‘we are headed for a crisis in the human condition’ (good grief!)

ThetisMercurio noticed on Twitter that Dr Richard House, a prominent (?) Steiner education proponent, is worried about television. From his letter, ‘Victims of television’:

The incursion of televisual technologies into people’s lives is now being robustly challenged from many sources …

Ah, but waldorf has ‘challenged’ (as in rejected) all of modern technology for 80 years now. Not for any particularly robust reasons, one might add. Of course, if other groups of parents also become hostile to technology, dr House and the Steiner movement will happily ride on that wave too. Much like they did with the anti-vaccine craze.

… and parents are increasingly making principled, informed decisions not to expose their children to what are inhuman, body-less and soul-less technologies, when children’s prime task is learning how to be human in real (not artificial or technologised) human relationships.

Gosh! Inhuman, body-less and soul-less! Can’t the same be said about gnomes too? Or flute-playing? (It’s inhuman, to me.)

The article [which dr House comments on /a] also assumes that technologically and programmatically controlled human learning is preferable to ‘real-world situations’.

‘Real-world situations’ — I guess that’s what waldorf education claims to provide? Curiously, these real-world situations are populated by fairies, gnomes and archangels. Even worse, eurythmists. Positively surreal, I’d say. Had little to do with the real world, as I know it. Of course, I’m only halfway sane.

If we impose televisual technologies on young children whose brains and bodies are still in the throes of rapid development; if the kinds of arguments proposed in this article are taken seriously, then we are headed for a crisis in the human condition, the gravity of which it is impossible to over-estimate.

But then we’ll bring in a waldorf crisis intervention team, consisting of eurythmists and waldorf teachers. They’ll teach the world’s (spiritually lost) population to move in a suspiciously fluid manner, draped in weird dresses while tossing copper rods around. And to paint wet-on-wet water-blobs and do a proper form drawing, all very necessary skills (in contrast to absolutely useless computer skills). Homeopathic remedies will be dispensed to cure television addiction. The apocalypse will be swiftly and efficiently averted by these highly qualified professionals and spiritual aid workers!

As for Richard House’s own ability to over-estimate the gravity of the situation, well, I think he succeeded magnificently. It can’t have been impossible, can it? At least not for him. Higher wisdom is an amazing asset.

54 thoughts on “‘we are headed for a crisis in the human condition’ (good grief!)

  1. Indeed. I’m highly suspicious of any education system propagated by someone who talks about the end of humanity. Doesn’t worry mr Dog much though. There’s no impending crisis in the canine condition, he tells me.

  2. To be fair to Richard House I have read the article he cited –

    A Unique Child: Cognitive Development – TV times
    Kyra Karmiloff and Annette Karmiloff-Smith, 16 February 2011
    The debate over how much screen exposure is advisable for young children should take account of scientific research and common sense, say Kyra Karmiloff and Annette Karmiloff-Smith.

    This was in NurseryWorld – you can get a free trial if you want to read it.

    The researchers are very interesting, mother and daughter, highly accomplished, the mother studied in Geneva with Jean Piaget – who is so often cited by Waldorf supporters. She was awarded a CBE for her work on cognitive neuroscience. The daughter is both an academic and a novelist.

    My own experience was that my very small children showed no interest in TV, and when they eventually did it was only for very short periods. I can’t see a reason to encourage a toddler to use a computer, so I don’t disagree with some of House’s concerns. I agree with the Karmiloffs’ advice to allow children to play without constant TV-related background noise (I imagine they also think outdoor play and digging in a sandpit are great activities, and I spent years creating all those ‘natural’ things).

    But their work is useful since children have to live in different environments. If it were true that TV exposure was as harmful as some suggest we would need to know, but it’s a matter of degree. It’s dangerous like butter is dangerous: a little is OK but a great deal – not so good. It seems odd to me to issue guidelines about TV and internet related to children who imo shouldn’t be watching, but I don’t think they’re recommending anything immoderate. Anyway, sitting watching telly with your toddler and interacting with the programme is perfectly healthy, and there’s an amount of snobbery in certain attitudes to the lives of others.

    So: “if the kinds of arguments proposed in this article are taken seriously, then we are headed for a crisis in the human condition, the gravity of which it is impossible to over-estimate.”

    Is extreme partly because the Karmiloffs are arguing for moderation, although suggesting that the evidence doesn’t support a total ban. They examine studies on the use children make of screen-time, and advise how to make the best of it. But they don’t suggest it’s the same as social interaction:

    ‘Perhaps because it is the easiest to measure, much of the scientific research into the effects of screen exposure on children has focused on language acquisition. The findings have pointed to the need to control and limit, rather than eradicate, screen exposure in young children’s lives. Indeed, the data on language are fairly clear: vocabulary is best learned under conditions of live social interaction.’

    House’s crisis both here and in a wider sense is a spiritual crisis. I don’t think it’s a crisis caused by poverty, or in families that have conflict and discontinuity. It’s a vanity crisis.

  3. Thanks Thetis, splendid comment, I’ll read it again tomorrow, because I feel my eyelids are seriously struggling not to fall down over my eyes.

    It doesn’t seem that the article House is commenting on contains anything that would cause concern for the future of humankind, then. Unless we’re talking about incarnating spirits and stuff.

    ‘I can’t see a reason to encourage a toddler to use a computer, so I don’t disagree with some of House’s concerns.’

    But who would encourage a toddler to use a computer? Depends on what one means by ‘use’, of course. Sure, an older toddler might like to look at some pictures, maybe, like cute dog pictures or so? I remember I liked cute animal pictures as a child. But that’s got nothing to do with the technology itself, and doesn’t really need encouragement. And it probably isn’t dangerous or destructive for the soul or so.

    But it’s not like a toddler can type or read Anthroposophy Tomorrow (I’d advise against it) or surf around on astral pornography websites or anything…

    In any case, a toddler can’t do any of it alone, and if a toddler and a parent spends a few minutes together looking at something on a computer… it really is a social activity, isn’t it? It’s communication between them, not an interaction with an inhuman, soul-less piece of plastic.

  4. Richard House wrote so indignantly:

    The article spuriously invokes ‘scientific research’ in a narrowly mechanistic way – for example, that ‘watching a screen … involves complex cognitive processes’ – as if invoking impressive-sounding neuroscience in this way somehow legitimises what is, in terms of developmental appropriateness, a highly problematic experience for a young child.

    Meanwhile, Across the Pond in sunny California, clinical psychologist and Waldorf parent, Dr. Regalena Melrose wrote:
    http://maplevillage.wordpress.com/2010/10/25/why-waldorf-works-from-a-neuroscientific-perspective/

    Why Waldorf works has more to do with how the brain develops and functions optimally than Rudolf Steiner ever could have known. Sure the educator and founder of Waldorf Education theorized convincingly about how children learn best, but until MRI’s and other sophisticated measures of the brain were developed, we had no way to prove or disprove any of Steiner’s theories, not with the kind of precision and accuracy we can now. An overwhelming body of evidence from the last 20 years of neuro-scientific inquiry supports Steiner’s theories, including some of the most fundamental foci of Waldorf Education.

    Is this a case of where the left brain doesn’t know what the right brain is thinking?

  5. Alicia,

    As for Crisis Intervention, maybe Masaru Emoto, the Missionary of Water can help the Waldorf schools. Here is what we all missed today, a chance to intervene and heal the nuclear reactor catastrophe in Japan. If they can decontaminate Japan of radioactivity, surely they can decontaminate Waldorf children in England from Television cooties.

    ———————————-
    Please read the message below and send out to your friends and constituents. The time being requested is a noon in each time zone tomorrow, to send the water in Japan loving prayerful thoughts to help it turn to positive from the poison state it is in now. Dr. Emoto has demonstrated over many years that water responds to loving human thought no matter how far away. The Institute of Noetic Sciences has collaborated in trans-Pacific thought experiments with water and the results are staggeringly positive. WE can help! Thank you for your help in getting this disseminated soon!
    ———————

    http://lightworkers.org/node/128160

    March 29, 2011

    To fellow citizens of planet earth,

    Because of the most massive earthquake of magnitude 9 and the huge tsunamis that followed the earthquake in Japan on March 11, 2011, there are more than 11,000 victims and over 18,000 people are still missing. It’s been 18 days since the disaster happened. Furthermore, the Fukushima Nuclear Plant has been devastated, so not only air and sea water of nearby area have been affected, but also tap water of Tokyo area is even contaminated by radioactivity now. People are in a state of semi-panic by harmful rumors on agricultural products, seafood and even water.

    I perceive this catastrophic phenomenon as a beginning of the issue of the entire earth, not just a problem of only Japan as an island country in Far East. So many supports from abroad and media reports on this disaster have shown that whole human beings are thinking that it is not just something happened in Japan, but it can happen to anyone in anywhere. It seems that people started to have more common consciousness of catastrophe as citizens of the earth. Under such conditions and when we think of; what can we do as citizens of the earth? And what do we have to do?

    I think the answer is just one. Unite in one mind as a citizen of the planet earth. I believe that we will come up with the following wisdom only when we become One, and we will be able to make effective plans and actions. It is now the time to understand the meaning of the energy formula of Albert Einstein, E=mc^2, and we shall practice it. Now, fellow citizens of this planet earth, let’s do our first try together as follows:

    Day and time: March 31, 2011 Thursday at 12 noon in each time zone.

    Please say the following phrase: “The water of Fukushima Nuclear Plant, we are sorry to make you suffer. Please forgive us. We thank you and we love you.”

    Please say it aloud or in your mind. Repeat it three times as you put your hands together in the prayer position. Please offer your sincere prayer.

    With love and gratitude,

    Masaru Emoto
    Missionary of Water

  6. Now where is the Wax Block when we really need it? Surely beeswax could counter-act radioactivity. Maybe we should suggest they send the Wax Block to Japan to follow up on the Emoto Water healing.

  7. Sure, Alicia, that’s very sensible.

    “In any case, a toddler can’t do any of it alone, and if a toddler and a parent spends a few minutes together looking at something on a computer… it really is a social activity, isn’t it? It’s communication between them, not an interaction with an inhuman, soul-less piece of plastic.”

    It’s the social activity that matters, exactly. Same as many activities you could do with a toddler, like looking at a picture book, which imo is ALWAYS a good thing to do. I wouldn’t let a toddler on my computer but that’s because I want it to work! But they wouldn’t be interested long enough to be damaged developmentally, the real computer use comes later, and raises quite different questions.

    Anyway, how are computers inhuman? They’re not people, certainly, but they’re products of human ingenuity, with which we interact, often creatively. They’re as human as a washing board or a mangle or a broom, or (thank goodness for) a washing machine or a vacuum cleaner. Technology has not lost us our humanity.

  8. Tom – on the nail, or bat hits ball. Or perhaps Dog bites leg.

    I think this could be called a Housian framework. When neuroscience is perceived to be good ie it agrees with my occult fantasies, it is contained within the paradigm. When it is bad, and suggests the evidence is not on my side, it is flung outside with great force. It is not necessary to read a researcher’s findings in depth if their work is not within the sacred paradigm. It is my paradigm, which is mine and no one else’s, and you have no right to tell me I can’t have it. You are grotesquely materialistic and privilege your soul-less mechanistic ‘science’ above my unrecognisable woo. How very dare you.

    The Housian framework is relativist, interpretivist, absurdist and Über -postmodern. If your interpretation of reality is as valid as anybody else’s, even if your only supporter is the wax-block, it will work for you.

  9. Tom — mr Wax Block is busy meeting with dignitaries such as Putin and Gaddafi. He can’t be in the Japan, too. Really, is it too much to ask for that the anthroposophists talk with the elementals of radioactivity themselves? The Wax Block can’t do everything and be everywhere simultaneously. His capacities are amazing, but really…

    (Another thing — isn’t the shape of the Wax Block something of an enigma? All those sharp edges.

    Can a vegetarian drink water? I mean, if water is conscious, I don’t know…

    Thetis — ‘Anyway, how are computers inhuman? They’re not people, certainly, but they’re products of human ingenuity, with which we interact, often creatively. They’re as human as a washing board or a mangle or a broom, or (thank goodness for) a washing machine or a vacuum cleaner. Technology has not lost us our humanity.’

    Very true. A computer is probably more human than the Wax Block or the Goetheanum. To name a few examples.

    On the Housian framwork — LOL! And brilliantly put.

  10. A couple of notes about the research Richard House favours, in case any University of Plymouth Steiner BA students are reading.

    In order to assess the potential for bias it’s always a good idea to see who commissioned research and who is paying for it, if it is peer reviewed and if so by whom. To assess the quality you would need to assess the method behind the research.

    For example: Richard House is very keen on Aric Sigman, some of whose research papers were commissioned by Ruskin Mill Educational Trust (RMET), an anthroposophical organisation (although Sigman may not have a personal connection with Anthroposophy).

    http://www.rmet.co.uk/index.php/the_hiram_academy/research/

    Re Sigman’s ‘Does not Compute’: this paper could be described as a narrative review, and would have been improved had Sigman detailed his search strategy and either stated that there were no papers that disagreed with his view or listed them and provided a critique.

    Ben Goldacre wrote about Sigman in 2009: ‘How Aric Sigman distorts the scientific evidence to mislead you.’
    http://www.badscience.net/2009/02/the-evidence-aric-sigman-ignored/

    And Goldacre’s excellent analysis is highlighted in this article in Nursery World by John Siraj-Blatchford*

    “In the Guardian’s ‘Bad Science’ critique of Aric Sigman, Ben Goldacre refers to Sigman’s tendency to ‘cherry pick’ his evidence. As Goldacre argues, this is a common crime in the world of pseudoscience. In universities we are all too familiar with this sort of writing. In undergraduate essays we often refer to it as ‘selective citation’, where students only refer to the evidence that they have found to support their argument, ignoring the evidence that goes against it.

    In the case of an essay, the approach demonstrates the student’s failure to reflect upon the relative weight of the evidence to make an informed decision. The essay will be marked down, and in most cases the student will fail and may be required to re-sit their examination. Unfortunately, when shoddy writing of this sort is published and/or promoted as ‘science’, it gives it entirely false authority.

    In fact, the problems here have serious implications that reach well beyond the subject of computers and ICT. All too often members of the public are being encouraged to question the very legitimacy of science itself because scientists are shown to disagree with each other. This is especially ironic when we consider that it is precisely these critical peer-review and testing processes of science that give science its strength and authority.

    The tendency of the public to be duped, and for opinions to be manipulated in this way by propagandists, suggests a crisis in the public understanding of science.”

    http://www.nurseryworld.co.uk/news/1033000/Analysis-Computers-benefit-children/

    Sigman is cited in the strongly Steiner-influenced Open-Eye Campaign: “The psychologist Dr. Aric Sigman spoke with a punch about the adverse effects of screen-based technology in the early years.”
    http://openeyecampaign.wordpress.com/2010/06/15/the-child-the-true-foundation-conference-report/

    Once again, just as on DC’s blog, I find myself using the word ‘histrionic’.

    House also favours the work of Dr. Sebastian Suggate, who was an organiser of the Otago University Anthroposophical Student Association. http://www.anthroposophy.org.nz/~anthropo/files/u4/sophos_final.pdf

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/6937462/Reading-at-five-fails-to-boost-skills.html

    I’m not suggesting there’s no value in Suggate’s research. But it’s impossible to forget the anthroposophical view of early childhood; of the incarnating child, the presence of karma and reincarnation. And will there not be a bias towards Steiner Waldorf education?

    Elsewhere, attempts by anthroposophists to back up their assertions with sciency sounding research conducted and reviewed by themselves should be treated (quite obviously) with caution.

    *note: John Siraj-Blatchford is an honorary Professor at the University of Swansea and co-directs the Supporting Playful Learning with Information and Communications Technology (SPLICT) project.

  11. ‘And will there not be a bias towards Steiner Waldorf education?’

    Oh, there will. And there is. Always. That’s so far the only reason for doing research I’ve detected among Steiner ed fans. They really want biased research, because that’s the only way they get support for their ideas (which, somehow, they can’t accept as ‘just’ funny ideas without evidence), and they hide their desires… well not too skillfully. We will never see unbiased research presented by anyone who’s already slanted towards waldorf. I’m really pessimistic about this. We will always see them push research (and sometimes ‘research) that favours their hypotheses — like ‘computers are bad’… we will never see them promote research which shows the contrary. They can’t squeeze that into their paradigm (which is evidence intolerant, much like with lactose intolerance, the system gets queasy)…

    Sorry, I’m tired and babbling. The bottom line is: I’m pessimistic about their ability not to be biased, not to go hunt for supposed real world support of their spiritual ideas, even when there is none and cannot possibly be any.

  12. that’s a new way of looking at life. ‘Alicia? No, sorry, she’s been deleted. We can’t delete Thetis because she doesn’t exist, but we’re looking at our options. It may involve going virtually underwater with a harpoon. We’ll get back to you.’

  13. And there’s a connection to this thread:

    ‘In the 1970’s there was great concern over the effects of television violence on children. Price was one of the founders and served as President/CEO of the Media Action Research Center, Inc. Dr. Robert Liebert, a professor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, was the scientific director. Children were tested in a MARC laboratory to determine the effects of both violent and pro-social TV scenes. A curriculum was developed, “Television Awareness Training,” to train teachers and parents about the social effects of television on children.’

    http://spiritsail.com/about/

  14. I really am. I wish I was clairvoyant enough — when awake — to remember the rest of the dream. Maybe there were Big Truths in it. (Mr Dog yawns and eyes me sceptically.)

  15. Ladies!

    All this talk about harpoons has inspired me to re-visit an old idea of mine which I have never yet made known to anyone else. I believe that the time is now. The issue is re-naming Sune the Bee. After all, why is it that we keep on using his own designation of himself —which is founded entirely in anthroposophy (see Steiner’s 9 lectures on bees.) — and have not come up with our own, er, pet . . . name for him?

    Well, here it is. Many times when I have occasion to type out “Sune Nordwall,” my fingers jump away to type “Sune Narwhal.” But then when I post something I always have reverted to his given name. But now let us consider the case for the “narwhal.”

    [1] Its habitat is somewhat close to Sweden though almost always above 65 North Latitude: Greenland, North Sea, Arctic Sea, etc.

    [2] Because of its single horn, it is sometimes referred to as the “Unicorn of the Sea.”

    [3] The narwhal leads with its stinger, whereas the bee follows with its stinger. Sune’s cyber activity is much more akin to poking first while with a bee the stinging usually comes later.

    [4] The bee dies after it stings, while the narwhal’s stinger remains intact.

    [5] Its species name is Monodon Monoceros meaning “one tooth, one-horn.” In psychological terms, Sune Narwhal is monomaniacal. Therefore his species name could be Monodon Monoceros Monomaniacus,” highlighting his “one-track mind.”

    [6] The prefix “nar” is said to derive from an old Norse word meaning “corpse” presumably because the skin color of dead drowned sailors was like that of the whale. Given that Sune tends to the “corpse” of Rudolf Steiner’s works, a comparison may be made.

    Now I must warn you of a certain danger. After all, I came here this morning only to find two ladies discussing harpoons. I strongly advise you both; either get a good short haircut, or else do not wear your long hair in braids. Otherwise, this fate might await you both:

    In Inuit legend, the narwhal’s tusk was created when a woman with a harpoon rope tied around her waist was dragged into the ocean after the harpoon had struck a large narwhal. She was transformed into a narwhal herself, and her hair, which she was wearing in a twisted knot, became the characteristic spiral narwhal tusk.

  16. There was an article in a swedish newspaper a few days ago — about unicorns. Apparently, horns said to be from unicorns are usually from narwhals (and never from unicorns).

    ‘… have not come up with our own, er, pet . . . name for him?’

    I’ve seen people call him the loon. Presumably, this is to rhyme with Sune, but the problem is that it doesn’t, because the ‘e’ should be pronounced not silent.

  17. You mean like ‘make him understandable’?

    He’s a fanatical anthroposophist engaged in a delusional war against steiner critics. Sometimes he wears the disguise of an animal, sometimes of his anima.

  18. I believe he is also editor of ‘Fanatical Anthroposophist’ magazine, which is only available in-flight to the Higher Worlds.

  19. How has he obtained distribution on such high levels, I ask myself. Don’t the Higher Worlds have quality control? Of course, Rudi spends his days drinking champagne in the ethereal kiosk, so who knows who’s in charge up there. Some failed eurythmist in collaboration with an archangel (who, as we all know, have little common sense)?

  20. “I’ve seen people call him the loon. Presumably, this is to rhyme with Sune, but the problem is that it doesn’t, because the ‘e’ should be pronounced not silent.”

    “Sune the Loon” came from his appearance on “Quintessence of the Loon” – a collection of the wackiest websites on the internet.

    http://www.ratbags.com/loon/list01.htm

    Scroll to the last quarter of the list here – and see the listing for “The Bee – On Natural Science and Anthroposophy Sune Nordwall May 2002 ”

    (Hey, no wonder some people confuse me with a certain historian…)

  21. Yes!! He sure deserved that honour!

    Didn’t know that’s where he first became an official loon though. I mean, the epithet is practically made for him anyway. Pity on the rhyming, but few people know Swedish and old norse names anyway (Sune means ‘son’ in old nordic lingo).

  22. (Sune means ‘son’ in old nordic lingo).
    —————–

    Oh, Dog, that’s funny because if Sune is a “son” and he is also a Bee, then he is a “son of a B” which of course is short for “son-of-a-bitch.” (With apologies to Mr. Dog for all the real bitches he loves.)

  23. Fascinatingly, though, the Swedish waldorf school federation can’t have thought Sune’s website too loony for them. I suppose that’s an indication of what their standards are…

  24. ‘(With apologies to Mr. Dog for all the real bitches he loves.)’

    Ah, yes, he loves all the cute fur bitches — but he doesn’t love all of the sons.

  25. Whoops! That’s me above. (I posted on G-Chrome instead of FF. ) Anyway, I’d like to keep on lobbying for “Narwhal,” because of this cute linguistic note.

    Back when I was using Babelfish of Alta Vista for German translations, they would many times break down a polysyllabic word and translate each syllable. And one of the funniest was how they would translate “Waldorf Schule.” It would come out as “Whale village school.” because “Dorf” is village and “Wal” is whale.

    So now, if Sune had a Waldorf School named after him, it could be called the “Sune Narwhaldorf School.” And bringing in the Old Norse meaning of “nar” as “corpse,” then the school could be called:

    The Son of a Corpse-Whale Village School.

  26. To this: https://zooey.wordpress.com/2011/03/31/we-are-headed-for-a-crisis-in-the-human-condition-good-grief/#comment-8389

    I’m going to add, for future reference (because this damn Sigman keeps popping up everywhere, and I can never remember these things), what commenter Deevybee wrote in the comment thread over at Quackometer (http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2012/11/what-every-parent-should-know-about-steiner-waldorf-schools.html):

    ‘Anthroposophy is also making its presence felt in mainstream paediatrics. The high-profile journal Archives of Disease in Childhood published a ‘leader’ on the evils of screen-time (TV, computers, etc) by Aric Sigman, despite the fact that he had no academic or clinical position, and no track record of publishing in peer-reviewed journals. He does have a track record for writing books and making media appearances in which he gives a highly selective picture of the evidence. He is listed here as founder of the Hiram Trust http://tinyurl.com/crl5bfz , whose stated goals are “TO ADVANCE THE EDUCATION OF THE PUBLIC BY PROVIDING OR ASSISTING IN THE PROVISION OF AN EXPERIENTIAL AND PRACTICAL SKILLS ORIENTATED EDUCATION IN ASSOCIATION WITH SCHOOLS AND INSTITUTIONS OPERATING IN WHOLE OR PART IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PRINCIPLES OF RUDOLF STEINER” – see http://opencharities.org/charities/1044084

    I didn’t know about his affiliation with the Hiram Trust, but that’s certainly evidence enough as far as to where Sigman stands, ideologically and philosophically and spiritually.

    No wonder his ‘work’ is applauded by anthroposophists and waldorf promoters everywhere — always as if it were independent from the movement.

  27. Not sure where this post belongs (‘nowhere’, some may say).

    Andy Lewis on that thread calls anthroposophy ‘fascist’ and ‘reactionary’, which seems a little extreme. But I notice Diana agrees with the extremism and has recently said that she believes that anthroposophy is a right-wing ideology that  justifies rape on her WC list.  It’s worth pointing out that this kind of extreme tone and content is not untypical for her. On her list a while ago she said of me:

    “Pete, Ted’s posts are mindless bloviating. Unreadable equal parts mix of rageful paranoid obsession with sometimes you, but mostly Peter S., followed always by strenuous attempts within the next half-hour to post something erudite-sounding…It’s simply degrading to read.”

    As I pointed out in the discussion concerning my supposed antisemitism on the ‘New Book’ thread here, though my tone on joining the WC list was inflammatory it was at least in part a response to that already existing on the list (and that has changed little in the subsequent four years). At least in the Kiosk we can try to keep the tone civil.

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  28. ‘Not sure where this post belongs (‘nowhere’, some may say).’

    I seems to belong to Andy’s blog thread and not here.

    I only brought Deevybee’s comment here because I need it for future reference — this Sigman dude comes up again and again, and I then refer to Melanie’s comment in this thread. Deevybee’s comment was a welcome addition to the knowledge.

    Discussion about the rest of Andy’s comment thread is simply irrelevant as far as this blog post and comment thread go.

  29. Oh, sorry. I couldn’t find that. But also, as I recall, a comment showed up on that topic where if one clicked one was taken to Andy’s blog, where this doesn’t really belong either.

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  30. You couldn’t find Andy’s blog thread? But you commented on comments (Diana’s) on that blog thread? Not sure I fully understand. Here it is anyway: http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2012/11/what-every-parent-should-know-about-steiner-waldorf-schools.html

    Clearly, if you comment on comments on that thread, then that thread is where your comment belongs. This post and thread is entirely unrelated to it, except for one tiny aspect of it which was brought up by Deevybee.

  31. I have to run away for a few hours, it’s time for a walk before sunset, which comes incredibly early now. I would be happy to raise the entire thing to a post though, because the karma stuff is very interesting. That would also give Ted the opportunity to reply (as he’s not on the list, if I’m not in error) and also one wonders if other anthroposophists have something to say about the topics!

    In the meantime, I’ll close this thread. It’s easier that way…

    Edit: created the post before I went out.

    Edit (ii): comment thread unlocked. In case someone has something to say about Aric Sigman or waldorf school media policies, fears, anti-computer propaganda, et c.

  32. ThetisMercurio and Alicia Hamberg: don’t believe everything you read about Aric Sigman, especially if it comes from deevybee or Ben Goldacre. As usual, deevybee’s ‘information’ is complete tosh. Sigman isn’t a founder of The Hiram Trust or any Steiner organisation and he’s not listed as such. Any quick google will confirm it and you should have checked your facts before disseminating false information.

  33. Well, then, if you know who were the founders of Hiram trust, then please inform us! It appears (from a quick google) that one of Sigman’s (seemingly) close collaborators, A Gordon, was a co-founder of Hiram trust. I found another name: Bernard Graves. But googling ‘hiram trust founders’ doesn’t actually help me find a list, in fact I don’t even find the trust’s main website when dropping ‘founders’. Perhaps there is one, somewhere. So I’m not actually sure how I quickly (or not so quickly) could have found out who the founders of Hiram trust were! (In addition to that, I’m sure you don’t google every tiny piece of information you encounter in comments, et c, if the content on the whole appears to be accurate.)

    Whatever is true about the founders of Hiram trust: this, of course, does not make the rest of the information provided by Goldacre or Deevybee ‘complete tosh’. Sigman’s work has been commissioned by Russkin Mill, however.

    But for all I know, Sigman might be an anti-technology loon whom the waldorf/steiner movement is simply eager to take advantage of in their quest for academic credibility. If he’s unhappy about the association with them, I can certainly conceive of better options than to get involved in anthroposophical projects.

  34. The Hiram Academy is part of the Ruskin Mill Trust. Deevybee even got the name of the organisation wrong. My point is that Sigman is not a founder of it. The info deevybee gave about him is factually incorrect.

  35. What’s the relationship between the Hiram trust and the Hiram academy then? And where can I find a list of the founders of the organisation? You said it was easy with a simple internet search. I’m interested, and would be grateful if you gave me a link! (Because I failed to find one.)

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