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Media scrutiny of these schools is feeble

Don’t miss Andy Lewis’s long and thorough article What Every Parent Should Know About Steiner-Waldorf Schools.

Just one sample, to whet your appetite -

Far from Steiner’s views being seen as a historical anachronism, the text books are full of unreformed anthroposophical views on the world. The text books I have got hold of teach that the heart is not a pump but is forced to beat by the pulsing blood that is forced around the body by the spirit. We learn that humans are bipedal because it frees the arms to pray. Anatomy is treated as a spiritual subject and not a science. The British Humanist Association notes that the source of the curriculum at Hereford state funded Steiner schools is acknowledged to be based on a book by Martyn Rawson and Tobias Richter which teaches that Darwinism “is rooted in reductionist thinking and Victorian ethics and young people need to emerge from school with a clear sense of its limits”. Homeopathy, a most egregious form of quackery, is  ‘a good example of an effect that cannot be explained by the dominant [atomic] model’.  It is worth noting that Steiner stated that the British Isles floated on the sea held in place by cosmic forces. And he believed in the historical truth of the vanished continent of Atlantis…

That article needs to be published somewhere.

Comments

  1. Acolyte of Sagan says

    We learn that humans are bipedal because it frees the arms to pray.

    Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, ad infinitum.
    They weren’t even teaching this shit when I was at school, and that was a time before computers; Hell, it was before the electronic calculator for Christ’s sake. How the fuck did this travesty happen?.

  2. lpetrich says

    Ophelia Benson, have you ever read Martin Gardner’s Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science? It’s some 60 years old, but MG had some good observations in it. Like how crackpots often advocate inversions of mainstream theories.

    Mathematicians prove the angle cannot be trisected. So the crank trisects it. A perpetual motion machine cannot be built. He builds one. There are many eccentric theories in which the “pull” of gravity is replaced by a “push.” Germs do not cause disease, some modern cranks insist. Disease produces the germs. Glasses do not help the eyes, said Dr. Bates. They make them worse. In our next chapter we shall learn how Cyrus Teed literally turned the entire cosmos inside-out, compressing it within the confines of a hollow earth, inhabited only on the inside.

    Rudolf Steiner on the heart and blood circulation is exactly that sort of thing. As is his belief that the British Isles float instead of being continuous with the Earth’s interior.

  3. Gordon Willis says

    Andy Lewis tells us to remember a very important sentence containing the words “the privileged few”. Maybe that’s the meat of it. There’s karma (shiver) and all those enchanting mystical things, and there are “the privileged few” who really really deeply and truly know. So of course we believe them — well, don’t we? They’re privileged, they know. And we put our trust in them, ‘cos they just know, and they’re so right, and it’s all so true, about life-force and karma and, and…

    And people believe because they want to, because it’s obvious that there is a life-force (which makes the blood flow and the heart beat), and people reap what they sow (because how else does it make sense to suffer and not be able to eat fish and chips* every Friday when the world just ought to be comfortable and meaningful and everything should stay where I put it?). And SOMEBODY HAS TO KNOW about all this, because if nobody knows, then nobody knows, and that’s just AWFUL!!!

    .
    PS Why did the feudal system last such a long time? Is it because we just need leaders and authorities to give our lives shape and purpose? We actually need to be serfs and have some “higher-up” choose our destiny, under the powers-that-be? Would any pagan/mystic/monotheistic gobbledegook, stated with conviction (“authority”) do? I am beginning to think that it would.

    .
    *British fries

  4. Anonymous Atheist says

    AoS – Ah but they were teaching it when you were in school… at these apecific schools, not at mainstream schools such as you presumably attended. History of Waldorf schools wiki:

    Rudolf Steiner wrote his first book on education, The Education of the Child, in 1907. The first school based upon these principles was opened in 1919 in response to a request by Emil Molt, the owner and managing director of the Waldorf-Astoria Cigarette Company in Stuttgart, Germany, to serve the children of employees of the factory. This is the source of the name Waldorf, which is now trademarked for use in association with the educational method. The Stuttgart school grew rapidly and soon the majority of pupils were from families not connected with the company.

    At the invitation of Professor Millicent Mackenzie, Steiner presented his ideas on education at Oxford in the summer of 1922. Steiner gave twelve lectures at Oxford’s Harris Manchester College and other lectures of the Oxford Conference occurred at Oxford’s Keble College. The Oxford Conference from 15 to 29 August led directly to the proliferation of Waldorf education in Britain.

    In the next few years schools began to open in many other locations (Hamburg, The Hague, Basel). The first school in England, now Michael Hall school, was founded in 1925; the first in the USA, the Rudolf Steiner School in New York City, in 1928. By the late 1930s, numerous schools inspired by the original school or its pedagogical principles had been founded in Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Hungary, the USA, and the UK. Political interference from the Nazi regime limited and ultimately closed most Waldorf schools in Europe, with the exception of the British and some Dutch schools; the affected schools were reopened after the Second World War. There are currently over 1,000 independent Waldorf Schools worldwide.

    PS, another quote from Andy Lewis’s article:

    Steiner was very clear about why delayed reading was a good idea – not because older children can learn to read better, but because memorising and reading interfered with the incarnation of the etheric body. It could damage a spiritual protective sheath around the child leading to illness and spiritual degeneration. ’Developmental needs’ in the Steiner world are to do with the incarnation of spiritual entities. Only after adult teeth have appeared is a child spiritually ready to learn to read.

  5. Acolyte of Sagan says

    Anonymous Atheist says:
    November 2, 2012 at 4:01 pm
    AoS – Ah but they were teaching it when you were in school… at these apecific schools, not at mainstream schools such as you presumably attended

    Indeed, but these free schools are in the mainstream now. I’m shocked that a seeming majority of parents either don’t know or don’t care what their children are being taught nowadays; I certainly made it my business to know what was on the curriculum when my own were at school.

  6. Rodney Nelson says

    Steiner stated that the British Isles floated on the sea held in place by cosmic forces.

    Rocks are held together by electromagnetic forces, which are found throughout the cosmos, so Steiner was almost right. Maybe. If you only glance at the claim.

  7. machintelligence says

    I have heard that Steiner-Waldorf schools are hotbeds of anti-vaccination woo. Not that that is any surprise.

  8. sailor1031 says

    I’m totes intrigued by the idea that forcing fluid rouns a system and through a pump will make that pump run – rather than the pump running and forcing fluid around the system. Can we have the equations that describe this effect? please? pretty please? with sugar on it?

    Nah! didn’t think so.

  9. latsot says

    These aren’t the only schools we have teaching crazy shit here in the UK. For example, we also have the Vardy schools teaching creationism.

    I genuinely don’t understand how we allowed this to happen. We seem to be brilliant at letting horrific things creep up on us then not knowing what to do about it.

  10. Acolyte of Sagan says

    Blockquote> sailor1031 says:
    November 3, 2012 at 5:01 am
    I’m totes intrigued by the idea that forcing fluid rouns a system and through a pump will make that pump run – rather than the pump running and forcing fluid around the system. Can we have the equations that describe this effect?

    Sure, but it’ll have to be in longhand.
    To explain how the circulation powered pump works, one nneds to calclate (stupid x scientific ignorance) squared x 10 to the 23 and divide by the cube root of believing silly things.
    Easy!

    latsot says:
    November 4, 2012 at 1:56 am
    These aren’t the only schools we have teaching crazy shit here in the UK. For example, we also have the Vardy schools teaching creationism.

    Yep, and it isn’t like he has a history of selling shit!

  11. Brian M says

    It’s too bad that the biodynamic wineries seem to produce the most interesting wines. Because the woo in biodynamic agriculture can be as insane.

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