist sometimes.”

        Yes, but that’s only been over the last 10 years or so… and we’ve had to fight the SWSF and other Waldorf groups (the gang on Wiki) who are very good at disinformation. Even so, it’s good to know we’re doing good.

        “I don’t think, in this modern age, you need to worry about parents getting misinformed. This isn’t the illuminati we are talking about.”

        Careful! Did you know Steiner was a 33rd degree Freemason? We very well could be talking about the illumanati here… ;)

  48. deuteronomiser
    March 17, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Okay. Sorry to interrupt this hair splitting discussion but I really need to be clear about the ‘Gnome thing’ and the ‘Karma thing’.

    As this blog has now attracted some alleged experienced Steinerists, I would like to know whether it is true that Gnomes are in any way a part of the Steiner curriculum and if so, in what way(s). I would also like to know why a religious ideology (Karma) is being completely misused as an underlying methodology for non-intervention, when the whole notion of Karma (and no, I don’t accept that it exists in any way) rests on the notion of doing good deeds, which are based in compassion. Thus, a teacher not intervening in, for example a playground fight, such that a constructive and progressive dialogue is experienced by all involved, would not only be failing in their duties as a teacher, in their responsibilities as an adult and in their ability to understand a completely nonsensical religious ideology when they see one but also as a human being who is able to use reason in order to prevent the spread of Gnome/Karma nonsense.

    I really meant that last bit too!

    • March 17, 2012 at 10:49 pm

      “As this blog has now attracted some alleged experienced Steinerists, I would like to know whether it is true that Gnomes are in any way a part of the Steiner curriculum and if so, in what way(s).”

      Not to speak for Steinerists, but this site has a lot of info including some of Steiner’s quotes on gnomes:
      http://sites.google.com/site/waldorfwatch/gnomes

      From the page:
      “The felt gnome in my son’s Waldorf classroom sat on a shelf near the top of the chalkboard. I remember the class teacher telling a group of parents that the gnome’s role was to watch the children while he was out of the classroom. He said it with a smile and a twinkle in his eye, so my reaction was that it was funny and cute. I assumed it was intended as a big joke and that all the other parents shared that assumption. It never occurred to me the gnome might have a different significance for the children. But, in retrospect, I don’t remember my children ever including gnomes in their conversation or play.

      “The teacher spoke of the gnome affectionately. I think he said the gnome’s name was George. It’s really weird to look back now, picturing all those adults sitting at their children’s desks, listening attentively to a man who, unknown to us, believed his guru could see real gnomes. It’s like something out of a Monty Python skit.” — Margaret Sachs

  49. Mike
    March 17, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    From the Frome Steiner Academy website:

    “The school’s ethos will draw on Dr Steiner’s work on child development; but it will neither promote or teach his wider philosophy which is known as “anthroposophy”

    So, this idea that all teachers HAVE to adhere to the anthroposophical teachings of Steiner is not the case, as Ive suggested over and over again. No doubt somebody will come along and call the school deceitful… even though they haven’t opened their doors yet.

    There’s nothing more I can say on the topic. All I can hope is that ive added some substance to the debate. From the responses, I’m not sure I have. Time to put it to bed for me.

    • March 17, 2012 at 11:59 pm

      “The school’s ethos will draw on Dr Steiner’s work on child development; but it will neither promote or teach his wider philosophy which is known as “anthroposophy”

      Yes, we’ve already determined they’re lying about this. The curriculum ensures Anthroposophy will be taught – despite what they say. Do they intend to teach eurythmy – or will that part of Anthroposophical instruction be excluded? According to Steiner, eurythmy is the embodiment of Anthroposophy. How will they handle history? Through mythology? How about science? Will they be taking the recommendations of the article I posted and come to terms with: (1) physics’model of the Atom; (2) chemistry’s theory of Periodic Law; (3) astronomy’s “Big Bang” theory; (4)
      geology’s “Plate Tectonics” theory; and (5) biology’s theory of “Evolution”… or will they continue teaching Waldorf science?

      Do they answer these questions on their website? Or just make assurances that no Anthroposophy will sneak in?

  50. Michael
    March 18, 2012 at 1:26 am

    @Pete Karaiskos . It certainly feels like people like @Mike (no connection with me!) won’t stop until you show them actual evidence, something like a smoking gun which will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that what you say is correct. Since you’re the only one building a case against Steiner, you’re the only one who can do it. I find it shocking though that you are the only one. Being the only one isn’t helping as you’ve got the weight of the whole Steiner movement against you… unless you can provide the evidence. It would stop these comments to be nothing more than “you’re wrong”, “no, you’re wrong”, “no, YOU’RE wrong”, etc.

    And @Daisy, I’m very willing to talk to you for your dissertation. My email is in my comment way up there, in response to your offer. I await our conversation with great anticipation.

    • Mike
      March 18, 2012 at 12:43 pm

      Michael, you make it sound like I’m being unreasonable asking Pete to bring some solid evidence to the table to back his claims that the whole Waldorf system is detrimental to society.

      If somebody attacks something that is dear to you, with no evidence at all, how would you respond?

    • March 18, 2012 at 4:22 pm

      Michael wrote: @Pete Karaiskos . “It certainly feels like people like @Mike (no connection with me!) won’t stop until you show them actual evidence, something like a smoking gun which will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that what you say is correct”

      Is that all it would take? I think, for most readers, once it is established in their minds that Waldorf schools are dishonest (and I think that has been established in most reader’s minds) – the question of sending their children there becomes moot. The remainder of the discussion is describing the many ways in which they are dishonest.

      • Mike
        March 18, 2012 at 5:03 pm

        Well, like I said previously. Do a google search for “Frome Steiner Academy” and this thread comes up as #2. So, if you are correct Pete, and you think the dishonesty “has been established in most reader’s minds”… then we should see the Frome school lose enough applicants for it to be a problem. I know how much you would love that.

        I’m happy to sit back and see how much influence your ramblings actually have on the actual school… as opposed to other people with exactly your viewpoint to begin with.

      • March 18, 2012 at 5:26 pm

        “So, if you are correct Pete, and you think the dishonesty “has been established in most reader’s minds”… then we should see the Frome school lose enough applicants for it to be a problem. I know how much you would love that.”

        I would love that the parents of those children avoided the opportunity to be deceived by Waldorf.

        “I’m happy to sit back and see how much influence your ramblings actually have on the actual school… as opposed to other people with exactly your viewpoint to begin with.”

        Well, ultimately, what choice do you have?

  51. Mike
    March 18, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    PLANS ( http://www.waldorfcritics.org/index.html ) have been trying to shut down two Waldorf schools since 1998 using the same arguments exactly as Pete. Most recently:

    “In November 2010, the judge in the case dismissed it on its merits a second time. With the exception of one item, the Bylaws of the Anthroposophical Society, all of the plaintiff’s evidence was either withdrawn before trial or excluded at trial as inadmissible hearsay. The plaintiff called one percipient witness, not friendly to their cause, and no expert witnesses.

    In his ruling, the judge cited the plaintiff’s attempts to elicit from a percipient witness testimony only allowable from an expert witness, and their “complete failure to present percipient testimony relevant to the essential issues in the case” as already sufficient basis for an adverse judgment.

    He added, however, that aside from the plaintiff’s effective failure to present a viable case, “the evidence suggests that anthroposophy is a method of learning which is available to anyone regardless of their religious or philosophical persuasion. Stated another way, anthroposophy is more akin to a methodology or
    approach to learning as opposed to a religious doctrine or organized set of beliefs.”

    The judge concluded by giving a detailed analysis on the basis of a number of determining factors why anthroposophy should not be judged a religion for Establishment Clause purposes.”

    Sorry, I had to get that from Wiki. Because the PLANS website seem to stop covering the case after 2007. Hardly surprising considering it doesn’t help their cause at all. Only the local paper, The Sacramento Bee covered the story:
    http://edca.typepad.com/eastern_district_of_calif/2010/11/edca-court-dismisses-suit-over-whether-waldorf-schools-linked-to-religion.html

    So, as ive suggested with most of Petes arguments… its mostly heresay with little or no evidence. PLANS have been at it 12 years and still not managed prove their case. To quote “complete failure to present percipient testimony relevant to the essential issues in the case.” ( see, I know how to take stuff out of context too )

    We can deabte all day long that Waldorf is a bit mad. A bit woo-hoo. Thats fine. I’m a bit woo-hoo-too. But this slanderous view that its abusive/racist/cultish is simply coming from people who don’t like the system. People who are in no way objective. Thank the gnomes that U.S. District Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr sees it that way too.

    Here’s an idea. Don’t send your kids there if you don’t like it,

  52. March 18, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Mike discusses the PLANS case. My case isn’t about separation of church and state – AT ALL. My case is about conspiracy to commit fraud and abuse. Completely different lawsuits.

    Mike writes: So, as ive suggested with most of Petes arguments… its mostly heresay with little or no evidence. PLANS have been at it 12 years and still not managed prove their case. To quote “complete failure to present percipient testimony relevant to the essential issues in the case.” ( see, I know how to take stuff out of context too )

    Well, there’s a new judge on the bench now, so there may be some progress finally.

    “We can deabte all day long that Waldorf is a bit mad. A bit woo-hoo. Thats fine. I’m a bit woo-hoo-too.”

    What a shock!

    “But this slanderous view that its abusive/racist/cultish is simply coming from people who don’t like the system. People who are in no way objective. Thank the gnomes that U.S. District Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr sees it that way too.”

    Good thing he’s gone now! LMAO!

    “Here’s an idea. Don’t send your kids there if you don’t like it,”

    That’s EXACTLY what I’m proposing.

    • Mike
      March 18, 2012 at 4:56 pm

      Yes yes Pete. Lots of completely unproductive words that bring nothing new to the table. They have a new judge? Straight away you try and paint the last judge as incompetent. He must be, right? Because you and PLANS are 100% corrct, so the judge must be deluded?

      Every single thing that happens to support my case is dismissed by you as if it means nothing. Here you are, again, dismissing a very real court case that’s lasted a very real 12 years. It failed. Something thats completely relevant to this whole topic. Your response? “Good thing he’s gone now! LMAO!”

      You think you can convince a judge that the Waldorf system as a whole conspired to abuse and commit fraud? You might have some luck with a malfunctioning school. In some schools, I reluctantly accept, there probably is a need for some action.

      You and I don’t even live in the same country. I’ve got no idea what Waldorf schools are like over there. You may well have a strong case against Highland Hall. I don’t particularly want you to fail if indeed that school is abusive and fraudulent. But why are you posting in a thread on the upcoming school in Frome? How can you assume anything as to how the school will be run?

  53. March 18, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    “Yes yes Pete. Lots of completely unproductive words that bring nothing new to the table. They have a new judge? Straight away you try and paint the last judge as incompetent. He must be, right? Because you and PLANS are 100% corrct, so the judge must be deluded?”

    Well, the old judge disallowed lots of evidence he should have allowed (that’s why PLANS is appealing). The new judge may allow it – so there could be a whole new perspective on this case.

    “Every single thing that happens to support my case is dismissed by you as if it means nothing.”

    Sorry, Mike. Concepts like temperaments literally mean nothing.

    ” Here you are, again, dismissing a very real court case that’s lasted a very real 12 years. It failed. Something thats completely relevant to this whole topic. Your response? “Good thing he’s gone now! LMAO!”

    You’re the one dismissing the court case. It ISN’T OVER is it? That’s why they have appeals courts… not every judgment that is handed down is correct. The PLANS case is in progress… and they are indeed making progress.

    “You think you can convince a judge that the Waldorf system as a whole conspired to abuse and commit fraud?”

    YEP! And I can convince the jury of the REASONS they did it.

    ” You might have some luck with a malfunctioning school. In some schools, I reluctantly accept, there probably is a need for some action.”

    Unfortunately, AWSNA got involved in defaming me… so now ALL of Waldorf is accountable.

    You and I don’t even live in the same country. I’ve got no idea what Waldorf schools are like over there.”

    Thank you for admitting this.

    ” You may well have a strong case against Highland Hall. I don’t particularly want you to fail if indeed that school is abusive and fraudulent.”

    But AWSNA would.

    “But why are you posting in a thread on the upcoming school in Frome? How can you assume anything as to how the school will be run?

    Ah… but you see, Mike, Waldorf is Waldorf – all over the world. They are bound by their philosophy – not by nationalism. There is NO emphasis on nationalism in Anthroposophy – indeed Steiner was opposed to nationalism. All Waldorf schools are run in the same way… fall under the same guidelines and indeed MUST comply with those guidelines in order to retain the Waldorf name (which is trademarked). The Frome school is no different than Highland Hall with respect to its underlying philosophy. And BOTH draw from the same pool of Waldorf-trained teachers. Suggesting there are significant differences between US and British Waldorf schools is simply more obfuscation.

    • Mike
      March 18, 2012 at 5:44 pm

      Fine Pete. Your point is clear. So is mine. Lets end our jousting here. Otherwise, I fear, it will never end. We come from two very different viewpoints.

      The only thing I would like to finish with, is that I’m genuinely sad that your family ( Your daughter? Im not sure ) had to go through a clearly unpleasant experience. Is she still young? I sincerely hope she’s happy wherever she is right now. I also hope you are happy with the way she is treated. I really mean that.

      Peace.

      • March 18, 2012 at 8:10 pm

        “The only thing I would like to finish with, is that I’m genuinely sad that your family ( Your daughter? Im not sure ) had to go through a clearly unpleasant experience. Is she still young? I sincerely hope she’s happy wherever she is right now. I also hope you are happy with the way she is treated. I really mean that.”

        Thanks Mike. So does that mean you will join me in demanding accountability from the Waldorf movement?

  54. Melanie Byng
    March 18, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    yes, it’s an international movement.

    The PLANS lawsuit is a First Amendment case – here discussed by PLANS Secretary Dan Dugan on the Waldorf Critics list in February this year:

    “PLANS has exactly one lawsuit against a California school district for violating the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution. It’s thirteen years old and still alive, currently waiting for a hearing date at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. We’ve been to the 9th Circuit three times before and won each time. All actions have been on technicalities, after thirteen years we still haven’t gotten to the core issues. This is typical for First Amendment cases, however.

    PLANS’ position on the Waldorf movement is that parents should be well-informed about its occult Anthroposophical nature and many questionable practices.

    We went back to trial again, for two days in the fall of 2010, and again were dismissed for inadequate evidence. The judge refused to consider the works of Rudolf Steiner in the question of whether Anthroposophy was a religion under the Establishment Clause! He said they were hearsay.

    Betty Staley, the founder of publicly-funded Waldorf programs, was questioned on the stand. She flat out lied about whether Anthroposophy celebrated festivals. That was a shock, I had expected her to favor Anthroposophy but to be honest under oath.

    We’re back to the appeals court about the judge’s rulings on evidence. Our judge has retired, so our next round at federal district court will be interesting.”

    • March 18, 2012 at 8:12 pm

      “Betty Staley, the founder of publicly-funded Waldorf programs, was questioned on the stand. She flat out lied about whether Anthroposophy celebrated festivals. That was a shock, I had expected her to favor Anthroposophy but to be honest under oath.”

      If I remember correctly, Betty Staley is related to my ex wife. How’s THAT for a small world?

  55. Esther Fidler
    March 18, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    From the most recent Ofsted report of Hereford Steiner Academy:

    “not all lessons challenge pupils to think for themselves or engage them in developing independent learning skills such as investigation, research and problem solving.”

    Does explain the lack of proper evaluation of the beliefs and methods of Steiner education.
    Nuff said.

    • Mike
      March 18, 2012 at 10:04 pm

      Esther, a link would be handy next time.

      http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/provider/files/1706289/urn/135672.pdf

      • Esther Fidler
        March 18, 2012 at 10:33 pm

        Will do Mike!

      • March 18, 2012 at 10:55 pm

        Thanks for the link Mike.

        From the report:

        “Inspection grades: 1 is outstanding, 2 is good, 3 is
        satisfactory, and 4 is inadequate”

        Overall effectiveness 3
        Achievement 3
        Teaching 3
        Leadership and management 3
        Behaviour and safety 3

        So… “satisfactory” or… just above inadequate in each category. This is a red flag for the inspectors:

        “Schools whose overall effectiveness is judged satisfactory, and where leadership and management are no better than satisfactory (i.e. Frome), may receive a monitoring visit by an Ofsted inspector before their next section 5 inspection.”

        In other words, they’re on probation… and for good reason… they’re practically inadequate in each category inspected. The report commends the school for already having COME A LONG WAY!

        From “What does the school need to do to improve further?”:
        “- providing increased opportunities for pupils between the ages of seven to 16 years to think for themselves and to apply independent learning skills such as investigating, researching, problem solving and creative and imaginative responses”

        OOPS! That’s what Waldorf schools already “claim” they do. Um… why didn’t the inspectors notice this occurring in the classes they monitored?

      • Mike
        March 18, 2012 at 11:12 pm

        No Pete. I’m not engaging any more. I only posted so people could have the whole report. I would rather the whole thing be read by interested parties as opposed to selective quotes, regardless of any arguments it may or may not support.

        I’m sure we’ll tussle again some time in the future. I suspect our paths will cross again soon enough!

        Take care

  56. Esther Fidler
    March 18, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    Strange also that they only get satisfactory in most areas, yet the inspectors don’t come down on them like a ton of bricks like they do in LEA schools – perhaps because under the new Ofsted regime they are led by Academy sponsors, Gove’s advisers all seem to be Academy based, and apart from on little mention the only schools that Gove talks about in his speeches are Academies or Free Schools. Satisfactory attainment and satisfactory leadership (otherwise known as not good enough) do not link with the ‘ability to improve’ which the school was given. The Ofsted report seemed to be written by a different flavour of Ofsted inspector than normal. I would be interested to see how other schools who get ’3′ pretty much across the board get treated and judged on their capacity to improve, particularly LEA controlled ones. Something doesn’t seem right.
    http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/provider/files/1706289/urn/135672.pdf

    • Mike
      March 19, 2012 at 1:22 pm

      Be fair Esther. The “satisfactory” rating comes from OFSTED who represent the state. Seeing as the schools is allowed to use the Waldorf curriculum, it’s unlikely they will score higher than satisfactory very often. I’m sure by Waldorf ( and my ) standards, the school is doing very well.

      Also, the school is improving all the time as the report suggests. The GCSE pass rates are pretty good, as well as A level pass rates of those going to college: http://www.steineracademyhereford.eu/index.php/latest-news/88-asa-level-results-july-2009

      This is probably why they are seemingly getting cut some slack. I’m sure if the school was not improving we would be seeing some action from the state, and rightly so.

      Just wanted to add my perspective. I’m not going to re-engage with rights and wrongs of Waldorf again. Just wanted to point out that the school is doing ok.

      • Melanie Byng
        March 19, 2012 at 1:31 pm

        ‘The “satisfactory” rating comes from OFSTED who represent the state.’

        with state funding comes responsibility and accountability.

      • Mike
        March 19, 2012 at 2:21 pm

        Agreed. If there’s anything they need to be held accountable for, then they should. Up to now, there isn’t according to OFSTED. The school is “satisfactory and improving” on most counts. Pretty good considering it’s still very new for a school and the first state funded Waldorf school in the country.

      • March 19, 2012 at 4:01 pm

        “Pretty good considering it’s still very new for a school and the first state funded Waldorf school in the country.”

        Isn’t this the same excuse we heard from AWSNA executive Patrice Maynard excusing child abuse by a Waldorf teacher?

        http://www.wave3.com/Global/story.asp?S=1364683&nav=0RZFGxHZ

        “Claire McConnell, who apologized in a letter June 24, was accused of strapping one child into a chair with a leather belt, tying the hands of others and taping shut the mouths of some elementary school students, the Albany Times Union reported Thursday. ”

        AND THE EXCUSE:
        “She’s a young teacher, a learning teacher,” Patrice Maynard, a teacher and mentor to McConnell, told the newspaper.

        Patrice Maynard is now one of the heads of AWSNA (the Association of Waldorf Schools in North America). So right from the top of Waldorf we hear that child abuse is excusable under the excuse of being “new”.

        Frome Academy’s report card is just above FAILING. And they had to work hard to get to that point. Just above failing isn’t good enough for most people.

        If your child needed a tutor, would you select an A student, or one whose work is just above failing?

      • Mike
        March 19, 2012 at 5:28 pm

        Say it with me Pete. Go on. Say it. “the school is improving”. Go on. I know you can. Say it one bit at a time… I know you find it impossible to attach a word like “improving” to anything related to the Waldorf system… but you can do this.

        “The school is Im-prov-ing”

        “The school is Im-prov-ing”

        “The school is Im-prov-ing”

        Come on son… sing it with me. I’ll get the gnomes to sing backing. I’ve got some homoeopathy that might help with the nerves, if you like?

      • March 19, 2012 at 6:54 pm

        “Say it with me Pete. Go on. Say it. “the school is improving”.”

        Under the guidance of people like Patrice Maynard? BTW, Claire McConnell was, last I heard, working as an au pair in the UK – who knows, she may be looking for work as a teacher again… maybe at this very school?

        When you’re already a horrible school, I suppose “improving” is about all you can do.

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/mobile/education-12914964
        ‘Gaming’ the school league tables?

        The table below is a list of the 200 schools in England with the highest dependence on vocational equivalent courses – those most likely to be accused of “hiding” behind vocational courses.

        Top of the list is the Steiner Academy in Hereford, which offers an alternative curriculum based on the principles of Rudolf Steiner – merging the practical, artistic and intellectual and allowing students to learn in individual ways.

        The school offers only four accredited qualifications – but say students go on to A-level and university study successfully, with very positive feedback from sixth-form colleges.

        “It goes to show a programme doesn’t have to lead to a GCSE to be high quality, broad, substantial and balanced,” says headmaster Trevor Mepham.
        The school offers only four accredited qualifications – but say students go on to A-level and university study successfully, with very positive feedback from sixth-form colleges.

        “It goes to show a programme doesn’t have to lead to a GCSE to be high quality, broad, substantial and balanced,” says headmaster Trevor Mepham.”

    • Melanie Byng
      March 19, 2012 at 1:28 pm

      and it’s worth mentioning that the Principal of the Hereford Steiner Academy, Trevor Mepham, is now the Principal Designate of the proposed Frome Steiner Academy:

      ‘We are very excited to announce that we have appointed Trevor Mepham as the Principal Designate who is currently Principal at the Steiner Academy Hereford. Trevor is the only man in the land with an excellent Steiner pedigree who has been directly exposed to State funding and setting up an Academy. His reputation will attract a very strong standard of teaching staff and he will formally take up the post of Principal in August 2012.’

      http://www.steineracademyfrome.co.uk/?page_id=113

      Why bring Trevor Mepham over when he’s failed to create a decent standard out of the millions the taxpayer has already handed over to the Steiner movement? His reputation clearly hasn’t attracted a ‘very strong standard’ of teaching staff so far. But perhaps he’s the best they’ve got?

      The whole thing is ludicrous.

      • Melanie Byng
        March 19, 2012 at 1:59 pm

        In addition, the BBC here outlines a tendency amongst Academy schools to inflate results with Vocational equivalents, deemed easier than GCSEs:

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-16858868

        Janet Downs, a former teacher and commentator on the Local Schools Network writes: ‘the results at the existing Steiner Academy should raise concerns about whether state funding of such schools should be encouraged.’:

        http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2012/02/academy-chains-no-case-for-expansion/#comment-14866

      • Mike
        March 19, 2012 at 2:36 pm

        Melanie,

        The OFSTED report speaks quite highly of the principal. In fact, nothing about the report gives me the impression he’s failed at anything. The school is new and improving all the time. What exactly do you expect?

      • Melanie Byng
        March 19, 2012 at 4:20 pm

        Mike, you said to Esther:

        ‘The “satisfactory” rating comes from OFSTED who represent the state. Seeing as the schools is allowed to use the Waldorf curriculum, it’s unlikely they will score higher than satisfactory very often. I’m sure by Waldorf ( and my ) standards, the school is doing very well.’

        But it isn’t doing very well by anyone else’s standards. What you’re suggesting is that the Waldorf curriculum itself should not be expected to produce any better than satisfactory – which isn’t very good, especially when you have small class sizes and the amount of money per child enjoyed by the Steiner Academy Hereford.

        You think no one should expect any better of the Principal of an Academy school than this? I don’t think there’s much of a recommendation for anyone at Steiner Hereford to lead another state funded school, especially one that intends to educate to a merely satisfactory standard nearly 700 children, this time in Frome. Speaking ‘quite highly’ of staff in this case is an example of civility.

        And you ignore what Janet Downs writes about the Steiner Academy: ‘the average number of GCSEs entered by each pupil was only 2.6.’ She adds: ‘All children in mainstream schools should expect to have access to the same range of qualifications as their peers.’ They deserve better than this.

      • Mike
        March 19, 2012 at 5:20 pm

        I don’t know what’s expected Melenie. I don’t have access to the OFSTED reports of state schools less then 4 years old in the Hereford area. Do you?

        OFSTED are being civil when they speak well of the work the principle has done? OFSTED… being civil? Really?! Hahaha! Thats the best thing ive read in this whole thread up to now. Hilarious. Thank you!

        So even when an independent governmental report of the school points out some positives, it’s because they are being nice to them and don’t want to tell the truth, which is obvious horrible… according to you. When they say the school is improving all the time, I suppose that’s OFSTED giving them a little pep talk, right? Chin up, wacky little school! It’s ok… come to the warm busom of OFSTED so we might comfort you in your time of failure…

        HAHAHAhahahaahahAHAHAHAHahahahahahahhhhahaaaaa!!!!!!

        Not taking anything you say even remotely serious from here on. Joker. I’m glad people like you hate Waldorf schools. Very glad.

      • Melanie Byng
        March 19, 2012 at 8:18 pm

        ‘I don’t know what’s expected’

        It’s not difficult. Satisfactory isn’t good. A school system which expects to extend further into the state sector should be better than satisfactory, especially when such a substantial amount of taxpayers’ money has been lavished upon its flagship Academy.

        Ofsted marked the leadership and management of the Hereford Academy as 3 – satisfactory. There’s a long way to go before the same management improves sufficiently to justify risking the educational futures of more children in another Steiner Academy.

        Perhaps it would be as well to wait until that happens. If you’re right, significant improvement will be evident relatively soon. At that stage the community in Frome need have fewer concerns about the future management of their new Steiner Academy.

        What’s at stake here are the future educational prospects of a large number of children, not the hurt feelings of a few adults.

        As Esther observes (as a qualified, experienced state school teacher) this is an unusual report. Bear in mind that other (private) Steiner schools are no longer inspected by Ofsted but by the School Inspection Service, which also inspects Exclusive Brethren Schools. One might ask why Exclusive Brethren and Steiner schools need their own inspection service.

  57. Esther Fidler
    March 18, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    Because it doesn’t happen. There’s some nice videos on youtube (promoting Steiner schools) which show some lessons in progress. I can’t refer to them as learning, because I don’t see any. I myself am a teacher, used to observing, being observed, and planning for learning. All I see is lessons which would be considered less than satisfactory.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcIVbFQRNr0&feature=related
    I think there used to be 3 of these videos yet could only find these two, sorry. Maybe the third has been withdrawn because the sight of a class of children being talked at in that way, over and over again, was too depressing.

    • Mike
      March 19, 2012 at 2:57 pm

      I can’t think of a better environment for my child. Luckily, I’m not alone.

      • March 19, 2012 at 3:52 pm

        “I can’t think of a better environment for my child. Luckily, I’m not alone.”

        Yes, luckily. But the word is getting out about Waldorf… so parents who want this sort of wackiness for their kids have to fight tremendous criticism to make these school PUBLIC. Waldorf schools work PERFECTLY as private institutions where people who want a non-learning environment for their children can pay for it themselves.

        Parents who want debate about taxpayer funding of their fantasies are probably harming PRIVATE Waldorf as well. Having a public discussion about Anthroposophy is definitely NOT what Waldorf wants. Waldorf may survive if it stays private. The decision to become public schools has hurt them immensely.

  58. Jan Luiten
    March 18, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    Mike,
    You wrote:
    “Pete. Your point is clear. So is mine. Lets end our jousting here. Otherwise, I fear, it will never end. We come from two very different viewpoints.”
    You are right.
    And the difference will stay. Skeptic dogmatists are not open to other views. Their own view has a very thin basis, but they still feel superior. Everything what is spiritual or supersensible they exclude a priori. The result: a belief, an ideology. They are the believers here, but are too convinced of their own right to see the real situation. They mix up their ideology with science.
    Like a raster they lay their ideology over reality and the ideas of other people. What does not fall within the frame they criticize. Should we all adept this deplorable ideology?

    What would a society completely ruled by skeptics look like? It is described by Yevgeni Zamyatin in his novel: “WE” , a novel all skeptics should read.

    • Mike
      March 19, 2012 at 12:24 am

      “Skeptic dogmatists” … haha! great term! We have indeed come full circle.

      Thanks Jan

    • March 19, 2012 at 3:25 pm

      Jan wrote: “And the difference will stay. Skeptic dogmatists are not open to other views. Their own view has a very thin basis, but they still feel superior. Everything what is spiritual or supersensible they exclude a priori.”

      You understand that you’re posting on “the Quackometer” right? I suspect most of the people reading this will laugh at the idea of including spiritual and supersensible ideas in scientific research.

      There’s a special place for contemplation of the spiritual world. It’s called philosophy. Those ideas reside quite comfortably there. They’re out of place in science.

      • Will
        March 19, 2012 at 5:26 pm

        Actually Pete, I disagree… There is a place in science for the study of the spiritual and supersensible phenomena to which Jan alludes.

        It’s called psychology.

        Just because something can have very real effects (good or bad) outside one’s mind, it doesn’t mean that any part of the thing exists outside the mind. For example, someone’s unrequited love can make them act stupidly, maybe even kill. Very real effects, in the real world, as a result of something existing only in the mind of the experiencer.

        When people lack perspective (the sort of perspective that a scientific education can bring) they could easily believe that a phenomenon capable of such strong and real effects must have a component outside the experiencer’s mind.

        Like Gods. Pyramids/Sphynx etc. = Real. Isis/Horus et al. = Not real.

        Therefore it’s an issue of understanding the mind.

      • Mike
        March 19, 2012 at 5:39 pm

        Perspective?

        Considering how many times concepts once known as “facts” have been disproved… and how much of modern science is based on mostly theory regards life and the universe, how about you be a little more open minded as to the possibilities of what is outside our current realms scientific understanding.

        Now excuse me while my pet faery gives me a foot massage using some special cosmic spirit dust that I just had delivered from the Druid that lives in the woods behind my house.

      • Will
        March 19, 2012 at 6:20 pm

        Mike, No one understands how little we know about the Universe, the staggering size of that Universe, the complexity (from the scale of galaxies down to sub-atomic particles) of that Universe and the significance of our planet or the human race in terms of the whole Universe like a scientist.

        That is perspective.

        I spend every day baffled by the challenges my own little corner of science keeps throwing up. For everything I learn, I see that there are a hundred things I still don’t understand. True scientists don’t dislike things they can’t explain with their theories. They only concern themselves with things they can’t explain with their theories.

        People call scientists dogmatic and closed minded etc. whilst persisting in ludicrous beliefs that fly against simple reasoning and the overwhelming weight of evidence. I would find this hilarious if it wasn’t so impertinent. People who haven’t the first clue what it is to be a scientist or to truly delve into the wonders of the Universe pass sweeping judgements and call ‘arrogance’ as soon as they are challenged.

        Impertinent and dangerous.

      • March 19, 2012 at 6:37 pm

        Will corrected me: “Actually Pete, I disagree… There is a place in science for the study of the spiritual and supersensible phenomena to which Jan alludes.

        It’s called psychology.”

        Yes, but in psychology, those phenomena represent “delusions”. I was thinking of a field that actually validates that type of delusion… i.e. philosophy. ;)

        Mike wrote:
        “Considering how many times concepts once known as “facts” have been disproved…”

        That’s a testament TO science. It’s what science is supposed to do… challenge itself.

        ” and how much of modern science is based on mostly theory”

        In science, the word “theory” doesn’t mean “guess” or even “hypothesis”. Scientific theories are well-established explanations based on facts. The less facts to support them, the shakier the ground such theories hold in the scientific community – and the more they are tested. This sometimes leads to theories being overturned by new data. It is really GREAT when that happens… and a true testament to science.

        ” regards life and the universe, how about you be a little more open minded as to the possibilities of what is outside our current realms scientific understanding.”

        Scientists are EXTREMELY open-minded to new evidence. Scientists make names for themselves by overturning established ideas. Sometimes, new evidence regularly supports existing theories (like the theory of evolution for example). As more and more supporting evidence is compiled, scientific theories gain wider and wider support in the scientific community.

        “Now excuse me while my pet faery gives me a foot massage using some special cosmic spirit dust that I just had delivered from the Druid that lives in the woods behind my house.”

        What? All out of arnica massage oil?

      • Mike
        March 19, 2012 at 6:42 pm

        I’m not calling scientists closed minded at all, chaps. I’m sure the dudes in the labs working hard are completely aware of the possibilities of the universe… some of them anyway.

        I’m calling *you* closed minded.

        Arnica! What a great idea. Thanks Pete!

      • March 19, 2012 at 6:58 pm

        “I’m sure the dudes in the labs working hard are completely aware of the EVIDENCE-BASED possibilities of the universe… some of them anyway.”

        Corrected it for ya! ;)

      • Will
        March 19, 2012 at 7:53 pm

        @ Mike

        No, *You’re* closed minded!

      • Mike
        March 19, 2012 at 8:15 pm

        Really? Where have I been closed minded. Point out to me where I have rigidly refused to accept anything.

        I suggested not all Steiner schools are bad places. I also admitted some may well be. Is that closed minded?

        You guys refuse to accept science will *ever* prove the existence of spirit or just about anything paranormal. You refuse to admit homoeopathy *might* work. You refuse to believe anthroposophy can possibly have some very real physical effects on human development and agriculture.

        You people wont even open the door slightly to the possibility that any of this stuff can *ever* be proved.

        That right there is the very definition of closed mindedness.

        I’ll ask again. Where have I said anything even remotely that ridged and inflexible. Go search every god damn comment I’ve made. I haven’t dismissed a single thing… well… maybe apart form your ramblings, which are completely closed minded.

      • Mike
        March 19, 2012 at 8:51 pm

        Actually, no. I take it back. I am closed minded. Steiner was not a racist. The teacher training course in the UK does not instruct teachers to ignore bullying. I rigidly believe the system is good for my child and his future. etc. I refuse to accept that the spirit doesn’t exist.

        There you have it. I admit it. Now, how about you? Are you two going to be men enough to accept your own closed mindedness?

      • March 19, 2012 at 9:08 pm

        “Really? Where have I been closed minded. Point out to me where I have rigidly refused to accept anything.”

        Maybe that comment was wrong? Have you finally accepted that science and “spiritual science” are mutually exclusive? Have you accepted that there are good reasons abuse occurs in Waldorf environments that are unique to Waldorf environments? Have you accepted that there is no evidence to suggest the existence of temperaments? Have you accepted that many of Steiner’s comments are undeniably racist? Have you accepted that Steiner’s racist and other ridiculous teachings are taught by Waldorf teachers as part of the curriculum?

        “I suggested not all Steiner schools are bad places. I also admitted some may well be. Is that closed minded?”

        Define “bad”. They are all dishonest places if they say they don’t teach Anthroposophy to students. Is it bad to be dishonest?

        “You guys refuse to accept science will *ever* prove the existence of spirit or just about anything paranormal.”

        Paranormal things tend to become “normal” when they are found to exist. Do you have any evidence for a spirit world? How about the spiritual hierarchies Steiner talked about… you know… thrones, seraphim, arch-angels, angels, cherubs, sylphs, undines and so forth… any evidence of these? How about if we take an easy one… any evidence of Lucifer and Ahriman? Any reason you can think of why scientists should spend their time searching for evidence of any of the above?

        “You refuse to admit homoeopathy *might* work.”

        OK, how might it work? Certainly it cannot by any physical means… so what makes you think it might work better than sugar pills?

        “You refuse to believe anthroposophy can possibly have some very real physical effects on human development and agriculture.”

        No. Anthroposophy has definitely had a very real physical effect on human development. Many humans who study it have underdeveloped intellects… as you have acknowledged.

        “You people wont even open the door slightly to the possibility that any of this stuff can *ever* be proved.”

        Sure, the door’s wide open… so prove it!

        “That right there is the very definition of closed mindedness.”

        Believing in stuff like homeopathy is the very definition of feeble-mindedness.

      • Mike
        March 19, 2012 at 9:09 pm

        Somebody tell me these “facts” ( speculations ) that support Big Bang Theory, for example. I’d love to hear them.

      • March 19, 2012 at 9:39 pm

        “Somebody tell me these “facts” ( speculations ) that support Big Bang Theory, for example. I’d love to hear them.”

        You don’t have Google?

        And not so fast… you’re going to explain how homeopathy might work, right? Oh, and don’t ask me to Google it because you’re suggesting something that hasn’t been discovered yet.

      • Mike
        March 19, 2012 at 10:13 pm

        I do have google, Pete. Couldn’t find a anything fact-like. I was simply asking you because of your statement about scientific theories being based on facts.

        But never mind that… you said:
        “And not so fast… you’re going to explain how homeopathy might work, right? Oh, and don’t ask me to Google it because you’re suggesting something that hasn’t been discovered yet.”

        Wow, Pete. That’s fantastic and all I wanted to hear. A sentence from you that implies that there is a possibility that homeopathy might actually one day be “discovered” by Science? eg. Proven? Even you admitting to the slightest possibility has warmed me greatly… not to mention taken away my zest for battle!:) I appreciate it.

        Incidentally, I have a horrible ear infection today. Been at home in pain all day, hence my boredom and endless interaction with this most addictive thread. I just went to see my Homeopath who prescribed me Mecruian. You know what I’m going to say next, right? I feel much better!

        Ok. Enough for this evening. I need my bed. Why I spend so much time on a thread on a site called quackometer is pretty much unexplainable. I’m pretty much alone arguing with you guys. What a glutton/idiot I am.

        night night my skeptical brothers. We might differ in opinion. But we are all human. With feelings and emotions and limbs and stuff. Sometimes its good to remember we have far more in common then not, right? :)

      • Will
        March 20, 2012 at 12:03 am

        @ Mike, I wasn’t really wanting a response; I was just messing about. I mean really. It’s just not on to call someone closed minded. Their evidence/logic either makes sense or it doesn’t. You can’t just call someone closed minded because you disagree with them. Time and time again people come onto this forum to defend alt med. Unfortunately, all they come armed with are some nice notions and fancy words. When you quizz them, even a little, and pick at the gaping holes in their reasoning you just get insults/anger. ‘You’re closed minded!’, ‘you’re just a shill for big pharma!’, ‘you scientists think you know everything!’ ‘but mainstream medicine isn’t perfect!’. ANYTHING but engage in a grown up debate. After a while it just sounds like the stroppy teenagers in Harry Enfield’s Kevin and Perry sketches; ‘it’s so unfair!’ ‘I hate you!’

        Seriously, evidence for the big bang theory? It’s not our job to teach you physics. You wanna find out? Go read a book. Jeez.

        And as for your comments re homoeopathy; will we ever accept that it might work? Well, will you ever accept trees are made of fudge? No? Why so closed minded? No. It’s bollocks isn’t it. If you came across someone that really believed the tree-fudge theory and called you closed minded for not even entertaining the possibility, you wouldn’t be sure where to start with them would you? Well, for people who understand these things, homoeopathy is the same. We entertain it like you entertain the tree fudge model. Luckily, people aren’t using the tree-fudge theory to rip off the weak and vulnerable, or add to the suffering in AIDS endemic countries, so I’m not on anti tree-fudge theory websites arguing with numpties who call you closed minded and think you’re a shill for big wood.

        No. When you understand the medical evidence, the chemistry, physiology and psychology enough, then homoeopathy is as believable as trees being made of fudge. And you sound to me just like a tree-fudge fanatic. If you want to think of me as closed minded; good for you. Quite frankly I’m bored with you now.

      • Mike
        March 20, 2012 at 8:39 am

        @will
        So, to you, homeopathy is like trees being made of fudge?

        Thanks for proving my point.

        bye

      • March 20, 2012 at 12:18 pm

        “So, to you, homeopathy is like trees being made of fudge?”

        No, I think he’s saying it’s worse… People aren’t ripping other people off over tree-fudge like they are over homeopathy. The analogy would be better if tree fudge were being sold as if it was medicine.

      • March 21, 2012 at 4:21 pm

        Mike wrote:
        “But never mind that… you said:
        “And not so fast… you’re going to explain how homeopathy might work, right? Oh, and don’t ask me to Google it because you’re suggesting something that hasn’t been discovered yet.”

        “Wow, Pete. That’s fantastic and all I wanted to hear. A sentence from you that implies that there is a possibility that homeopathy might actually one day be “discovered” by Science? eg. Proven? Even you admitting to the slightest possibility has warmed me greatly… not to mention taken away my zest for battle!:) I appreciate it.”

        You’re welcome Mike. That’s the thing about science… it doesn’t try to tie everything up with a bow. It IS open to correcting itself. If there is EVER any evidence of homeopathy actually working, I’ll guarantee scientists will jump right on that evidence and tease out the facts.

        “Incidentally, I have a horrible ear infection today. Been at home in pain all day, hence my boredom and endless interaction with this most addictive thread. I just went to see my Homeopath who prescribed me Mecruian. You know what I’m going to say next, right? I feel much better!”

        Years ago, when I was involved in Waldorf, I went to a homeopath for swollen hemorrhoids. He prescribed Mercurius too. What a coincidence.

        I had a look at what homeopathists say about it:
        http://abchomeopathy.com/r.php/Merc

        “Every organ and tissue of the body is more or less affected by this powerful drug; it transforms healthy cells into decrepit, inflamed and necrotic wrecks, decomposes the blood, producing a profound anemia.”

        Very nice… this is what your doctor prescribed for you in small doses.

        “This malignant medicinal force is converted into useful life saving and life preserving service if employed homeopathically, guided by its clear cut symptoms. The lymphatic system is especially affected with all the membranes and GLANDS, and internal organs, bones, etc. Lesions produced by Mercurius Vivus very similar to those of syphilis. Very often indicated in the Secondary stage of syphilis when there is a febrile chloro-anaemia, rheumatoid pains behind sternum, around joints, etc.; ulceration of mouth and throat, etc. ”

        Very serious stuff… why are you ingesting this?

        “These are the special conditions and stages to which Mercur is homeopathic and where the 2X will do surprising work.”

        Well, I always say, the best surprise is NO surprise.

  59. Melanie Byng
    March 19, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    I think most skeptics will have read the similar ‘Brave New World’, but here is Orwell’s analysis of ‘We’:

    “In the twenty-sixth century, in Zamyatin’s vision of it, the inhabitants of Utopia have so completely lost their individuality as to be known only by numbers. They live in glass houses (this was written before television was invented), which enables the political police, known as the ‘Guardians,’ to supervise them more easily. They all wear identical uniforms, and a human being is commonly referred to either as ‘a number’ or ‘a unif’ (uniform). They live on synthetic food, and their usual recreation is to march in fours while the anthem of the Single State is played through loudspeakers.’

    http://theorwellprize.co.uk/george-orwell/by-orwell/essays-and-other-works/freedom-and-happiness-review-of-we-by-yevgeny-zamyatin/

    This is a description of totalitarianism, Jan – and your link to Andy Lewis and co emerges I suspect from your own lurid fantasies about skeptics (ie, people who don’t agree with you that there is a supersensible realm).

  60. Dan
    March 19, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    “these people won’t ever agree with me, they’re closed minded” = “those grapes were probably sour anyway”

    • Jan Luiten
      March 24, 2012 at 8:06 pm

      Hi Melanie, nice to “hear” from you again
      I hope you do not always read summaries instead of books.
      There is a lot more to say about this book.
      The book is online.
      When skeptic dogmatists evangelize further like they do now, the doctrine will spread. What will be the fate of people who deviate, who think e.g. they have a soul or even a spirit?
      How would a world built by skeptics good like?
      Where is the skeptic paternalism ( to protect the stupid people from themselves) leading to…..
      Read the whole book, Melanie.

      • Jan Luiten
        March 24, 2012 at 8:08 pm

        Correction: “Good like?” = “look like?”

      • Melanie Byng
        March 24, 2012 at 8:53 pm

        hello again Jan.

        it’s not a summary, it’s a review by George Orwell. But I’m glad to know about this book, it’s very interesting and I may well read it.

        With the greatest respect, I don’t think you understand the skeptics.

  61. Mike
    March 20, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    Homeopathy works for me, my missus and my child. Very consistently. But I should stop taking it, because it *cant* work… apparently.

    Is that actually what you people are suggesting to me? How can that ever be considered good advice?

    When did people stop using their own experience as evidence to themselves? If you experience something that science cant explain, then it didn’t happen? That’s it. End of story.

    Anyway. I’ll leave you to it. Big project starts today. I’m keen to get stuck in. Wasted to much time with you fine people already.

    Flower Remedies FTW!

    x

    • Will
      March 20, 2012 at 1:27 pm

      “When did people stop using their own experience as evidence to themselves?”

      Sometime in the 1600s.

      Ever seen an optical illusion? The whole point is that your eyes tell you absolutely, positively one thing, and then measuring the lines with a ruler (for example) tell you something unbelievable (the lines are the same length).

      Your own experience tells you the Sun goes round the Earth. Do you really think the magician has sawn a lady in half? BUT YOU JUST SAW IT!!!

      This is proof positive that you are absolutely resistant to thinking. Absolutely. I mean, I know 8-year olds who have more highly developed reasoning powers.

      “Wasted to much time with you fine people already.”

      Yes you really have. Which is a shame. You could have gained so much.

    • March 20, 2012 at 1:33 pm

      “Homeopathy works for me, my missus and my child. Very consistently. But I should stop taking it, because it *cant* work… apparently.”

      No, you should stop taking it because you’re wasting your money. Just buy sugar pills and feed them to your family… they will work EXACTLY as well as the homeopathic stuff. Then, with the money you saved, go buy a book and read about the placebo affect.

  62. Nash
    March 21, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Just a general observation, if people are known by a unique number, then doesn’t that make them more of an individual, because no one else has that number.
    For instance how many John Smiths are there? Usually to differentiate you are asked your date of birth which is just a string of numbers.

  63. Mike
    March 22, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    Pete Karaiskos calls Steiners 100 year old writings racist. Here are some quotes from Charles Darwin teachings. Remember, the theory of evolution is one of the topics Pete thinks *should* be taught in our schools:

    “The chief distinction in the intellectual powers of the two sexes is shewn by man’s attaining to a higher eminence, in whatever he takes up, than can woman—whether requiring deep thought, reason, or imagination, or merely the use of the senses and hands. If two lists were made of the most eminent men and women in poetry, painting, sculpture, music (inclusive both of composition and performance), history, science, and philosophy, with half-a-dozen names under each subject, the two lists would not bear comparison. We may also infer, from the law of the deviation from averages, so well illustrated by Mr. Galton, in his work on ‘Hereditary Genius,’ that if men are capable of a decided pre-eminence over women in many subjects, the average of mental power in man must be above that of woman.”

    “Lastly, I could show fight [vigorously advocate] on natural selection having done and doing more for the progress of civilisation than you seem inclined to admit. Remember what risk the nations of Europe ran, not so many centuries ago, of being overwhelmed by the Turks, and how ridiculous such an idea now is! The more civilized so-called Caucasian races have beaten the Turkish hollow in the struggle for existence. Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilised races throughout the world.”

    “At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace throughout the world the savage races. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked, will no doubt be exterminated. The break [between humans and non-humans] will then be rendered wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as at present between the negro or Australian [aboriginal] and the gorilla.”

    So…

    Why does the same not apply? If tiny sections of Steiner’s original writings can be used, today, as “evidence” ( lol ) the the modern Waldorf system is fundamentally racist, then can we not use Darwins ancient writings to write off any modern institution supporting his teachings as sexist and racist? Of course not. That would be ridiculous, right?

    I know some of you will come along an try and write something long winded and clever. No doubt shifting the focus from racism to the rest of Steiners writings… but I wont be here to read it. Because I’ve finally realised who the quacks really are.

    Goodbye.

    • March 23, 2012 at 12:21 am

      Mike wrote: “Here are some quotes from Charles Darwin teachings. Remember, the theory of evolution is one of the topics Pete thinks *should* be taught in our schools:”

      Mike is, once again, confused. Is the theory of evolution what I proposed be taught – or did I propose Darwin’s ideas about the races should be taught? Remember, I have proof that WALDORF TEACHES STEINER’S RACIST IDEAS AS SCIENCE. There’s a HUGE difference here. Darwin didn’t start a school system – Steiner DID. The theory of evolution is a scientific theory, and as such, is corrected and adjusted as new evidence is discovered.

      Has any new evidence EVER shown up to alter Steiner’s racist views for Anthroposophists?

      • Mike
        March 23, 2012 at 11:22 am

        “Is the theory of evolution what I proposed be taught – or did I propose Darwin’s ideas about the races should be taught?”

        This deserves posting twice, such is its absurdity.

        I posted two comments way up, that if read out of context, sound like Steiner is calling whites an inferior race. You ignored them completely and keep coming back with your own out of context quotes suggesting whites are superior. You will not even acknowledge anything Steiner wrote that goes against your propaganda. Utterly pointless engaging with you.

        Pete, you should get yourself a costume made up. An emblem? Maybe a cape…. and a sword or staff of something? It would look great while you stand up there on your pedestal shouting lots scary warnings to passers by.

        “Be warned fragile brainwashed know-nothing parents. I am Karaiskos! Bringer of truth and enlightenment. Hear my words!”

        …ZZZZzzzzzzz

      • March 23, 2012 at 2:12 pm

        “I posted two comments way up, that if read out of context, sound like Steiner is calling whites an inferior race. You ignored them completely and keep coming back with your own out of context quotes suggesting whites are superior. You will not even acknowledge anything Steiner wrote that goes against your propaganda. Utterly pointless engaging with you.”

        No, that’s the whole POINT of studying Anthroposophy… to determine what Steiner actually said about a topic rather than taking tiny quotes out of context. If you actually READ Steiner, you know Steiner believed, and confirmed dozens of times in his lectures, that the white race stands above all other races! To suggest otherwise is simply dishonest Mike. I know you love Waldorf, but show some integrity… please!

        “Pete, you should get yourself a costume made up. An emblem? Maybe a cape….”

        My story, the harm Waldorf did to my kids under the direction of Anthroposophy, is MORE than enough to get people’s attention.

  64. March 23, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    I wrote: “If you actually READ Steiner, you know Steiner believed” –

    I should add… and if you only read the websites of Steiner apologists, you will get a VERY DIFFERENT picture. The website you harvested the quotes from is a disinformation website produced by a paid disinformation officer – Sune Nordwall. Prospective Waldorf parents would do their children a favor by avoiding sites like Waldorf Answers (and its clone Americans4Waldorf) or at least researching the apologetic ideas they find at those sites elsewhere on the internet.

  65. Mike
    March 23, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Thanks right parents. Don’t listen to my biased out of context quotes… listen to Petes biased out of context quotes instead.

    ZZZZZzzzzzzz

    • March 23, 2012 at 5:37 pm

      Um, if the websites you have harvested these quotes from are unbiased, where can we find websites that are BIASED toward Waldorf? I’m sure they must exist.

  66. Jan Luiten
    March 24, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    Andy Lewis, a question a should have asked before, but what are your qualifications on the educational field?

  67. Jan Luiten
    March 24, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    correction: (sorry)
    Andy Lewis, a question I should have asked before, but what are your qualifications on the educational field?

  68. Dan
    March 25, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    His qualifications are irrelevant – the arguments put forward are what count.

  69. Jan Luiten
    March 31, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Of course Andy Lewis does not need qualifications. How dare I possibly ask such a question!
    Well, I am sorry. I should have known that you are in the possession of the one and only true doctrine, which legitimizes all your behavior and the quality of your writings.

    Andy, I presume you understand that I am curious to know the answer to the following question:
    You are writing a lot on the medical field, you are commenting on medical phenomena, also addressing to people who have severe medical complaints. What are your qualifications on the medical field?

    • Vicky
      April 1, 2012 at 3:48 pm

      Why does this matter? Andy doesn’t promote treatments or diagnose patients, but looks at the available evidence for some “alternative” treatments. Do you really think that only qualifications in the medical field enable you to do that? And if he’d got qualifications in the medical field*, what kind of qualifications would he need to hold so you’d think he’s able to comment on “medical phenomena”? GP? Nurse? Ambulance Technician? Dentist? …

      (*I neither know nor care about Andy’s credentials. For all I know he could be the real Andy Lewis’s dog. The strength of an argument is important, not who’s putting it forward.)

    • Badly Shaved Monkey
      April 1, 2012 at 5:23 pm

      Jan

      I have several relevant degrees. I confirm that Andy’s arguments are valid and yours are not.

      Clearly, you will now align your opinions with his.

      • Jan Luiten
        April 3, 2012 at 8:47 pm

        Easily said, Monkey.
        Which of my arguments are not valid?

      • Badly Shaved Monkey
        April 3, 2012 at 9:10 pm

        Don’t be a silly prick, Jan. Why do any of our qualifications have any relevance to the quality of our arguments? The arguments are either good or bad.

        Are you saying that you hold certain qualifications so we must accept your arguments without further consideration? That would not just be stupid, but damned stupid.

      • Badly Shaved Monkey
        April 4, 2012 at 7:50 am

        I have just re-read this thread, Jan, and I struggle to find anything that you have contributed that would actually constitute an “argument”. There’s been quite a lot of silly rhetoric but nothing much in the way of logically connected propositions and conclusions. So, I’m going to struggle to find any that are actually invalid, because I don’t really have anything to review.

        Ironically, however, your insistence upon wanting to know Andy’s academic qualifications implicitly assumes an underlying fallacious argument from authority. That is certainly invalid.

        As is so often the case with adherents to SCAM and other fringe beliefs we get an awful lot of complaining about the terms of the discussion, but little actual engagement with the issues. So, Jan, is is a specific issue for you to engage with. The opportunity was offered earlier and you contributed nothing. Tell us about the gnomes, Jan

  70. April 1, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    “You are writing a lot on the medical field, you are commenting on medical phenomena, also addressing to people who have severe medical complaints. What are your qualifications on the medical field?”

    Your initial question was about Andy’s qualifications in the “educational” field. Now you want to know about his qualifications in the “medical” field.

    You last hope is to smear the author of this article by suggesting he’s unqualified to write it.

    LET’S TALK ABOUT SOMETHING REALLY IMPORTANT – STEINER’S QUALIFICATIONS. Oh yeah, he had NONE. No qualifications in education, science, medicine, economics, architecture, art, mathematics – and yet he claimed credit for having superior knowledge of all these things. He created and promoted Anthroposophy with NO qualifications AT ALL. Steiner schools are based on ABSOLUTE NONSENSE produced by someone who for all intents and purposes wasn’t qualified to hold a job, let alone teach others.

    • Jan Luiten
      April 3, 2012 at 8:30 pm

      Not so angry, Pete. The battle against anthroposophy can bring you a statue in the future (see above under “1984”). But the rulers of that time will not erect this statue of you because of your democratic and tolerant position. They will erect it because of your campaigns against people who did not fit into the ruling system. They will erect it because of your success in silencing them.
      You perfectly had the right to silence them. Didn’t you posses the only true ideology? Did they not talk total nonsense? Of course they did. It is totally clear: the world would be better off without them.
      Was it not necessary to investigate what the anthroposophical method really is? Of course not. Do they not recognize a spiritual world? So further questions are superfluous.
      First you campaigned against their rights to have schools, and teach according to their methods.
      Then these future rulers saw with satisfaction your campaigns for a further reduction of their rights.

      • April 3, 2012 at 11:23 pm

        Jan wrote: “Did they not talk total nonsense?”

        I think I can safely leave that determination to the readers of your post.

        Not a word about Steiner’s qualifications suddenly?

  71. Jan Luiten
    April 3, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    The skeptic dogma makes that skepticism is not the same as science. Science should be unprejudiced , without preconditions . But the skeptics exclude “everything that could not be seen, measured, and empirically analyzed”(see article below). This is a prerequisite that functions as a dogma. Further, skepticism is mainly based on rationalism not on empiricism. They rationalize e.g. that it is unlikely that there is a spiritual world, but in practice they simply say: a spiritual world does not exist.

    Michael Prescott says it better than I can :
    Quote:
    “Now, as has been frequently pointed out, this use of the term “skeptic” is more than a little misleading. In common usage, a skeptic is someone who maintains an open mind, insisting on evidence for any claim. The more unusual the claim, the more stringent the evidential demands. According to this view, the skeptic has no private agenda, no personal bias, but serves only as a guardian of the truth, who weeds out unsupported allegations and superstitious imaginings. The skeptic is the proverbial Missourian; though willing to be convinced, he says, “Show me.”
    That’s the theory. In practice, things are different. Far from being a state of habitual open-mindedness, today’s skepticism is characterized by resistance to any new ideas or new evidence, and unwillingness to critically examine its own biases. These tendencies, in turn, rest on a very definite agenda, promoted by a clear and comprehensive worldview, a philosophy of life. This philosophy is rationalism.
    In a 1995 essay, Gene E. Veith ably summarizes rationalism’s basic tenets. Coming of age in the eighteenth century, rationalism “excluded on principle everything that could not be seen, measured, and empirically analyzed. Revelation was ruled out as a means of knowledge, and belief in a supernatural realm that transcended the visible universe was dismissed as primitive superstition. Not only did modernists [i.e., rationalists] believe in the inerrancy of science, they also had a devout faith in progress. The ‘modern,’ almost by definition, was superior to the past. The future would be even better. Modernists genuinely believed that science would answer all questions and that the application of scientific principles would solve all social problems. Through rational planning, applied technology, and social manipulation, experts could engineer the perfect society (Veith, 1995).”
    Here we have not innocent open-mindedness, but a narrow and intolerant creed, which is today often recognized as such. The word “skeptic” is, in fact, increasingly conjoined with “dogmatic,” “zealous,” and “militant.” Some people accuse skeptics of being nothing but cynics in disguise. A few wags have dubbed them “septics.” Admittedly, that’s not very nice – but, truth be told, skeptics have brought such attacks on themselves by repeatedly characterizing their opponents as credulous, gullible, simpleminded, ignorant, irrational, and foolish”.

    http://michaelprescott.freeservers.com/skeptic.htm

  72. April 3, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    “The skeptic dogma makes that skepticism is not the same as science.”

    Yes, but we’re not talking about dogma. We’re talking science (that which is based on evidence) versus “spiritual science” (that which requires no evidence – only Steiner’s insights into the spiritual world).

    You can try to pin “dogma” on skeptics, and some may indeed be dogmatic – but again, that’s not what we’re discussing Jan.

    You talk about the “right” of people to under-educate their children. What about the right of the child to a good, solid education? Children have rights too! If parents want their kids to learn nonsense, save it for Sunday school! In ANY case, don’t make the taxpayer pay for it. If it’s parents’ PERSONAL choice to have this non-education for their children, they should use their PERSONAL funds to pay for it. The state will have their hands full when these under-educated children graduate and can’t find employment except as actors, chefs or Waldorf teachers.

    • Mike
      April 4, 2012 at 12:08 pm

      Pete, cant you get it through your thick concrete cranium that some parents completely understand what Waldorf schools are about and still want it for their children? Some of us believe in spiritualism. Some of us believe in Steiners clairvoyance. Why dont you piss off and leave us alone? Its not like im picketing outside state schools handing out leaflets as to why the school sucks, even though I’m convinced state schools do indeed suck. Its not my business. But yet, you and your concrete headed crusaders seem to think you have the right to “educate” parents, even though large portions of these parents don’t want your education.

      You talk as if all children who go to state schools come out with a solid education. What planet do you live on? A large chunk of state school children come out with zero ability and skills… apart from how to be a braindead consumer. These are schools that are funded by the state. But for the purposes of your own agenda, you elevate these schools to some kind of educational utopia, thus creating an unfavourable ( and false ) context to back up your ramblings about Waldorf schools.

      Its utter rubbish. I’m so glad you and those PLANS idiots live far far away from me.

      Just go away and concentrate on improving your relationship with your own children instead of trying to blame a school for your crap parenting skills.

      And before you come back with one of your cookie cutter responses, I’ve already got a response ready:-

      ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzz.

      • Le Canard Noir
        April 4, 2012 at 12:37 pm

        Mike – we would both be happy if it were the case that Steiner schools were open as to their mystical, spiritual and occult nature. I would have problems with state funding of such a school, but I am not fundamentally opposed to parents choosing such schools if that is the bag they are into.

        The central issue of my post is the reticence of the Steiner schools in disclosing the nature of their pedagogy. I would be happier if all those debating here stuck to that issue.

      • Mike
        April 4, 2012 at 1:32 pm

        Completely sensible argument Le Canard. Certainly there is some debate there as far as *some* Waldorf schools are concerned, regards exposing their curriculum.

        But, lets not mince words here. Pete and his agenda go far beyond issues of transparency. When faced with parents who do know about the foundations of the Waldorf system and still choose it for their children, we get several sly comments about our rights to “under-educate” and how our children *will* be a burden to society. In other words, calling us all bad parents.

        He is in essence attacking ALL Waldorf parents, regardless of their position. This is utterly unacceptable to me.

    • Jan Luiten
      April 4, 2012 at 10:37 pm

      The dogma is the obstacle for skeptics to see what anthroposophy really is. This is in fact the main problem. Without it you could see anthroposophy more objectively, and maybe come to different conclusions.
      It is fascinating to see that blind spot at the skeptics.

  73. Badly Shaved Monkey
    April 4, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    “some parents completely understand what Waldorf schools are about and still want it for their children? Some of us believe in spiritualism. Some of us believe in Steiners clairvoyance. Why dont you piss off…”

    I take it you’re quite keen on the gnomes as well. 

    Presumably this is your proposed Mission Statement for Steiner schools. 

    The problem, though, as LCN has been pointing out is that the spiritualism and clairvoyance are not major features of the public face of these schools. 

    I think what many people have a problem with is schools that pretend to offer simply a different style of teaching, but which are actual fronts for a wacky magical philosophy. 

    You may disagree with the existence of church schools, but they at least are open about their religious foundations. Ironically, speaking from involvement in school governance, their problem is actually embodying their religious message because modern secular staff employed by these schools have little or no interest in delivering that message. 

    What we find with Steiner schools is rather the opposite. The public face seems to conceal private zealotry. 

    • Mike
      April 4, 2012 at 2:01 pm

      Irrelevant. I’m talking specifically about parents who believe in spiritualism. Like myself and many parents we know. We know Waldorf schools are based on Steiners clairvoyant visions. We *agree* with it. Why should we be persecuted by people like you? What gives you that right?

      For example, what if Waldorf school were completely opening about their spiritual links and were still full of children? What then? I’ll tell you what… you will start attacking the parents. Call us delusional. Irresponsible. A burden on society.

      You use the transparency issue as a vessel to attack us with your anti-spiritual bile. The reality is, you sceptics are against Waldorf schools whether they are transparent or not. This much is clear. You are in no position to present any objective opinions.

      This whole site is designed so you and your mob can point fingers, insult other people with different beliefs, and pat each other on the back. All in the name of scepticism, when really its all about personal agendas.

      • Le Canard Noir
        April 4, 2012 at 2:26 pm

        Well Mike. We live in an open society where people are free to be critical of the ideas and actions of others – especially when they have an impact on third parties or society as a whole.

        Your decision to send you children to a Steiner school has an impact on firstly the children. Expect such schools to be subject to wider scrutiny.

        And if you want public money to fund that decision, expect thorough scrutiny.

        And I would suggest that criticism here is not anti-spiritual bile (It is quite possible to educate children to grow up with a sense of awe of their place in the universe) it is that Steiner schools appear to approach the teaching children through irrational, anti-educational mumbo jumbo.

        Expect people to be concerned.

      • Mike
        April 4, 2012 at 3:09 pm

        “… appear to approach the teaching children through irrational, anti-educational mumbo jumbo.”

        Appear to you, maybe.

        Not a sniff of actual evidence to back this up.

        Do you really think the state would fund a system that has consistently over the last 50 years produced children with heads filled with “anti-educational mumbo jumbo”?

        I bow to your superior knowledge.

        Bah! Go away silly people. Sit in your dark concrete hole and mumble angry mumblings at somebody who gives a shit.

      • Le Canard Noir
        April 4, 2012 at 4:08 pm

        Mike – you said,

        “Not a sniff of actual evidence to back this up.”

        Um.

        Gnomes.

        Want to discuss the gnomes yet?

    • Jan Luiten
      April 4, 2012 at 10:26 pm

      Canard said:
      ” The central issue of my post is the reticence of the Steiner schools in disclosing the nature of their pedagogy. I would be happier if all those debating here stuck to that issue.”

      Then you should have published a better and much less prejudiced article and should have confined yourself to that issue.
      There are no secrecies in Steiners pedagogy, may be for you, because you did not investigate too well, but not for people
      who really want to know what this pedagogy is.

      • Le Canard Noir
        April 4, 2012 at 10:54 pm

        No secrecies?

        Jan – you are absurd.

        Can you provide a URL to the Frome Steiner School web site that tells parents what the Steiner philosophy is all about and how it impacts teaching?

        You get bonus points for showing there is a page discussing the gnomes.

  74. April 4, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Mike whined: “Why dont you piss off and leave us alone?”

    Why don’t you stay PRIVATE then Mike? WALDORF is asking for PUBLIC money. How hard is THAT to understand?

    “But yet, you and your concrete headed crusaders seem to think you have the right to “educate” parents, even though large portions of these parents don’t want your education.”

    Just OUR MONEY!

    “For example, what if Waldorf school were completely opening about their spiritual links and were still full of children? What then?”

    But they’re not Mike. That’s the problem. They’re operating fraudulently and claim success fraudulently. Waldorf schools are lousy education systems – but they’re good indoctrination systems.

    “He is in essence attacking ALL Waldorf parents, regardless of their position. This is utterly unacceptable to me.”

    If their position is that they want PUBLIC money for Anthroposophical instruction (we don’t do that for other religious schools) then, of course I’m going to point that out. I DON’T BLAME PARENTS. I blame WALDORF for deceiving parents.

    “You use the transparency issue as a vessel to attack us with your anti-spiritual bile.”

    Critics of Waldorf couldn’t use transparency as an issue if Waldorf was transparent. They’re not – and never will be. It’s up to critics to blow enough holes in the hidden agenda of Waldorf education to make it at least SEEM transparent.

  75. April 4, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Mike wrote:

    “Not a sniff of actual evidence to back this up.
    Do you really think the state would fund a system that has consistently over the last 50 years produced children with heads filled with “anti-educational mumbo jumbo”?”

    Yeah, where are the 50 years of Waldorf graduates. They’re up to 1000 schools now… they must be pumping out Waldorf grads like crazy… Why do we only hear about a handful of success stories coming out of Waldorf? They should easily have 500 successful graduates in 50 years… where are they Mike? Let’s see a sniff of actual evidence that Waldorf works!

    • Mike
      April 4, 2012 at 3:58 pm

      I’m not the one making slanderous claims Pete. You are.

      You back it up… otherwise, do shut up darling. You are making an awful racket.

  76. Le Canard Noir
    April 4, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    It is fascinating to see the similarity between the cultist homeopaths and the cultist Steinerists.

    When either appear on this site, the main thrust of their arguments appear to be “STOP TALKING ABOUT US!”

    I’m sorry to you all – we are going to talk about you. Get used to it.

  77. April 4, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    “I’m not the one making slanderous claims Pete. You are.”

    To suggest they’re “slanderous” you would have to present evidence that the contrary condition exists. Where are the successful Waldorf grads? Claims that are TRUE cannot be slanderous… darling.

  78. Jan Luiten
    April 4, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    Canard, thats no problem.
    We will also talk about you and your skeptic-dogmatists.
    Why should the world dance to the skeptic rules?
    Science yes, skeptic dogmatism no.
    Get used to it, Canard, you don’t have the monopoly on science!

  79. Badly Shaved Monkey
    April 4, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    @Mike

    “what if Waldorf school were completely opening about their spiritual links”

    i.e. they are not.

    Q.E.D.

    Nuff said.

  80. Badly Shaved Monkey
    April 4, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    But, hang on a mo’. Wasn’t Mike telling us that the schools provided excellent education and refuting any links to Steiner’s loopy ideas. He was just a happy parent Now it seems he’s a True Bleever.

    Tell us abou the gnomes, Mike. Jan either can’t or won’t.

    • Jan Luiten
      April 4, 2012 at 10:43 pm

      Cheap populism, Monkey.
      No more arguments?

      • Badly Shaved Monkey
        April 5, 2012 at 8:29 am

        Jan, the argument was about whether Steiner schools conceal the nature of their superstitious beliefs. Mike has conceded that point. That was the end of that argument. It opens up others, of course, such as whether school organisations who act in this way are appropriate bodies to provide education to children.

        I have asked you, Jan, specifically to tell us about the gnomes. Please do so.

      • Jan Luiten
        April 5, 2012 at 4:22 pm

        No, Monkey the argument is much more.
        There is also the question of skeptic dogma and prejudice.
        This question needs to be dicussed, because it hinders the skeptics to look objectively.
        You want to monopolize science, and now you want to monopolize this dicussion too? Tell us what to do?
        It is remarkable that many skeptics have this patronizing and dictatorial trait.
        Want to know what gnomes are? Why ask me? Look it up in Wikipedia
        But now a question for you. Do you know where you are talkin about? Tell me, Monkey, what anthroposophy is.
        I guess you haven’t the faintest idea. Canard doesn’t know either. But humility is not a skeptic characteristic.

      • April 6, 2012 at 6:48 pm

        “Want to know what gnomes are? Why ask me? Look it up in Wikipedia
        But now a question for you. Do you know where you are talkin about? Tell me, Monkey, what anthroposophy is.
        I guess you haven’t the faintest idea. Canard doesn’t know either. But humility is not a skeptic characteristic.”

        Good point Jan. Obviously, gnomes didn’t write the Wikipedia articles about gnomes, so that may indeed be a safe place to look. Unfortunately, we can’t say the same thing about Anthroposophists with regard to Wikipedia. Indeed, it is Anthroposophists who wrote the articles about Anthroposophy, so it isn’t exactly that easy for parents to just “look up” what Anthroposophy REALLY is, is it? Whenever I see the Wikipedia brochures for Waldorf and Anthroposophy, I am reminded that Anthroposophists are willing to behave to promote Anthroposophy dishonestly.

        AWSNA’s own website dishonestly produces out-of-context quotes by Steiner to suggest his remarks weren’t racist.

        But seriously, Jan, when you are making silly claims without evidence – this is exactly what skeptics are accustomed to pointing out. You have NO CLUE how much Anthroposophy others on this list have read, yet you offhandedly dismiss their understanding of Anthroposophy in favor of your own (which, I must say, is considerably skewed). Steiner’s words are there for everyone to read – and there is no requirement to be an Anthroposophist in order to “get it”.

  81. Badly Shaved Monkey
    April 4, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    Mike’s first post here contained the following;

    “Most of you are basing your opinions of speculative nonsense with no real contact with a school, the teachers, the parents or the children. ”

    Just the honest views of a straightforward parent who merely happens to have sent a child to a Steiner school and had no problem with it. Now, Mike, turns out to be a gnome-fancier.

    Disingenuous, much?

    Mike, we see this time and again. An initial statement is prefaced with something like, “”I just too a homeopathic headache remedy and my headache went away. Maybe there’s nothing in it, but I was impressed”. Fast forward a few weeks and a few posts and our simple consumer turns out to be a dyed in the wool True Bleever.

    You are not the first to behave like this.

    • Mike
      April 5, 2012 at 12:01 am

      “You are not the first to behave like this.”

      Thank god for that. I hope you lot are forever bombarded with endless voodoo witchery till you either go mad and chop off your own head or give up and leave us be.

  82. April 5, 2012 at 2:05 am

    “Get used to it, Canard, you don’t have the monopoly on science!”

    Um… YES, skeptics DO. “Believers” are the ones who are out of place in the sciences. Steiner believed he was clairvoyant – and made wild claims he called “spiritual science” based on those beliefs. Steiner doesn’t get a piece of the scientific community’s pie… sorry.

    “Thank god for that. I hope you lot are forever bombarded with endless voodoo witchery till you either go mad and chop off your own head or give up and leave us be.”

    Are you suggesting some type of “voodoo witchery” goes on in Waldorf schools? I’ve heard of this before, but have always gone out of my way to refute it as nonsense. Tell us more Mike…

  83. Will
    April 5, 2012 at 8:32 am

    Mike, you say: Leave us be… Don’t impose your views on us… Leave us alone to teach our kids in the way we want…

    I bet there are people who would support a school where the philosophy was to encourage the kids into intense xenophobia, or religious extremism, or (stretching the thought experiment) the subjugation of women or even extreme sexual liberation. But these would not and should not be tolerated; I will assume you agree. How would your words of complaint sound from their mouths?

    We don’t live in a free country, and lines have to be drawn. So often alternative minded people want freedom to pursue their own brand of nonsense, imagining that they are doing no harm; what they NEVER account for is that you simply can’t distinguish between one nonsense and another. The arguments in defence of homoeopathy, Waldorf schools, creationism, xenophobia, religious fundamentalism, angel channelling, witchcraft, kindoki, etc. etc. are all identical: it’s an irrational belief and leave me alone to believe it. That’s it. That’s the only defence. So you just can’t say “tolerate my irrational nonsense, because I like it, but not others, which I don’t”. The world doesn’t revolve around you and you just can’t legislate like that.

    A very simple question then: Where and how would you, Mike, draw a line?

  84. Mike
    April 5, 2012 at 10:30 am

    I draw the line firmly between you and me.

    A moat preferably… full of magic crocodile faeries.

    • Badly Shaved Monkey
      April 5, 2012 at 10:54 am

      On which side of the line do the gnomes sit, Mike? On the little island with you surrounded by your moat, presumably. Do they let you have a go with their little fishing rods?

  85. April 5, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    Will wrote: “I bet there are people who would support a school where the philosophy was to encourage the kids into intense xenophobia”

    Actually, this sort of thing is DOCUMENTED in Waldorf schools. Steiner’s racist philosophy crept into my child’s physiology class. Former Waldorf student Roger Rawlings has documented on his website http://sites.google.com/site/waldorfwatch/welcome a xenophobic Waldorf teacher who warned students never to receive blood transfusions from non-white individuals. THIS IS WALDORF we’re talking about – not some school we need to invent to make this point. Waldorf ITSELF is steeped in racism and that racism sometimes comes out in the lessons they teach.

    As Waldorf teachers continue to promote Steiner’s racism, the burden for accountability (when parents finally realize this) is going to fall, not on public Waldorf, but on the STATE!

    Mike wrote: “I draw the line firmly between you and me.
    A moat preferably… full of magic crocodile faeries.”

    How imaginative? However, the line needs to be drawn in the REAL world too… not just in your imagination, Mike… and that line MUST be between Waldorf schools and public funding.

    • Jan Luiten
      April 5, 2012 at 4:27 pm

      Pete, give us a sound definition of racism, otherwise you are just thriving populism.

  86. April 5, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    I wrote: “Former Waldorf student Roger Rawlings has documented on his website http://sites.google.com/site/waldorfwatch/welcome a xenophobic Waldorf teacher who warned students never to receive blood transfusions from non-white individuals.”

    Below is a link to Roger’s excellent post on Steiner’s racism – in which he describes his own Waldorf teachers applying Steiner’s racism to their lesson plan:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/waldorf-critics/message/21725

    As for blood: I’ve reported the following before, and I’m sure you remember, Pete. But for those who are newer to the list: As a Waldorf student, I too was taught that “inferior” peoples have inferior forms of blood. This was one of two distinctly racist lessons I remember our Waldorf teachers giving my classmates
    and me. Here is how I reported it in my memoir, “I Went to Waldorf”:

    “During twelfth grade, my class was taught biology by our headmaster, Mr. Gardner. I don’t know what credentials he had in biology, if any, but because he was headmaster, his authority was unquestioned. I respected him greatly — he was tall, dignified, articulate — just what a dominant male should be. Still, I
    remember being troubled by a lecture he delivered one morning. Mr. Gardner laid out for us the overarching structure of the family of man. He explained that the various races stood at different levels of moral development — each was forging its own destiny. He said these things sympathetically, with no hint of condescension. Yet [our school's characteristic spiritual] vibe was in the room
    that morning: The terms he used were more metaphysical than biological. The oriental races, he said, are ancient, wise, but vitiated. The African races are youthful, unformed, childlike, he said. Standing near the center of humanity’s family are the currently most advanced races, the whites, he said. (He was
    giving us a version of Steiner’s own views: See ‘Steiner’s Racism’ and ‘Lecture’.)

    “I also remember a lesson our class received from another of our teachers, Hertha Karl, who taught both German and ‘earth science.’ Her background is, to me, a closed book — but of all the Waldorf faculty, she made the least effort to disguise her devotion to Steiner. She drew figure eights on the chalkboard and lectured us about ‘lemniscates’: the mystic interaction of the ‘telluric’ and
    ‘etheric’ forces, which is the basic structure of nature, she said. During one day’s main lesson, she veered off topic to warn us never to receive blood transfusions from members of other races. All of us were white. Frau Karl taught us that blacks and Orientals have blood types that are physically different from
    ours, so receiving such inferior blood would diminish our ‘Aryan’ qualities. The moral once again seemed to be that for Anthroposophists, racial identity has great significance.”

    • Mike
      April 7, 2012 at 1:17 pm

      One person. One view. How many of these do you actually have covering how many schools?

      I see the same names come up over and over again. Posting on lots of different websites. But the same people none the less.

      Lots of noise made by very few people. Typical internet soapbox warriors. They assume because they find various complaints about Waldorf, that they can draw conclusions. When everybody knows, its always those with problems that make the most noise. This is not representative of the whole. There are far more satisfied Steiner parents then not. They have better things to do then post online how happy they are. Doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

  87. Jan Luiten
    April 5, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    Which schools should be the only schools that should receive state funding? Exactly: “Richard Dawkins schools”.
    The high priest of the skeptic dogmatic religion has of course no problems with xenophobia, sexism and racism. Or, has he?
    mmmmm….

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/mmw/2011/07/obligatory-richard-dawkins-post/

    • April 5, 2012 at 6:15 pm

      Jan, this is the very definition of a strawman argument.

      Oh, and speaking of definitions, are you all clipboarded up with Albert Memmi’s definition of racism? Aren’t you going to claim that according to Memmi’s definition, Steiner isn’t a racist (again)? Or has that ploy backfired on you enough times that you’ve decided not to use it this time?

      • Jan Luiten
        April 6, 2012 at 5:51 pm

        Pete, it did not backfire on me. You had that illusion?
        By the anecdotes you are telling? Dream on, Pete.

      • April 6, 2012 at 7:05 pm

        “Pete, it did not backfire on me.”

        It most certainly DID and DOES each time you present it. Steiner’s racism fits Memmis’ definition of racism perfectly (the elevation of one race at the *expense* of another)! Have you discovered a DIFFERENT definition of racism that you feel would exclude Steiner’s stated views about the races?

        Jan wrote: “Pete, give us a sound definition of racism, otherwise you are just thriving populism.”

        Nobody is interested in MY definition of racism. I’m sure EVERYONE would be interested in YOUR definition of racism – one that presumably includes the views of Hitler but excludes the views of Steiner. I think you would be very hard-pressed to come up with THAT definition, Jan, quite possibly because their views were very VERY similar (not too surprising since they were derived from similar thought streams at the same location and at the same time). Have you a definition of racism that excludes Steiner’s views, Jan?

      • Mike
        April 7, 2012 at 1:03 pm

        Pete. Define evolution.

        If a one race has been on this planet for a million years and a branch of humans broke away from them and settled elsewhere only for the last 250000 years, which is more evolved?

        Since when does evolution mean better or worse? It simply means evolving via natural selection to make a species more effective in their current environment.

        With that in mind, what did Steiner say that was so racist? He has the Arians at the top of his evolutionary tree because they were the latest race to evolve from the human species. Are you saying this isn’t true?

        I’ll tell you what, you or anybody else draw us a tree showing the evolution of man, and tell me what race would be at the top?

        Its typical of your shallow thinking that anything at the top automatically means they are better. Nowhere does Steiner say the whites are better or worse. Just different. The *vast* majority of his writings are clearly pushing towards a united future. Where race is unimportant and the need to be tolerant, combine and grow together. Completely not a racist attitude as a whole. I don’t think I’ve ever once seen you post a positive comment from Steiner even though they outnumber the few questionable quotes by 100 to 1. Yet you call your blog “Waldorf Awareness”. You push a more distorted picture of Waldorf then most of the hardcore anthroposophists do.

        You are a closed book my friend. Good luck in court. You are going to need it.

      • Le Canard Noir
        April 8, 2012 at 9:02 am

        Mike – you said “He has the Arians at the top of his evolutionary tree because they were the latest race to evolve from the human species. Are you saying this isn’t true?”

        This is utterly untrue. It is based on a misunderstanding of evolution that has been common amongst pseudoscientific racists that have used Darwin to justify their offensive ideas – like Steiner.

        The truth is that all humans share common ancestors and have been evolving and changing for equal periods of time. It is only because of your prejudices that you see yourself as somehow occupying some unique strand of that messy tree of development.

        Any attempt by you to assert anything else will just show how ignorant you are. I suggest you sit down with a good book on evolution, like Dawkins “Ancestors Tale’ and learn something that was not written by a racist occultist.

      • Mike
        April 8, 2012 at 12:13 pm

        It’s utterly untrue?

        So, the branch of the human race that settled in Europe were not the latest to evolve from the human tree? Who were then?

        In other words, which race has been on this planet the shortest time?

        Nowhere have I suggested anybody is superior to anybody else. Simply that there is a chronological order to the appearance of the various races. And the European whites are the latest. Not the best. Not the sexiest. Nothing like that. Simply the latest.

        How is that false?

        If a branch of animals relocate and evolve further to meet the demands of their new environment, that means they have evolved beyond their original state. The animals that have remained are already perfect for their environment. The level of change/evolution required by those who have relocated is far higher then those who remained. Better or worse? Neither. Just simply evolved further.

        None of what I’m saying is racist in the slightest. Its you people that hold “evolution” as some kind of yardstick to determine superiority. We don’t see it this way. A creature that has evolved into a new environment could easily be inferior to the original it branched from, depending on conditions.

        I’m not repeating the above any more. How can you possibly define me as racist considering I’ve said time and time again I don’t consider anybody superior or inferior to each other. Funny idea of racism you people have. Have you ever experienced racism? I have. You assume I’m white when in reality I’m Arabic. Don’t try to compare my arguments to that of racists.

        That’s it from me on this topic. My piece has been said a dozen times only for you guys to selectively take what you want and distort it.

  88. Le Canard Noir
    April 5, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    I’m still very disappointed that none of the Steiner School supporters here want to discuss the gnomes.

    I am loathe to cut off this endless thread until this important aspect is addressed.

    To kick things off, here is some analysis of gnome-theory in Steinerism and what Steiner actually said.

    Anyone care to support the importance of gnomes in Steiner schools?

    https://sites.google.com/site/waldorfwatch/gnomes

    • Jan Luiten
      April 6, 2012 at 8:08 pm

      Canard, It is clear that you are a pseudoskeptic. Definition see below. With your dogma it is of course useless for me to discuss phenomena of which you deny the existence a priori.

      Ceterum censeo you should reveal your qualifications.
      People might think you are quack yourself.

  89. Badly Shaved Monkey
    April 5, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    I didn’t know much about anthroposophy until recently. I thought it was just a rather loopy 19th century spiritualist belief system. Now I realise it’s a rather unpleasant loopy 19th century spiritualist nonsense.

    • Jan Luiten
      April 6, 2012 at 7:58 pm

      Conclusion: you still don’t know very much.

  90. Marc Stephens Is Insane
    April 5, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    The more I read about these Steiner schools the more I see in common with $cientology schools: nutcase theories, mentally-unstable cult leaders (Steiner and Hubbard), secrecy, inferior education, indoctrination of the young into the cult using the vocabulary, belief in reincarnation, hostility at criticism from outsiders, etc.

    Now, these gnomes are the Steiner equivalent to Xenu!! No one seems to want to talk about them or admit they exist!

    Did Hubbard steal ideas from Steiner, too? He stole from pretty much everyone else when hallucinating Dianetics.

  91. Jan Luiten
    April 6, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    I am very glad to discover that I am not standing alone in my critique on the dogmatic skeptics.
    No one less than Marcello Truzzi, co-founder of CSICOP has formulated his critique on what he coined as pseudoskepticism. (which l call skeptic-dogmatism)

    Truzzi was skeptical of investigators and debunkers who determined the validity of a claim prior to investigation. He accused CSICOP of increasingly unscientific behavior, for which he coined the term pseudoskepticism. Truzzi stated:
    They tend to block honest inquiry, in my opinion. Most of them are not agnostic toward claims of the paranormal; they are out to knock them.
    Skeptic’s Dictionary memorialized Truzzi thus: “Truzzi considered most skeptics to be pseudoskeptics, a term he coined to describe those who assume an occult or paranormal claim is false without bothering to investigate it. (or to investigate it properly – JL)
    Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcello_Truzzi

    There are websites that investigate pseudoskepticism (skeptic dogmatism)

    Skeptical Investigations – homepage

    http://www.debunkingskeptics.com/

    Another critic of peusoskepticism is Edgar Wunder. He was a prominent skeptic of the GWUP, the German equivalent of CSICOP. He wrote written a very good article, unfortunately not translated in English yet. Das Skeptiker –Syndrom. Das Skeptiker-Syndrom: Zur Mentalität der GWUP. | psychophysik.com
    You can translate it to english using this online translator:
    http://www.online-translator.com/

    • Mike
      April 6, 2012 at 11:02 pm

      Nice link Jan. Thanks.

  92. April 7, 2012 at 4:01 am

    “Truzzi considered most skeptics to be pseudoskeptics, a term he coined to describe those who assume an occult or paranormal claim is false without bothering to investigate it. (or to investigate it properly – JL)

    I love your little definition-changing parenthetical… so now… Define “properly” Jan? If someone were to investigate paranormal claims exhaustively, and then proclaimed that there is no validity to paranormal claims, would that be a “proper” investigation to you? Or is the only “proper” skeptic (according to you) one who must CONTINUE to remain skeptical (open-minded) in the light of irrefutable evidence? Having investigated 1000 claims, we must continue to investigate – just in case… We can never close the book on ANYTHING, right?

    How about if people who believe in paranormal/occult phenomenon investigate them and provide PROOF for the skeptics?

    • Mike
      April 7, 2012 at 12:21 pm

      We don’t need to prove anything to you. We are not trying to shove our views down your throats. We are not the ones trying to shut down whole branches of medicine and education because we don’t believe in them. That’s what you are doing. Therefore the burden of responsibility lays with you.

      Considering how science and its methods peels away more layers explaining our existence and our make up every year… how can you be so conclusive? How can you say, without a glimmer of doubt ( or should I say skeptisism ) that all of this stuff is “ABSOLUTE NONSENSE”. Do you know what the word “absolute” means? Not exactly a word you expect to hear from true open minded skeptics, which you lot are clearly not.

      The website Jan posted got it spot on. Websites like Quackwatch, like to consider themselves unbiased quackhunters, but they never go after mainstream medicine. Where are all the articles about various pharmaceutical treatments that cause harm to people every day? Are you suggesting that all mainstream medicine is harmless? If not, why not target them as well? Why all the focus on alt-med? If you think alt-med hurts more people ( proportionally ) each year then patented pharmaceutical mainstream method, you are living in a box my friend. Same goes for mainstream state schools. Why not attack them? There are hundreds of horror stories emanating from ( particularly inner-city ) state schools. Nutty abusive teachers are not exclusive to schools you don’t like. I know 3 people that were abused sexually in state schools by teachers. Shall I start a website demanding a complete overhaul? No. Because that kind of shit happens in all environments that involve human beings, unfortunately.

      The status-quo is a broken mess. Yet you treat it as some kind of perfect yardstick. How can you be so shallow as to trust the authorities without applying the same level skepticism you apply to anything alternative?

      Pete:”Having investigated 1000 claims, we must continue to investigate – just in case… We can never close the book on ANYTHING, right?”

      Thats right Pete. You cant close the book on anything. Even with a large body of evidence. ( which you dont have ) How many times throughout history have ideas that were ridiculed been proven to be true at a later date? Besides, if you can find me 1000 accurate conclusive claims that any of this stuff doesn’t work, Ill eat my underwear. I bet you’ll struggle to find 10. Because, in truth, there is very little solid evidence out there that alternative lifestyle methods don’t work. Only selective inconclusive studies you people like to use to draw wafer thin conclusions. But we already know what your type are like. You will willingly close a book on anything you agree with… but on the other hand, keep the book well an truly open when searching for evidence to back up your own personal agenda.

      Maybe somebody should take up this fellows challenge:
      http://www.victorzammit.com/skeptics/challenge.html

      This is also a glorious read:
      http://www.leo-bonomo.com/victor_zammits_james_randi.html

      … and they claim to not be closed minded!

      Its fun being attacked by people with nothing more then the flimsiest bluntest tools. Lots of shouting online, but when it comes down to it, in a courtroom, or in an unbiased environment, their arguments unravel quickly. Hence why funded idiots like Barrett lose in court time and time and time again.

      Keep on shouting concrete crusaders. It doesn’t seem to be working. Shout louder. Maybe that’ll do it.

      • Mike
        April 7, 2012 at 1:47 pm

        The whole Randi cross examination:-

        http://www.victorzammit.com/articles/crossexaminationnumberPARTONE.htm

        Always enjoyable hearing a respected psudoskeptic crush themselves under the weight of their own baked concrete viewpoints. Part 5, in particular, was joyful reading.

        It seems not one psudoskeptic has ever managed to get into court and present any kind of solid case. Rather lots of squirming… and losing.

        To anybody interested, the jury came back after 3 minutes and concluded Randis challenge a hoax. 3 minutes! Haha! Pathetic.

        I’m so glad I set off on this adventure. I didn’t even know about all these psudoskeptics a month ago. Its good to see there is a war raging. A war where my enemies may have a loud battle cry… but when it comes down to it, are impotent.

        • Badly Shaved Monkey
          April 7, 2012 at 2:17 pm

          But you still haven’t told us about the gnomes, Mike. I really want to know your thoughts on the gnomes.

          You’ve got quite heated about what you think scepticism comprises, but tell us how a sceptic should approachf gnomes. With a small butterfly net?

          You and Jan seem very keen on a lot of don’t-talk-about-that-talk-about-this. You have got into a real stew over this, but you keep evading quite simple questions about Steiner schools and their beliefs. You have not chosen to deny that gnomes form some part of Steiner’s philosophy and the teaching of Steiner schools, so tell us more about them, please.

          • Mike
            April 7, 2012 at 2:40 pm

            Typical deflection.

            Yes. I believe in spirits that exist outside our current scientific understanding. Gnomes. Dragons. Faeries. Whatever you want to label them to laugh at me. Ive made this clear over and over and yet you seem to think I’ve avoided the issue. I haven’t. My beliefs have been clear.

            So what? What has it got to do with you what I believe in? If you think its rubbish then prove it. Zammit presents numerous references to scientists who have researched the paranormal/afterlife and have found evidence to support this. Have you read it all, or are you going to take Randis stance and say, “I wont bother… because I know its not true”?

            You and your kind are trying to debunk. But the beauty of it is, that you end up debunking yourselves with your selective narrow-minded views. Keep it up.

          • Badly Shaved Monkey
            April 8, 2012 at 8:08 am

            It’s not deflection, Mike. It goes to the heart of the problem 

            You assert the existence of gnomes. You claim to understand the scientific method better than your critics.

            However, when you say this, “What has it got to do with you what I believe in? If you think its rubbish then prove it.” then it rather suggests you don’t understand the direction in which proof works. 

            The existence of gnomes is your hypothesis. Tell me about an experiment that supports your hypothesis. 

            “My child goes to a Steiner school. We know dozens of children that go to various Steiner schools across England. ” [Mike's first two sentences here]

            “My partner is a kindergarten teacher who has passed the teacher training. She is 100% clear about Steiner being clairvoyant.”

            So, Mike the parent, turns out to have a rather close association with the Steiner system. 

            [Re-posted because the first version appeared above the post to which it is a reply]

          • Mike
            April 8, 2012 at 11:49 am

            Well done. You have concluded I’m closely associated with the Waldorf system. As if somehow that hasn’t been 100% clear from day one. Why else would I be fighting this corner?

            And I have concluded you are associated with the quackbuster movement.

            What’s your point? Are you seriously suggesting my views are any more biased then yours?

            You people don’t even see the hypocrisy of most of your arguments.

            There have been countless scientists, engineers and psychics doing various experiments into the paranormal. I would consider “gnomes” paranormal, right? Heres an idea. How about you wait till something is concluded before jumping the gun and insisting there is no way that these spirits/elements could *ever* exist. That’s not exactly scientific, is it?

            Famous words: “Lack of evidence is not evidence that something doesn’t exist”. That is fundamental science method my friend. To deny it is to show your true colours as a psudoskeptic and not open minded at all.

          • Mojo
            April 8, 2012 at 1:04 pm

            “Lack of evidence is not evidence that something doesn’t exist”.

            Neither is it evidence that something exists. You are expecting your claims about gnomes to be respected in the absence of any evidence for them.

            From your first post on this thread: “Most of you are basing your opinions of speculative nonsense with no real contact with a school, the teachers, the parents or the children”.

            You are basing your opinion of gnomes on speculative nonsense, with no real contact with gnomes, dragons, or faeries.

            “You people don’t even see the hypocrisy of most of your arguments.”

            Mr. Pot, meet Mr. Kettle.

          • April 8, 2012 at 4:16 pm

            “Famous words: “Lack of evidence is not evidence that something doesn’t exist”. That is fundamental science method my friend. To deny it is to show your true colours as a psudoskeptic and not open minded at all.”

            If you open your mind too much, your brain may fall out Mike.

          • April 8, 2012 at 2:10 pm

            “Zammit presents numerous references to scientists who have researched the paranormal/afterlife and have found evidence to support this.”

            All studies that have ‘proved’ the existence of supernatural beings have so far been found to be fatally flawed. Extraordinary claims -> extraordinary evidence. Belief, no matter how firm, and a few flawed studies aren’t even ordinary evidence.

  93. Mike
    April 7, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    Rather then comparing our opinions, maybe we should be comparing the instances where this argument has actually made it into a court room or into a proper neutral environment for debate.

    Lets see how many times a psudoskeptic has actually managed to prove their case to a judge or jury as opposed to losing miserably.

    Stephen Barratt has been trying to shut down alt-med practitioners for years. Where are his success stories? If he has had some success, what’s his ratio of win to loss? Have any of you had any success at all proving anything?

    Man. This is putting me in a happy space. I’ve gone from agitation and anger, to amusement. Its dawning on me that I’m arguing with people who are impotent and can not actually affect my lifestyle. Ive realized that once you step off your internet soapbox, you have no power at all to infuence the real world. I feel enlightened suddenly.

    Thanks people. Thank you Andy Lewis. Thank you Pere Karaiskos. Thank you Stephen Bennett and the rest of your followers. It’s been educating.

  94. April 7, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    Mike has confused “skeptics” with “critics”.

    “The website Jan posted got it spot on.”

    Yes, I suggest EVERYONE go there and have a look. I’ve never seen a bigger crock of nonsense pulled together in one single place before. Play the videos too… see if the guy makes is case for YOU.

    “Nutty abusive teachers are not exclusive to schools you don’t like. I know 3 people that were abused sexually in state schools by teachers. Shall I start a website demanding a complete overhaul? No. Because that kind of shit happens in all environments that involve human beings, unfortunately.”

    Perhaps, but in Waldorf environments, bullying and abuse is an accepted as part of “growing up”… in Waldorf environments, the teachers are connected by a quasi-religious philosophy that makes covering up abuses “for the good of the school” possible, even necessary… and in Waldorf environments, accountability is NEVER applied to teachers and administrators – anything that goes wrong is the fault of the parents or the STUDENTS.

    “Do you know what the word “absolute” means? Not exactly a word you expect to hear from true open minded skeptics, which you lot are clearly not. ”

    You’re right… I’m a Waldorf critic. Still, I don’t check for tigers in my kitchen on a daily basis… some things one has to accept absolutely. If, however, I wake up some day and find tigers in my kitchen, the house of cards I built on that absolutism will come tumbling down. I can live with that much more easily than checking for tigers in my kitchen on a daily basis… just in case they’re real.

    Mike tries to use psuedo-science to back up his claim:

    “The whole Randi cross examination:-”

    But that’s not what the article said… it’s not a cross examination, it’s a FABRICATED exchange. HOW APPROPRIATE!

    From the article: “This would be fairly close to a real ‘cross-examination’-”

    Yes, I’m sure it would… LMAO! Remember, this is coming from a lawyer, not a scientist. His argument rests on what may be considered “evidence” in a court of law (not the scientific community). One eye witness can get someone put in jail in a court of law. One eye witness to a UFO doesn’t hold much interest for scientists.

    “Zammit presents numerous references to scientists who have researched the paranormal/afterlife and have found evidence to support this.”

    The list of Anthroposophical and similar “researchers” is quite long, I’m sure.

    Let’s get back to the topic shall we? Assuming, of course, you’re not going to prove the existence of the spirit world today…

    Why do Waldorf/Steiner schools find it necessary to HIDE from parents exactly what they teach to their children? Why are Waldorf websites so deceptive. When will Waldorf come to terms with Steiner’s racism and STOP teaching it to prospective Waldorf teachers as part of their Waldorf teacher training?

    I’ll offer you a million dollars if you can answer these questions.

    • Mike
      April 7, 2012 at 6:34 pm

      It doesn’t stop the fake cross examination being most amusing. Why completely gloss over many of the facts that are bought about about Randi? About his history? His qualifications? The people he has refused to take his test? All lies? Its a hugely insightful piece written by somebody who is entertaining.

      Anyway. Not all schools hide the truth. How many times do I have to tell you. My partner is a kindergarten teacher who has passed the teacher training. She is 100% clear about Steiner being clairvoyant. That his teachings came from his visions. Neither she or her numerous colleagues have ever come close to push some of the things you’ve described in this thread. They talk openly about faries and spirits. Basically all the things that go on in the classrooms. And you know what? Some don’t like it and don’t join… and some do, even knowing the truth. But you cant possibly accept that there are *any* Waldorf schools full of children in the UK that have not been deceitful. Deal with it Pete. Because that is the case with many schools.

      Petes now going to babble on about racism, but hey, its all been done a dozen times above, so lets not bother.

      • April 9, 2012 at 2:32 am

        Mike wrote: “Anyway. Not all schools hide the truth. How many times do I have to tell you. My partner is a kindergarten teacher who has passed the teacher training. She is 100% clear about Steiner being clairvoyant. That his teachings came from his visions. Neither she or her numerous colleagues have ever come close to push some of the things you’ve described in this thread.”

        OK, answer honestly Mike – or if you don’t know, at least admit you don’t know:

        1) Does your partner (or do her colleagues) tell prospective parents that eurythmy is a SPIRITUAL exercise (one that Steiner called the embodiment of Anthroposophy), or does she explain something less – like it’s “poetry set to movement” or “a form of dance”?

        2) Does your partner (or do her colleagues) call the morning prayer a “verse”? Yes or no?

        3) Does your partner (or do her colleagues) identify, evaluate and have expectations of the children in accordance with their temperament? Yes or no?

        3) Does your partner (or do her colleagues – especially in the lower grades) distinguish large-headed from small-headed children? Yes or no?

        4) Does your partner (or do her colleagues) identify left-handed children? Yes or no?

        5) Does your partner (or do her colleagues) discuss the spiritual/incarnation progress of the individual children in their classes? Yes or no?

        Now we get to the tricky part Mike… Since your partner is clear that Steiner was 100% clairvoyant:

        6) Does your partner (or do her colleagues) believe and agree with Steiner, that blond hair and blue eyes bestows intelligence? Or have they openly refuted this?

        7) Does your partner (or do her colleagues) believe and agree with Steiner, that the white race is the race of the future? Or have they openly refuted this?

        8) Does your partner (or do her colleagues) believe and agree with Steiner, that Jews have outlived their purpose and shouldn’t exist? Or have they openly refuted this?

        9) Does your partner (or do her colleagues) believe and agree with Steiner, that black people don’t belong in Europe? Or have they openly refuted this?

        10) Does your partner (or do her colleagues) believe and agree with Steiner, that demons exist in children and that some children, right in Waldorf schools, can be and ARE possessed by demons? Or have they openly refuted this?

        Answer these first, then I’ll have a WHOLE bunch more for your partner and her colleagues.

    • Mike
      April 7, 2012 at 6:42 pm

      Pete: “The list of Anthroposophical and similar “researchers” is quite long, I’m sure.”

      You sound like Randi in the cross examination! For something that fabricated, it gets pretty close.

      “Im not going to read anything by these people. Its all rubbish. I know that. Why? because I know”

      Without any research at all you dismiss it all as being biased nonsense.

      Typical.

      • April 9, 2012 at 2:41 am

        “You sound like Randi in the cross examination!”

        How could that be… Randi was never cross-examined.

        “Without any research at all you dismiss it all as being biased nonsense.”

        Research? I read the nonsense – and described why it’s nonsense. “Evidence” for court isn’t like evidence for science. Remember? One eye witness means a LOT in a court of law – but means nothing in science. The nutter you posted makes his case by examining an imaginary witness and showing how little is required to satisfy the law. That’s not how you satisfy science.

        I’d happily join his list and acknowledge that eye-witness testimony should be inadmissible in court.

  95. April 7, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Mike wrote:
    “We don’t need to prove anything to you. We are not trying to shove our views down your throats.”
    “Yes. I believe in spirits that exist outside our current scientific understanding.”

    Mike, you can believe in gnomes, fairys, dragons, vampires, bigfoot, aliens… NOBODY cares. They’re YOUR beliefs. I’m sure there are other people who share your beliefs. This is wonderful… it even gives you some confirmation that your “beliefs” might be real.

    The problem comes when you confuse your beliefs with reality and THEN want to push them on other people’s children without their knowledge (shove them down people’s throats as you put it). This is morally wrong and people should be outraged that you would defend such a practice.

    • Mike
      April 7, 2012 at 5:01 pm

      As opposed to pushing fake history and harmful science down children’s throats?

      Because mainstream science and education are factually solid? Do you research anything that doesn’t serve your agenda? Do you realize mow much literature there is out there regards mainstream history and modern scientific method serving nothing more then commercial interests? You have no idea what “reality” actually is. You have no evidence. Not you, or James Randi, or anybody for that matter have ever, even once, managed to debunk anything within in independent neutral environment. Yet you use the word “reality” like you have a monopoly on the term. Laughable.

      You are so blinkered and selective. You rarely ready You arguments are drenched in bias. You are the very definition of a psudoskeptic. Its a wonderfully fitting label for you and your mob.

  96. April 7, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    “As opposed to pushing fake history and harmful science down children’s throats?”

    Well, now that you mention it… Fake history is what Waldorf is FAMOUS for… They teach mythology as if it’s history. Don’t take my word for it… check out ANY Waldorf curriculum. Harmful science? Like the Waldorf scientific “fact” that “the blood of people from Europe is more evolved than the blood of people from Africa and Asia”… right? That’s the kind of science and history Waldorf is interested in teaching – science and history according to Steiner (and NOTHING ELSE).

    “Yet you use the word “reality” like you have a monopoly on the term.”

    Well, apparently, it applies to the tigers in my kitchen – by your definition. But hey, you’re right… throughout the existence of civilization, only ONE man has actually experienced the TRUE reality – and that man was Rudolf Steiner… and having experienced the one and only TRUE reality, he described it in great detail in his body of work called Anthroposophy – so that others could also condition themselves in order to attain Steiner’s “truth”.

    So Mike, how’s the Guardian of the lesser threshold doing these days? Give him my regards next time you see him.

    • Mike
      April 7, 2012 at 6:19 pm

      Wow Pete… you really are on auto pilot.

      In not bothering. You don’t tackle any valid criticisms of the mainstream methods to education or medicine. None of you do.

      This lovely quote ( thanks Jan ) sums up the whole quackbuster movement:-

      “The original definition of skeptic was a person who questions ALL beliefs, facts, and points-of-view. A healthy perspective in my opinion. Today’s common definition of skeptic is someone who questions any belief that strays outside of the status quo, yet leaving the status quo itself completely unquestioned. Kind of a juvenile and intellectually lazy practice in my opinion.”

      Its been an utterly pointless exercise posting here.

      • April 7, 2012 at 6:46 pm

        Belief-based stuff is nonsense. Skeptics deal with evidence. If someone has a belief – good for them. If they present evidence of that belief, THEN, skeptics can assess the claims. Lacking evidence, believers have nothing to offer skeptics.

        Here’s a case of the Cottingly Fairies (and someone who claims this is “proof” of fairies). There IS some actual history here, and some evidence (artifacts)… but NOT of fairies, I’m afraid. Believers may have a more “open” mind, however.

        The story is pretty interesting and has a contextual link to Anthroposophy as the whole issue about these being actual photographs of fairies was raised by a leading British Theosophist, Edward Gardner (Steiner, once a Theosophist himself, hijacked the German Theosophical Society to start the Anthropopsophical Society).

        Here’s a timeline of the events: http://www.solitaryphoenix.com/TLWCottFairyTimetable.html

        Notice, our buddy James Randi helped debunk the actual photos themselves – pointing out strings holding the cutouts up. 3-4 years later, the women finally admit the photos were faked.

        The moral of the story is that some people are very easily fooled and misled. Those shouldn’t be deciding how children should be educated.

      • Mike
        April 7, 2012 at 10:09 pm

        “The moral of the story is that some people are very easily fooled and misled. Those shouldn’t be deciding how children should be educated.”

        I couldn’t have said it better myself.

        Thanks.

      • April 8, 2012 at 2:06 pm

        “You don’t tackle any valid criticisms of the mainstream methods to education or medicine.”

        That’s a derailing tactic. Mainstream education and medicine are not on trial here. Steinerism is.

  97. Badly Shaved Monkey
    April 8, 2012 at 8:04 am

    It’s not deflection, Mike. It goes to the heart of the problem 

    You assert the existence of gnomes. You claim to understand the scientific method better than your critics.

    However, when you say this, “What has it got to do with you what I believe in? If you think its rubbish then prove it.” then it rather suggests you don’t understand the direction in which proof works. 

    The existence of gnomes is your hypothesis. Tell me about an experiment that supports your hypothesis. 

    “My child goes to a Steiner school. We know dozens of children that go to various Steiner schools across England. ” [Mike's first two sentences here]

    “My partner is a kindergarten teacher who has passed the teacher training. She is 100% clear about Steiner being clairvoyant.”

    So, Mike the parent, turns out to have a rather close association with the Steiner system. 

  98. April 8, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    @Mike
    unfortunately you are incorrect. While there is indeed evidence for the existence of fairies, pixies and Leprechauns, recent scientific explorations have determined that while in Steiner’s time a valid hypothesis, gnomes are in fact a figment of the imagination. This scientific proof only exists on the etheric realms and therefore cannot be validated by ordinary mortals. This is not however any reason to doubt its existence.

    “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” Voltaire

  99. Mike
    April 8, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Once again, I find my head is sore from continuous headbutting against people with far harder craniums then myself. Coming back to this over and over is a kind of sickness. Why am I debating against people I have no doubt will never shift their views… and vice-versa I suppose. It’s pointless.

    It has to end sometime. It has to be now. I think we have all made the same points so many times, its is madness to continue. We have *all* made some pretty valid arguments and no doubt also said some dumb shit along the way. But now we are at the point where there’s nothing new to say. I’m sure we can all agree. Time to step back and see how this whole war plays out in proper neutral debate ( which this isnt ), independent scientific study ( which this isnt ) and courtrooms. ( which this isnt )

    Adiós.

  100. Mike
    April 8, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    [reposted. Got put up above for some reason ]

    Once again, I find my head is sore from continuous headbutting against people with far harder craniums then myself. Coming back to this over and over is a kind of sickness. Why am I debating against people I have no doubt will never shift their views… and vice-versa I suppose. It’s pointless.

    It has to end sometime. It has to be now. I think we have all made the same points so many times, its is madness to continue. We have *all* made some pretty valid arguments and no doubt also said some dumb shit along the way. But now we are at the point where there’s nothing new to say. I’m sure we can all agree. Time to step back and see how this whole war plays out in proper neutral debate ( which this isnt ), independent scientific study ( which this isnt ) and courtrooms. ( which this isnt )

    Adiós.

  101. Mike
    April 8, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    [reposted. Got put up above *twice* for some reason. If it happens again... sorry for the mess ]

    Once again, I find my head is sore from continuous headbutting against people with far harder craniums then myself. Coming back to this over and over is a kind of sickness. Why am I debating against people I have no doubt will never shift their views… and vice-versa I suppose. It’s pointless.

    It has to end sometime. It has to be now. I think we have all made the same points so many times, its is madness to continue. We have *all* made some pretty valid arguments and no doubt also said some dumb shit along the way. But now we are at the point where there’s nothing new to say. I’m sure we can all agree. Time to step back and see how this whole war plays out in proper neutral debate ( which this isnt ), independent scientific study ( which this isnt ) and courtrooms. ( which this isnt )

    Adiós.

  102. Badly Shaved Monkey
    April 8, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Forgive me, Mike, for thinking from your opening lines that you simply happened to have a child at one of these schools.

    I was not concluding anything. You keep complaining that we won’t take your beliefs seriously and that this makes us bad scientists. I have simply asked you for an experiment that satisfies the specific hypothesis that gnomes exist.

  103. April 8, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Mike suggested: “We have *all* made some pretty valid arguments”

    I’m sorry Mike, I may have missed yours in all these comments. What is your valid argument for the existence of gnomes? What is your valid argument for the proliferation of public schools run by people who believe in gnomes? What is your valid argument for teaching “science” that hasn’t been discovered yet? And most importantly, what is your valid argument for HIDING the underlying philosophy behind Waldorf from the parents who entrust their children to these schools?

  104. Badly Shaved Monkey
    April 8, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    “Adiós”

    Hang on a cotton-picking’ minute. Did I miss a bit where Mike have us his proper scientific way of showing us that gnomes exist, or did he just run away without addressing any of the substantive issues?

    At least, I suppose, he did admit their evasiveness and the false front they present.

  105. Badly Shaved Monkey
    April 8, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    “Adiós”

    Hang on a cotton-picking’ minute. Did I miss a bit where Mike gave us his proper scientific way of showing us that gnomes exist, or did he just run away without addressing any of the substantive issues?

    At least, I suppose, he did admit their evasiveness and the false front they present.

    [Reposted minus annoying autocorrection typo]

  106. Badly Shaved Monkey
    April 12, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    So, the men who say there are gnomes and science can prove there are gnomes seem to have buggered off just when they were asked to justify their confidence.

    It’s a familiar pattern

  107. Badly Shaved Monkey
    April 12, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    Hey, the Captcha phrase I just had to use for that last post was YMCA. I just typed it and did not do the dance. At all. Not even a little bit.

    26 letters and 9 numbers, 35^4 = 1,500,625

    So, it’ll probably be some time before that happens again.

  108. April 18, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    Whilst I agree that there is much quackery within the Steiner movement, I do find your approach mean-spirited and entirely unmeasured (picking on what are obvious, yet minor issues with this way of schooling). I have a child who has spent 2 of her 12 years in the Steiner system and absolutely loved it (indeed, she would love to return if she could find a place for her age). She developed her thinking, creativity and the usual skills in a caring and supportive environment. Does a bit of outdated, non-scientific thinking make it any worse than 99% of ‘traditional’ schools? I think not. Arguments of the racism of Steiner are lame at best. Even one of my favourite thinkers Bertrand Russell had dubious thoughts about Eugenics. Historical world views cloud everybody’s thinking. The truth is, schooling in general is outmoded, outdated and not fit for purpose in the 21st century. Stop bullying, and leave these people to try and create something alternative in a sea of unimaginative schooling and, instead put your fine brain to inventing something meaningful. For all your talk of the scientific method, I hear very little of it in your approach. You seem certain about all sorts of things based on very little information. You’ve drawn a conclusion about this particular school based on their website and reading a few articles on Steiner… that a scientific study does not make!! I suggest you get yourself a copy of Robert Anton Wilson’s Quantumn Psychology and get yourself a decent education. He blows apart the reality tunnels of religious thinkers, spiritual thinkers AND those that call themselves scientists. You are stuck in a bubble that you believe to be reality. A world view that I can guarantee will look absurd in 500 years. Just as Steiner’s does now. Release yourself from the chains of scientific righteousness it’s as tedious as religious righteousness. There is good to be found in all sorts of places, but it takes effort. Pulling shit apart is easy. Tell me, what have you learnt about yourself over the years? Where do you dare reveal your weaknesses? Are you making the world a better place? Do you want your fellow humans to flourish? Or is your work an audition for the Daily Mail – who are the masters of making other people wrong.

    • Melanie Byng
      April 21, 2012 at 9:41 pm

      ‘Arguments of the racism of Steiner are lame at best.’ I disagree. Here is Roger Rawlings, who was educated at a Waldorf school in New York:
      http://sites.google.com/site/waldorfwatch/steiners-racism

      American historian Peter Staudenmaier writes:

      “Many forms of racist belief are not intentionally sinister, but are instead embedded in high minded, benevolent, and compassionate orientations toward the world. It is this type of racist thought, whose historical heritage extends through the White Man’s Burden and many forms of paternalistic racial ideology, that may find a welcome home in some Waldorf schools and other anthroposophical contexts, where it can perpetuate its ideas about race under the banner of spiritual growth and wisdom. This kind of racist thinking spreads more readily precisely because it is not tied to consciously sinister intentions. Seeing through this kind of racism – which, furthermore, often has more widespread and more insidious effects on the real lives of real people than the intentionally sinister variety does – means paying attention to the background beliefs that animate a project like Waldorf, whether among its founding generation or today.”

    • May 15, 2012 at 4:48 pm

      “You seem certain about all sorts of things based on very little information.”

      How can you be *certain* about how much or little information has been reviewed by anyone? I’ve studied Anthroposophy for 18 years, and have been involved with Waldorf for just as long. I can tell you with CERTAINTY that Waldorf schools do, indeed, teach racism as science. My own child was taught Steiner’s racist ideas as “physiology” and when questioned, the school defended the lessons. There are very good reasons why they don’t believe they are racists… but you have to understand Anthroposophy in order to understand them. When you *accept* Anthroposophy’s teachings as absolute truth, Steiner’s statements about the races seem reasonable. That’s why schools teach them as fact. If they would acknowledge that they are religious schools, Waldorf schools could probably get away with teaching this ridiculous set of beliefs under the guise of “religious freedom”. But they don’t want that. They want to claim theirs is not a religion, and also that the statements, because Steiner is infallible, are not racist.

      Lots of things science *knows* today may be proven wrong in the future. But the evolution of man through multiple incarnations in progressively lower to higher races as influenced by Lucifer and Ahriman is not very likely to be one of them.

  109. Brendan Archer
    April 20, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    Looking for some academic assessment of Steiner Education it appears the only one is a DFES commissioned a research study into Steiner Education in England. You can find it on many Stiner School websites. It notes the lack of comparative research.
    Any positive finding must be suspect as this is from a small group of three academics, including Philip and Glenys Woods, who also run:
    http://freespiritedu.org/Home___FreeSpirit_Education.html
    On the website of their organisation Glenys Wood’s profile says:
    “If asked to summarise her beliefs in a word, Glenys would describe them as holistic, as would Philip concerning his beliefs
    Glenys’s spiritual path has led to her participation in numerous spiritual workshops and to her initiation as a Priestess of Shekinah and of Divine Mother Sophia, into the Order of Lord Melchizadek and The Violet Flame, and into the work of the Grandmothers (Net of Light). She is a Reiki Master (Atlantean and Crystal) and has been trained in Angelic Reiki Healing, Crystal Skull healing and other methods. Glenys does absent healing, as well as contact healing, which includes animals.
    “Aware of how important spiritual development is for holistic leadership, she is proactive in raising awareness of the value and significance of spirituality, so that it is not marginalised, and the importance at this time of understanding the ‘divine feminine’ and what this means for individuals’ growth and evolution.
    “Glenys is currently offering free absent healing and has started a new absent healing list for 2012. If you would like your name added to her weekly healing list, please e-mail her and put ‘Wings of Shekinah’ in the subject box. Ask to be included on the absent healing list for weekly healing. There is no need to state your health issue or problem unless you feel you wish to. All e-mails will be acknowledged.”

  110. Lorie
    June 12, 2012 at 2:22 am

    It’s good to see more critical sites to Waldorf schools on the ‘net. When we enrolled our 7 year old daughter in a Virginia Waldorf school in 2006, there was nothing out there. My daughter came to Waldorf school reading above grade level and at grade level in math. When we pulled her out a year and a half later, her reading and math were below grade level. It is to her credit that she managed to overcome her deficiencies due to Waldorf in eight months to be ready for 4th grade (She worked really, really hard mastering 2nd and 3rd grade math and reading comprehension [that WAS NOT taught] as well as learning history and science that Waldorf doesn’t see fit to teach.

    We came to Waldorf after a disastrous first grade experience in public schools. She is a smart, gifted, albet strong-willed child and her 1st grade teacher took my child and changed her from someone who loved school so much she wanted to be a teacher to someone who hated school and begged me to let her stay home. We felt that Waldorf would return the love of learning to our daughter. While she loved the hand work classes, she was bored to tears!! In 3rd grade when she should have been given challenging reading material — as was promised — she was placed in a reading group with the beginning readers to help them!!! Her math skills actually eroded because math was only taught 1 day a week. She was not taught any of the history or science that is required by Virginia’s SOL’s for public schools.

    A Waldorf education is not cheap. There are so many other good private schools that ARE accredited, that will academically prepare your child to matriculate to the next grade and to other schools.

    Waldorf schools need to be exposed for the joke that they are. Too many parents get duped into enrolling their kids that even if the school experiences an 80% turnover (like the school in Virginia), there are still unsuspecting parents willing to throw money at them to keep them afloat.

  111. dg
    July 20, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    It is such a shame that Steiner education seems to be taking precedence over other ‘common sense’ approaches such as Montessori or ‘democratic’ schools. What a missed opportunity, really.

    As a parent, the choice is between home schooling (we cant realistically do it), the new age religious ‘craze’ of steiner education, and the traditional state school approach.

    It speaks volumes about the current state of ‘mainstream’ education that I will choose for my children the antroposophy-based (arrghh !) Steiner academy education over the traditional schooling approach.

    Let’s not forget (especially those who talk about HONESTY) that the existing educational system was created at a particualr moment in history, with a set of underlying values, and an ideological agenda behind it.

    I could be wrong , but I doubt many schools approach prospective parents by sending ‘Culture and the State’ (David Lloyd) through the post, then inviting them for a meeting to discuss the school’s role within an institution whose main objective is to help maintain the satus quo and a particular economic model, while at the same time claiming they are an unbiased, rational, objective and scientific educational institution.

    Of course one hopes there’s enough room to manouver for specific schools and teachers, both within Steiner and mainstream approaches. It’s just at this moment in time looks like Steiner education might give us more room to manouver, and (amazingly!) be the lesser of two evils.

    • Andy Lewis
      July 20, 2012 at 5:02 pm

      What evidence do you have to support your belief that schools are there to maintain “the satus quo and a particular economic model”. I don’t remember that lesson at school.

    • Melanie Byng
      July 20, 2012 at 6:51 pm

      be very careful dg. If you understand and like democratic education (my son was at a democratic school) you will not put your child in a Steiner school. It’s the opposite of democratic.

      I don’t agree with you about state education, your analysis is silly. And the education of your children is about your children, not about you. They won’t thank you for being an arse at their expense.

  112. July 31, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    “Of course one hopes there’s enough room to manouver for specific schools and teachers, both within Steiner and mainstream approaches.”

    Yes, Steiner schools are known for their maneuverability and willingness to change. If you don’t like what you see in your Steiner school, just try to change it. Nobody will mind.

  113. December 1, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Personally I think much alternative is valuable, but it must be logical, respect children’s natural instincts and potecy for development and be open about all details of the background philosophy.

    Waldorf education does not work to let children fulfill their full potensial at any age, but rather tries to brainwash children into specific ways of thinking, feelings and beliefs and downright paralyze great aspects of their physical, emotional and intellectual nature.

    Of cource this can be said also about ordinary community owned school and religious schools.

    Another problem connected to the whole Steiner movement, is that it has gained a strong monopoly and political power in many societies that it uses to push aside other alternative approaches.

    In Norway where I live this power reches all the way up to the top political leadership.

  114. Prof Peter Stebbing
    February 28, 2014 at 9:32 am

    There is not the possibility for a child to freely find and develop their passion and potential in the Waldorf School that my son goes to in Schwaebisch Gmuend. At 14 I found my passion in biology. However, in the Waldorf school here, there is the strong emphasis on craft, “humanities” and their dogmatic Waldorf approach to teaching art, but the teaching of what they call “science” is minimal. Due to teacher illnesses (difficulty of finding substitutes since they must know the Waldorf way of packaging the “knowledge”) my son will get 45 hours instead of 67.5 hrs of ‘science’ (biology, chemistry and physics) during this school year (9th class) compared to the UK state school system input of 180 hours (60hrs EACH of biology, chemistry and physics). We were assured that he will learn about ecology when he takes a month long praktikum working on an organic Swiss farm! (I am hoping that an organic farmer will be able to tell him about a’keystone’ species and trophic levels.

    Obviously, the chance of being inspired by real science is significantly reduced in a Waldorf School.

    My son and I both love books and he loves to read despite his School being a book desert.

    Sadly, the decision for my son to attend the Steiner school was not mine. I was able to get him to take an entry exam at 11 for the German State system but the gap was already too great and he did not pass and the knowledge gap is even greater. The damage had already been done.

    Were I a politician I would close down Steiner Schools. They have neither the credibility nor responsibility to care for developing minds. The three university level textbooks I possess on child development make no reference to Steiner!!! – anywhere.

    • February 28, 2014 at 10:28 am

      Thank you for that comment. Your situation is what I fear happening here in the UK.

      As for the ‘organic farm’. That will be a biodynamic farm where Steiner’s occult rituals are practiced. Won’t be a lot of science going on, but a lot of talking to the gnomes.

      • Prof Peter Stebbing
        February 28, 2014 at 11:07 am

        Dear Andy, Thanks so much for your excellent website & blog. Its provided a lot of really valuable information and your clear explanations have helped me to understand much of what I have observed.

        On Wednesday, at the parents evening at the Waldorfschule here in Schwaebisch Gmuend, the biology teacher (also teaching chemistry and geography- I cannot imagine she has a degree in each of those fields) gave us a summary of what she would be teaching in the 9th class (to 14-15 year olds). She brought with her the leg bone of a cow (she, herself did not know which animal it came from and had to ask us! Neither was she testing the parents!) and part of her account was to marvel that out of the bone, a hard material, came a soft fluid: blood from the marrow.

        Well, Mr Gove, is this the sort of revelation/explanation that will make tomorrow’s scientists.

  115. March 7, 2014 at 11:58 pm

    All I can say that you are full of it. Obviously you didn’t get it. Its your loss. But then, we know that there are those who are NOT TO GET it – your slot.

    • March 8, 2014 at 12:57 am

      It’s pretty hard to argue with that… but I’ll try… ;)

      There are tons of parents who thought they “got it” when they were in Waldorf… until at some point, they woke up and actually got it. My blog is filled with parents who thought they knew what they were getting into with Waldorf – only to find out it was something completely different than what it was represented as. Feel free to have a peek… http://thewaldorfreview.blogspot.com/

    • Prof Peter Stebbing
      March 8, 2014 at 10:23 pm

      Thanks Summer for your reply,
      but I am still missing the Steiner/Waldorf explanation. Of course I am full of contrasts too and so is the rest of the World. Its the wonderful way evolution and nature works. In the Ediacaran time about 500 myr ago early evolution of animals with hard skeletons rapidly diversified anatomically exploiting contrasts (Thomas, R.D.K., et al., 2000, Evolutionary exploitation of design options by the first animals with hard skeletons, Science, 19 May 2000, vol 288, no 5469, pps 1239-1242). The REAL science is so much more amazing than Waldorf wobbledygook, gnomes, undines, sylphs and fire spirits which most of us leave behind in the nursery. So you are right, there are those who are not to get it. Reality, is amazing.

  116. Prof Peter Stebbing
    March 8, 2014 at 9:49 am

    The Biodynamics Association provides knowledge about Steiner’s “ecology” and at their web page (https://www.biodynamics.com/nature-spirits-wieting) you can learn that:

    “There are four main types of nature spirits:
    Elemental beings who work in solids, in plants especially in relation to the roots (gnomes);
    Those who work with the fluids and in moisture permeated air, in plants in connection with leaves and sprouting (undines);
    Those who work through air and light, at the flowering stage of plants (sylphs);
    Those who work with warmth, as seeds develop and fruits ripen (fire spirits).”

    My concern is that my son attends a month long “praktikum” this summer and we parents were told that our children will learn about ecology. (Does not figure specifically in the curriculum) The question is whose ecology? Steiner nonsense or real ecology concerned with: the carbon cycle, trophic levels, food chains and keystone species etc. My hunch is that, apart from being cheap labour, he will learn who knows what…?

    I find quite a few papers being published in the scientific journals like Nature and Science about ecological networks, carbon cycles, fragmentation of ecosystems etc but I have yet to find a paper reporting on the ecological roles of gnomes, undines, sylphs and fire spirits.

    The Anthroposophical proof of the existence of the latter must doubtless be all those fires in Australia. I look forward to hearing empirical verification of the existence of the other three…(not counting stationary pottery replicas with red hats often found in gardens).

    The fact is that real NATURE as reported in journals like Science & Nature is absolutely fantastic and amazing. Steiner’s mythologizing obfuscates the real wonder of nature and its reality to young children with mumbo jumbo promoted by a lot of people too fearful to think for themselves and who should be denied any educational responsibility until these adults can get real.

  117. Kim
    June 26, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    The author seems to be anti-”ism”. But what of Scientism? Viewing the world as a collection of objects with no interiority. Dead matter… Undervaluing spirit and the mysterious worlds of the invisible because it can’t be measured… Do you have proof or an argument that this is a superior worldview aside from a Scientific argument? Of course not. We can only justify our worldviews with circular arguments, all of us. Me too. That said, (and I am obviously generalizing here) look how low Scientism has brought us, as a species. Suicide is at an all time high as Western culture spreads. The planet is in peril to such an extent that most of us can’t or won’t even hold it in our minds for more than a moment, the horror of it. The social systems we have built apply such massive and subtle pressure on us that feelings of true peacefulness and freedom are foreign. We focus on money, control, acquisition, and the extension of youth – to the detriment of what we really need as human beings. We are destroying ourselves as a species. Why not try another “ism”? How much harm can a little magical thinking do if it causes us to hold ourselves, our environment, and each other with a little more reverence and gentleness? I say let them continue the experiment, with the hopes that the children will be seen and heard – and that if it doesn’t suit them, their parents will find a better option for the child.

    • June 27, 2014 at 3:58 pm

      “Do you have proof or an argument that this is a superior worldview aside from a Scientific argument? ”

      See that big Occam’s razor at the top of this blog? It isn’t an ad for a shaving product.

      “look how low Scientism has brought us, as a species.”

      Yes, we were much better off when religion ruled all things.

      “Suicide is at an all time high as Western culture spreads. ”

      Yeah, maybe, but compared to the plague…

      “The planet is in peril to such an extent that most of us can’t or won’t even hold it in our minds for more than a moment, the horror of it. ”

      The answer… avoid science, right? I know science must be hard to hold in your mind, especially in such difficult times… and that abandoning science in favor of unfounded beliefs may be a comfort to you. But we are talking about schools here – and there is no place for such fear-driven nonsense in education.

      ” How much harm can a little magical thinking do if it causes us to hold ourselves, our environment, and each other with a little more reverence and gentleness?”

      Magical thinking doesn’t cause people to become reverent and gentle, it causes people to become stupid. Choosing to avoid science (become stupid) is an adult choice, not one that should be forced on children. Do your magical thinking at home and let children receive an education free from nonsense implanted into weak minds by idiots like Steiner.

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