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Rudolf Steiner (Feb. 25, 1861- Mar. 30, 1925) was an Austrian born in what now is Croatia (part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in those days) and was educated at the Vienna Institute of Technology. He also lived in Germany and Switzerland. Early in his life, he was the scientific editor of an edition of Goethe's works; later he was a writer and lecturer on primarily philosophical and spiritual topics. His lectures also included some scientific themes treated from a 'spiritual' point of view. He is most famous for his role in the foundation of the spiritual path of anthroposophy. Anthroposophy teaches that people reincarnate in a 500-year cycle. Nearly a thousand schools have adopted his philosophy of education, which promotes use of the imagination as well as analytical skills, and which do not encourage reading until age 6-7. Steiner was a pseudoscientific polymath of sorts, working in the fields of education, medicine and farming.
The Waldorf education concept was developed by Steiner, and first implemented in 1919 by Emil Molt, CEO of the Waldorf-Astoria cigarette factory. Modern Waldorf schools may be crank magnets. In particular, they seem to attract antivaxers, with vaccination rates as low as 8%. The attraction for antivaxers is likely Steiner's that bouts of childhood disease were spiritually beneficial.
Steiner created the philosophy called Anthroposophy, and its allied field of Anthroposophical medicine. Anthroposophy attempts to bridge the gap between science, art, and religion by connecting the soul in the individual and in society to that in nature. It was derived from theosophy.
Anthroposophical medicine is a mixture of real medicine with various quackeries from alternative medicine. Anthroposophical doctors are real doctors who have gone through medical school but who often prescribe herbal and homeopathic products. While not entirely opposed to vaccinations, Anthroposophical medicine is often reticent to prescribe them, making them borderline antivax.
The original organic farming movement is called biodynamic agriculture. It began in 1924 and was based upon the ideas of Rudolf Steiner. Biodynamic agriculture is still practiced, primarily in Germany, but is much less common than modern organic farming.
Biodynamics eschews usage of synthetic chemicals, and views farming as a holistic process that integrates soil fertility, plant growth and livestock care, In addition to now-standard organic farming practices (crop rotation, polyculture/intercropping, cover cropping, minimizing tillage, use of manure and compost, pesticide avoidance methods), biodynamics also includes spiritual/mystical aspects including sympathetic magic, astrology, alchemy, homeopathy, menhirs to "cosmic energy and radiant fields through geo-acupuncture", "pest ashing" (burning offending pests and scattering the ashes), and "sensitive testing" ("image-forming practices variously called biocrystallization, capillary dynamolysis, morphochromatog- raphy, sensitive crystallization, and the Steigbild method").
- See the Wikipedia article on Rudolf Steiner.
- Demeter — Biodynamics certification organization
- Demeter Association, Incl — the US branch
- Who was Rudolf Steiner? Waldorf Answers
- Waldorf/Steiner Schools and Low Vaccine Uptake Rates (July 08, 2011) I Speak of Dreams
- 2010 Immunization Status of Kindergarten Students, California In schools with 10 or more kindergarten students enrolled
- Here's What Some of California's Least-Vaccinated Schools Have to Say for Themselves. "If we attract people who choose not to immunize, it's not because we recruit them." by Rebecca Cohen (Feb. 23, 2015 7:00 AM) Mother Jones.
- Rudolf Steiner's Quackery by Roger Rawlings (July 23, 2012) Quackwatch.
- Rudolf Steiner's Quackery by Roger Rawlings (revised on July 23, 2012) Quackwatch.
- Power of Narrative in Environmental Networks by R. P. Lejano et al. (2013). MIT Press. p. 155. ISBN 9780262519571.
- Organics Olympiad 2011: Global Indices of Leadership in Organic Agriculture by John Paull (2011) Journal of Social and Development Sciences Vol. 1, No. 4, pp. 144-150.
- "Overview of organic agriculture" by Paul Kristiansen and Charles Mansfield (2006). In Organic Agriculture: A Global Perspective, edited by Acram Taji Paul Kristiansen & John Reganold CSIRO Publishing. ISBN 0801445248.
- "Blut und Bohnen: Der Paradigmenwechsel im Künast-Ministerium ersetzt Wissenschaft durch Okkultismus" by Peter Treue (2002) Die Gegenwart Nr. 61, S. 12 (archived from April 17, 2003).
- The Science Behind Biodynamic Preparations: A Literature Review by Linda Chalker-Scott (2013). HortTechnology 23(6):814-819.
- The Planting Calendar Rhythms Bio-Dynamic Association of India
- The Myth of Biodynamic Agriculture: Biodynamics is a scientifically sound approach to sustainable management of plant systems" by Linda Chalker-Scott