There is an excellent letter in the Observer today pointing out what biodynamics is really about. I hope this will alert more people to beware of the real reasons for the Steiner rituals Lucy Siegle described in her piece in the Observer last week . The article was fairly short and obviously not meant to be an in-depth examination of anthroposophy, but unfortunately Lucy made the assertion that biodynamics is an ethical method of growing.
I linked here to a response from SkeptEco which comprehensively pointed out reasons why praising biodynamics is wrong, which I hope she has read.
As I mentioned I don’t do twitter, but this morning a search for other responses led me to Lucy Siegle’s Twitter page to find there have clearly been tweets from scientists and critics of anthroposophy, and Lucy hasn’t taken kindly to them.
This tweet appeared after hundreds of comments were written on her article;
Subsequently she showed that she stood by her opinion of biodynamics as environmentally superior (to what, I wonder?)
She then went on to make clear that she does not support anthroposophy or Steiner education, which shows she is not oblivious to the need for caution when dealing with this subject. Yes, there is much more to write about than simply whether biodynamics fans are treating the soil in a “sustainable” way.
I find her reactions interesting, as I think they are probably typical of journalists who are criticised for writing on Steiner related issues without really grasping how deep this subject is, and how important it is to people trying to raise awareness of the extent of the Steiner influence locally, nationally and worldwide.
It is understandable that she was upset by criticism in the comments. I haven’t read them all but this is a subject that becomes heated very quickly, and people are not always polite. The “PEACE AND LOVE” message and the kiss are an attempt to show that she believes she has the moral high ground. I think the name for this kind of sarcasm is “passive aggressive”, and does nothing to improve the situation.
As a journalist and not a scientist it must be intimidating to be attacked for inaccuracy when all you had tried to do was praise up a seemingly harmless and outwardly attractive type of food production. A shock, I am sure.
It would be an easy excuse to say that Lucy doesn’t have time to look into biodynamics properly, being a busy journalist who regularly appears on national tv, but in the Observer she is billed as a journalist who writes about ethical living, and to describe biodynamics as “ethically an easy win” is clearly mistaken and shows that more research is necessary. It doesn’t take much time to find out that biodynamics is extremely controversial and should have been more thoroughly investigated.
Given the reaction to the original piece it would be nice to see a follow-up article which at least acknowledges the polarised views on biodynamics and the fact that scientifically there is no justification for these practises. An in-depth look at why those who are in charge of biodynamic farms believe that what Rudolf Steiner said about cosmic forces is valid, and what they think of the rest of his teachings, not least about race, would be very interesting.
Asking Steiner disciples which part of anthroposophy they think is wrong is a good place to start; we have yet to hear any of them give a satisfactory answer and explain how biodynamics, or for that matter Steiner child development, or anthroposophical medicine stands up without the specific tenets of karma and reincarnation through the races that are unacceptable to most people.
I wrote here about why it is wrong to ignore the connection between biodynamics and other anthroposophical businesses.
If Lucy, (or Sarah Raven who also wrote about biodynamics last weekend), could find it within herself to acknowledge that in the interest of respectable journalism there is a bigger story to tell on this subject and to write it, I am sure there would be an interested and appreciative audience.