Monday, March 10 2014 at 7:30PM
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The Rose and Crown
What's the talk about?
With Michael Gove and the coalition approving new Steiner Schools to open under the Free School Programme, it is timely to look closely at the origins and beliefs of Rudolf Steiner, the founder of the occult movement of Anthroposophy. Steiner was a mystic who believed he had direct clairvoyant access to cosmic knowledge. As such he developed an esoteric belief system based on karma, reincarnation, astrology, homeopathy and gnomes. His visions gave insights into architecture, art, dance, agriculture, medicine, education, science and diet. His racial hierarchy of spiritual developmental resonated in Germany in the early 20th Century turning a personal belief into a worldwide movement. Today we find hundreds of anthroposphically inspired organisations in the UK alone: everything from Steiner Schools, Biodynamic farms to banks, pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies, charities and cheese makers.
Michael Gove has stated that Free Schools will not be allowed to teach pseudoscience. But can we trust some of the cult-like organisations running these schools to teach good science is and to refrain from letting their own alternative reality influence classrooms? Maharishi and Steiner schools both have occult and pseudoscientific beliefs at their core and so we should ask “What are they teaching children?"
Andy Lewis is the inventor of the quackometer, which explores the pseudo-medical claims of alternative medicine web sites and their impact on society and won the prize for Best Blog in the 2013 Ockham awards from The Skeptic magazine.