measles

This document [pdf] — published by the German organization for anthroposophical doctors — on measles doesn’t seem so crazy at all. It details the horrible risks of measles. It doesn’t pin untruths on the MMR-vaccine (good!). You’d think the recommendation would be to vaccinate. It isn’t. It ends with an account of the anthroposophical view of measles and fiever (and a note that parents are legally allowed to decide against the vaccine, which is so obvious, I can’t understand why they emphasize it):

Einen weiteren Gesichtspunkt zur Sinnhaftigkeit einer Masernerkrankung gibt die Anthroposophische Medizin. Sie zieht die geistig-seelische Individualität des Kindes als eigenständige, nicht von den Eltern abstammende Realität in Betracht. Diese muss und will den von den Eltern ererbten Leib individualisieren. Im Rahmen akutentzündlicher, hochfieberhafter Erkrankungen kann dies in besonderem Maße gelingen, da es dabei zu einem starken Abbau und eigenständigen Neuaufbau leiblicher Strukturen kommt. Im Fieber, in der selbst gebildeten Wärme, ist aus dieser Sicht die geistig-seelische Individualität des Kindes in gesteigertem Maße leiblich tätig. Durch das Fieber überwindet das Kind nicht nur die Maserninfektion, sondern individualisiert dabei seinen Organismus. So kann die Regulation des Immunsystems dabei ausreifen, die jeder Mensch individuell erlernen und erwerben muss. Mit der Abheilung des Ausschlags, der Bindehautund Atemwegsentzündung bildet das Kind neue, stabilere Leibesgrenzen aus.

Erziehungskunst doesn’t take a stand for vaccination either. It talks about mutual respect. I assume it’s considered respectful to spread dangerous diseases among your neighbours. It’s worth reading this letter, sent in by a waldorf parent (and homeopath); a letter which Erziehungskunst apparently thought worthy of publication:

Ich beantworte die Frage vorab als Vater, Erzieher, Heilpraktiker/Homöopath und denkender, freier Mensch: Impfungen sind medizinisch das gleiche, was Atomkraft in der Energiepolitik darstellt: der Gipfel der Unvernunft.

Vaccination is the height of unreason. No wonder they’re closing schools due to measles epidemics.

35 thoughts on “measles

  1. The anthroposophical doctors’ organization has published a similar (to the Merkblatt Masern, linked to in the post), but longer document:

    ‘Rudolf Steiner selbst war kein Impfgegner, er ging davon aus, dass eine Impfung Menschen, die eine spirituelle Entwicklung durchmachen, nicht schadet und, dass bei Kindern die Folgen einer Impfung durch eine spirituelle Erziehung ausgeglichen werden können. Gemeint ist damit eine Erziehung, die sich am Entwicklungsgedanken orientiert und die Unvermeidlichkeit von Krisen in der menschlichen Entwicklung anerkennt. Eine solche Erziehung kann pädagogisch die notwendige Individualisierung in der kindlichen Entwicklung unterstützen und damit ähnlich wirken wie eine Kinderkrankheit und ihre Überwindung. Andererseits problematisiert R. Steiner die Tendenz, dass Kinder möglichst keine akuten gesundheitlichen Krisen mehr erleben und überwinden sollen. (Steiner, GA 314, Seite 286-288).’

    It’s basically the same document, but some information has been excluded from the Merkblatt.
    http://www.anthroposophischeaerzte.de/fileadmin/gaad/PDF/Aktuelles/Leitlinien/Masern-Leitlinie_2009.pdf

    Addition: For example there are recommendations for use of homeopathic remedies. See p 7.

  2. I thought this was important enough to google translate – the pdf came out as nonsense but here’s an imperfect automatic version:

    ‘Another aspect to the usefulness of a measles is the Anthroposophical medicine. It pulls the intellectual and spiritual individuality of the child as an independent, not in reality derived from the parents considered. This must and will customize the inherited from the parents body. As part of acute inflammation, high fever of diseases may be possible in particularly because it involves a strong and independent to a reduction in reconstruction bodily structures. In fever, in the self-formed heat is from this perspective, the mental-spiritual individuality of the child in an increasing degree physically active. By the fever, the child overcomes individualized not only measles infection, but it’s body. Thus, the regulation of the immune system to mature the process which needs everyone to learn and acquire individual. With the healing of the rash, the Bindehautund airway inflammation is the child of new, more stable physical limits.’

    and the letter:

    ‘I answer the question in advance as a father, teacher, medical practitioner / homeopath and thinking, free man: vaccinations are medically the same, which is nuclear power in energy policy: the height of folly.’

  3. Also, I hope you saw my tweets about anthroposophical dentistry.

    For anyone else, I copy them here:

    ‘Craniomandibuläre Dysfunktion und das menschliche Ich’ – Even I didn’t know there are anthroposophical dentists… http://bit.ly/ld6Jhu pdf

    ‘Workshop: Heileurythmie in der Zahnheilkunde.’ — spiritual dance therapy for better teeth!

    —- I had a lot of fun reading this ;-)

  4. Mr Dog thinks it must be something about chewing on the bones of old eurythmists. Good for teeth, he says. He was never much for flossing.

  5. What is craniomandibular dysfunction, by the way? How do I know if I suffer from it? Must I x-ray my higher I? Or will meditation on it suffice?

  6. and yes, when my daughter got her second set of braces, the dental assistant told her “if your braces fall out at night, that is a sign that your body has not quite accepted them yet”, sure honey, let’s not provoke you. There are people who don’t correct their child’s teeth, because they are confident that the teeth express the mind and therefore, they will eventually correct themselves (or you’ll end up with mechanical lockjaw at 40, which will give you the appropriate grumpy face to match your pain and feelings)….

  7. I wished my braces would fall out, but apparently they didn’t know I didn’t feel accepting of them ;-) Horrible experience.

    ‘they are confident that the teeth express the mind’

    Nice philosophy, probably happily devised and embraced by people with perfect teeth. People with bad, ugly and crooked teeth wouldn’t suggest it.

    ‘Fledermauskackeverrückt (google *will* translate that very well)’

    :-D

  8. it’s all true, everything revolves around the teeth, you can’t learn stuff until you get a certain set of teeth!

    so one of my son’s is a slow teether and still at the age of 9 has not yet got the teeth that would give him the golden ticket to start reading. another son is a fast teether and would have been able to do 12 year old stuff by the age of 5.

    or have i got it all wrong?

  9. Jan — no. For several reasons. If it were obligatory, it would have to be enforced somehow. And I can’t see that (and I can’t see it would be ethically right). And such a policy would inevitably — I think — make people who are opposed to vaccination even more fiercly opposed. And they would have a lot more reason to convince everybody else to join their cause — they would be able to point to ‘unjust oppression’ from the state. And the mere fact that their freedom is being restricted. Which, of course, you can’t deny it would be with a government policy enforcing vaccination. A powerful argument — and an argument I don’t think anti-vaxxers deserve.

    I think, though, that schools and other institutions should take a stand for vaccination. And that they need to be aware of the vaccination status of their students (very important in waldorf schools with low vaccination uptake) — because that’s how they can prevent larger epidemics from spreading. They need to be prepared to close down, and to prevent unvaccinated children from attending school when there’s any risk of disease.

    Also, I think the national authorities for disease control need to be more vigilant in spreading information to young people, to health care staff, hospitals, the places you go to to have vaccine shots. When someone like me tries to get our MMR vaccine as adults, we should not be met with an attitude that it’s not ‘possible’ we didn’t get it as children. I was told the same thing when I tried to get the tetanus shot. It’s not possible in Sweden to be unvaccinated. They’re deluding themselves, and this ignorance will contribute to future outbreaks.

    But, in a way, for the sake children who suffer from their parents’ ignorance (ie, children who must endure completely unnecessary suffering and possibly dire consequences from measles), I wish I could say it should be made obligatory. But I can’t, so what’s left but appealing to reason? And hoping that people will actually care enough about their children to not let them suffer. Which, of course, is a futile hope — I know very well some people are prepared to let their children suffer horribly, I know that people prefer this suffering to safe prevention of disease.

    I will say, though, that I think it’s utterly irresponsible to abstain from vaccination. Not only to the child, who has no say and cannot choose, but to the rest of society. Once epidemics such as measles begin to spread, the situation becomes truly dangerous for people with a suppressed immune system, to infants, to pregnant women (the risk to the featus if the mother gets the disease), to the old. And it’s unfair to everybody else — who tried their best to have these awful diseases eradicated, and who certainly didn’t want to experience them for spiritual benefit. (Vaccines aren’t a 100%.)

    hakea — nope, that’s basically right. Though I’m less sure about the early reading — that may not be recommended, no matter what state of teeth…

  10. Alicia.
    ” no. For several reasons. If it were obligatory, it would have to be enforced somehow. And I can’t see that (and I can’t see it would be ethically right). And such a policy would inevitably — I think — make people who are opposed to vaccination even more fiercly opposed. And they would have a lot more reason to convince everybody else to join their cause — they would be able to point to ‘unjust oppression’ from the state. And the mere fact that their freedom is being restricted. Which, of course, you can’t deny it would be with a government policy enforcing vaccination. A powerful argument — and an argument I don’t think anti-vaxxers deserve”

    Are you a chessplayer? But I think you are right here. We must not have a paternalistic state. No paternalism at all. There is too much of it already. The state, also the EU has adopted the mainstream science as an ideology. What should they do else? This ideology is the ideology of their universities, their professors. There is much oppression already.

    I don’t believe research is free. Too much entangling interests with the pharma-industry.
    Research, education, it belongs to the spiritual sphere (Geistesleben). This sphere should be really free (see threefold social order) . Now it is controlled by the state and the economic sphere.

  11. ‘Are you a chessplayer?’

    Only very rarely, and I’m not good at it, so I would say no ;-)

    ‘But I think you are right here. We must not have a paternalistic state. No paternalism at all. There is too much of it already.’

    Agreed.

    ‘The state, also the EU has adopted the mainstream science as an ideology.’

    I’m not sure about that. Science is science, it’s not something you adopt. What lacks scientific foundation, is not science. That said, the state and the EU seem perfectly capable adopting the wackiest beliefs and standpoints, often while meddling in things they shouldn’t meddle in, so I very much doubt it.

    State funded and state accredited universities should, of course, have their foundation in sound scientific and/or academic practices. Otherwise they become churches or spiritual organizations. And churches are definitely not a matter for the state. So, in that sense, academic research isn’t free. It has to adhere to academic and scientific standards relevant to the field in question. Otherwise research becomes useless as research, indistinguishable from any random holy book of your choice.

    I agree with you that there’s a risk with entangled interests, ie, the influence from various commercial bodies. It’s not necessarily an easy question — research needs funding. The best way to counteract any such bad influence from commercial intersts would be to be vigilant about upholding very high scientific standards, and be open for critical scrutiny. The way, surely, can’t be to open up to random pseudo-science and woo, saying it’s all equally good when it patently is not. When I visit a medical doctor, I want to know that his education had a thoroughly scientific foundation. I want to know he wasn’t trained in a totally free ‘acdemic’ environment where he could just as well have learnt homeopathy instead of science based medicine. If universities where free to pursue unscientific medicine on tax-payers expense, and to produce ‘doctors’ who had no medically relevant training, yet still, in the name of freedom, be allowed to call themselves medical doctors (and — yikes — professors of medicine!), that would be a dangerous path indeed. It would mean we’d let a long history of scientific stringency and rational thought go down the drain.

    (You can do that in your churches and in other private institutions. But if you ask other people to pay — then you have to show them they’re getting their money’s worth.)

  12. ‘The best way to counteract any such bad influence from commercial interests would be to be vigilant about upholding very high scientific standards, and be open for critical scrutiny. The way, surely, can’t be to open up to random pseudo-science and woo, saying it’s all equally good when it patently is not.’

    Yes – peer review. Which is review of a body of work – not individuals’ inner world or intuition.

    Here’s DC’s latest post, illustrating how some universities fail to uphold standards (although I’m not sure in whose interest any of these courses are, certainly not the students’): http://www.dcscience.net/?p=4361

    I particularly like the fact that it features: ‘the only paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association to have been written by a 9-year old’ – Emily Rosa – who ‘showed that the claims of ‘therapeutic touch” practitioners to be able to detect “auras” were totally false.’ There’s a Penn and Teller video about her work on the site and in the comments. Now if Waldorf schools could produce those kind of inquiring minds we’d be beating a path to your doors! Since so many Waldorf students can barely read or write at 9 it seems unlikely. State school children in the South West of England conducted a scientific trial about bees at about the same age: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-12051883

    ‘This paper represents a world first in high quality scientific publishing,” said Professor Brian Charlesworth, editor of Biology Letters.

    “I hope that it will inspire other groups to realise that science is not an exclusive club but something that’s available for everybody.”

    Exactly. Exactly! Now that’s inspiring. That’s what I’d like for every child (perhaps they can’t all be published!) but to realise ‘that science is not an exclusive club but something that’s available for everybody.”

  13. ‘a scientific trial about bees’

    waldorf school children would be more likely to copy a poem about bees from the black-board, and then copy a drawing of course. Maybe they’d sina a song too. And that would be it. And it would pass for ‘science education’, not literature, not art. (Frankly, the poem would most likely be too horrible to qualify as literature anyway.)

  14. yes, I noticed that. How appalling the written culture was – as if it was all google translated from Lumurian.

  15. ..I seem to have put my own comments thro google trans too .. perhaps after a while it’s irreversible..help…

  16. translated by a barely literate gnome from Lemurian. The gnome, too, probably a spiritual remnant from Lemuria, come to think of it. Not really at home with somewhat modern languages.

  17. Well, the blog post. It’s nothing new, but worth saying again. I’m not sure what the Wolfsburg/Stuttgart art exhibitions have to do with the pseudoscience question. And, in general, I have a problem connecting the dots.

  18. Well, I shouldn’t say there was nothing new; obviously, the teachers’ conference is news and certainly very relevant to report on. I forgot about that when I read the comments which made me think I don’t want to say a word more about this because I don’t want to get involved with that shit. (Oh dear.)

  19. don’t know if it’s possible to navigate a way through, so I’ll leave you to decide.

  20. I don’t know what there is to say. Other than the bloody obvious: sometimes anthroposophical projects apply the word science to cover up a lack of actual scientific foundations.

  21. Speaking of bees & other insects, I just tweeted this (for this thread wholly irrelevant story, but Thetis mentioned bees, and bees are, somehow, always relevant even when irrelevant):

    Swedish insect shoots larvae into victims’ eyes: A bumble bee-resembling fly hovering in front of your face coul… http://bit.ly/me3WaA

    ‘A bumble bee-resembling fly hovering in front of your face could be an elk bot fly preparing to shot larvae into your eyes.[…] A full grown insect measures around two centimeeters and looks a bit like a hairy fly or a bumble bee. After mating the female looks for an appropriate host for her offspring.
    This is usually elks or deer, but sometimes, she will mistake human eyes for elk nostrils.’

    A woman had 30 larvae removed from her eyes.

    ‘Jaenson’s advice to members of the public who enjoy walking in the woods is to immediately swat away any bumble bee-resembling insects that seem to hover in front of the face.’

    It’s what I always do. Hell, it could be(e) and anthroposophical bee ;-)

  22. Thanks for explaining the difference between State and Steiner education using bees as an example.

    In effect, the State school scientifically researched bees, the Steiner school would have copied a poem and a drawing, etc.

    That’s very interesting. Passive versus active.

    I wish our state schools were as rigorous as Blackawton Primary School – what a wonderful achievement.

    There does appear to be a strong focus on the arts in Steiner schools. If they developed enquiring young minds then the children might want to start having some input into how things are done and asking questions about some of the school’s practices?

  23. Yet Steiner education claims to provide the more active approach. I doubt that it’s true, and there is a lot to that bee example. Not that all state schools manage that level. Though it would be wonderful if they did.

    ‘If they developed enquiring young minds then the children might want to start having some input into how things are done and asking questions about some of the school’s practices?’

    Oh, yes. Not that they can entirely prevent it, of course. Especially not in eurythmy. It seems to get children’s critical abilities revved up…

  24. yes! Good observation. It wasn’t set up as a comparison but it is a good one – especially about bees, which is a sensitive subject here..

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