Bill Roache, Karma, Reincarnation and Steiner Schools.

Roache Watching the lunchtime news, it would appear that actor Bill Roache, who has played Ken Barlow in Coronation Street for over 50 years, has been making comments about how sexual abuse victims have brought their problems on themselves as “everything that happens to us has been a result of what we have been in previous lives”.

Why would Roache hold such views?

The answers lie in his education and upbringing.

In his book, Soul on the Street, he describes he got into acting ” largely due to the influence of his theosophist-spiritualist- esotericist-homoeopath grandfather.” His grandfather was an interesting chap who helped set up one of the early Steiner Schools in the UK at Michael House.  Anthroposophy is the crypto-religion developed by Rudolf Steiner and it appears that Roache’s childhood was steeped in the mysticism of this occult belief system.

Steiner Schools are based on the idea that children’s spirits and souls need attention as they are incarnated into their bodies. This incarnation happens in seven years cycles and a teacher’s early role is to help children understand their previous incarnations. As such, these are not places of education, but places of spiritual midwifery. Karma drives the manifestation of souls, with previous actions bearing on subsequent lives. If you have done wrong, then that wrong must be worked out in another life in order for the souls to evolve towards higher forms of spiritual development. Steiner believes the blond haired, blue eyed races of Europe represented the current pinnacle of spiritual development and a child’s soul must be guided towards such incarnations from the ‘lower races’.

Naturally, none of this is discussed on the current Michael House Steiner School web site.

This worldview has consequences within schools. It is a common complaint that bullying goes unchecked as their is a belief that the bullied and the bullier and reversing roles from previous incarnations and these karmic issues must be worked out by the children. Children are divided into temperaments: choleric, sanguine, phlegmatic and melancholic. Such designations, based on physical appearance, guide a teacher’s interactions with a child.

Karma is central to Steiner’s worldview. Disease is a result of karmic influences. If you get measles, that is what is intended for you. If you die, then you will be reincarnated having worked out that aspect of your karma. Steiner schools are notorious as centres of unvaccinated children. Why would you want to intervene in karma?

Roache’s views on the karmic necessity for sexual abuse victims to undergo their experience fits in with his upbringing and exposure to Anthroposophy and the Steiner movement.

This connection should be public as Michael Gove is currently considering at least 13 applications for new Steiner Free Schools. They are being presented as progressive and alternative. But Steiner philosophy is reactionary, anti-educational and offensive. Do we need more Bill Roache’s with views such as this?

240 Comments on Bill Roache, Karma, Reincarnation and Steiner Schools.

  1. Reminiscent of those US ad.s “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV”… “I’m not a loony, but I play one in a series…”

  2. Blimey, what did Mr Roach do in his previous life in order to spend his whole career as the world’s most boring bloke in Coronation Street?

  3. Am I right in thinking that the Steinerists, who will no doubt turn up here, have a keyboard-shortcut programmed into their PCs, Ctrl-Alt-Shift-Y, so every paragraph can start with the words, “Yes, but…”

    Steiner was a racist loon.

    “Yes, but…”

    Steiner schools conceal their real policies.

    “Yes, but…”

    Etc. Etc.

    • No Ctrl-Alt_shift setting here so here goes.. Steiner was, in my opinion neither a rascist or a loon and no, steiner schools , in the main do not conceal their real policies.This is based on 22 years of working in Steiner schools both in my native Ireland and the last nineteen years in Berlin working in a childrens home for pupils with major social and emotional difficulties.Though our school is small-class sized and has a student body of around eighty children we have among them children of german,polish,russian,turkish and serbian families. The religous beliefs within this group include, Muslim, Jewish,Catholic, Protestant beliefs as well as a handful of secular/athiest families.
      The above is to give a concrete example of my particular school.Now it is a fact, and this may be the sticking point for you that there is a free-christian / anthroposophist ethos behind the schools but this is in no way shoved down the pupils throats ( unlike my own experiences in an Irish catholic school.) among the staff of my school roughly 15% could be called practicing anthroposophists.
      As regards the above article I can honestly say that i don`t know whether I should laugh or cry! The ideas put forward would, honestly be laughed out of the room in any teachers meeting. I can also assure you , when confronted with, and working through, the sometimes horrendous experiences and biographies of the children who come under my care I would probably react violently to anyone crass enough to suggest that these victims were in anyway responsible for what was done to and against them. But this is a theory that I never once, not even obliquely , came across in my many years working. I hope this gives you pause for thought because, to be quite honest I really didn`t sense much openess to debate in your post, regards s.

      • Stephen

        You have at least made a constructive contribution. Let’s test what you have just said to some degree.

        “Steiner was, in my opinion neither a rascist or a loon and no, steiner schools”

        How do you reconcile your assertion that Steiner was not a racist with the racial theoretical ideas that are documented here in Andy Lewis’s blog and in other places?
        What about his belief in the literal existence of gnomes?

        We have had two (apparent) pupils of Steiner schools appear in the last few hours and now you’re here. Each of you has advanced a position that is actually a strawman argument, to whit, the critics of steinerism say that no students come out of Steiner schools capable of functioning at a high level in the outside academic and professional world. That is not what is being said. The issue is one of covert and institutionalised racism and other beliefs which may not even be recognised by the students themselves but are implicit in the philosophy that has guided their education. We saw also in relation to the Frome free school blog someone who claimed to associated with the founding of that school who appeared to be advocating some kind of Steinerism-light, which kept all the cuddly bits but excluded all the nasty and weird stuff. The problem was that he could present no coherent way in which the good cherries were picked from the toxic dross. Can you address this?

      • hi, firstly i proposed no strawman argument I merely shared my own experiences , please adress what I write and not simply lump in random assertions of others over which i have neither control nor interest in defending.Yes many anthroposophists believe in the existence of elemental beings and other things which you may have problems with… what. is that really so ludicrous that beliefs which have existed within our western european culture are still in evidence?Can I mention Arthur Conan Doyle, G.K.Chesterton, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkein the last three of whom had discussion groups on Theosophy and later Anthroposophy?? We can say that now we have advanced culturally and scientificaly we have no place for such beliefs and I respect that but,,when you somewhat arrogantly say that we shall put things to the test are you not really saying that the onus is on me to prove something ??? that’s not a debate or a discussion but rather a bully pulpit. The aforementioned writers were , incidentally,
        contemporaries of Rudolf Steiners and were very sympathetic to his philosophy, which was far more complex than merely seeing gnomes or fairies.I will answer one part of your comments about steiner / waldorf education, again from personal experience. I have friends in Norway whose son just finished studying at a Waldorf school, he didnt have to sit any final exams or entrance exams for university, it was enough to get a letter of recommendation from his teacher for him to be accepted into med-school,such is the trust the state has in the waldorf curriculum. On a final note I was raised as a catholic, a belief system I have long since discarded, yet when I visit home and see many of my friends and family members still attending mass, then I don`t lecture them ,I don`t look down my nose at them and i certainly don`t feel superior to them I simply feel different.The steiner school movement is the largest non-state school system here in Germany do you really think it could really harbour racists without the parents, the pupils the teachers or the educational authority noticing…really? I know of two teachers who were fired for connections to right wing parties in the whole of Germany, in nineteen years…..less by far than in the state system of whatever country you might compare it with.

      • “hi, firstly i proposed no strawman argument”

        You didn’t explicitly, those two pupils did. But now you have;

        “I have friends in Norway whose son just finished studying at a Waldorf school, he didnt have to sit any final exams or entrance exams for university…”

        Call me psychic.

        You also seem to have answered a set of questions rather different to the ones I asked. They were;

        How do you reconcile your assertion that Steiner was not a racist with the racial theoretical ideas that are documented here in Andy Lewis’s blog and in other places?
        What about his belief in the literal existence of gnomes?

        I’ll answer your question;

        “you really think it could really harbour racists without the parents, the pupils the teachers or the educational authority noticing…really?”

        Given the policies of obfuscation and evasion that Andy and others have documented and the lack of willingness of public authorities to examine the background of these schools that have been allowed to grow in parallel to state schools I can see a number of reasons why this could occur.

        All of this has wandered off the original topic of this blog, which is leniency towards perpetrators and blaming of victims of abuse because their actions are blamed on the working out of karma and reincarnation. You say that only 15% of your colleagues are practising anthroposophists. What are their views of this? What is yours? If you find this aspect of steinerism to be unpalatable, explain to us, as I have previously asked, how do you create the steinerism-light that you imply contains only the good bits ?

      • Stephen – CS Lewis was not fond of anthroposophy and called Rudolf Steiner “a sort of panpsychist, with a vein of posing superstition.” So you can mention him if you like, but it will not help your case.

      • hi Melanie,
        good that someone else uses their given name! I mentioned Lewis because He, Tolkein and Chesterton were interested in Theosophy, the forerunner of Anthroposophy and had regular meetings on the topic, out of this came Lewis`s decision to convert to catholicism.My point in mentioning them was more to illustrate their willingness to explore new ideas and philosophies, (including the existence or possibility thereof of elemental beings) than to make them into poster boys of anthroposophy. My original point was and is that no self-respecting waldorf teacher would agree with the loathsome opinions espoused by Bill Roach. I have the feeling that some of the commentators here are happier with the assumption that this is a result of waldorf education and I`m merely trying to bring a balancing view based not on theory but practice and direct experience.

      • monkey, a strawman argument whereby i give you a concrete example of how other countries view Waldorf education and accept that the students are capable of adding positively to modern society??? you appear erudite and I assume computer literate , then google Norway and Steiner school and see what you find… straw just facts.Now , pleases read my contributions through, read my description of my own school, I personally am not an anthroposophist, but (and yes, here comes a clarification that will no doubt irk) it isnt a requirment for staff because it is not part of the curriculum and is not fed to the children. If you can show me any proof whatsoever that steiner schools are institutionaly racist then present it , a knee-jerk its so because I heard it somewhere or read a blog doesn`t quite cut it. I`ve read other blogs where people have maintained that Steiner collaborated with the National Socialists despite the fact that he died in the twenties!! And simply to present one last point the Steiner schools and Anthroposophy were banned by the N.S. regime in Germany, especially because of the work they did with mentally handicapped people.

      • “a strawman argument whereby i give you a concrete example of how other countries view Waldorf education and accept that the students are capable of adding positively to modern society???”

        It’s a strawman argument because the capability of selected examples of Steiner school students is not where the criticism is being directed.

        You’ve still not directly addressed the issue of Steiner’s racial theories and explained how they have been acknowledged and explicitly rejected by steiner-light organisations.

        Do you accept or deny that Steiner’s published views, in the light of modern understanding of these issues, were racist?

      • I gave you an example of a governmental acknowledgement of the school system not just individual children but steiner schools throughout Norway…all….. every one. And I`m still waiting for a direct example of racist teachings in order to respond…..are you reading any of my comments through??

      • melanie fair play to ya at least you made the effort now delve further and see what you find about the norwegian department of education recognizing an d accepting that students are admitted to third level education without taking state exams, that was my point. It`s a wee bit disingenuous to only seek out the critics.I am sure you are aware that there’s websites to suit every taste….there are even, shudder… websites devoted to attacking secularism and humanism, ( although they`re not much fun lots of bigotry and members who are not able to countenance other opinions 🙂

      • I didn’t ‘seek out the critics’, Stephen – I’m highlighting a book by a major Norwegian publishing house.

      • Melanie, fair enough but I’m still interested as to whether you found any information on my original point.

      • Neither Tolkien (note the spelling) nor C.S. Lewis were interested in or sympathetic to Anthroposophy; the only connection is that they were part of an Oxford literary circle called the Inklings which included one member, Owen Barfield, who was an Anthroposophist.

        Lewis was never a Catholic – he was converted to Christianity from an atheist position by Tolkien (who was a Catholic), but remained resolutely Protestant.

        It is a long, long time since I read the phrase “mentally handicapped”, btw. Are Steiner schools still using it? Their idea of people with learning disabilities as “imperfectly incarnated souls” is neither progressive nor empowering.

        A woman with learning disabilities told me once that her boyfriend had lived at a Steiner boarding scholl and had hated it because he was not allowed radio or television. I suppose he learnt about gnomes instead.

  4. Is it karma or irony that some teenagers in Ohio(US) were convicted of sexual assault based on social network bragging about it.

    Is there anyplace for Monty Python in a Steiner school? I guess they are too serious to see the loony aspects of Anthroposophy. Stuffy chaps, I’ll bet.

  5. I wonder what the people at Steiner schools are thinking about this, given that they are trying rather hard to suggest they don’t teach any anthroposophy, and they’re trying to play it down and hope no one looks into it too much.

    Is Roache the rope they’ll hang themselves with?

    A good friend of mine was a victim of child abuse. I know his public comments have hit her really, really hard. I can only imagine the rest of the devastation he has caused.

    • Well, none of the “Yes, but…” brigade have turned up here yet, which is unusual given the recent pattern of postings on Steiner-related articles on this site.

      Bill Roache does appear to be the QED example that shows teaching loopy esoteric nonsense to children has a lifelong effect on their mindset. It does make it harder to sustain a position that Steiner’s view were a. Not toxic and b. not taught at Steiner schools.

      Ctrl-Alt-Shift-Y “Yes, but…” he went to a Steiner school a long time ago. It’s all different now.

  6. The disgusting ideology of “karma” is one that i have fought against all my life. As a therapeutic foster mother of many sexually abused children, I too have come across natural parents who have taught their own children that their sexual abuse has happened to teach them a “karmic” lesson and that they caused it by actions from a previous life.

    The same parents, (now in prison), consider India to be a Utopia because “karma” is practiced there. Really – then ask the millions of dalits, (untouchables), who live at the bottom of the pile. Considered rubbish at birth they die as “rubbish”. Even if a dalit has a Ph D they are still often condemned to jobs like cleaning up the poo of the Brahmins, (highest caste). Spiritual??!!

  7. As a parent of an abuse victim at a Waldorf/Steiner school, I’d like to personally extend an invitation to Mr. Roache to go fuck himself. I’m tempted to write more, but on second thought… I think that pretty much covers my sentiment on the subject at this point.

    • From wikipedia 13.8% of the worlds population are Hidus and 6.77% Buddhists. Karma is viewed by this 20% segment of the worlds population in many different ways. If Fiona believes that Bill speaks for all these people then she should get out more. Karma is viwed in many different ways.
      2.01% of the worlds population are atheists. It would be daft to judge all these people according to the beliefs of some people who post on here.

      • Having been raised in a buddhist household, I can certainly confirm that this interpretation of karma is not unique to anthroposophy. Karma is cause and effect, i.e. effects that happen in your life are a result of causes that you have made in your life, or previous lives. So if something bad happens to you, you have done something to deserve it.

        None of the buddhists I’ve ever met would be so crass as to tell this to victims of abuse though.

      • Well, Grumpycat, I’ll allow that you are not a Yes-butter, you’re more of a Random Tangentialist.

        All that is required for the points Andy makes in this blog to be valid is for Bill Roache to speak for Bill Roache and for Bill Roache to be a product of an unpleasant esoteric cult.

      • Grumpycat

        You are very done of the “only asking questions” ploy. Just for a change, say something substantive, relevant and useful. Give us some positive characteristics about Steiner’s views on race and karma.

      • Feckin’ autocorrect.


        You are very good at the “only asking questions” ploy. Just for a change, say something substantive, relevant and useful. Give us some positive characteristics about Steiner’s views on race and karma.

  8. Emma Jesson said 2012 was going to be a big year for Bill after they ‘amicably’ split up.

    Presumably because he’s decided to finally start spouting all the nonsense he believes in public.

  9. I wonder if Roache thinks the children in the Savile scandal had it coming.

    I assume that Anthroposophy is based on the Hindu karmic idea. I get it that you are reincarnated as a lower life form if you were naughty in a prior life. I don’t believe actual physical abuse was ever a part of the Hindu karmic beliefs. Abuse might be incidental to your station in life. I also doubt Steiner contemplated this type of payback. This idea has all the trappings of “blame the victim” seen in a lot of organized children’s or women’s abuse cases.

    • My experience of people who believe in karma is that yes, they do believe that experiences in one lifetime are a consequence of deeds done in previous ones. In fact, it’s central to the concept of karma as a life-affecting force. If you believe in reincarnation, then you have to accept that not all of your previous incarnations were necessarily nice people. However, I’ve never encountered this aspect of karma to be used in an explicitly ‘blame the victim’ manner, but it is implicit within the belief system of the buddhist sect that I know. I think it’s also most likely to be a strong part of many other faiths and sects that believe in karma, not just anthroposophy. Fundamentally I see karma as an attempt to explain why bad things can happen to good people. For believers, it’s not about blaming the victim, but about trying to change a life-affecting force through religious practice.

      Now, that probably sounds quite odd for those who have never thought about karma before. I’m an atheist, but was raised in a buddhist household. So, I don’t believe any of it, but have enough experience of the belief system to see it’s internal logic.

      • “Logic” might be overstating the case. Like “God”, if Karma (were it real) has this much control over our lives, it could stop the “bad things can happen to good people” merry-go-round and just make everyone good. That it doesn’t do this suggests that, like “God”, it lacks a worthwhile moral compass.

  10. So are sex-abusers punished or rewarded in the next life?? If they’re just karmically programmed to mete out justice from past lives, it hardly seems fair to look dimly on their abuse and punish it next time round? Which of course prompts the question of what the abused did in a past life to warrant such a horrific punishment in this one? One has to assume it was a victimless crime, because surely any victim must’ve had it coming? As a celebrity endorsed idea, it surely stops somewhere very sensible at some point…

    • I know nothing about Hindu ideas of Karma, I may be wrong, but I think the following is fairly orthodox in some Buddist circles:

      Karma is a moral system of cause and effect, but makes no moral judgements. Compare to physical laws; if you step of a cliff you will fall, the question of whether or not you deserve to fall does not arise. Also compare with emotional states within a single life, if you are angry with someone, the introspection and obsession with past events is detrimental to your life. It’s not so much that you deserve to suffer because of your anger, the suffering is just an inevitable consequence of being angry.

      Contemplating the consequence of Karma is supposed to expand the number of people to whom you feel compassion. In past lives you have been abused. Harder to deal with; in other past lives you have been an abuser. Realising this you should act with compassion towards both abuser and abused. Try to minimise others suffering so far as is possible whilst refraining from harsh judgement and cruel punishments.

      The trouble is that, as with all religious attempts to explain evil, such ideas can be twisted up as Roache has here. As an atheist I think we’d be better of ditching supernatural ideas and dealing with the world as it is but that’s another issue.

      It’s an interestingly fascist reading of Karma from Steiner though. An exalted enlightened elite looks down on a spiritually deficit class whose suffering is deserved, ingrained in their very nature and ultimately self inflicted.

      Very nasty, very NAZI and as enlightened as my arse.

      • Sam Harris (End Of Faith et al) tells an interesting story about when he was exploring Buddhism. Travelling in Tibet he encountered a seriously disabled girl. When he expressed sympathy for the girl to the woman who was ‘caring’ for her, the woman made it clear that sympathy was not valid since the girl had clearly brought her state upon herself through her actions in a previous life.

        Harris says that was a turning point for him in realising that Buddhism wasn’t necessarily all lovely.

        Karma is a typically religious man made and nonsense concept, and necessarily leads to the riciculous views expressed by Roache.

      • I agree with the last comment by Matt. The problem is that the concept of karma can be used in very Nazi ways. Of course I have come across other people who interpret karma in a very liberal and “compassionate” way. But however you look at it when is it dressed down to its basics it is a “blame the victim” philosophy and Andy’s post expressed that it can be used in this manner, and often is.

        The problem with child abuse victims is that they often blame themselves and think there must have been something wrong with them to get abused in the first place and all good therapy is based on helping them come to the realisation that they did nothing wrong and the total blame for the abuse always lies with the abusive adult. Therefore any philosophy that can be interpreted to tell them that they actually were to blame for their abuse for actions in a previous life actually becomes another form of child abuse, and Bill Roache is using it as such. In making such statements I consider that he himself is a child abuser and am not surprised at his defence of others abusers.

        I an very grateful to Andy and people like him for bringing this philosophy to light

  11. Auto correct BSM? How the hell did your made up word tangentialist get through! Who do you think you are George W Bush?
    No surprise you don’t want to take on the main world religions.
    Easier to pick off Steiner I think. I dont know much about Steiner but I will judge for myself if I have the time.
    The way your campaigns go I predict that there will soon be 20 Steiner schools opening.

    • Oh, Grumpycat, would you deny one of the joys of this language of ours? It allows us this great freedom to extend and develop word-forms. Even while you mock it, you clearly comprehended what the word tangentialist means. It is therefore a successful token of linguistic exchange.

      But here were are meta-discussing again instead of dealing directly with the relevant issues. This is, as usual, because you never quite manage to say anything useful, instead everything you post is couched in slippery evasions and barrack-room lawyering over irrelevant minutiae. It’s a quite fascinating behaviour.

      In this instance, you pop up to defend Steiner with a strawman discussion but when asked to defend Steiner explicitly you plead ignorance. Poor little you.

      You asked whether I consider two major world religions to be unpleasant esoteric cults. I said I do not. That is not the same as lending them my wholehearted support in all their tenets and beliefs. On the other hand, Steinerism, for the many reasons outlined at this site and elsewhere appears to have no identifiable redeemable features. It makes statements about the physical world that are false and it makes assertions about the supernatural that are offensive. But you can’t comment about it becuse you know so little.

      Interestingly you remain the only voice to appear in this discussion to defend steinerism and you’re not really even willing to to that. Obviously as a homeopath you shy away from ever being pinned down to definitive statements for which you might be held accountable. That’s what you and your friends do. It’s how you make money. But just for once, let’s try to get from you an honest answer to a straight question: Tell the nice people who read these pages, are the victims of abuse a result of karmic processes? I think a yes/no answer will suffice.

      • For what it’s worth, I think the word “tangentialist” is genius. I instantly know what it means and although it’s a long word it conveys a complicated idea that would otherwise need many words to explain.

  12. Quite frankly, people who ridicule the belief in karma are far worse offenders in terms of racism than Steiner.
    And all we see here is generally abusive remarks, like “he is a loon”, or “the disgusting ideology of karma”, or Steinerites have no sense of humour, etc, etc. As an unfortunate victim of Western education (often humourless), all I can say is that I know too well the types of personality who write things like “instead everything you post is couched in slippery evasions and barrack-room lawyering”. They were the playground bullies (often bullied themselves), who preferred to insult and to bully than to understand and respect others.

    • Steve

      I see you have posted to complain about the terms in which critics of Steiner’s views couch that criticism, but have done nothing to address those criticisms. Please feel free to present a constructive defence of Steiner’s views on karma. I’ll pose to you the same question I gave to Grumpycat: are the victims of abuse simply reaping the rewards of karma?

      If you feel I have been unfair in my description of Grumpycat’s posts here then please search his username and read all of what he has written on this site.

      • I thought it close to literature. Beautifully written.

        But I do wonder if Steve is one of those playground bullies he refers to given that he’s on the internet calling other people racists, offenders and bullies. Not really the sort of Karmic “compassion towards both abuser and abused” that was written about earlier.

    • Steve

      You are so correct. You are indeed an unfortunate victim of Western education (well, education full stop to be honest).

      How on earth is disbelief in a nonsensical sky fairy concept like karma racist?

      Perhaps you could enlighten us and let us know how karma works. Is there some sort of cosmic financial management software (KARMA_SAGE) which tots up your good/bad acts in some sort of metaphysical double entry accounting software.

      Trod on an ant Minus 1 karmic point
      Trod on another ant Minus 1 karmic point
      Trod on 3 ants Minus 3 karmic points

      Gave alms to beggar Plus 10 karmic points

      Daily Trial Balance Plus 5 karmic points.
      Lifetime P&L Statement Minus 2000 karmic points. Reincarnate as earthworm

      Or is the whole process less sophisticated?

  13. BSM wrote the gobbledygook. ‘Tell the nice people who read these pages, are the victims of abuse a result of karmic processes.’

    You are having real language problems BSM. Maybe this is karma for the occasions when you have been very quick to point out grammatical errors in my posts.

    I think the first fews paras of Matt’s post summarise quite well how a lot of people see karma. This is not in the Bill Roache way.

    • P.S. If you took the trouble to parse my question carefully you would find that it makes perfect grammatical sense, although we could have a jolly discussion about whether the singular noun result should have been a plural. I’d argue that victims of abuse represent a singular class in the context of that sentence so could respectably described as a result rather than results. It is suggested there are multiple results of karma and the (plural) victims of abuse constitute one of those results.

      Isn’t grammar pedantry fun? It sure beats giving honest answers to straight questions for some people.

  14. Grumpycat

    Ooh, a grammar flame instead of answer.

    Anyhooo….moving on and rephrased for the hard of understanding.

    Is sexual abuse a result of karmic processes acting upon the victims?

  15. My late lamented brother John told you about how KARMA killed our Uncle Dick coz he ran over a kangaroo. When he wrote about our Gran dying from DIRTY ELECTRIX he did not tell the whole story which is one that proves KARMA is real and controls our destiny!!!!

    In the war our Grandad Bill was an ARP coz he had been gassed in WW1 and was not fit for the military. He got home early one night during the blackout and found Gran in bed with three Guardsmen. He was a bit miffed at this and there was some humming and hawing but Gran managed to convince him that she was the reincarnation of Catherine The Great and that KARMA had given her an insatiable sexual appetite. Grandad Bill accepted this coz she looked a bit similar although he did wonder why he never seemed to benefit from this wantonness. 

    Gran got Grandad to rewire the house in the early 50’s. He was up in the attic doing junction boxes and there was a leakage of heavy electrix which caused the attic floor to collapse. Grandad fell through the ceiling, down the staircase and broke his neck. SO! KARMA decided that Gran had killed him in the same way that Catherine the Great killed her husband Grand Duke Peter and there would be KARMIC ATONEMENT for her sins.

    That is why Gran was killed by DIRTY ELECTRIX years later by the cosmic cycle of KARMA. What goes around comes around (or down in Grandad’s case). This is a TRUE STORY which proves KARMA is real!!!!!. 

    And she always watched Coronation Street as well – which closes off the great circle of karmic destiny. 

    (We never could work out why Gran died on the khazi though).

    • Oh please tell me that wasn’t an invitation for readers to think “Karma Khazi”. Or is that just me. It’s late here, if that matters.

      • Karma Khazi

        What goes around comes around.
        What goes up must go down.
        What goes in must come out.
        That’s good for your soul.

        Just flush and spray a little air freshener. That’s good for your sole.
        Use a bidet and a wet-wipe. That’s good for your hole.

      • That was my Japanese/Irish uncle Toshiro O’Faoilte – “The Feckin Eejit of the Divine Wind” – who was Irelands most decorated kamikazi pilot with 43 succesful missions.

  16. Karma Khazi

    What goes around comes around.
    What goes up must go down.
    What goes in must come out.
    That’s good for your soul.

    Just flush and spray a little air freshener. That’s good for your soul.
    Use a bidet and a wet-wipe. That’s good for your hole.

    (With thanks to Steve Jobs again)

  17. I think the language, abuse, crassness and inability to understand the points of view of others speaks for itself. Certainly any school that teaches individuals how to behave humanely is gold dust in today’s society.

    • How does Steiner’s racism and belief in karma contribute to that gold dust? Again we come back to your claim that Steiner schools engine the gold and discard the dross. You have been given evidence that they do not. You have been given evidence that steinerism has a policy of active concealment of its ideas and methods. You yourself have said that you do not agree with all of Steiner’s views, so there are parts you disagree with. But you have not told us which parts you disagree with and the basis on which you pick the cherries that you do like.

      Please desist in complaining about the tone of the criticism while you refuse to address those criticisms at all. The critics’ tone of angry exasperation is well deserved and results from the obvious evasiveness of Steiner’s advocates who have posted on this blog.

      • Firstly please desist from using terms like “steinerist” since as a current Steiner school student, I have never heard of any such thing. Second, I am nothing like steiner’s advocate and can’t say I would be much good at it either since in all my years at this school I have never been taught anything about him or what his beliefs might have been. Lastly, about this whole karma business, everyone knows karma is, pardon my French, bullshit. As a Steiner student I have never been told otherwise and I don’t see when Steiner education and karma became apparently intertwined at all since we have no particular belief in it, it’s irrelevant.

      • I think the word steinerist works just fine, thanks, so I’ll use it as appropriate.

        “I don’t see when Steiner education and karma became apparently intertwined”

        With Steiner.

        By the way, has it become some sort of class project to post on this blog or did you find it independently and choose to post here?

      • I found this blog independently and decided to start posting because the arguments here seem very unfair, in other words all your negative opinions of anthroposophy and Rudolph Steiner have been reflected on to steiner schools, and I just wanted to make clear from a first hand point of view that we are not taught any of these ideas at school at all. I have no intention of protecting anthroposophists, all i want to say is that the education I am receiving is of a very high standard and i have had no kind of contact with the side of steiner described as a “cult”.

      • Because I am currently in education and do not feel pressured into any particular belief system, in fact all teachers i have encountered form several different schools are very open minded and perfectly willing to listen to other student’s views without contradicting them. That being the case, if I have been somehow programmed with Steiner ideology it has been entirely without my knowing, so are you suggesting that i am some kind of “steinerist” sleeper agent waiting to be activated to spread karma and overly diluted medicine to the world?

      • Perhaps Mike should find out what Steiner teachers study to become teachers.

        It might also surprise him to find out that not everyone thinks the karma business is bullshit. Anthroposophists are among those who do not think that. Oddly enough. Karma is certainly not irrelevant in anthroposophy, and not in waldorf education either, as waldorf is based upon the anthroposophical view of man. (Check it out! Even a former Steiner school student can do it!)

      • In fact a current Steiner school student, and whilst i have no intention of flatly disregarding any link between karma and anthroposophy (since i know virtually nothing about either)I will say that the Steiner curriculum is not synonymous with anthroposophy and whether or not it linked, it is most certainly not taught, let alone imposed on students.

      • @ Mike March 25, 2013 at 11:37 pm (these threads are hopeless, sorry, there’s no reply button on Mike’s comment).

        If you had read properly, you would have noted that I didn’t claim anhroposophy is imposed on students. Though indirectly it actually is — as it is the foundation of the pedagogy, which certainly is imposed on students.

        Of course there is a link between anthroposophy and karma — karma and reincarnation are central beliefs of anthroposophy! I do not understand why Steiner students make ridiculous objections to what Andy writes when they don’t have the faintest clue even about the most central anthroposophical ideas. And, yes, Steiner teachers do study anthroposophy to become teachers.

        As a former Steiner school student who has managed to find out more, I’m sure you can do it too!

  18. I think karma has been a side track.

    We should remember that secular world views are also capable of blaming the victim. The UK periodically ties itself in knots over whether inebriated and scantily clad young ladies should share the blame if they are assaulted.

    What matters for Steiner is how their world view will impact on the way they care for children. Beliefs are a guide enabling prediction of the believer’s future actions.

    There are two parts to this. The obvious part is how we might predict their behaviour in the event that abuse is uncovered. Less obvious is that predatory paedophiles might be making the same predictions we do and come to view the schools as a soft touch. So, the Steinerists may be honest people who wouldn’t themselves harm a child, and just happen to have curious theoretical ideas about Karma, and yet those ideas still open up a threat to the children under their care.

  19. The world is repulsed by Roache’s remarks. And yet, they are exactly what Steiner taught and what Waldorf teachers are taught and, presumably, believe.

    Roache’s world has been turned upside down by simply revealing what he believes. If Waldorf revealed that they believe these things too, I suspect the Waldorf world would be turned upside down too. I think it’s extremely important to connect Roache’s ideas to their source… and point out that it’s the common source of the ideas that guide ALL Waldorf schools.

    • And this is what our tangentialist friend Grumpycat and sugar-pill enthusiast Steve both seem to be wilfully ignoring.

  20. Ok, before disregarding this post entirely please consider that as a student intent on currently trying to pass my a-levels, my priority is currently the quality of my education. That said, I go to a Steiner school, and so far I have been receiving excellent education in my subjects (maths, geography, chemistry and graphic design. Not anthroposophy or karma studies or whatever the hell it is you people seem to think Steiner education is about). I have no motive to protect Rudolph Steiner or his beliefs, and in fact I don’t feel I am in any position to since I have never been taught anything about that. Therefore I must forcefully object to all assertions that Steiner schools are places of occult worship or any of these equally far fetched theories. I invite anyone with an opposing opinion who feels strongly enough about the matter to actually do something and visit a school, not just bitch about it online. Now with all that in mind, take a second look at where your accusations are coming from besides each other’s deranged ravings. If any one would like to have an intelligent discussion about my first hand experiences of Steiner education, I would be happy to. Just leave out the childish name calling and random slander because it benefits no one. Thank you for reading, and hopefully actually considering what I had to say.

    • Hi Mike,

      Since you claim not to know what Steiner wrote about, do you feel you are in any position to comment on what Mr. Roache (and Steiner) said about pedophiles and karma? Maybe you should ask your teachers how they feel about it before assuming you know.

      “Therefore I must forcefully object to all assertions that Steiner schools are places of occult worship or any of these equally far fetched theories. ”

      Really? Have you ever been to a faculty meeting at your school? Do you know they light a candle during each meeting, and discuss the spiritual progress of the children?

      I’m glad you have been kept in the dark about what goes on in your school… that’s as it should be. But please don’t assume that because you were kept in the dark, that you somehow know about the things that were hidden from you.

      • For the purpose of this argument let’s assume you are right about what goes on behind the student’s backs, and by this I am neither agreeing nor disregarding your point. That said, if these aspects never leak through to the students and therefore do not influence them directly in any way, and meanwhile manage to provide an excellent standard of education, then from the child’s point of view, I would see no problem.

      • Once again, how do you know you have been given an excellent education and that you have not been influenced by anthroposophy?

      • I know I have been given an excellent education because I achieved straight A’s in my GCSEs last year without any outside tutoring and am doing well so far this year too. As for anthroposophy, I don’t believe in it. That is enough of an assurance for me that I haven’t been influenced.

      • 8 subjects. English, maths, Spanish, double science, history, German and fine art. Sune? I don’t know what that is

      • Mike

        Just to be clear about your achievement, these were all at grade A were they? Doubtless some of your colleagues got a fair portion of A* grades. Am I right?

      • correct, there were those that did better, and others worse, just like any other school as far as i am aware. I am merely highlighting that steiner schools actually do provide good education in “normal” subjects, not just in painting, singing and whatever other things are stereotypical associated with steiner schools.

      • I’m sorry, I missed one of your points in my reply. I have indeed been to a faculty nesting and I saw no such thing. As to the spiritual development of children, this is something possibly present in the lower school, but if so I think what you are referring to is how they discus a child’s development, which if you ask me is perfectly normal since the main goal of a school at that stage is to make sure the children develop into mature and independent adults. This does not mean “spiritual the development” in the sense of karma and such, but general mental development.

      • This is from a handbook on how to set up a Steiner School,

        While Rudolf Steiner himself recognized the need to compromise on some issues in order for the first Waldorf school to survive, he was quite clear that some things were not negotiable. One of these was the absolute connection between the way of working in the school and the spiritual realities upon which this way of working is based. The teacher is not to teach anthroposophy to the children. But the teacher is required to use anthroposophy as a method of investigation and of understanding in order to properly meet the children.

      • “The teacher is not to teach anthroposophy to the children.”

        So if using anthroposophy to understand the child works (which it can do in some cases) without imposing those beliefs on them is something they believed in why is that a problem considering that children come out of Steiner schools as well developed and qualified individuals? On a side note, it might interest you to know that our school has received letters from universities commenting on the high standard of students coming out of our school. If a little anthroposophy was employed in the early years maybe I will also have to admit maybe it worked…

      • A student would not be invited to those parts of the meeting of the college of teachers when candles are lit, prayers are said, meditations or discussion on a the spiritual development of individual children take place. It differs, as far as I know, but it isn’t even self-evident that all teachers or staff participate. I don’t have a lot of information about how it works, but I can say as much as this: pupils would not participate. If they’re invited in, for some reason, it is to those parts of the meeting wich don’t require an anthroposophical understanding. (It would of course be unethical, if not actually breaking confidentiality and even laws, to let another student sit in to listen while the spiritual aspects or personal problems of another student are discussed.)

    • Sorry for late reply, but if this is the case, then why bother calling it a Steiner school at all. Why not just call it a school, if it teaches as well and has no element of Steiner teachings at all. Am I missing something obvious?

      If that’s the case with Steiner schools,I went to a fundamentalist Islam school. They just never mentioned anything at all about Islam, ever, or taught us any Islamic beliefs or anything.

      • The term Steiner school only comes from its founder and does not necessarily imply that all his possibly outdated ideas are actively taught to students.

      • 65I must say I´m rather disappointed by this thread so far.People with apparently no experience of waldorf education pontificating on issues of which they they have no real understanding.I as a waldorf teracher of over 20 years standing and Mike, who has just come through the school system have attempted, independently of each other , to put some points forward based on direct experience .Badly-shaved-monkey (and how proud he must be of his clever pseudonym ) has time and time again accused steiner and by default me as a waldorf teacher also of being racist .Now i have asked him a number of times to give me a concrete example and have yet to recieve a reply, in fact he`s spent the time arrogantly attacking the posts of a schoolboy !! A couple of points need to be made. BSM steinerist is not a word and because you deem it to be one does not make it `àppropriate“…My reaction to Roaches remarks has been of pure disgust.. I have never in my career came across anyone in a steiner school, neither among the teachers nor the parent body who shared Roaches totally erroneous take on Karma.I mentioned that I work with children with special social needs and developmental problems.Quite a lot of them have been abused,physically,sexually and emotionally.The work of our institution is not only important it`s essential for the needs of these children so perhaps you need to consider whether or not you really want to tar everyone with the same brush.
        It would be far more refreshing to encounter a rational exchange of opinions than be confronted with closed minds and bully-pulpits. There is really no challenge involved in` hear me i am right you`re wrong.

      • Thank you for this, i completely agree. I was accused earlier of of being a “steinerist” masquerading as a teenager in order to give my points more credibility due to my writing style which is apparently too sophisticated for someone taking their A-levels. If people on this forum would use more valid arguments to contradict me than calling me a liar, I would be much obliged.

      • ‘People with apparently no experience of waldorf education pontificating on issues …’

        That’s not true. I’ve been at a Steiner school for 9 years, and I basically agree with Andy — sure, there are details where I might differ, but on the whole, I believe he offers a necessary corrective to the official waldorf/steiner image.

        And as for karma: When reading about Steiner education I’ve certainly come across many perspectives on karma that differ from Roache’s perspective only in degree not in nature.

        The thing is, one might reasonably ask what ideas about karma have got to do in education at all. You can do all you need to do for children and their education without involving or using any ideas about karma. I suspect that the risks inherent in applying such a concept far outweighs the potential benefits (which don’t seem too apparent to me).

      • Alicia ,Firstly your understanding of what goes on in teachers meetings is a little off, having spent 22 years in various schools i can only say that I`ve only once experienced candles in the meeting.As for Karma it is a part of the overall view of the individual children and as such does get some attention but to be frank I´ve heard the word very little over the years. Believe it or not our meetings also include issues such as curriculum, paperwork,substitute teaching and all the other mundane day to day tasks involved in any school.And yes Waldorf schools can be described as faith-based, which could best be described as Christian with esoteric influences.Now that might be a problem for some but there are many alternative school systems available.I`ve personally never witnessed, or took part in the forcing of a child to enroll in a Waldorf school.I`m a little baffled as to why Steiner schools get people so riled up, why should the concept of Karma so enrage people? This is not a rhetorical question , I am genuinely interested.

      • Stephen — I can’t say what’s been going on in the faculty meetings at your particular school. Lighting candles is pretty much a standard thing in Steiner environments, and I do not find reports of candles at faculty meetings worth doubting — I have no reason to doubt teachers or anthroposophists who have written about these meetings. I can’t even see why it would be wrong to light candles; there is a spiritual/religious atmosphere to certain parts of these meetings — prayers, meditations, reading Steiner –, and candles or not is not the issue. I have a much bigger problem with the so called ‘child studies’ — whether or not the happen by candle-light.

        I think that what riles people up more than karma is that Steiner schools don’t openly say that they evaluate children based upon, among other things, ideas about karma. That this is part of how they view children.

        Being more open about it would be a good start. It shouldn’t be up to critics of Steiner schools to explain why and how karma is part of anthroposophy and thus relevant to Steiner education.

        Basically, people who do not want to have their children subjected to teachers who might view them from a karmic perspective ought to have a chance to understand that this might happen — and go elsewhere.

        I’m sure there would still be people who were riled up at the mere thought of applying karma, but Steiner schools would avoid one particular reason for people being riled up: not having been fully informed before making a choice.

        And if we’re talking about state funding of these schools — these things must be on the table. And since Steiner school proponents won’t highlight them, it really is up to people like Andy to raise objections.

        So perhaps that might be some reasons.

        I think you’re wrong about the description, by the way — I think waldorf schools are more aptly described as esoteric with a christian tinge than ‘christian with esoteric influences’. Steiner’s worldview is esoteric and there are christian elements but also much else (some of which is pretty far from christianity).

      • stephen dorgan

        The difficulty is that Steiner Schools are so closely tied to your description of a religion that is ” Christian with esoteric influences”.

        I would suggest firstly that description is very misleading as Anthroposophy is a very long way from what most people describe as Christian.

        The big issue is that in a Christian influenced school, the day to day curriculum and activities are not tightly prescribed by the religious beliefs. There is not a chapter in the bible that describes how children should be taught, the art materials they should use, the dances they should perform, the myths they need to learn, the age they should start to read and the way teachers should behave.

        In Steiner education though, this is true. The occult writings of Steiner very much drive what happens and my problem is that this essential fact is withheld from prospective parents.

        For a new parent to think that their choice of school is ‘broadly Christian’ and ‘inspired by the views of Steiner on child development’ is deeply misleading. And until such time as schools are fully open about this, expect people like me to point it out to parents for you.

      • Andy, I think it might be helpful to separate the ideas of Anthroposophy as a religion and an educational system because they are two separate entities.The religous belief system is known as the Christian Community with priests (male or female) churches and services.Having attended a number of services and having being raised a catholic I can compare it to the Catholic church services before the second vatican council. The school system is a completely seperate institution and could best be described as having a holistic approach to the childs development.My 18 year old son is in his second to last year at a Waldorf school and I can only offer the fact that both he and I are happy with his experiences there.Having taken part in many introductory meetings with potential parents at my own school I can only report that well over 90% know in advance the pedagogical methodology of the schools, the other 10% are encouraged to meet up with other parents and exchange experiences before making up their minds. So again a simple question what is it exactly about Waldorf schools that get people so riled up? We deliver, as they say, exactly what it says on the box!

      • Andy, a quick Addendum, do you really have such little faith in the intelligence of others that you really feel you need to point things out to them?? really? I find most people can handle school choices quite adequately and in the age of Google there`s a lot of pros and cons posted out there to help make an informed, balanced choice.

      • My next blog post will examine if what you say is true about Steiner Schools disclosing to parents the nature of their pedagogy.

        I have plenty of faith in the intelligence of parents. The issue is, once again, that intelligence cannot be used to make informed decisions if they are being misled.

        Very clever people can be misled.

      • Andy , read my post again, I gave my experience from my school, where is this paranoia coming from? Do you honestly believe that Steiner schools are part of a mooney-like cult???Really I don`t know whether to laugh or cry.The interesting thing for me is the different attitudes between the U.K. and here in Germany.The steiner school system is the most popular non-state system here and in the main well-regarded and is very much out in the open. Like all schools we are subsidised by the government and are regularly inspected by the state.Do you really think that we could exist in an open ,modern and democratic country if we were anything else but fully transparent??

      • Stephen Dorgan: ‘The religous belief system is known as the Christian Community …’

        The Christian Community is anthroposophical spirituality (or esoteric religion) become more exoterically religious, with reigious rituals and services and so forth. The existance of the Christian Community in no way changes the nature of anthroposophy itself, although far from all anthroposophists belong to the Christian Community.

        As for your claim that parents can google — you’re quite right. It is much easier for parents to find out today than it used to be, say, 20 years ago. (Though back then I think schools were also less secretive — they didn’t feel the ‘need’ they apparently feel today to hide away Steiner and his ideas.) But that it is easier to find out today — and to make better informed choices — has a lot to do with the activities of critics and sceptics, like Andy. Steiner schools themselves don’t tell parents about karma, reincarnation, or even about anthroposophy (they’re more likely to say it’s not so important).

        You also mention Germany. Now, in Germany, there isn’t exactly only applause for waldorf schools. Andy already posted a link to an article about protests against a planned state waldorf school. That’s certainly not all.

        And, yes, I certainly do believe waldorf schools can exist in a modern, democratic society without being fully transparent. Sweden is a good example. Waldorf schools here are definitely not fully transparent — and they’ve been fully state-funded for decades now! And now requiring state-funding for teacher training — without making much effort (if any) to be fully transparent. In fact, they rarely even mention anthroposophy. Same situation as everywhere, in other words.

      • This is somewhat of a superfluous point; there has been a lot of victim blaming going around these days and i object to it as much as the next guy, but if a rapist is catholic does that mean all catholic priests condone and even teach this to be acceptable? This seems to have been suggested about steiner teachers, I hope you understand why it is a grossly unfair generalization.

      • “if a rapist is catholic does that mean all catholic priests condone and even teach this to be acceptable?”

        But, we’re not talking about Catholic priests here, we’re talking about Waldorf teachers. I don’t think Catholic priests believe in karma. But… According to Bill Roache, who follows the same philosophy as Waldorf teachers, perpetrator and victim are simply working out pre-existing karmic circumstances. All Waldorf teachers believe this to some extent (unless they are frauds). It is what they are taught in Waldorf teacher training… and it’s part of the Anthroposophy that supposedly doesn’t influence students.

    • Mike, if you are trying to pass your “a-levels” then the quality of your education has seriously let you down (hint: they are called A-levels). While in this post you have actually managed to write “I” instead of “i”, in most of your previous posts you failed to do so.

      Another hint: It would be a good idea to study the usage of paragraphs BEFORE you try to pass A-level examinations.

      The tone of your replies plus your abysmal writing style does not put you in good stead for eventually getting a job. I sincerely hope that your (lack of) education is being funded privately; if not then I shall raise Steiner schooling issues with my MP.

      If you wish to make an impact with your point(s) then try to refrain from being a whining ninny.

      • ‘Very surprised reader’ here’s a hint-
        Among those who use the internet regularly, who really gives a turd for petty details or ‘spell-check policing’, when the content of the discussion is the obvious subject at hand?

        Also paragraphing,layout & ‘normal’ literary requirements do not appear as comfortable upon the eyes when on computers -compared with a printed page; hence a usual leniency among most free-thinking folk.

        Many people on this site seem to be ‘bullying’ anyone who tries to give a more balanced outlook on Stiener Schools, I’ve met many great people from their schools over the last 40 years or so, yet know that some Stiener schools/students have suffered or been stigmatised by abuse- but to keep this in perspective- what schools haven’t? I think you will find the catholic church far more reprehensible than the Stiener school transgressions mentioned.

        Please don’t forget one of Stieners greatest adversaries was Hitler!
        The charge of racism against Stiener is sadly largely true, although this was typical of the age…& it would be hard to find many at the time whom we would consider ‘not racist’! Now-a-days even considering racial differences is an act of racism,& defined as such.

        ‘very surprised reader’ I think you should apologise to Mike for the offencive & trite remarks you made regarding his education & mode of expression.
        Youre attempt at belittlement exposes many of your own failings, as I’m sure you will notice as you mature; but also a mean spirited nature & obsession with ‘style’ (of which you seem redundant) over meaningful content.

  21. Mike

    I know I have been given an excellent education because I achieved straight A’s in my GCSEs last year without any outside tutoring and am doing well so far this year too.

    Please don’t get the idea that we are decrying or denying the individual performances of high-achieving students from Steiner schools. I don’t know the demographics of your school population, but I would strongly suspect the pupils to be brighter than average and from relatively well-to-do families who have a supportive attitude to education, which are all things that are likely to help children do well whatever the merits of the actual school.

    I am sure your achievement, on which I congratulate you, was not unique. Might I guess that some of your classmates did even better? Were there kids with a large crop of A* grades and that your sweep of A grades is not the top performance in your year?

      • Mike.

        It is quite odd then that you got ‘straight As’ as this would mean that you got the second highest mark in all your subjects.

        That is either a rather remarkable coincidence, or you are not familiar with the GCSE system and assumed an A was the highest mark.

        Would you like to comment on that?

      • Mike doesn’t seem to have much to say about it, but I’ll comment. In my experience of marking undergraduate essays and reports at university, I have found that vanishingly few teenagers submit written work with English as coherent as evident in Mike’s posts. So, there are 3 possibilities here. 1) I’m at a dreadful university. 2) Mike is an absolute credit to himself, and the education system that he represents. 3) Mike is not in fact a teenage student at a Steiner school, but in fact is the fictional creation of an adult supporter of Steiner education.

        I’ll say what you’re thinking Andy – number 3.

      • I’m going to take that as a compliment, thanks Marcus! I don’t see why i would have the need to masquerade as a teenager since the adults on this forum all have their own (sometimes strong) cases to make.

      • Also one of my subjects is english literature, do you really think I would be on that course if i couldn’t write?

      • Hi Mike don`t let it get you down, its sometimes easier for people to attack individuals rather than ideas . I`m still waiting for some semblance of a debate here but when it gets reduced to petty paranoia then theres little hope , cheers stephen ( a university graduate and waldorf teacher masquerading as nothing but himself)

      • “so far I have been receiving excellent education in my subjects (maths, geography, chemistry and graphic design…”

        You already told us what your subjects were, and English literature wasn’t one of them. Lies are so hard to keep track of, aren’t they?

      • There should also be a comma after “Mike” since you are addressing me, and then a full stop at the end of your post since it is also the end of the sentence. So if you have anything valid to say, speak up.

      • Mike
        There is an inconsistency in style; you contributions look like they have been written by a committee, not a student.

      • I suppose I’ll have to take that as a compliment. I am 17 years old and attend a Steiner school. If you insist on contradicting me about who I am, there’s not a lot I can do about it. If your only basis for dismissing my arguments is that you think I am an imposter (or a committee of them)I find that a bit pathetic. Maybe its hard for you to admit that a Steiner student can write coherently without resorting to arguments about karma and anthroposophy.

  22. Roache’s moronic remark smacks of other karmaphiles like Glen Hoddle (apparently a footballerist – so possibly not an intellectual behemoth) who stated that people were disabled because of karma repaying them for (something like) treading on ants in previous incarnations (a heinous crime in karmic circles given that the ant you trod on might be your dead granny, Einstein or Groucho Marx).

    I would like some Steinerist (© BSM) karmaphile to let me know how many ants I have to avoid treading on to ensure my karmic P&L is not in brackets and I do not get reincarnated with spina bifida or Downs Syndrome.  

  23. I must say, Mike’s verbal patterns are indicative of a much older person than a kid who just completed his GCSEs, but I could be wrong. Maybe he’s just reliving a former life.

    • Jim

      I know.

      My point was based as much on Jains as any other bunch of karmic crackpots. I used ants as the negotiable unit of karmic currency because Jains are probably more karmically scrupulous than Steinerists (© BSM NewWordco Inc.) and sweep before them as they walk to avoid killing Aunty Harbinder/Gandhi.

      Good job they are a peaceful bunch or they would be firebombing antibiotic, pesticide and bleach manufacturers.

      No karmaphiles seem able to answer my simple question. How do I boost the credit side of my karmic ledger so that I do not return with some physical disability? Oddly enough I do actually avoid treading on ants but I need to know what else I can do to come back with sufficient cosmic credit to avoid imperfection en route to my karmic destiny.

      • Isla , if you genuinely want to hear someone else’s view on karma it might first be helpful not to use the word crackpot,just saying.

      • hardly, by “definition”:

        (in Hinduism and Buddhism) The sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in…
        Destiny or fate, following as effect from cause.

      • Eh, no actually, in your opinion it’s nonsense,sorry to burst your bubble here but you are not the arbitrator of all that is true in the world, perhaps if you prefaced your comments with “in my opinion…..” you might be able to engage in debate or dialogue with others who have different opinions. Failing that you could cover your ears and shout ” blah, blah, blah can’t hear you”

      • If A Giraffe is Mike, I find it odd that he now objects to karma being a ‘crackpot’ idea. This is what he wrote earlier in the thread, and which I challenged, saying that to many, including anthroposophists, karma is not bullshit:

        ‘Lastly, about this whole karma business, everyone knows karma is, pardon my French, bullshit. As a Steiner student I have never been told otherwise …’

        I do not know if there’s a qualitative difference between ‘bullshit’ and ‘crackpot’. Maybe there is.

      • Stephen

        I know all about karma. There can be fewer more crackpot concepts around. Bock seems to have the measure of it.

        I don’t want to know any more about it.

        I just want to know how to get my credit rating up so that I do not come back deformed.

        Let’s call it my cosmic karmic hedge.

        I merely want to quantify how many more ants I need to avoid. Simple question really.

      • Bock, I’m actually coming from a position of openness which is something a bit different than belief, if you want more personal information the certainly.I believe that people are entitled to their own opinions, ideologies and beliefs as long as it does not infringe on the rights of others.Frankly I find the idea that a person of any belief is incapable of debate or discussion is incredibly close-minded and arrogant.If I had the opportunity to meet the Dali Lama for example I’d be very happy to engage in conversation with him.I’m not working to an agenda here, I am actually interested in the topic being discussed, but let’s be honest here, read any of my comments on this thread and compare it to the tone and tenor of the tell me who’s being more debate-resistant here.And to give even more personal information the pedantry and absolutism I’m seeing here reminds me of why I turned my back on all organised religions, so you are of course entitled to your opinions but please refrain from thinking you know anything about me,if you can’t respect my right to hold opinions at variance to yours then say so , don’t weasel about with arguing that I’m somehow close-minded or tainted with a belief system, sound fair to you?

      • I think you’re basing your position on uncritical belief, since you seem to accept the existence of karma without requiring supportive evidence. But of course, as always, I might be wrong. By the way, “weasel” is a very loaded word.

      • Isla, read the last sentence of your first paragraph, then please reread my last sentence in the post above……QED I`d say

      • Bock yes you are right weasel is a loaded word, almost as loaded as crackpot or nonsense, Perhaps a little more biography might help, I was raised a catholic in Ireland and endured a catholic school,my first action as an adult (well 16 really) was to get the hell away from all established religions,But here`s the rub I ended up becoming a waldorf teacher in Germany and have spent the last 20 years working with emotionally and developmently damaged children who have fallen through the cracks of the school system here. I`m working shoulder to shoulder with a mix of co-workers of various or no religous backgrounds, some are anthroposophists, some catholic,jewish,muslim and protestant. I also help organise benefit concerts (totally independent of the school) for aids orphans in Nambibia and have met some of the catholic nuns who work there .Now here`s the crux i respect the hell out of these people without sharing much or any of their beliefs.there are some things ive learned over the years that have built a certain framework for how i view what we could call the big picture but I am open to any ideas I come across.I originally got involved in this thread not because Steiner was being criticised but that the school sytem in which i am active was being greatly misrepresented. I thought that this might be an opportunity to give a different take on the topic simply for the sake of balance. Having said that fair play to ya for admitting you might be wrong;)

  24. Isla. , the question itself should be obsolete if you already know all about karma, the example you use is one that doesn’t really exist. The idea of karma is not a simple mathematical equation so tread on however amount of ants as you like,I’d actually be happy to go into more detail, but let’s be honest here , there would really be no point.

  25. Stephen

    Now I am becoming confused. If my example of ant killing/avoidance is not a valid one then why do Jains sweep up in front of them when they walk (obviously I am merely using “ant” as a surrogate for all insect and microbial life forms). Surely you are not demonstrating Steinerist (© BSM NeoLogisms’R’Us) racism here by explicitly criticising a major Indian religion.

    I can accept that karma might not be a simple equation but I am very good with great big long equations with lots of sigmas, mus, pis, alphas, betas and so forth – in fact all the way from alpha to omega (plus all those squiggly signs and maths stuff). Obviously the simpler an equation the more elegant but I can do big blackboard encompassing ones as well.

    As a very open minded person I really would like you to go into the whole process in more detail. Obviously my knowledge is more restricted than I thought – I guess that is the price you pay for being an autodidact. However, I firmly believe that education is a lifetime process.

    I just need to expand my knowledge so that I do not get reborn with deformities. Even as a karmaskeptic I think I should have a cosmic hedge fund, just in case. After all I have life insurance but I would prefer not to cash it in anytime soon (unless I get some hedge fund assurance that I will come back as a superior being – possibly a Swedish supermodel, if it’s not too much problem God).

    On the up side at least I now have a karmic Get Out Of Jail card to kill as many ants as I want (Or “however amount of ants” as you so elegantly phrased it, thus rather neatly reinforcing LCN’s argument).

    • Thanks Isla for that word “karmaphile” – brilliant – I will remember it!

      I have come to the conclusion that the concept of karma is rubbish and have skeptics who introduced me to skeptical thinking to thank for my sanity and probably my life.

      I used to be a New Ager and live in the Woo capital of the UK. Because of certain incidents I became a cripple and now sometimes use a wheelchair. The only times I can walk without pain is when I am with my friend Mary Jane but she has to be discreet and cannot come out a lot.

      When I became a cripple my New Age “friends” turned on me and told me they could no longer be around me because of my “bad karma” and “negative energy”. I was devastated and tried to commit suicide two times. Thankfully I had an atheist friend who introduced me to critical thinking and slowly by the use of it I managed to see through the concept of karma.

      Thankfully I am now mentally a lot stronger and because of following evidence based medicine a lot of my pain, (although not all), has been dealt with and my life is worth living again.

      That’s an account for all the people who say of quack concepts and medicines – what’s the harm?

      I do know that there are other victim blaming idea’s in the secular world – unfortunately it is a human trait not just a religious one. It makes people feel that bad things will not happen to them if they do a, b and c. Sadly it is just not true. Wearing a long dress will not guarantee I do not get raped etc.

      However with the victim blaming idea’s in the secular world at least they can be tested through studies to see if they are true. (I am a Social Scientist). Ideas about sins from past lives cannot really be fully tested but what can be observed is the societies where those idea’s are prevalent.

      As a disabled person I can safely say I would not want to live in a society like that.

      Sorry to be heavy and all and I really can smile and laugh now thanks to my skeptical friends so just call me

      Just call me Skepcrip! 🙂

    • Fiona

      What an interesting post. It would seem that LCN’s banner was designed for you.

      Please feel free to appropriate any and all neologisms for free and unfettered usage.

      It is doubtful whether anyone would ever call me politically correct, a term I find to be merely a bit of POMO window dressing. However I am scrupulously “politely correct”.

      A such I do have a slight issue with Skepcrip. Whilst it is your prerogative to call yourself what you like (and I suppose the gay/black communities have reappropriated queer/n****r in an ironic/post-ironic way) I think you should call yourself Skeptophile. This is non-derogatory, accurate and is a great name if you seek to be Galactic Overlord (although the latter aspiration is extremely problematic – mostly because of petty bureaucracy).

      I would love to know where the woo capital is. Good odds on Brighton, TATTnes or Crouch End.

      Interesting to note that your most sensible and moral help came from an atheist. So much for morality being a function of religious belief.

      • OK I am now skeptophile!

        So with regard to Steiner schools the main argument of those defending them seems to be that on certain issues such as race and karma, and no doubt many others, the present schools do not adhere to Steiner’s original views. So I’m with someone else on this – then why not just call them schools?

  26. Andy said to Stephen Dorgan;

    My next blog post will examine if what you say is true about Steiner Schools disclosing to parents the nature of their pedagogy.

    This discussion has indeed now become drenched in rich creamy yes-buttery defences from our various steinerists, who keep wanting to argue about individual trees while ignoring the wood around them.

    It is beyond dispute that Steiner’s views were variously tinged with racism and esoteric beliefs in the literal existence of gnomes and similar. This is all wrapped up in notions of reincarnation and karma that have well-documented connections to the teaching methods of Steiner schools. The defence advanced by Stephen and his friends is entirely based on denying that steinerism has anything much to do with Steiner schools. This is just bizarre. Even if we take these assertions at face value, no steinerist here has been able to present any coherent explanation of how Steiner schools have meaningfully separated themselves from Steiner’s ideas while still legitimately claiming to be founded upon his beliefs. It makes no sense.

    [I’ve restarted at the bottom of the page because the nesting levels ran out higher up.]

    • Oh for heavens sake !!Get a grip here!you started this stream with the remark that no-one was coming to the defence of Steiner schools. Two did, one, me a Waldorf teacher and one waldorf student.Where exactly do you come off with the statement that steiners racism is beyond dispute , i have asked you over and over again for one scintilla of proof….nothing was or is forthcoming,If this blog is solely a bully-pulpit where like-minded people bolster each others shared opinions then fine, enjoy it but maybe extend a sliver of courtesy to those with other opinions. It seems that there is an almost fundamentalist orthodoxy at play here which i must say is as bad as anything i`ve come across in organised religions . I think I´ll close off here and look elswhere for an openminded discussion Forum………..Oh and Happy Easter

      • Stephen

        i have asked you over and over again for one scintilla of proof

        I’m sorry, Stephen, are you really saying you have not read the other blogs in this site where this has been discussed. I was assuming you were up to speed with this. Just to be clear, are you really and truly mantaining that Steiner did hold hold views that we would judge to be racist?

        I’m concerned now that we have been seriously at cross-purposes here. There is a basic assumption that people defending Steiner schools have sufficient knowledge of Steiner upon which to base their defence.

      • Bsm, you find it bizarre that I haven’t read all the blogs on this site…….bizarre???? I came across this report on Bill Roaches comments and was interested enough to try and take part in a discussion, I am assuming that you at least understand what a discussion is because so far I’ve seen far more polemic and dogma.The fact is that you have still not shown me an example of racist teachings from Steiner,I have time and time again answered your points based on my experiences and now you are upset and confused because I have not basked in the glow of your previous postings on other topics, I also find it somehow disconcerting that 5 years of university and almost 20 years of experience in Steiner education have no value in your world-view because you have decided it’s wrong.And then you trump yourself with the almost hilariously arrogant statement,”there is a basic assumption that people defending Steiner schools……” I am not defending anything or anyone here, I reacted to statements which I found erroneous and tried , in the spirit of intellectual exchange, to share an alternative viewpoint based on experience.What are you basing your viewpoints on? Rigorous investigation using all available information? Years of experience based on closely working within the school system? Or simply finding comments and blogs which speak to your own personal prejudices and accepting them blindly as immutable facts? I have spent a lot of time on this thread, I have not hidden behind a pseudonym, I have not once evaded a question,despite, I must say the pejorative manner in which they were posed, I had decided to just give up but your above comment was simply too crass , arrogant and frankly, so far removed from the concept of intellectual debate that I had to respond,

      • Stephen

        My assumption was that you had read Andy’s other posts on the topic of steinerism because this individual blog is only part of the wider story that he has told over some months and many of the points being made depend of that context. I was simply surprised that someone would engage so heavily in this particular thread of discussion without having read some or all of his other commentary. You haven’t. I know that now. Please feel free to explore the site.

      • Stephen

        I also mostly post here from a phone, so searching out links to copy and paste is tedious, but I have done so for you now.

        If you read those pieces and still wish to say that the foundational beliefs of steinerism are not racist then I shall be fascinated to hear you argue in support of that contention.

      • BAM.thank you for the effort, I was to be honest more intersected in the second link, I’ll explain why anon.I found the article interesting but nothing new, I could send you links disputing each point made but then we are reduced to a ” he said..she said ” slanging match.I can only say that I have yet,personally, to meet a racist colleague nor have I come across a view which could be construed as racists during my training period.That my experience and as I`’ve said many times I am not writing to an agenda I am simply presenting.y opinion.
        Now as to why I’m not reacting to the first link,I have also taken the time to catch up on other blogs and must say I find this site to be somewhat tainted.I came to this site initially on the recommendation of a die_hard humanist friend who thought the topic might interest me.I was naive enough to trust the article, now I’ve discovered on the Guardian,,and other websites that the interpretation presented here is a simple case of cutting the cloth to suit the tailor! The facts as presented seem to concur that Roaches daft mutterings were based on a misunderstanding of eastern concepts of Karma.The writer, Andy,who advertises his willingness to give public anti_Steiner talks, has decided that because Roaches grandfather was an anthroposophist and because he enrolled his grandson in his own Waldorf school then ipso facto Roaches ideas come from him.Now my paternal grandfather spent three years as a guerrilla in the Irish war of independence, in the twenties, by Andy’s logic then I must be an Irish republican terrorist.Roaches spent most of his school_life in a private Methodist boarding school so should we be as concerned with their methodology? This reminds me of the Bush logic after 9/11. “We have been attacked by a number of Saudi Arabian terrorists, so let’s invade Iraq” .I wish you well but , if you will allow a piece of advice, beware of absolutes and be open to really hearing what others have to say then make up your own mind on issues whilst still maintaining respect for others points of view then you will learn the difference between intelligence and wisdom, good luck,!

      • Stephen

        You have Sked repeatedly for concrete examples of racism is Steiner’s philosophy. I just have it to you. You say you have not met (or perhaps recognised) it in your Steiner colleagues.

        When did the racism drop out? Where is the evidence that a conscious process of self-aware criticism occurred within steinerism to eliminate racism and other equally no joys ideas?

        I keep asking this question. Time and again I find in debating alties on the interwebs that we reach a point where a very simple question is just met with a brick wall. I am left to conclude that the other side of the argument is either unable to grasp the simpe question, which stretches credibility, or is consciously evading it to avoid the risk of travelling a path that is dangerous to an important part of their view of the world. Stephen, are you doing to engage with these questions or tell us again that all your anthroposophical colleagues seem fine to you.

      • Read what is written! My last post was actually meant to be my last so here is the absolute last then I’m off,You have not reacted to any of my posts,I can only assume that the concept of giving me your own opinions rather than simply trotting out other people’s ideas is posing problems.Why is that I wonder?I have deliberately avoided trotting out links and articles to back up my ideas because that rather defeats the idea of engaging in a conversation or debate.again and again and again I am giving my opinions based on my experiences because I feel it is pertinent to the theme.This thread originated with a ridiculous and erroneous interpretation of karma yet you and others have insisted on simply attacking anything to do with Steiner.I told you why I am leaving this thread… reaction, I have asked you for the grounds of your opinions………no reaction, just a reference to someone else’s ideas.In your eyes I am following a fascist and crackpot path, in my eyes I’m on an Easter break and gathering the strength and energy to go back to work giving practical and emotional help to children who badly need it within the framework of an educational system which is more geared to the intellectual and emotional development of the child than any other system I’ve come across.By all means be critical and sceptical and even downright hostile to the Steiner system but deal in facts and realities.I have absolutely no problems with secularism or humanism, nor do I have a problem with healthy scepticism,I do however have major problems with dogmatic closemindedness,I’m now leaving this thread, feel free to view this as a capitulation or a typical Steiner supporter can’t argue with my logic etc.etc etc but I’m actually leaving out of boredom from cant, ignorance and an unwillingness to engage in any kind of honest or intelligent debate.

      • Stephen

        When did the racism drop out of steinerism? Where is the evidence that a conscious process of self-aware criticism occurred within steinerism to eliminate racism and other equally no joys ideas?

      • Steiner schools are racist you say? So because Henry VIII had the unfortunate habit of having his wives killed, you would by that logic judge all Anglicans of being wife beaters? Whether or not Steiner was a racist (by which I am by no means confirming he was) would’t necessarily reflect on the schools today.

      • No. Steiner’s racist beliefs need not influence modern athroposophists and Steiner Schools if the movement had undergone a thorough examination of his racist views, understood why they should be rejected, analysed the possible influence these views could have on teaching, and taken steps to ensure that they never did influence teaching.

        I see no evidence of such a process having been conducted.

        Indeed, I see supporters even trying to deny Steiner held racist views. Not confidence building.

      • “Whether or not Steiner was a racist (by which I am by no means confirming he was) would’t necessarily reflect on the schools today.”

        Except that his racist teachings, the foundation of Anthropsophy, are part of Waldorf teacher training materials. If they don’t intend to use racist ideas in Waldorf schools, why teach them to the teachers? You may remember at your school, they made a big deal about the temperaments – kids were categorized and treated in accordance with their temperament. You might not have noticed that the sanguine children were the ones who ran messages to the office, but the teachers knew to pick them. After all, a phlegmatic child might take all day.

        Your teachers also made a distinction between which children were large-headed and small-headed. This has nothing to do with head size, BTW, it has to do with a child’s disposition toward intellectualism.

        At some Waldorf schools, Waldorf teachers still look at left-handedness as a karmic issue. You may have had left-handed friends at your school. How would you know if teachers considered them spiritually different?

        Steiner had a LOT to say about the races, and he gave a lot of indications to teachers about what the races mean, just like he taught them about all the other things I mentioned above. Waldorf teachers absolutely consider race when considering the overall child. How could they not, when they consider so much other stupid stuff on a daily basis that Steiner told them was also important? They really don’t think it’s any big deal (just like Bill Roache doesn’t think some of Steiner’s other offensive ideas aren’t a big deal).

        How would any child, or parent, know if a Waldorf teacher is viewing them according to how Steiner defined people of their particular race?

      • “I can only say that I have yet,personally, to meet a racist colleague nor have I come across a view which could be construed as racists during my training period.”

        “Construed as racist”? Seriously, have you read ANY Steiner at all. YES, schools teach Steiner’s racist ideas… but if you don’t see them as racist, then how could you notice? Do you understand what racism is? Would you know it if it were being taught in a classroom.

        Waldorf teachers DEFINITELY teach Steiner’s racist ideas – they taught them to my child AND defended them when I complained.

        I’m personally sick and tired of people who claim they don’t see racism in Steiner’s work… They either haven’t read it or are being naive or more likely dishonest.

        I have great admiration for Andy, fielding the same ridiculous comments time and time again, with incredible patience.

      • Stephen, like so many Steiner supporters you seem to think that a neutral position concerning Steiner’s explicit racial doctrine is a non racist position. It isn’t. Not opposing institutional racism is to allow it to flourish and you, whether by accident or design, are racist by default in terms of your neutrality and racist by commission in terms of your attempts to hide the intrinsic racism of the system you support after the evidence has been presented to you.

        Likewise, Steiner/Waldorf students seem to be almost entirely unaware of the racist elements of their own education that has inculcated them into a position of denial – they seem to think that racism does not exist in their schools; not merely that it is less prevalent than elsewhere.

        The lack of self examination concerning racism within the Steiner movement has also encouraged many Steiner supporters, teachers and students to become quite reactionary when criticized by anti-racist campaigners – effectively blaming the victims of racism for daring to ask Steiner supporters to reject their racist positions.

  27. Unhelpful typo;

    Just to be clear, are you really and truly mantaining that Steiner did NOT hold hold views that we would judge to be racist?

  28. The difficulty for anyone trying to make headway on this blog is that
    words seem to be king, while experience is of no, or little, value.

    So we have Andy Lewis citing a few sentences of Rudolf Steiner’s
    apparently enormous output, and declaring him (and by infection any of his ‘adherents’) a racist.

    Andy reads words, say about Steiner education, and draws his
    conclusions. Whether the conclusions are in reality correct or not, we don’t know. We do know that Andy, while purporting to be a scientific rationalist, eschews that fundamental feature of scientific investigation – the experienced phenomenon. So, for example, in his talks against Steiner education, he has owned up to having never set foot in a Steiner school.

    Then we have those folk who trail along in Andy’s wake echoing his
    conclusions. They probably have no more experience of the whole matter than reading Andy’s words, which they use to batter anyone who
    knows something different.

    If that something is personal experience, we are urged to be sceptical about it. So if Mike says he is receiving an education of a high standard (and let us suppose that Ofsted have also granted Mike’s school this rating), even so Andy feels free to ask how Mike knows he has a good education and has not been taught ‘Steinerist’
    thinking. Mike has already assured everyone that he has not been
    taught anything of that nature. Andy is not interested in reality,
    only in words.

    We hear it reported that a candle is lit at the start of a teachers’
    meeting to discuss a child’s psychological development (I’m avoiding
    using the word ‘spiritual’ here, because it provokes knee-jerk
    reactions, and I believe in this context they are synonymous). This
    sounds to me like the teachers are using the symbolic gesture of a
    light (as in a church) to try to mark the meeting as one of utmost
    seriousness and dignity towards the child in question and in the hope
    that they will find illumination in their thoughts about that
    child. Why is this – in which most acknowledge they have not participated – an occasion for mockery?

    I would politely suggest that those who have no actual experience of
    any of the topics being discussed here (myself included), should
    simply listen those who have.

    • I’m happy to echo quite a few of Andy’s conclusions, and I do have personal experience. I know that several others who have commented on these threads have personal experiences too. As it that were the point.

      It is ludicrous to suggest that debate about Steiner education should be limited to people with personal experience. It is perfectly possible to read up on what Steiner education is and to use this theoretical knowledge as the foundation for criticism.

      You speculate about the use of the candle. The candle itself is not the point. The religious atmosphere is the point and meditating on a child is the point — the *way* child studies are conducted and that they are conducted without the parents’ consent… now, that is the point! There are many ways to inform oneself about what these child studies are about. As an outsider, you will never be allowed to sit in on those meetings. But you can research the matter in literature and documents on waldorf pedagogy. Then you wouldn’t have to be guessing what it is about, the way you seem to be doing. It is actually possible to know a little bit about those things. Anthroposophists and waldorf teachers do publish texts.

      Perhaps you should politely have suggested that those who know something speak, and the rest should simply listen rather than make silly assumptions?

    • If you can explain to me how visiting a Steiner School would assuage me of my concerns that schools do not disclose their anthroposophical foundations, then I would be more than happy to visit.

    • If ONLY, I could remove my entire Waldorf experience from my memory… Unfortunately, too many of us here have had extensive and painful Waldorf experiences. We’re going to talk about them… FOREVER! Get used to it.

    • Thank goodness- a voice of reason among the ranting & rabid hate-mongering.
      So few of these commentators realise the arrogance of their assumptions-
      ‘we’ may not ‘believe’ in Karma & it’s definition is not as simple as many have summised, but ‘most(?) of the worlds population does….
      Nice one Cyril !

      …what goes around, comes around… or is that too Karmaic?!

      • The idea that “what goes around comes around” , (sometimes), is a common sense understanding of human nature. e.g. if you punch someone on the nose many people will punch you back. If you hurt someone in office politics some people will wait a while and then try to “get even”. That is some people’s human nature. This is commonsense.

        It has nothing to do with non-provable belief systems concerning past lives like karma or the other karma-lite product of the imagination – the so-called “law of attraction”. If people cannot understand the difference between the two I cannot explain more.

        By the way the only hatred I see in this thread is Bill Roache’s comment. I see no hatred in telling children that they do not deserve to be sexually abused or that all races are equal. Yes, there has been some strong language but this mainly reflects disgust at the concepts not always the proponents themselves. If this has been the case remember that everyone on this thread has been a child and many have children and it is an emotive subject.

      • ? off you go into assumption land….
        without empathy or humour what is the point?

        You’ve compound your own confusion with your definition of common scense, something that has become increasingly rare!

        What you seem to be battling with is ‘other peoples definition of Karma’ & your own (limited) perspective & definition. Wordy folk have written whole books trying to define it…. You’ve simplified it to the point of ridicule & in the proccess missed any constructive resonance.

        Many of the assumptions in this thread have belittled most of the planets populations belief & implied they are living a delusion… &I’m not disagreeing with that- we all live with delusions, some of which are constructive, others not so.
        The idea of Karma has become no more real than the ‘Historical Jesus of Nazareth’, ‘Santa Clause’ or the tooth fairy, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less usefull as means to make life more bearable, to simplify it to the point of inconsequence or to justify abuse- crusades, inquisitions & McCarthy all spring to mind.

        Words are dangerous when misused & this thread is a prime example of ‘word’ confusion, where they become more important than peoples feelings & thoughts. The barage of insults about Steiners racism (that was perfectly ‘normal’ for the time-sadly) does not negate the fact he was a great man who’s done more towards the liberation of the human race than anyone on this site ever will (probably!), you seem blissfully unaware of WHAT HE WAS FIGHTING AGAINST & WHAT HE COULD DO as genuine risks he made to help humanity. The liberations we now know were encouraged & nurtured by him & his contempories, though clearly far from perfect, who here is any better?
        The sad fact that the Anthrosophical society has been infiltrated & corrupted by ‘proffessional sodomists’ is one of the greatest crimes imaginable,especially considering Stieners warnings you seem totally unaware of.

        no-one here is in support of Roaches/Hoddles etc crass statements on Karma- quite rightly seen as malicious & (probably) delusiional.

        If you really want to stop massive organised sexual abuse then start by closing down all the public schools where institutionalised homosexuality is prevalent (a gentle take on this is the entire book by Brian Aldiss’-A Hand reared boy)… & the expression ‘my boy’ meant something far more intimate than the general public presume…
        These people run the world & many of them suffered analrape to bond them in their conivences for power & control, do you think they care if the rest of the population is then also abused?

      • By the way I’m not a ‘Stieinerist’ ,or the like;

        No, obviously not.

        he was a great man who’s done more towards the liberation of the human race than anyone on this site ever will

        And waddling and quacking in the recognised manner, does not make one a member of the order Anatidae.

      • B.S. Moonkey you are a very sad little duck…
        You heckling opinions project a mean-spirit & lack of empathy- you’d rather badger open minded debate with your own mis-guided ignorance & intolerance.

        You’ve manoeuvred the horror of abuse away from the subject of the headline into a smear campaign against Steiner, his ideas & schools. Loads of good people have benifited from these schools.
        They, like nearly all other organisation suffered corruptions & increasing hypocrisies. Steiner is not responsible for other peoples actions or belief, we are all influenced by MANY things.

        I find Steiner’s writing boring & tedious, yet among this padding is a well meaning spirit & a brave soul who took great risks in his age & communicated ageless knowledge that modern science is only just beginning to fathom! You are blind to this constructive element.

        You imply I am a ‘Sternest’ because you can not comprehend any view that is not a gross generalisation

        Your ceaseless yapping upon the same topic reveals the source of your psychopathological motivation & dynamo…
        Pestering anyone with opposing views has become your addiction & ‘unfoldment’.
        I’m beginning to think you’re just some kind of JESUIT agent!
        Misery is your medium-lost in Maya.
        You probably don’t even realise your own fundamentalist nature?!

        Dear monkey monikerd moderator , here’s a reminder from a more Humane member of the discussion- please pause for thought, it may expand your limited awareness of what is important in this life…& it’s further incarnations!

        ‘your close(d)mindedness and inability to see beyond your uninformed bias are becoming tedious and rather cliched.You have at no stage in this thread responded in a spirit of discussion,…please do not call this forum insightful,thoughtful or thorough, it’s an insult to the concept of open and free debate.’
        previously posted by Stephen

        Most intelligent or open hearted folk will quickly weary of your disrespectful attitude- ‘verbal dioreaists’ such as yourself can now exist in plenitude on the net/web, while if you ‘talked’ that way in a pub you’d be quickly ‘twatted’, a small mercy then that you only exist as a figment of the planets imagination in this virtual sphere.
        Please stay indoors.

      • Hmm.. okaaay…I’m backing away now. Just keep your hands where we can see them while we clear the area.

      • Oh Badly Shaved Monkey I meant my sighing and head banging to be for Ram not for you! x I like your comments.

      • Thanks.

        I think Ram is trying to tell us he holds the keys to the Universe. They give them away for free when you buy a tin-foil hat.

      • “The barage of insults about Steiners racism (that was perfectly ‘normal’ for the time-sadly) ”

        Let’s put an end to this line of thinking please. Racism was definitely NOT perfectly normal in Steiner’s time. Where did you come up with an idea like that? Steiner apologia websites perhaps?

        Steiner was more than just a racist… he promoted his racism in newspapers and in his writings. His ridiculous notions about the racial mixing of blood are still being taught today in Waldorf schools. Please stop suggesting this is normal… it definitely ISN’T!

    • “Well you could ask the teachers and the pupils.”

      Yes, that would give a great impression of the school. The teachers are always free to discuss problems with their school… they can do this right in the parking lot… nobody minds.

      As for talking with the student population available at any Waldorf school – one must remember that it’s only a snapshot of the TOTAL number of students who attended that school. For every pupil remaining, dozens have left during the course of their education.

      Going to a school and talking with Waldorf representatives is NOT a very good way to get an honest impression of Waldorf… sorry.

    • Also, Stephen, would you be interested in supplying the “new” Waldorf teacher training reading list? The old ones seem to be full of Steiner materials… and we all know what that means, right?

      • Also, I’d love to see something that indicates Steiner schools have made ANY significant or even insignificant changes in their teachings since WWII, when they claimed to be in exact alignment with Hitler’s ideas. If they were in alignment with Hitler then, how are they different now?

      • Pete, sorry but I can’t seem to leave this thread the anti_Steiner rhetoric is simply so cliches I’m now actually hanging around just for the novelty value but your last posts are so ludicrous, so removed from reality and so simple to answer.1,you maintain that the dropout rate in Steiner schools is 12 to 1, you actually wrote that? My son attends a Steiner school in Berlin where the percentage rate of children who leave is currently 3%…well within the norm at all school systems.2,you then present the most hackneyed and ,frankly intellectually lazy analogy possible by comparing Steiner ideas with the N.S.regime.Are you really so blinkered by your own experience with one individual school that you have to resort to this?The historical fact, easily proved, is that Steiner schools,the Anthroposophical society and the Christian community were all banned under the Nazis.You had bad experience with Steiner schools, fair enough, that’s unfortunate but begs two questions,why did you choose the school in the first place?And do you believe that those parents who chose to remain are now consciously raising racist children?

      • “1,you maintain that the dropout rate in Steiner schools is 12 to 1, you actually wrote that?”

        It’s more than that at some schools… it really depends on how honest they are. At my kids’ school, the board reported an exodus rate of 25% (of the entire school) PER YEAR.

        “The historical fact, easily proved, is that Steiner schools,the Anthroposophical society and the Christian community were all banned under the Nazis.”

        All non-state schools were. You leave out the fact that Steiner schools held on the longest of any because there were many within the Nazi part who were convinced they were completely in alignment with Nazi ideas. Many, many Steiner schools in Germany issued letters to the Nazi party claiming exactly this. My question stands, what has changed about Steiner schools since then?

        “why did you choose the school in the first place?”

        I didn’t. I married a former Waldorf student, who insisted our children must have a Waldorf education (or we would be divorced). I went along with it for as long as I could.

        “And do you believe that those parents who chose to remain are now consciously raising racist children?”

        Are you kidding? The racist stuff was extremely covert in the school. It was by accident that I found out about it. When the school wouldn’t back down from the racist lesson they taught, I started investigating and discovered that ALL Anthroposophists, if they follow Steiner’s beliefs, are indeed racists.

        Now answer a question for me…

        Why on Earth do we need schools that have spiritual racism as one of the tenets of the philosophy teachers are required to accept… and that underlies the school?

    • Bam, damn it I can’t seem to leave this thread,,I have to refer you to my previous posts (again)I have three questions for you,please do take the time to actually read them.but first this, a concrete unequivocal statement..I have never in my years of teaching in a Waldorf school experienced racism , prejudice or questionable racist ideas from any colleague.I like the majority of my colleagues received state training before moving into Waldorf education and became Steiner teachers while we agreed with the Educational philosophy which was inspired by Steiner and is, like all healthy systems constantly growing and changing to suit the Times.Now the questions.1 on what personal experiences are you basing your rigorous attack on Steiner education?2,why do you never react to the content of a post in the spirit in which it is posted.3do you have any personal opinions or are you happy enough simply trawling through other people’s ideas and then simply regurgitating them?why no reaction to my comments on the credibility of the original article above? I’ll stick around a wee while longer, at least long enough to consider your responses.

      • Stephen

        1 on what personal experiences are you basing your rigorous attack on Steiner education?

        None. It’s odd that you think this might be relevant. I don’t need personal experience of astrology or homeopathy to be able to point out their problems. Personal experience is a poor guide to many things and we have developed systematic methods of scientific investigation and rational disputation to resolve problems. The latter is what we’re trying to do here.

        2,why do you never react to the content of a post in the spirit in which it is posted.

        What spirit is that? You have been asked a number of quite straightforward questions and have evaded them. I have responded to that spirit of evasiveness by persistence in pursuit of the argument.

        3do you have any personal opinions or are you happy enough simply trawling through other people’s ideas and then simply regurgitating them?

        I have loads, thanks. Friends who post here and that have known me online and in the real world for years seem to regard Badly Shaved Monkey as being a vehicle for a fair amount of insightful and thoughtful sceptical commentary. Here’s an example: Alicia Hamberg posted the following;

        ‘You expect your doctor to practise medicine upon you. You do not expect him/her to teach you medicine.’

        This is a brilliant analogy.

        I’ll take the complement.

        Meanwhile, the specific questions that I have repeatedly asked you and your colleagues are still dangling.

        Please confirm whether you have read the Handbook for Waldorf Class Teachers. If you have not, do you know whether your anthroposophical colleagues have done so?

        Does the following blog accurately reflect the content of that book?

        How and where is “MODERN” steinerist education defined and differentiated from Steiner’s teachings ? How is this reflected in the texts and manuals that underpin the teaching in Steiner schools ?

        I’m going to add another now. Do you accept that there was racism in Steiner’s teachings?

      • Tell you what , read my comments again.but honestly your closemindedness and inability to see beyond your uninformed bias are becoming tedious and rather cliched.You have at no stage in this thread responded in a spirit of discussion,You have not answered any question of mine and then prove your experience by quoting a post by yet another person! This is my last contribution, have fun in your little community of likeminded people but please do not call this forum insightful,thoughtful or thorough, it’s an insult to the concept of open and free debate.don’t even bother to respond it’s really too much a waste of my time.

      • Stephen

        You wrote this;

        You have not answered any question of mine

        in response to a post if mine in which I answered the three specific questions that you posed me.

        You have answered none of the very straightforward questions I have given you.

        Did Steiner hold racist beliefs?

        Here’s a new one for you. Have you taken part in meeting with your teaching colleagues in which you have classified pupils according to “types” that derive from anthroposophical theory?

        I am left bemused as to why you spend do much time here saying almost anything except answering the relevant questions.

      • “I have never in my years of teaching in a Waldorf school experienced racism , prejudice or questionable racist ideas from any colleague.”

        Sadly, this is part of the problem. Most people steeped in Waldorf can’t seem to identify racism. The people at my kids’ Waldorf school didn’t think the statement “The blood of Europeans is more evolved than the blood of Africans and Asians” was racist. They still don’t.

  29. Stephen

    You are still reading this blog! Please confirm whether you have read the Handbook for Waldorf Class Teachers. If you have not, do you know whether your anthroposophical colleagues have done so.

    Does the following blog accurately reflect the content of that book?

    I shall specifically ask you, how and where is “MODERN” steinerist education defined and differentiated from Steiner’s teachings ? How is this reflected in the texts and manuals that underpin the teaching in Steiner schools ?

  30. Stephen

    By way of commentary , it may interest you to know that as with alternative medicine so with steinerism, I knew little about it until I came across advocates on the nascent interwebs promoting their ideas. I engaged with those advocates in a spirit of enquiry but time and again found that their belief system unravelled under the slightest critical analysis. The believers then resort to evasion, dissembling and fleeing from the discussion declaring victory. It really is quite ironic that the advocates end up becoming their own worst enemies by their inability to respond adequately to criticism. Their problem, of course, is that if they engaged constructively with the criticism then they would cease to be advocates.

  31. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I find Bill Roache’s comments personally offensive.

    …”This worldview has consequences within schools. It is a common complaint that bullying goes unchecked as their is a belief that the bullied and the bullier and reversing roles from previous incarnations and these karmic issues must be worked out by the children”…
    Aha. I wonder if this would explain why, when I went away to a Steiner school, despite the staff being aware that my, and a few of my peer’s home lives were abusive, my housemother INSISTED that I wrote home every week even though I made it clear I wanted no contact with my mother and stepfather, and why…. Because, hey, my physically and emotionally abusive mother and my sexually and emotionally abusive stepfather and I were reversing roles from previous incarnations and these karmic issues had to be worked out by us!!!

  32. It would appear that making dumb offensive comments is the least of Bill’s worries now that he has been charged with two counts of rape involving a 15 year old girl (according to today’s Grauniad, BBC etc.).

    Maybe, in good Steinerist tradition, he was just bolstering her karma for her next incarnation.

    (Although to be fair I have some reservations about prosecuting a 47 year old case. Pre-DNA evidence, misplaced memories, dubious evidence etc etc. I shall leave these concerns to the likes of Jack of Kent.)

  33. I too have reservations about a person being prosecuted about a 47 year old case.However while I do not believe in karma, (from previous lives etc), I do believe that to some extent what goes around comes around. Be careful that what you believe in doesn’t come back to bite you on the bum in this life!

    While that may not be fair to some extent it is human nature. So don’t give it out if you cannot take it!

  34. This is a horrid thread!
    The ignorant bullying & assumptions all congeal into rancid hypocrisy & hate-mongering.

    I personally know the ‘niece’ of the lady who edited out Steiner’s racist comments from his lectures for publication- & can verify that much of that aspect ‘has a truth’ to it, but the way you have vilified him is really disgusting. despite his failings, he was in the main; a constructive & well meaning human being… unlike many of the commentators within this thread.

    Hs influence was such that Hitler considered him one of his greatest threats, so lets try & keep this in perspective.

    By the way I’m not a ‘Stieinerist’ ,or the like; in my spare time/nights I study comparative religion… & trust NONE of them.

    Last time I went to a lecture at a Steiner residence a ‘sodomist’ took offence at my mention of (well known) sexual abuse within their ranks (& the Theosophical societies foul abuse of KM)… & tried to punch me when no one was looking, as I’m a trained security guard (some kind of legal thug) I managed to deflect his act of aggression, much to his frustration. Although this taught me a lesson in ‘corruption’ I do not consider ‘everyone’ within their organisation as being equally reprehensible & nor should you.

    • “Hs influence was such that Hitler considered him one of his greatest threats, so lets try & keep this in perspective.”

      Yes, let’s. Please provide the link to this bit of information. It turns out, again, to be absolutely wrong. Hitler barely acknowledged Steiner (who died in 1925, long before Hitler rose to power).

      Additionally, during Hitler’s Germany, Waldorf schools claimed to be in complete alignment with Hitler’s goals – and stated so publicly. Waldorf schools were the last non-state schools to close under Hitler – precisely because they were in alignment with Hitler’s ideas and caught the attention of Hitler’s officers.

  35. Hi There!

    I am unfortunately petitioning for a divorce on the grounds of ‘Unreasonable Behaviour’ in the UK. My wife is a lay anthroposophist and has made plans behind my back to remove my 4 year old daughter from her school in Oxford and move to Forest Row, where she intends to study Anthroposophy and send my daughter to Michael House. I am extremely skeptical towards all this pseudo scientific mumbo jumbo and it’s been a bone of contention ever since my daughter was born and she was refused vaccinations by my wife and any debate of it on ‘spiritual’ grounds. This has made for an extremely frustrating marriage to say the least, what with all the homeopathy, withholding medicines, biodynamic foods et al, that while I never agreed with, I had paid dearly for the privilidge.

    Now that divorce is imminent and the only option, I now wish to protect my child against an upbringing of woo woo, delayed education, risk of preventable childhood diseases and so on. My daughter and I have a fabulous and close relationship and while the divorce will undoubtedly hurt her, I do not want her further damaged in the process.

    Does anyone have an opinion on how I should approach this legally? I feel my only option is to sue for parental custody if I want the best outcomes for my child, her health and her future outcomes.

    I have read up on court enforced vaccinations cases won by fathers against the mother’s wishes in the UK circa 2006 as a reliable precedent where judgements were mad by the court in favour of protection as a ‘child’s right to medicine and prevention’, but I have not found any precedent wrt a father winning custody where the mother is clearly ‘out of whack’ on Anthroposophy and the like, putting her wishes for joining the cult of Anthroposophy and indoctrinating my daughter in it by sending her to the Waldorf School, and moving county so she (my wife) can be a Waldorf mum and study Anthroposophy etc. She is in her mid thirties and going through what looks like a spiritual mid life crisis. Her now burning ambition ahead of all else is to study to become an art therapist and Waldorf teacher at the Tobias School of Art, conveniently situated in Forest Row, minutes away from the previous headquarters of Ron Hubbard’s Scientology Foundation. To me, their adherents are equally as divisive, brain washed, unethical and stupid, lost yet searching souls.

    Morally, I feel I have the upper hand as I am the breadwinner in the family, I have my daughter’s best interests foremost in mind and wish to protect her against all that I mentioned, yet legally, I wonder if I have a case not just worth fighting (that’s a given) but one in which I could win on these grounds?

    What are the best arguments to drive the case home that Waldorf education, Anthroposophy, Rudolph Steiner, withholding immunisation and medicines etc is child abuse by an unfit mother?

    Any advice welcome, this is an excellent blog and great resource for everything rational. Thank You!

    • Hi Robert,

      This is quite a dilemma.

      Just as to anyone seeking medical advice on this blog, I say “speak to your GP”, so I must say to anyone talking about legal issues, “speak to your lawyer”.

      What I will say is that I can see many challenges. If you are to make anthroposophy the centre of your concerns remember they have had 100 years of practice denying that they are ant-vaccine, anti-medicine, anti-education and denying that they are a cult or even religious. And as you say, I do not know of any precedent here.

      Choice of schools and vaccination may have more case history but again good legal advice will surely be vital if you are to avoid huge messiness and lots of expense.

      Good luck and all the best to your family.

    • I think you have an advantage as the sole bread-winner, in that if your wife is unemployed her only source of funds will be to try and stiff you in a divorce settlement. On that note, I would make sure that she’s not going to be in a position to empty your joint savings accounts etc. Talk to a lawyer about how best to achieve that. Depending on how old your daughter is, the court will also take her views into account, so keep your relationship with her solid and never let her see you get angry with your wife. If your wife wants to be unreasonable and belligerent, then let her. Kids aren’t stupid, and that sort of behaviour will drive her towards you. Finally, get expert witnesses. Have somebody come and explain to the court how dangerous and deluded anti-vax conspiracies are, and see if you get some EX anthroposophist / Steiner adherents to come and talk about a) what these whackos believe, and b) how they institutionally lie about it.

      It will not be cheap, I fear, but if your wife has no source of income other than you, she’ll have a hard time fighting you – There’s no legal aid for divorce any more. Speaking of which, a frank and honest discussion with your in-laws about what your wife has planned for your daughter and reassuring them that they’ll still have access to her if you gain custody might forestall them funding her. They’ll love their daughter, but they’ll also love their granddaughter.

    • Robert wrote: “I have not found any precedent wrt a father winning custody where the mother is clearly ‘out of whack’ on Anthroposophy and the like, putting her wishes for joining the cult of Anthroposophy and indoctrinating my daughter in it by sending her to the Waldorf School, and moving county so she (my wife) can be a Waldorf mum and study Anthroposophy etc.”

      As it turns out, I have received good news about exactly this only this morning from a dad whose case I have been working on behind the scenes for over a year. Here is the court ruling on his case including citations of previous rulings you may find helpful:

      From the appellate court’s decision:

      “When joint custody is not possible because of the antagonistic relationship between the parties (see Braiman v Braiman, 44NY2d 584, 591; Robinson v Robinson, 111AD2d 316, 318), it may be appropriate, depending upon the particular circumstances of the case, to award some custodial decision-making authority to the noncustodial parent (see Chamberlain v Chamberlain, 24 AD3d 589, 591; Matter of Ring v Ring, 15 AD3d 406; Matter of Penninipede v Penninipede, 6 AD3d 445, 446). The division of authority should be made in a manner intended to take advantage of the strengths and abilities of the noncustodial parent with respect to a particular dimension of child-rearing (see Chamberlain v Chamberlain, 24 AD3d at 591; Matter of Penninipede v Penninipede, 6 AD3d at 446; Mars v Mars, 286 AD2d 201, 202-203).

      The Family Court’s determination that it would be in the child’s best interests to award the mother decision-making authority with respect to the child’s education is not supported by a sound and substantial basis in the record. The father researched educational options for the subject child at every stage of his schooling. Once the child started school and began receiving homework assignments, the father supervised his homework, took part in school-related activities, and remained involved with his schooling at every stage. The father contacted the child’s teachers regarding issues of concern.

      The mother was considerably less involved with the child’s schooling. She maintained a strong preference for a private-school education at a particular school, attendance at which had been a tradition within her family. However, she failed to demonstrate that the school she preferred was a better choice for the child than public school, or that the tuition at the private school was within the parties’ means.

      Accordingly, we modify the order to direct that the father have decision-making
      authority with respect to the child’s education (see Chamberlain v Chamberlain, 24 AD3d at 592; Matter of Ring v Ring, 15 AD3d at 406; Matter of Penninipede v Penninipede, 6 AD3d at 446).”

      Hope this helps!

      • Hi Pete

        I’ve just been reading over this again, many thanks for your contribution!

        As I am in the UK, can you, or anyone else tell me if a UK court will hear or consider a precedent from another country?

        You are absolutely right, and the case refers that if two parents are antagonistic to the point where communication has broken down, giving equal (or at least more) custodial rights, or equal shared residency as it’s called here may be a target I should aim for in my case.

        Any thoughts?

        Thanks in advance!


      • Hi Robert,

        I can’t answer what the UK courts will hear, but I think the case could be made that, if the parents don’t agree on schooling, putting the kids in the MOST CONTROVERSIAL SCHOOL SYSTEM IN THE WORLD should not be one of the choices available to the judge. A non-controversial choice (public school) or a benign private school makes a lot more sense (hopefully to the judge too). Please check out The Waldorf Review for lots and lots of testimonials about how horrible Waldorf schools can be… both here in the US and in the UK.

      • Hi Pete

        Thanks for taking the time to reply, well appreciated! I will look for testimonials and possibly hunt down a Waldorf survivor. What I haven’t mentioned here is that I attended a Waldorf school for a year when I was 12 going on 13… inadmissable! 🙂

        Thanks again!

  36. Robert – it is likely that your wife will have the principal care of your daughter, it doesn’t matter what reason you give re your decision to divorce. But your daughter has a right to a relationship with you, as her father. Although it may be galling now, I suggest you find a lawyer who specialises in mediation rather than attrition. Be the good guy. Take advantage of the free half hour offered by most family law solicitors to find someone who will help protect your relationship with your child in the long term, and be there to help redress the balance when things go wrong. With any luck, your (ex)wife will fall out of love with anthroposophy.

    It would be interesting to know if there is a precedent in English family law regarding vaccination although we know the courts become involved if a child is seriously ill and perceived to be at risk. I suspect it would be difficult to force the issue. A good lawyer is the best bet.

    • Thanks Andy, Angry Nurse, Pete & Jane

      My daughter is 3 and a half, turning 4 in August and she attends a Montessori pre-school where she is well settled. Montessori was our ‘compromise’ for the early years, but the question of ‘big school’ was always going to come up.

      This is a case where the main focus (and I’m really being fair here) is that my soon to be ex feels desperately unfulfilled personally and wants to get to Forest Row to be amongst Anthro’s and study it. I know her well enough that as far as my daughter is concerned, her needs are secondary, and that being a Waldorf mum will connect her to that community etc.. My challenge is to prove it i court.

      I have not yet taken legal advice but I will do so as soon as possible.

      Pete, that looks like a NY State case, but encouraging to me as there are similarities.

      I have actually found a precedent in UK law which while dated, I think is still relevant. It’s a bit long, but makes for interesting reading :

      Re C (Immunisation)
      Rosalind English
      Re C and F (Children) (immunisation)
      CA (Thorpe LJ, Sedley LJ, Sir Anthony Evans) July 30 2003
      The facts of this case are set out in the report on the judgment by Sumner J below. The mothers appealed arguing that the judge wrongly adopted a two-stage test, in which he decided that immunisation was in the girls’ best interests and then determined that there were not sufficient non-medical reasons for rejecting the applications for immunisation orders.
      Appeal dismissed. The judge did not wrongly take the medical evidence to create a presumption in favour of immunisation, which the mothers had to displace. Most parental disputes under s.8 of the 1989 Act did not involve expert evidence. The judge could not be criticised if he chose to make his assessment of the expert evidence before considering other relevant factors. (2) The judge conducted a comprehensive survey and considered all the relevant factors. Ultimately the applications had been decided by the paramount consideration of the welfare of the two children. So long as the judge’s approach was sensibly tailored to the evidence and the issues, no question of law arose about how he or she reached a conclusion.
      FAM (Sumner J) June 13 2003

      Immunisation against childhood diseases was in the best interests of the children in question despite the mothers’ objections.

      This was an application by fathers for an order under s.8 of the Children Act 1989 to determine whether two children (‘C and F’) should be immunised against their mothers’ wishes if that was in children’s best interests. C and F were two girls of four and ten years respectively who each lived alone with their mothers. Neither of the mothers had been married to the fathers. The fathers had been granted parental responsibility orders by the court in respect of the daughters and were in contact with them. The girls had not been inoculated or received any form of immunisation. The fathers wished the daughters to receive a range of immunisation appropriate to their age. The mothers opposed immunisation on the unacceptable risks and the upset it would cause them. The fathers applied to the court to determine whether immunisation was in the girls’ best interests.

      The general practitioner called as an expert witness on behalf of the mothers had allowed her deeply held feelings on the subject of immunisation to overrule the duty she owed to the court. On an objective approach the court was unable to accept her conclusions without independent corroboration.

      The court considered the case of each child separately in respect of each of the vaccinations proposed, and decided, inter alia, that on the medical evidence the benefits of having the three vaccinations against measles, mumps and rubella at one time (the MMR vaccination) outweighed any risks there might be. It was in the children’s best interests that they should receive the MMR triple vaccine.

      The court considered the emotional effect on the mothers and the children, and on the bond between them, of determining that immunisation was in the children’s best interests. The court balanced the benefits of immunisation against the risks. The objections of the mothers were outweighed by the potential benefit of the whole course of immunisation. Under Article 8 of the Convention the Court could interfere with the rights of both parents and children where to do so was to protect the health of the child.
      Judgment accordingly.
      COMMENT (July 2003)
      This litigation shows what happens when popular but unscientific orthodoxies are yoked together with human rights dogma, and it is a great credit to Sumner J that his judgment is as measured as it is.
      This case exemplifies the extreme difficulty before the courts of balancing the “rights” as seen from the claimant mothers’ perspective against the children’s “rights” as seen from an established medical perspective. As one of the claimants herself said, “once you start looking at holistic health issues it is a way of life.” She thought it was up to each individual to weigh up what they feel is at risk. The medical community has not provided adequate information about the putative risks of immunisation and the anti-immunisation lobby has provided some of the answers, and in her and the other claimants’ opinion, this provided a good enough reason for her to prefer the information provided the latter over the former.
      Whilst most offshoots of holistic medicine are harmless, this litigation demonstrates the harm it can do, recently exposed by John Diamond in his attack on the holistic medicine boom “Snake Oil and Other Preoccupations” (London, Vintage, 2000). It may be cynical but nevertheless true to reflect that alternative medicine and the anti-immunisation lobby enjoy a symbiotic relationship; as Diamond pointed out, the alternative medicine business in Britain has a turnover measured in billions of pounds. Less vaccinations mean more sick children whose parents, by definition, do not believe in orthodox medicine. More business for the holistic clinics.
      The judge refrained from passing comment on the much publicised speculative link between autism and the MMR vaccination because it forms the focus of a civil trial due to start in April 2004 expected to last 6 months. That case – and the attitudes that gave rise to the litigation under discussion – arises out of the all-too-human propensity to give in to the superficial seductiveness of individual stories that seem to show a pattern (such as various neurological disturbances following inoculation). As Richard Dawkins has said, “The human mind is a wanton storyteller, and, even more, a profligate seeker after pattern. We see faces in clouds and tortillas, fortunes in tea leaves and planetary movements…It is quite difficult to prove a real pattern as distinct from a superficial illusion. The human mind has to learn to mistrust its native tendency to run away with itself and see pattern where there is only randomness”. (The Devil’s Chaplain, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2003 p 185).
      If the hard tested results of medical research cannot persuade us to learn this lesson, some of that persuasion will have to be undertaken by the courts, when the resulting controversy (inevitably) ends up there. Let us hope that future tribunals meet this challenge with as firm a hand as Sumner J has shown here.
      Rosalind English, 1 Crown Office Row

      Thanks for the ideas and support guys!

      I feel I’d like to join a local Skeptics group and learn my subject. I have been very interested in separation of church and state matters for some years now, but need to expand my debating into pseudoscience. I’ll need it!

      • I have one piece of advice: not to allow your wife, future ex-wife, to enroll the child in a steiner school. Unless you feel you can live with that decision for 15 or so years to come. As long as you share custody of the child, you should be able to have a say in the school question. In my experience — which is limited, but from the parents I’ve heard from or of — it’s awfully difficult to set things right again once you’ve agreed to a steiner school and the child is already in school. Even if you can show that the child is not progressing academically or whatever — it’s awfully difficult, because you’ve said yes to it. And unless you’d be abe to convince the child’s mother, you’d be forced to take the matter to court — all while your child’s education is being squandered in front of your eyes. Better, in my opinion, to say no from the start, than to later regret consenting to it.

      • Many thanks Alicia!

        While I don’t mean to hijack this thread, I very much appreciate the advice.

        Alicia, this is my top priority right now, even ahead of the divorce as we are moving quickly towards the school holidays in the UK, after which she will need to be enrolled somewhere. Luckily, we are obliged to stay (or at least pay for) the following term at her present school, which is September to December. I doubt very much that any judge would have me lose the fees already paid in favour of a mother who wishes to relocate the child on such short notice. The short notice stems from her desperation to begin her own course in September.

        On the one hand I am a little nervous since my wife displays incredible confidence that she will get her way (either since she may be being funded by a 3rd party, or through wishful thinking on the assumption that a court will always find for the mother, regardless) or as I more likely suspect, I will be able to successfully intervene, however it will cost me in solicitor’s fees, which I am happy to pay if necessary.

        As I said in previous discussions the Steiner school refused my daughter’s application on grounds that I was not informed, nor would I give my consent. I have subsequently discovered that this is consistent with Steiner schools as they even wish the parents to motivate their application with a questionnaire as to why they have chosen Waldorf / Steiner, possibly to eek out any skepticism from one or both parents to ensure they have a ‘good’ candidate with long term prospects in the school. Needless to say she wrote a long motivation, including Steiner philosophy, Anthroposophy, Theosophy etc as the family doctrinal influence.

        It’s a lonely battle I must say I feel confident that reason will win in the end. Explaining to my daughter in 20 years time why I did this will be easy to do – I wonder if her mum could say the same.

        Thanks again!


  37. A recent update…

    When he took to the stand, the Ilkeston-born Coronation Street actor spoke of his childhood.

    He told the court that he developed an intrest in “sixth sense and mysticism” due to his early education at a Rudolph Steiner school.

    He said that his grandfather had donated land to the school and speaking about Mr Steiner, he said: “He had an interesting philosophy about education, that school should be a place of fun.

    “Handcrafts, dancing, painting, there was no discipline.”

    Apparently, the school is trying to distance itself from Roache’s descriptions.

  38. What an appallingly superficial and ignorant appraisal of Steiner’s work; Assuming the reporter here has undertaken an in-depth, and objective research into his prodigious lecture, books, and notes based on his own research. Perhaps the root of the prejudice here, is a denial of intuitive research in general into the super sensible. And to make these judgements based on the mans painstaking research, is to completely trivialise, and take out of context, what any carefully attentive reader can potentially glean from his writings and his own character.

    • Yes. I do deny what you might call ‘intuitive research’. This is a sure path to delusion and error. Steiner denied the enlightenment and that is apparent throughout his works. Superstition and revelation rule in Steiner’s world. And it leads to, at one end’ absurdities, and a the other end, appalling racism and a denial of the human. Steiner did not undertake ‘extensive research’ = he indulged himself and his accolytes in a self- conglaturary fantasy of narcissism and wishful thinking. And as such, I thoroughly reject what he stands for.

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