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Another Waldorf School, another outbreak. Quelle surprise!

There’s been an outbreak of chickenpox in North Carolina. Guess where it happened? Yes, at a Waldorf school. Quelle surprise! Waldorf Schools are a danger to the children who attend them and the communities in which they are located.

In my experience, most people not familiar with Rudolf Steiner and his mystical, magical quackery, such as anthroposophic medicine and biodynamic farming tend to view Waldorf schools, which are based on his philosophies, as quirky private schools that are probably, echoing The Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy‘s description of earth, “mostly harmless.” This assessment, however, forgets just how profoundly full of mystical and nonsensical pseudoscience Rudolf Steiner’s philosophy was. Steiner education is based on esoteric mystical principles with little or no basis in science or even reality, as Steiner was a follower of an occult belief system known as theosophy. However, he split with other Theosophists after most accepted an Indian child named Krishnamurti as the new “World Teacher” and reincarnation of Christ, ridiculing the idea that a “Hindu lad” could be the new cosmic leader. Not surprisingly, Waldorf schools tend to be antivaccine, with results like this:

Chickenpox has taken hold of a school in North Carolina where many families claim religious exemption from vaccines.

Cases of chickenpox have been multiplying at the Asheville Waldorf School, which serves children from nursery school to sixth grade in Asheville, N.C. About a dozen infections grew to 28 at the beginning of the month. By Friday, there were 36, the Asheville Citizen-Times reported.

The outbreak ranks as the state’s worst since the chickenpox vaccine became available more than 20 years ago. Since then, the two-dose course has succeeded in limiting the highly contagious disease that once affected 90 percent of Americans — a public health breakthrough.

The school is a symbol of the small but strong movement against the most effective means of preventing the spread of infectious diseases. The percentage of children under 2 years old who haven’t received any vaccinations has quadrupled since 2001, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And why did this happen? The answer is simple. More children are unvaccinated than vaccinated:

The private school has a higher rate of exemption on religious grounds than all but two other North Carolina schools, the Citizen-Times reported. During the 2017-18 school year, 19 of 28 kindergartners were exempt from at least one vaccine required by the state. Of the school’s 152 students, 110 had not received the chickenpox vaccine, the newspaper reported.

So basically, thanks to religious exemptions to school vaccine mandates, the vast majority of the children at the school were susceptible to chickenpox. But why is the religious and personal belief exemption rate so high at Waldorf schools? The answer is simple. Steiner philosophy is very much antivaccine, which is why Waldorf schools tend to attract children whose parents are vaccine-averse or outright antivaccine. Not surprisingly, whenever there is an outbreak at a Waldorf school, you’ll inevitably see disingenuous excuse-laden statements like this emanating from the affected school:

The Asheville Waldorf School issued a statement, noting that the school is cooperating with the health department. When asked by email about the high religious exemption rates, the school responded, “The school follows immunization requirements put in place by the state board of education, but also recognizes that a parent’s decision to immunize their children happens before they enter school.”

Yes, Waldorf schools follow state vaccine policies and school vaccine mandates, but either do nothing to encourage vaccination or actively discourage it. North Carolina allows religious exemptions to school vaccine mandates, and it should surprise no one that the parents at this Waldorf school take full advantage of it. Make no mistake, either. Steiner philosophy is far more a religion than anything else. Andy Lewis described just how weird this religion is, as well.

A core belief of anthroposophy, the variant of Theosophy that Steiner created, is that human souls evolve through a series of reincarnations and that as a soul develops it will take on different racial forms, with the “Aryan” form being the most evolved and comprising “present-day civilized humanity.” Indeed, Steiner said that if Lucifer and Ahriman (a demon) hadn’t interfered, all humans would be Aryans. Steiner actually called his beliefs “Occult Science” or “Spiritual Science” and asserted that his science was the way to ensure that white races did not “degenerate,” as he believed that they did in the past. He also believed that through clarvoiyance one could determine the true spiritual nature of the cosmos.

It’s true that the Anthroposophical Society claims to reject Steiner’s racist ideology. However, defenses of anthroposophy against charges of racism tend to be disingenuous, basically saying that Steiner respected the “spirituality” of other races. It’s hard to see how anthroposophy could completely purge anthropsophy of Steiner’s racism completely, given how integral his ideas of the “Aryan” race as the most evolved and other races as the result of the “degeneration” of Aryan races, with blacks the least evolved. Anthroposophy is based on a hierarchy of races and teaches that there is a spiritual reason for the hierarchy, with black people distinguished by an “instinctual life” as opposed to Caucasians’ “intellectual life.” Some Steiner schools even teach the myth of the lost continent of Atlantis as real history, and there are plenty of real world examples of Waldorf schools teaching pseudoscience, quackery, pseudohistory, and even racist ideas.

And, of course, Waldorf schools are incubators for disease, given the concentrations of unvaccinated children that they inevitably attract. The antivaccine beliefs flow from Steiner’s philosophy, for example:

Steiner believed that febrile illnesses such as measles and scarlet fever were related to a child’s spiritual development. Adherents assert that the use of vaccines (especially measles vaccine) deprives infants of the opportunity to benefit from the experience of having those diseases.”

For instance, in this lecture by Rudolf Steiner from a series of lectures, Manifestations of Karma, he said:

The organic expression of uncharitableness is killed in the most complete sense, in the external bodily sense, by vaccination against smallpox. There, for instance, the following becomes manifest, and has been investigated by Spiritual Science. In one period of civilisation, when there prevailed a general tendency to develop a higher degree of egotism, and uncharitableness, smallpox made its appearance. Such is the fact. In anthroposophy it is our bounded duty to give expression to the truth.

Now it will be clear why in our period the protection of vaccination appeared. We also understand why, among the best minds of our period, there exists a kind of aversion to vaccination. This aversion corresponds to something within, and is the external expression of an inner reality. So if on the one hand we destroy the physical expression of a previous fault, we should, on the other hand, undertake the duty of transforming the materialistic character of such a person by means of a corresponding spiritual education. This would constitute the indispensable counterpart without which we are performing only half our task. We are merely accomplishing something to which the person in question will himself have to produce a counterpart in a later incarnation. If we destroy the susceptibility to smallpox, we are concentrating only on the external side of karmic activity. If on the one side we go in for hygiene, it is necessary that on the other we should feel it our duty to contribute to the person whose organism has been so transformed, something also for the good of his soul. Vaccination will not be harmful if, subsequent to vaccination, the person receives a spiritual education. If we concentrate upon one side only and lay no emphasis upon the other, we weigh down the balance unevenly. This is really what is felt in those circles which maintain that where hygienic measures go too far, only weak natures will be propagated. This of course is not justifiable, but we see how essential it is that we should not undertake one task without the other.

In other words, vaccination won’t hurt the child, but only if he receives a “spiritual education” afterwards. No wonder Waldorf schools dwarf all other forms of schools when it comes to the number of unvaccinated children. Most Waldorf schools don’t specifically teach antivaccine beliefs, but are “accepting” of whatever decision parents make and serve as magnets for the children of antivaccine parents, where the culture there reinforces antivaccine views, as described by anthropologist Elisa Sobo:

Tellingly, she found the percentage of kids who are vaccinated goes down the longer they have been at the school. This suggests that, while parents who choose such schools may be skeptical of vaccines, there’s something about the culture of the institution that bolsters this skepticism and effectively discourages the otherwise-common practice.

That’s exactly what Sabo found when she interviewed 24 parents and conducted a focus group with a dozen of them. She discovered they were “highly educated, and took seriously their perceived responsibility for child health.”

They also prided themselves on being “independent thinkers” who are deeply skeptical of both big government and big corporations. This shared sense of identity, she writes in the journal Medical Anthropology Quarterly, reinforces anti-vaccination attitudes, which gradually coalesce into a cultural norm parents are reluctant to deviate from.

Opposition to vaccination becomes, for many, intertwined with their perception of themselves as intelligently skeptical parents.

Often, the source of this skepticism is anthroposophy, which teaches that fevers and inflammation that accompany common childhood diseases “contribute to cell renewal and growth, as well as to overall immune-system strength.”

But wait, Waldorf school apologists will say, anthroposophy isn’t specifically taught in Steiner schools. Well, yes and no. There’s a lot of under-the-radar promotion of anthroposophy going on. In an interview with Isabelle Burgun, former anthroposophist and teacher, Grégoire Perra, explained how this can happen:

Because of their stance on vaccination, these schools know they’re being observed, and speak covertly to parents and pupils about their views on the subject. Very often, they ask parents to choose an anthroposophical doctor, and preferably one who also happens to be the school’s doctor. It is him who will bring up the idea of anti-vaccination, within the confidential confines of his practice, but without mentioning the notion of reincarnation, which might raise a parent’s suspicions. Instead he’ll hint that vaccines could be dangerous to your health, that children should have their childhood illnesses “naturally” in order to get rid of a particular hereditary trait (a notion Steiner had about vaccines which is more palatable, as it doesn’t directly refer to concepts of karma).

Basically, Waldorf schools are a danger to the children who go there, both from an intellectual perspective given the nonsense they teach and their failure to teach standard educational topics like mathematics well, and from a very real physical perspective, thanks to the antivaccine beliefs they nurture. It’s no wonder that at the root of an outbreak of vaccine-preventable disease is often a Waldorf school where the outbreak got started. Waldorf schools are not only a danger to the children who attend them; they’re a danger to the communities in which they are located.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

191 replies on “Another Waldorf School, another outbreak. Quelle surprise!”

So, yet another Wal-dork school proves the consequences of not vaccinating, which explain why anti-vax quack “paleo” cardiologist Wolfson was off ranting 2 days ago about Steiner and chickenpox on his social media pages, saying how he himself fondly remembers having chickenpox as a child. Yeah, I remember chicken pox and it was not fun but you got it way back then because they didn’t have a vaccine and children used to die from it. Thank goodness Wolfson’s own idea of a chart school for unvaccinated children only in Arizona failed miserably in its fund-raising stage and appears dead.

One of the few things I remember vividly from my early childhood is just how miserable I was when I got chickenpox. I was around six or so. That reminds me. I need to get my shingles vaccine now that I’m over 50. I keep forgetting, but now I’m going to get it before the end of the year.

Back in late 2016, I suffered through a very serious bout of Shingles. Not only did I not sleep for for weeks, due to the pain, I suffered through residual neuropathy for nearly a year afterwards.

Anyone who things Chicken Pox is a “rite of passage” and no big deal, has never had the pleasure of experiencing the living hell which is Shingles.

I barely remember having the Chicken Pox, but I don’t think my dad will ever forget — he didn’t get it as a child, and ended up mostly deaf in one ear after catching it from me. (This was long before the vaccine existed.)

Is your health insurance paying for Shingrix? MIne wouldn’t pay for the older vaccine (until 60). I’ll have to check on this.

I remember chickenpox. I brought it home from school just before my 6th birthday. My brothers caught it, as did my mother despite having it as a child. It scarred my mother’s lungs.

It was the sickest I ever remember, worse than when I had the flu (I don’t remember the measles as I was only 2). I got shingles in my early 40s, but caught early and on my face, so I was prescribed anti-virals.

Both my children had chickenpox before they were 2 and both were hospitalized. The vaccine came along for us a few years later.

While this disease may not kill hundreds of thousands of people, it is unpleasant enough and can be prevented easily. People should just get vaccinated.

My memories of chickenpox were by no means fond. Itchy spots that covered my entire body. And I mean entire. I was naked and on all fours as my mother dabbed calamine lotion on my spots. I was also bored out of my mind as I was not allowed to leave the house until I recovered, which took seven days. And I infected my younger sister.

I remember chickenpox, and not fondly. I was four. My mother had to tie my hands into socks to keep me from scratching and picking at the scabs, and I was not allowed to play outdoors for a couple of weeks, because we had to wait for all the blisters to crust over.

I too am over 50. I’m planning to see my doctor in a few weeks to get the Shigrix vaccine. My best friend has already had shingles, and she’s in her mid 40’s.

My doctor was out of Shingrix! He suggested I keep calling around to drugstores until I got a hit. Despite my misfortune, I am thrilled to see this happening.

When I went to get my flu shot at the local drugstore I was told that their was a shortage of Shingrix, and to come back sometime in January.

Ah, nuts. Well, hopefully I’ll have better luck in my area. But if its out where y’all are, it’s probably out where we are.

I’ve nursed many a case of shingles, its no laughing matter, one poor lady lost an eye as a result. Any parent who refuses to protect their child is setting them up for suffering.

I don’t know. I didn’t see anything in the news reports. I’m sure the school probably did pretty much nothing. That’s how Waldorf schools roll.

Exactly! I think an investigation of the school’s response is in order. Something tells me, based upon the rampant woo required to run a Waldorf school, that the school itself was the “pox party”.

Here in AZ, one of their administrators played it down when when they had a 2012 pertussis outbreak at Desert Marigold School, saying he “didn’t necessarily” see a tie between rock bottom vaccination rates (only 30% of the school had any vaccines) and the outbreak ( https://bit.ly/2DzjarP ). They had enough pertussis cased that AZDHS almost shut the school down.

Your respectful insolence is not respectful and heavily biased. You never talk about both sides of the coin. Just the side you are interested in attacking.
Waldorf schools have issues, like all of the schools in this country and it is probably an issue to not vaccinate children, but your view does not only focus on vaccines. You really seems to have something going on against Waldorf schools.
Rudolf Steiner was another human being, who had the inspiration to create something more alive amidst the instrustrial revolution and the “advances” that were going on (advances that were killing the human spirit and that are at this point hazardous for our planet). Steiner lived in a time where Hitler existed and he had to protect a very highly spiritual idea. So yes, many people said he did what many Germans did =supported some of what was going on at the time. Because people were being killed if not. Do this is where the “racism” idea comes from. Actually Steiner was a supporter and a lover of human kind and was interested in that we all progress together with the Earth. (Not against it)
Waldorf Schools are highly advanced and intelligent in a way that isn’t common right now. In a time where computers and Iphones have interfered against our daily natural
Rhythms. This education is spiritual (not religious) and deeply concerned with the human being, how to truly take care of ourselves and what we need. Many European schools in Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, Finland.. and you can research more are highly evolved in their agricultural practices, educational practices and are Waldorf, Anthroposophic in their approaches, they have created transformation in the way they even do vaccines. You can find vaccines against one illness at a time and without the heavy metals that we tend to infuse in vaccines.
Anyways, it is worth it to really do the other side of the coin research and get truly familiar with the heart of the Waldorf education so that your writing can be even more evolved. I understand the worry about vaccinations and the issue of having more cases of chicken pox and other illnesses resurface. Thank you
For your blog though, it brings up
Interesting issues that we are all dealing with.

Wow. What a combination of nonsense excuse making coupled with a lack of knowledge of history. Seriously, you think a defender of Steiner would know more about his life. You do know, don’t you, that the Steiner lecture I quoted dates to 1910, and many of his ideas were pre-1920. In 1910, Adolf Hitler was a nobody in Vienna who was living in a home for poor men after having been actually homeless for about a year, eking out a meager living painting. Meanwhile, Steiner was developing his ideas about anthroposophy during World War I, while Hitler was a nobody serving in the German Army as a corporal. As was mentioned elsewhere, Steiner died in 1925, but I’ll add that he died only three months after Hitler was released from Landsberg Prison, when Hitler was a minor figure in German politics who had led a failed putsch and wasn’t well known outside of Bavaria. At the time, Hitler was still nearly eight years from becoming Chancellor of Germany.

So tell me again how Steiner adopted racist ideas to “protect” his core spiritual ideas when he developed those ideas before anyone even knew who Hitler was and died before Hitler was anywhere near rising to power…

MFPT: there is no “both sides” when it comes to science based medicine. Either a course is supported by the best medical evidence, or it is not.

Vaccination is supported by the best medical evidence. There is no evidence heavy metals are in vaccines. Thimerosol is not in most vaccines, is easily eliminated from the body when used, and is not associated with harm in the tiny doses used as a preservative.

There’s more aluminum in dirt than there is in a vaccine dose. It’s in everything, in higher quantities, than vaccines and yet it is not harmful.

As for Steiner, your argument boils down to “he had to protect his ideas from Hitler, so he went along to get along.” Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

Given the choice between Orac’s well researched and coherent discussion and your meandering ramblings that include nothing in the way of citation or evidence, I’ll take Orac.

Steiner died in 1925.

Do you want to revise your claims in light of that? (Hint: look up the timing of the Nazi regime).

Rudolf Steiner was another human being

A human being, blessed with a willingness to let bizarre counterfactual gibberish fall out of his mouth whenever it was open, who made a successful career as a con-man. What’s your point?

Steiner lived in a time where Hitler existed and he had to protect a very highly spiritual idea. So yes, many people said he did what many Germans did =supported some of what was going on at the time. Because people were being killed if not. Do this is where the “racism” idea comes from.

You seem to be saying that Steiner was obliged to be a little bit racist and antisemitic to protect himself from Nazis, because his ideas were too precious to risk the possibility of persecution.
Steiner died in 1925.

are highly evolved in their agricultural practices,

Please, tell us about Biodynamic Farming, that is always good for a laugh.

We have company coming over and I don’t have the time to do it right now, but where the accusations of racism come from is entirely from Steiner’s own words; I’ll look up the specific citations in a little while. But he definitely said things like that intelligence is related to blond hair, and if all the blond haired, blue eyed people die out, humankind will become stupider and more coarse. He also said the the “Negroid race” was at the developmental level of children. (With the “yellow race” being at the stage of teenagers, and white Europeans, of course, adults.)

@JP: When someone comments about the superiority of the “white race” (whatever that is), I like to remember a college classmate who, upon becoming so drunk that he spent the night throwing up, yelled “This isn’t supposed to happen to me! I am the master race!” I mean, really, you’d think an ubermensch could handle his booze a bit better….

SM: “Or did they host a “pox party” on the down low?”

More likely they did. I looked at the “Vaccine Parenting Forum” that David Ball is a member of, and found someone asking if they had chicken pox. I recognized two of the moderators: Larry Cook (StopMandatoryVaccination fame, was on the Conspirasea Cruise) and Alan Phillips, JD (VaccineRights)

Phillips specializes in getting parents out of their obligation to protect their children with vaccines. He also happens to be located in Asheville, NC. I first encountered him around twenty years ago on UseNet when John Scudamore posted Phillips list of lies known as “Dispelling Vaccination Myths”.

It is where I first encountered the odious lie that Japan stopped having SIDS deaths when the delayed vaccination until age two. When actually, in fact, more babies just ended up dying of pertussis. That was refuted many many years ago: http://www.pathguy.com/antiimmu.html

I suspect the blame for those kids in that Waldorf school could be Mr. Phillips himself.

If it wasn’t for this site I’d be blissfully unaware of the many dimensions of health care quackery. i had not previously heard of anthroposophic medicine, but lo! there are practitioners across much of the U.S.A.:

http://www.aamta.org/

Sadly, there are no “anthroposophic naturopaths” in my area, and I’d have to travel for hours to find RE, offered by a holistic clinic up north:

“Rhythmical Einreibung (RE) is a relaxing treatment that assists in bringing rhythm to the life of the patient, along with immune boosting qualities. It can be used to help with a wide variety of conditions, including but not limited to anxiety, arthritis, digestive disturbances, diabetes, and conditions where swelling is involved.
The performance of RE follows the rhythms of the body and nature. The touch is light, and sliding in nature. The movements are very specific. The qualities of increasing contact, relaxation, and release are integrated into each treatment.”

This particular joint is run by a D.O. (recently certified in Predictive Homeopathy)* and anthroposophical nurse.

*when you combine anthroposophical principles with homeopathy or naturopathy, does the cow pie get thicker and juicier?

The NZ Medical Council, in its ecumenical open-mindedness. recognises Anthroposophic GPs. One of them was deeply involved in peddling the GcMAF scam, and is involved in umpteen other quackademic medfrauds as well.

Thank you. These schools are increasingly popular in Israel, and this makes me question whether the parents involved actually understand what they’re getting into.

And this is one case where the philosophy can be legitimately described as “pro-disease,” it seems.

A cheery message in my news feed:

CNN (11/19, Thomas) reports, “Thirty-four percent of US parents said their child was unlikely to get the flu vaccine this year, according to a report published” Nov. 19 “by C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.” Taking part in the “online poll, which was administered” last month, were “1,977 parents who had at least one child, whether parents would get their children the flu vaccine and their reasoning, among other things.” Nearly half (48 percent) of parents surveyed “said they usually followed the recommendations of their child’s health care provider when making choices about the flu vaccine.”

According to McClatchy (11/19, Berson), parents may be choosing to opt out of flu vaccines for their kids due to “an ‘echo chamber’ that surrounds different people with entirely different views, the researchers say.” The report revealed that “parents who decided that their child will not get” vaccinated against influenza “reported seven times as many information sources that made them question or not want to have their child vaccinated.”

This really makes you want to spend lots of time at the mall Xmas shopping.

My pediatrician’s office makes it rather difficult to get flu shots. They have “flu clinics” on random Saturdays in the autumn, which are announced on their Facebook page a few days before the clinic. Can’t make the clinics? Tough beans. They will not schedule you for a flu shot, because it’s using too much of the nurse’s time to administer shots outside of clinic times. None of my children are old enough to get their shots at Walmart, or I’d just do that and avoid the hassle.

@Heidi–CVS will do flu shots for ages 3 years and up, if that helps. Also, have you called your local health department to see if they can do flu shots for your children?

Thanks for the reminder about schedules. My clinic is holding a shoot-em-up tomorrow. I was thinking I was late.

@ Dangerous Bacon–I’d say 34% is on the low side based on what I’m seeing, but then I’m in an anti-vax hot spot county. What will happen is when flu starts hitting hard there will be a surge in flu vaccination but then a lot of those vaccinated will contract influenza and some of those parents will blame the vaccine instead of realizing they waited too long to get their child vaccinated.

Orac writes,

Waldorf schools are not only a danger to the children who attend them; they’re a danger to the communities in which they are located.

MJD says,

Very good, Orac. I’ve also used “scare tactics” in an effort to affect FDA warnings on vaccine packaging’s.

Q. In some instances, are Orac and MJD like two peas in a pod.

Great post!

it’s almost like tactics can be employed regardless of the intent sane (like orac) or insane (like yours)

I don’t doubt anything you’ve written here about Waldorf schools or anthroposophy, but I would say that the one my son and granddaughter attended (kindergarten and first grade only) was perhaps atypical. Most of the parents there, while very crunchy and science-challenged, had no idea what anthroposophy was (the joke was that most of them couldn’t even pronounce it). Most just liked the idea of a less structured early education experience and all the artsy-fartsy decor and materials that make up the physical environment. There was never any discussion of actual anthroposophy at my school initiated by the school; it was just known as the artsy place to send your kid for a certain kind of experience. Steiner was thought of as the founder, and no one was much interested beyond that.

These people would tend to be anti vaccine without any help from Steiner’s wacky ideas (it’s just that there was no formal stance before Wakefield) simply because of their general interest in CAM. It does sound as though, in some places anyway, the actual Steiner philosophy is far more prominent now. This may be a newer thing since my family were involved, which was now 25 years ago after all. I remember that I didn’t bother with the chicken pox vaccine for a long time, but that had nothing to do with Waldorf or the crunchy community I lived in. I was simply afflicted by the idea that it was just a normal childhood thing. I eventually found out otherwise and got him caught up. I should add that I was probably the only rational person in that community, however.

There are lots of things that are supposed requirements at Waldorf schools that many parents pay no attention to, such as TV (forbidden) and food (lots of kids at our school turned up with Lunchables, to the horror of the staff). It would seem that Waldorf schools have become a magnet for the anti-vax crowd, which of course didn’t really exist, per se, when I was involved. Also, they DO teach math, just not in the early years. Another thing is that Waldorf teachers don’t have to be certified teachers, but they do have to have Waldorf training, but when you ask them about Steiner, you get a lot of vague replies and even an eyeroll or two. Each teacher will talk about the bits that appeal to her and wave off the rest.

I really think it was all harmless until that scumbag Wakefield came along.

I can’t agree that Waldorf schools were harmless until Wakefield came along. I have a niece who went to one for a while back in the 80s, according to the school she had significant enough problems with nasal mucus that they insisted she have all dairy products removed from her diet. They subsequently expelled her as they couldn’t handle her behavioural problems due to her having ASD. In retrospect I’m extremely glad as I think they would have done untold damage as she came to the decision that she was in fact female, quite apart from the damage they did to her due to their complete mishandling of her ASD.

I worked at a Waldorf school for a year when I was in college. (I realized how fxcked up it was at some point, but I had agreed to work for the whole year and also my financial situation was way to precarious to quit.)

Most just liked the idea of a less structured early education experience and all the artsy-fartsy decor and materials that make up the physical environment. There was never any discussion of actual anthroposophy at my school initiated by the school; it was just known as the artsy place to send your kid for a certain kind of experience.*

That’s how they sell the schools. The actual faculty are deeply involved in anthroposophy, and it informs the entire way they teach the kids. They have all kinds of bizarre occult discussions about individual kids and groups of kids. One reason that bullying often runs rampant is because the children are supposedly “working out their karma.”

And the Waldorf teacher training is a joke. I have a couple friends in Olympia who also used to work at Waldorf; how I got the job. (Neither of them do now; Ed’s an actual junior high history teacher, and Christine has a job that I won’t say because a person could identify her.) Christine was actually doing the Waldorf training at the time I met her. She was working as a kindergarten assistant and wanted to be a teacher. So anyway, I saw the kind of stuff they did, and they read tons of Steiner’s nonsense, learned about “wet on wet” painting and other garbage. Kids aren’t allowed to use black crayons until a certain age because it interferes with their spiritual development or something. They need to do “ethereal” art because they’re still connected to the spirit world, blah blah blah.

I’ll probably be commenting some more on this post, haha.

If you go to the Facebook page for the Asheville Waldorf School you’ll see some of the most inane links in their claim as to why Waldorf is going to make children into geniuses. Especially hilarious is one post inferring that the “creativity” your snowflake gets from Waldorf could even help them become a SURGEON–citing a BBC article wherein a surgical attending bemoans how surgery students are losing the “dexterity to sew”. Just what Orac wants….a whole phalanx anti-vax surgeons infused with “Waldorf creativity”

Thanks for bringing us this information, Orac. I read about this in the Post yesterday. The comments fields predictably were dissing Ashville and it’s “loony liberal ideas.” I spent some time explaining that anti vax nonsense is equal opportunity political nuttiness, but didn’t get very far. If I’d known this, I’d have made better arguments. Next time! 😉

Ashville IS a bastion of liberalism in North Carolina. But similar problems with low vaccine uptake exist in ruby red Alamance County, which was the site of a pertussis outbreak a few years ago.

So true and exasperating trying to correct that misinformation. However, it was nice to see that the overwhelming majority of comments were anti-religious exemptions. If only that could be translated into some political action to counter the rabid anti-vaxx contingent that somehow frightens these politicians into abandoning veaccine exemption restriction bills.

Whoever wrote the Wikipedia article for Waldorf schools seems to love them; they have something in there about how Waldorf students have less asthma, cancer, etc than students in other schools, and the reference cited is some book in German.

I took a look at the article:
fortunately it at least mentions their tendency towards anti-vax and their history of racism.
However it appears to be much too much like an advert for the schools

Maybe sceptics-we-know-at-Wikipedia can link to Orac’s article?**

** Holy crap! I’m one of those radicals they talk about at prn!

Well, it’s possible Wikipedia is correct.. Making your body think you’ve been sick by implanting it with vaccines has a very different immunological result than when your body actually gets sick. Could it be, that when you contract diseases as a normal part of the human existence, it could be doing something beneficial for your future health? Obviously, some illnesses can cause lasting damage and even death, but what’s next? Will we be ridiculing those that don’t want vaccines for 200 cold viruses because, you know.. the elderly can die of complications. Personally, I’m not against all vaccines, but I see both sides. I’m also not against Anthroposophy, because I know they do a lot of good. I did some work with a group in Canada that supports people with developmental disabilities and it was clear they were doing amazing things. These groups are all over the world. (Camp Hill communities). Also, many religions used to have racism running deep and details in their scriptures, but they’ve evolved and changed. Waldorf schools are a great option for families. I’d rather run the risk of my child getting chicken pox there than shot, hmm, wonder which is more likely.

Making your body think you’ve been sick by implanting it with vaccines has a very different immunological result than when your body actually gets sick.

In your capacity as an immunologist, could you spell out the differences?

Could it be, that when you contract diseases as a normal part of the human existence, it could be doing something beneficial for your future health?

Which specific diseases do you recommend? I hope it’s not leprosy.

Could it be, that when you contract diseases as a normal part of the human existence, it could be doing something beneficial for your future health?

Not beneficial. Contracting measles results in your immune system being depressed for a couple of years, making you more likely to catch other diseases.

Monica defended Steiner/Waldork theosophy/anthroposophy thusly:
“Could it be, that when you contract diseases …, it could be doing something beneficial for your future health?
– Do you mean “beneficial for your future health” as Steiner would? i.e. – The person’s occult spiritual health in future reincarnations affected by the good karma of dying from a disease?
.
She also stepped in it by saying, “Also, many religions used to have racism running deep and details in their scriptures, but they’ve evolved and changed.”
– So you are contending that Steiner/Waldork antroposophy is a religion that has reformed its racist roots.
Good to know; and I agree that Waldork schools are stealth NuAge religious schools run for profit. It retains its racist roots as that is a core belief of the Steiner/anthroposophic Weltanschauung of reincarnation and karma.
.
.
It seems Orac has stirred up the Waldork/Steiner woo-woo school machine (shades of Scientology) who have come to shill for and defend Steiner/Waldork schools…
Understandable considering every child Orac’s article deters from enrolling costs them ~ $15,000 per year.

Also, many religions used to have racism running deep and details in their scriptures, but they’ve evolved and changed

The Church of Latter-Day Saints rewrote their Received Word of God when the racism started to damage their political influence… but any more examples?

Could it be, that when you contract diseases as a normal part of the human existence, it could be doing something beneficial for your future health?
Such as killing you? Smallpox tended to be rather fatal in many cases.

If you get killed by a vaccine preventable disease, you won’t have to suffer from any other nasty disease, like cancer.

On the other hand, if you don’t get killed, you might suffer from permanent damage and still have chance to suffer from any other nasty disease in the future.

So I would rather be vaccinated and have the chance to die from another disease in the future, than not be vaccinated.

I’m also not against Anthroposophy, because I know they do a lot of good. I did some work with a group in Canada that supports people with developmental disabilities and it was clear they were doing amazing things.

Please define your criteria for something to be amazing?

I saw it plenty of time that some peoples would call amazing in the context of a product or work method and which I would call execrable.

Second, do you believe vaccine cause autism?

Got into an interesting discussion over at BoingBoing regarding whether the increased incidence of shingles, especially among younger adults, is due to increased uptake of VZV. There are, of course, contradictory papers to be read, but most seem to conclude that even if this hypothesis is true, the risk outweighs the benefits. Any opinions out there?

Citation needed. Make sure that none of the authors are Gary Goldman.

Now think about this: Shingles affects mostly those who are older, like over sixty years old. What is the generation that was born between 1945 and 1963, which peaked between 1956-1958, called?

By the way, as someone who had to take care of a six month old baby with chicken pox a year before the vaccine was available, I do not have fond thoughts towards full grown adults who think kids should get chicken pox because they cannot be bothered to get a shingles vaccine. I think that are sadistic people who like to see children suffer.

FYI: kids who get chicken pox prior to their first birthday have a greater probability of getting shingles in their twenties. especially while under stress … just like that baby I mentioned above who happens to be in grad school.

Hello! Did you run away? Just please answer this question: “What is the generation that was born between 1945 and 1963, which peaked between 1956-1958, called?”

Why is that so difficult?

For today’s mild but satisfying dose of antivax hilarity, irony and/or schadenfreude, experience J.B. Handley getting sore at someone for horning in on the attention and $ (?) he’s receiving for his new book, “How To End The Autism Epidemic”.

It seems that this anonymous individual/agent is selling a “Summary” of Handley’s book on autism (for a lower price) on Amazon, and Handley is ticked off, writing this review of the abridged version:

“I am the author of How to End the Autism Epidemic. I DID NOT authorize this poorly-written summary of my book that is filled with mistakes and poor grammar. I have complained to Amazon to have them remove this book.”

https://www.amazon.com/Summary-J-B-Handleys-Autism-Epidemic/dp/1726676544/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1542743895&sr=8-2&keywords=handley

So, while Handley’s original full-length book is loaded with mistakes, distortions and omissions about vaccination, Handley is upset because the truncated version supposedly contains other mistakes and bad grammar to boot (to be fair, J.B.’s book seemed to have decent spelling and sentence structure, though critical thinking and logic were not its strong points).

They got it published in print as well! And Amazon helpfully teases you into trying to buy both books.

I thought this review was interesting.

– Overall, I don’t know if the argument is poorly laid out due to the summarization, or if this author summarized the original book correctly, and the original is just as inaccurate as it is portrayed in this summary.
– I won’t try to say whether vaccinations do or do not affect the development of autism in children, because I am not a scientist. However, from my perspective, J.B Handley gave very little real evidence that it does. The main argument of this book that could be made without relying on logical fallacies is that there has been a rise in autism, which no one is denying. There is actually a passage stating that J.B wrote about how research indicates environmental factors like water cleanliness, sanitation, plumbing, and refrigeration are more important for lowering autism rates than vaccinations. This statement completely contradicts the entire point J.B is trying to make.

Read this if you’d like – there may be some tidbits of factual or useful information in here if you dig deep and can decipher the mixed-up, grammatical-error-laden passages – but I noticed enough mistakes in the original argument to completely decimate any trust in J.B Handley as a writer. As for Brief Books, this may have been a difficult summary, so I’ll give them a little leeway with 2 stars.

“Waldorf schools are not only a danger to the children who attend them; they’re a danger to the communities in which they are located.”

The acelullar pertussis vaccine does not protect against colonization. So vaccine recipients become colonized and asymptomatically spread the bacteria to everyone. Acellular pertussis vaccine is required by schools.

Therefore, these schools are not only a danger to the children who attend them; they’re a danger to the communities in which they are located.

Orac is a hypocrite.

And, Waldorf is a private school. Attending it is a choice. With public schools you have no other option.

Has anyone ever shown that colonized = infectious? (I’m pretty sure they haven’t, since this was a 6-month argument on ScienceBasedMedicine.)

Who is a greater risk of spreading pertussis? A person who may or may not be colonized but is without symptoms, or someone with an active infection coughing all over everywhere?

Has anyone ever shown that colonized = infectious? (I’m pretty sure they haven’t, since this was a 6-month argument on ScienceBasedMedicine.

Colonised is not tacit for infectious but that point escapes D-K dwellers like Vinu.

<blockquote.Who is a greater risk of spreading pertussis? A person who may or may not be colonized but is without symptoms, or someone with an active infection coughing all over everywhere?
I assume this is rhetorical but will add my two pence any how. The latter will obviously be at higher risk for infecting more people close and distally whereas the former, if sufficiently infectious will be far less likely to infect distally but can infect close contacts.

And then there is the reason why the acellular vaccine is so universally used in the first place: minimisation of side effects. A cause the antivaxxers are quite eager to adopt as disguise. Whoops.

The acelullar pertussis vaccine does not protect against colonization. So vaccine recipients become colonized and asymptomatically spread the bacteria to everyone.

Citation needed for this. I have seen this claim multiple times but I have yet to receive good evidence.

And, Waldorf is a private school. Attending it is a choice. With public schools you have no other option.

One word: homeschooling.

Ah, but Vinu, you moronic git, you forget that some of the worst pertussis outbreaks in the US have come from Wal-dork schools. How can that be if so few of these children have had the acellular pertussis vaccine? (You can crawl back into your dark, ignorant hole now).

Re. vinu arumugham

“And, Waldorf is a private school. Attending it is a choice. With public schools you have no other option.”

And, Waldorf is a public health hazard. Being exposed to its infectious kids in public places is not a choice.

There, fixed it for you.

If Anthroposophists and their fellow-travelers didn’t interact with people outside their own community, at least they wouldn’t be putting others at risk.

We would not tolerate private schools maintaining a score of 30% compliance with sanitation and fire safety codes. We should not tolerate them doing similarly for something that’s every bit as important to the health of not only their own students but others in the wider community.

Congratulations to Orac for putting another steaming pile of horse stuff on my radar.

I used to think Anthroposophy was just another mildly wacky and mostly harmless flavor of la-la, like astrology. I’d heard of biodynamic agriculture but thought it was basically organic farming with some goofy rituals thrown in. Being in the SF Bay Area, I’d run into Waldorf schools but thought they were just artsy-fartsy private schools. Reading this blog post and those other exposés puts all of it in a whole new light. Good.

Waldorf schools are against learning to read until you are at least 7?! They take away books and discourage parents from reading to their children?!

Monsters.

Racist, pro-disease, anti-intelligence monsters.

Yeah, have to re-iterate this. Waldorf schools deny children literacy. Think of all the times you escaped into a book as a child. Now think of not being able to do that. Of all the games you have to be able to read to play; computer games and board games. Being illiterate is hugely isolating, and leaves people very vulnerable.

Monsters.

I was reading by the time I was four and can’t imagine any “educational” system being against a child learning to read. Are they also against parents reading to children?

I know what you mean, Ellie. I wasn’t reading quite that early, but early.

I spent hours reading as a child. We had a bookmobile come and we were allowed to check out up to ten books at a time. My parents encouraged me to read whatever caught my interest. Our home was filled with books, and we could read any of our parents books we wanted to: everything from Zane Grey to the collected works of Shakespeare.

I can’t imagine discouraging a child from reading.

There’s a lot of studies of child development that shows it’s not beneficial to push reading before 6 or 7 and that long term this does no harm and early reading offers no advantage. I went to a boring old public school in the 80s and we only did very basic instruction before 2nd grade, focused on letters, very simple sight words, etc. However, there’s a massive difference between not pushing it at a young age and not allowing reading. If kids pick it up passively before formal instruction, great!

My previous exposure to Waldorf was that it was hippy-crunchy arty education. I knew they were often anti-vax, but I assumed that was an extension of the hippy-crunchy thing. Looking into it now…. They’re nuts. Reading this https://www.acornsandtwigs-blog.com/waldorf-education-black-crayons/ my jaw dropped.

My mother and grandmother taught me how to read and write prior to school but neither ever pushed me: my mother said I seemed to like doing it so they continued and would have stopped if I protested. I also did drawing – where no one guided me- mostly of people and animals. Surprisingly, my teachers didn’t make a great fuss about my abilities and liked me a lot but I was given special assignments, did tutoring and had advanced classes later on, being able to complete secondary school really early.

Many developmental psychologists adhere to the idea that “stage trumps age”: stage is most important and you can’t push anyone beyond their current level.
I do wonder though if early learning prepares the child in other ways- such as having confidence and a greater understanding of the process so that one can self-programme acquisition at a certain point.

My previous exposure to Waldorf was that it was hippy-crunchy arty education. I knew they were often anti-vax, but I assumed that was an extension of the hippy-crunchy thing. Looking into it now…. They’re nuts. Reading this https://www.acornsandtwigs-blog.com/waldorf-education-black-crayons/ my jaw dropped.

Wow! My post was a lot like yours, but after reading the above and some of the other stuff here, I am horrified I ever was involved with them. Still, none of this ever came up at my schools (one in the Northwest and one in Wisconsin). Honestly, it was all about art before math and lots of emphasis on imagination and creative play, My kid taught himself to read at four and I don’t recall any issue with that from Waldorf–other than that wasn’t what it was about in kindergarten. But the same was true when he briefly went to public school kindergarten–where he was bored out of his mind doing the “letter of the week”.

The mug apparently hasn’t noticed that since pertussis vaccine was introduced in the late 1940s, annual pertussis incidence in the U.S. has dropped from about 200,000 cases a year to approximately a tenth that number in recent years (incidence was significantly lower than that with the previous version of the vaccine; the acellular vaccine though less effective has still resulted in a huge decline in pertussis incidence (and death). So much for vaccine recipients who allegedly “spread the bacteria to everyone”.

The mug seemingly does not understand state law on vaccination in North Carolina. All children are required to get certain vaccines unless there’s a medical or a (very liberal) religious exemption. Unless sending your kid to a Waldorf school makes you a member of a religious group (which I don’t think it does), your kids have to comply with state law unless you finagle a religious exemption for them or there’s a valid medical reason not to have them vaccinated.

How does the danger Waldorf schools pose to the communities they are located in compare with the danger of refugees living in Walmart parking lots? https://www.sacbee.com/latest-news/article221739265.html What can be done to make our lives safer if we have these kind of places in our communities? How can we help the individuals that are living in these situations? If a vaccine for norovirus existed, how would you feel about a community that insisted all refugees living in camp sites be vaccinated? What if it was ebola rather norovirus?

Norovirus is the bane of the food service industry nationwide. Fortunately it is primarily spread by bodily fluids like vomit and feces and leaving particles on surfaces used for food preparation. That is why we do NOT have local epidemics of norovirus every time there is a food poisoning case at a local restaurant.

But prevention requires stringent handwashing and cleaning surfaces and utensils with sanitizing chemicals, which is easily overlooked in an emergency refuge situation, especially if lots of untrained volunteers are helping out.

https://www.cdc.gov/features/norovirus/index.html

Fortunately vaccines are under development and showing promise, but they are still in stage I of trials.

https://www.precisionvaccinations.com/vaxart-vxa-g11-nn-norovirus-oral-vaccine-endpoint-was-met-high-dose-group

Like measles, varicella can be spread just by breathing in the virus particles in the air so it is much more contagious. So these schools are like a box of dry tinder just waiting for someone to light a match.

Wow. You just had to go there and pull the suffering of thousands of people who lost their homes (and their neighbors their lives) in the Camp Fire.

No one here would dispute living in unsanitary conditions caused by this tragedy leaves one vulnerable to disease.

Essentially, that’s what happens when you refuse to vaccinate though it becomes self inflicted.

Incidentally, if there were a vaccine for norovirus, I’d be first in line to get it. I’d applaud a community that wanted me to have it. Ditto ebola.

Just FYI: I used to live in Chico, just down the road from the Walmart you mentioned. I know the area well. It pains me to think of what’s happening to old friends who are still there and of the community that’s been destroyed. I think you’re despicable for bringing up the pain of those people to promote your nutjob argument.

There is an Ebola vaccine but it is still experimental. Médecins Sans Frontières, at least, are using it in Democratic Republic of the Congo, I suspect it is out of desperation.

It is probably not worth flying over to get it.

Yeah, that was a bit of hyperbole, wasn’t it?

Still, if necessary I would get it and that was the point.

What can be done to make our lives safer if we have these kind of places in our communities? How can we help the individuals that are living in these situations?

Well first I think it’s disgusting that a country as wealthy as the U.S. and with a dedicated disaster relief agency wouldn’t be better equipped and compassionate to prevent such squalid living conditions for disaster victims. So start there.

If a vaccine for norovirus existed, how would you feel about a community that insisted all refugees living in camp sites be vaccinated? What if it was ebola rather norovirus?

Yes, regardless of the mortality, vaccines that would prevent further suffering should be administered.

Now I have some questions about this article. Maybe a bit too rational for the group but I’ll go ahead and try and see what happens. First off I’ll admit some of the caricatures described in the article of the Steiner methods do seem odd at least for our day and age…..

My questions though.
1, Why is it not surprising that “Waldorf Schools tend to be antivaccine”. That sentence seems totally out of place and not necessary and as such tips me off to the fact that I’m being mislead.
2. Why in the article is it insinuated as if “taking full advantage” of the law is somehow bad or illegal?
3. Lastly and maybe most importantly, I see that the author places alot of value on the number of vaccinated children as the goal for a healthy child. Seems to me that maybe the author is abit misleading or a bit naive regarding the real criteria for a healthy child in an educational institution. Seems more valid to me that we would look at;
1. Test scores comparatively
2. College acceptance comparatively
3. Overall health outcomes comparatively

Those three to me seem alot more valuable than simply counting the number of children injected.

My guess is this pro-vaccine group isn’t interested in stats that show real health outcomes.

David

1, Why is it not surprising that “Waldorf Schools tend to be antivaccine”. That sentence seems totally out of place and not necessary and as such tips me off to the fact that I’m being mislead.

Rudolf Steiner was opposed to vaccines; Waldorf schools use Steiner’s fraudulence as their curriculum; therefore it is not surprising that Waldorf Schools tend to be antivaccine. The sentence seems germane. In what way do you think you were misled?

Yep. Steiner only tolerated assume vaccines, and only if the child received a “spiritual education” afterwards in order to reverse the spiritual damage the cause.

Well honestly I was not familiar with this Orac site. I thought it was a real journalist/author writing. Now I see its really nothing of the sort. It makes perfect sense now why that sentence was in the opening statement.

I thought it was a real journalist/author writing.

Whatever on earth gave you that idea? I never made any such claim! You know, if you were curious about the nature of this blog, there are two helpful explanatory links that you could have checked out:

About Respectful Insolence
Who is Orac?

They’re conveniently (and obviously) located right at the top just under the title and banner of the blog.

It is not my problem that you leap to unfounded assumptions without bothering to check if they have any basis in reality. This is my blog. It’s my hobby. I expound and pontificate about medicine, skepticism, science, and whatever else strikes my fancy, although 90% of what I write is about medicine and medical science. Heck, over the holiday weekend, I might even post videos of the puppies that my wife and I are currently fostering. Nowhere did I ever claim to be a journalist. I am, however, an author and blogger, which is not the same thing as being a journalist.

“I thought it was a real journalist/author writing.”

He is a surgical oncologist. So instead of your basic journalist, a real medical doctor with a PhD for that extra boost.

I’ll admit. I did not read the top of the page until after my first comment. I see now that the author has a bias. That’s fine, its his prerogative. I’ve worked with Dr’s in the past professionally as well as oncologists. Being a doctor does not give you any type of free pass in my opinion. There were plenty of barely capable dr’s in the place’s I’ve been. They all can’t be geniuses that is unless your past-time is blogs. I’m sure that makes you brilliant. There were no blogists where I worked.

“I see now that the author has a bias.”

Yes, towards actual factual verifiable science. And to puppies! Plus he does not tone trolling and Grammar Nazis. Do you have a problem with that?

“Being a doctor does not give you any type of free pass in my opinion.”

We all know that. What is important is what evidence is provided, and how well the science is actually done. If you look at older posts you will see plenty of other medical doctors and other scientists eviscerated on this blog. One such example on this blog’s home page:
https://respectfulinsolence.com/2018/11/08/the-fred-hutchinson-cancer-center-shows-us-how-to-write-a-press-release-on-integrative-oncology/

Oops, dropped a very important word: “Plus he does not like tone trolling and Grammar Nazis. Do you have a problem with that?”

Wow, David. Instead of just apologizing for jumping to conclusions, you had to double down with the bias comment.

I got news for you, Skippy. Everyone has bias. Orac, me, YOU. Your bias is in favor of your hero’s unscientific theories.

Free pass? Again, you really should have taken the time to figure out what kind of blog you were commenting on. When your discussions are based on actual facts, you don’t need a free pass. You can’t use the concept of a free pass to avoid the fact you just made a fool of yourself in public.

Seriously dude. Quit while you’re ahead. Unless you can actually refute Orac’s arguments with evidence, that is. And no, dissing physicians you believe are mediocre (they may or may not be, we don’t know them. You just may be an ass and they roll your eyes every time you make an appointment) doesn’t refute what Orac or anyone else here says.

Refuting an argument means countering statements with factually based statements of your own, supported by evidence.

It’s not misleading or out of place if it’s true given that an outbreak of infectious disease is taking place at a Waldorf School and the founder did in fact oppose vaccines.
Taking advantage of the law is bad if you claim a religious exemption when your religion does not in fact oppose vaccines, but you do for non religious reasons. It’s called being disingenuous (or lying, take your pick). And it is bad if it promotes the spread of preventable disease, even if the behavior is technically legal. Legal =/= moral or ethical.
Yes, the number of vaccinated children is important to produce what’s called “herd immunity.” The more people who are vaccinated, the harder it is for a disease to maintain a reservoir of the infection that can be spread to more people. That’s important because some people can’t be vaccinated: the very young, the very old, and those with immune problems.

Shifting the goal posts to educational goals does not promote community health.

So you think the its the governments job to challenge ones religious beliefs as to whether of not they are valid or approved of. You want to grade my Christianity? Anthroposophy? That I think is a pretty slippery slope that I just don’t think will ever happen in this country no matter how much you think its warranted in the name of public health. The law states you can claim an exemption in the name of religion. It does not state which religions are approved of or to what degree you practice that religion. Nor does it state “your religion most not promote the spread of disease”. Law is the law. You can reword it however you want to fit your narrative, to guilt people to comply, to scare people to comply. It doesn’t matter if you think its unethical, immoral. The law is clear and its clear that taking full advantage of any law is not a crime yet in this country.

I don’t think discussing educational goals is shifting the goal posts at all. The topic is children at a Waldorf school. Clearly the entirety of that education along with its anti-vaccine stance (the authors topic) should all be evaluated for its effectiveness. You can’ just claim its bogus because you don’t like it, its method or its founders. What does the science say about the children that go there when compared to those that send their kids to goverment schools and parents choose to vaccinate 100%?

If your unit measure to validate that you’ve raised a healthy adult is the fact that they’ve had the same medical procedures as the rest of the herd. That’s your business. It is not mine……I have a few more units of measure and the number of medical procedures or the doctor visits is not on my list.

“Law is the law.”

This implies you are also comfortable with laws in many jurisdictions that eliminate personal belief exemptions, religious or otherwise. Right?

The authors article is discussing a school in Ashville were said parents outrageously have taken full advantage of the law. Why would I tailor my comments or discuss some potential change in NC law? At this time, that is just fantasy land. Its in NC and the law states that parents can file a medical or religious exemption. That is the law currently.

Are you a weasel? You’re using weasel words. Your transparent attempt to avoid answering a direct question tells me a great deal about you. That is, you did provide an answer despite doing your utmost to avoid doing so. Thanks!

Hi, David,

I think it’s the government’s job to promote public health. They do that by passing laws requiring proof of vaccination to attend public schools. It’s fine for government to include bonafide exemptions for religion . . . but none of the mainstream religions actually discourage vaccination, and religion is often used as an excuse by parents to avoid vaccination because philosophical exemptions are not allowed in North Carolina.

Bonda fide. Deeply held. That means you engage in all aspects of your religious faith AND your specific religion discourages vaccination on religious grounds. With the exception of Church of God and Christian Scientists, I don’t know of any religion that actually does that. We actually should not be granting many religious exemptions but officials are so wary of the First Amendment (as they should be) they err on the side of granting without really checking into it. So these parents get away with abusing the law.

Whether or not that’s you I don’t know. I do know this. Your rights stop at my nose. You don’t have the right to spread communicable disease and I don’t give a tinker’s damn what your religion is. There does need to be a point where government can bar unvaccinated children from school to protect the public, and there is nothing in the First Amendment that requires me to treat your religious ideas with respect if they’re full of ideas that stand contrary to facts established with evidence. The First Amendment protects you from government interference, and that is all. Homeschool your kids.

The educational goals of Waldorf schools are entirely on point if the educational philosophy is anti science or anti vax. Ignorance breeds ignorance, and the nation needs a well education populace that understands and appreciates science regardless of whether science is what they do for a living. If Waldorf schools deny the effectiveness of vaccines and subtly discourage vaccination, then the model denies science and I can legitimately question the efficacy of the entire educational model. If Waldorf schools encourage a racist point of view (Aryans . . . really?) then I can question the efficacy of the entire educational model.

2. Why in the article is it insinuated as if “taking full advantage” of the law is somehow bad or illegal?

Others answered your #1. The school knew what their vaccination rate was and that was piteously low leaving children vulnerable to disease outbreaks. Being Waldorf they actively encourage eschewing vaccines so yes, that is unethical or “bad” even if they were somewhat operating within the law. I say somewhat because they have an obligation to keep infected children at home for a period of time and it doesn’t appear that they abided by this.

3. Lastly and maybe most importantly, I see that the author places alot of value on the number of vaccinated children as the goal for a healthy child. Seems to me that maybe the author is abit misleading or a bit naive regarding the real criteria for a healthy child in an educational institution.

Or perhaps you are just creating a strawman argument.

My guess is you aren’t interest in public health one damn bit, which is typical and selfish for anti-vaxxers who pop up here from time to time.

Actually I stated my interests regarding this topic.

Test scores comparatively
College acceptance comparatively
Overall health outcomes comparatively

Actually I stated my interests regarding this topic.

Test scores comparatively
College acceptance comparatively
Overall health outcomes comparatively

If you are so interested in that then talk to the Waldorf schools because they don’t seem interested in that. The student population is also not exactly representative of public schools or other private schools. As far as health outcomes, they get more vaccine-preventable diseases than the general school population.

Having been personal friends with a Waldorf teacher from Germany and read books on Waldorf many years ago, I applaud several aspects of their approach: learning by doing/discovering, i.e., instead of just memorizing different measurements, they are given task of building something, perhaps a doll house, and have to come up with a measurement system so that each one who supplies parts will be compatible. Also, parents are required to participate in class a number of days per year, and finally, when, for instance, the school needs painting, kids and parents do it. All this I applaud; but this doesn’t excuse Steiner’s nutty beliefs when it comes to health. As with many others, you choose to see the world in dichotomies. I don’t. As I just said, some aspects of Waldorf schools are quite good, others NUTS!

And one can find the same positive aspects in other schools as well, just without the nutty belief system. .

Some people are appalled by this bias and by how so many aspects are left behind in the efforts to condemn the Waldorf Education. This article is not just about vaccines. As a parent in a Waldorf School and a trained Waldorf teacher and as a teacher who has taught 20 years in the private and public school systems, I can attest to the immense value of this education especially when comparing it to public and other private schools. I am not a doctor and do not have a blog. Instead I’m out there everyday trying to make a difference in education, taking care of peoples’ children, doing my best so that children grow healthy in their hearts, bodies and minds. Yes I’m bothered by your biased opinions on this type of education when it is clear that you have already made a case against it and have forgotten the real people out there making a difference in teaching. Your blog is not respectful and inclusive. It is quite the opposite. In the attempts to present all your “facts”, you became disrespectful to teachers and people who work everyday in the development of human beings. And yes, you do see the world in extremes and polarities and this is exactly what we need to change to have a discussion in general in all aspects of human lives and a discussion that includes everyone and not just some. This applies to science and medicine too.

“Some people are appalled by this bias…”

We are appalled at you not knowing actual history about Hitler.

“… a trained Waldorf teacher and as a teacher who has taught 20 years in the private and public school systems, …”

Plus we are appalled at your inability to use paragraphs in your wall of text. Hint: line breaks with blank spaces makes it easier to read on a screen.

David:

I’m sorry this article triggered you; I hope you are feeling calmer now (I wonder if Orac should have a warning for his articles on the order of “Caution: this article discusses facts that may threaten cherished beliefs; please use caution when reading).

That being said, your idea of a study that narrows its focus to the students who survive Waldolf education is interesting; perhaps it could be part of a group of similar studies, such as one that evaluates how healthy people who have played Russian Roulette are (it’s shocking that many people believe Russian Roulette is dangerous – I’ll bet that a retrospective study that interviewed people who played the game would find that people who played the game report no more health problems than people who didn’t).

All the best in hoping that you are interested in my ideas.

Quentin

Quentin:

I’m sorry this article triggered you; I hope you are feeling calmer now.

“my ideas”

Evidence and facts are preferred. Your “cherished beliefs” are a private matter that is localized to the space between your ears.

All the best.

rs

Overall health outcomes will be difficult to test because Waldorf schools are in rich places and used by rich families (mostly). Also there are lots of stories about children who had trouble with the atmosphere being pushed out or asked to leave, and that likely includes a lot of less than healthy children. Finally as much as we make fun of crunchy granola, it’s much healthier than Lucky Charms, so that has to be looked at as well.

Something similar applies to academic success and college admissions. The question is not so much whether Waldorf kids excel, it’s whether they would have done just as well in another school.

You could add that to a study for sure if you were looking to get real conclusions. You would attempt to look at this in as many ways as you could. You’ll see here though that a blog run by a doctor who specializes in cancer and followed by others with financial interests in pharmaceutical companies has no interest in that for some reason……their only unit of measure is how many injections of this substance never tested for its carcinogenic potential is as high possible. Strange but that’s what we have here.

a blog … followed by others with financial interests in pharmaceutical companies

Ah, a Pharma-Shill accusation. But I am totally sure that David Ball is here to argue in good faith, not just trolling.

OK, nobody here has any financial interests-gambit in the medical procedure know as vaccination-gambit. I’m sure everyone is Independent wealthy. There does that make you feel better?

By the way, David, how many very sick babies have you had to take care of? One of mine had seizures from a now vaccine preventable disease almost thirty years ago and was taken by ambulance to the hospital.

You have no idea what you missed. I really wish I got to miss that.

Chris, I’m not really sure how your question benefits the discussion. If I say zero or I say one thousand. What does that mean to you?

You’ll see here though that a blog run by a doctor who specializes in cancer and followed by others with financial interests in pharmaceutical companies has no interest in that for some reason……their only unit of measure is how many injections of this substance never tested for its carcinogenic potential is as high possible.

Antivaxxer, maybe? This is what detectives would call a clue.

“What does that mean to you?”

Whether or not you have a clue about what you are talking about. I can tell you did not click on any of my links, even though I missed the close on one, but it is a biggy that you really need to read.

Do tell us how much money that family saved by not vaccinating their kids against chicken pox.

You’ll see here though that a blog run by a doctor who specializes in cancer and followed by others with financial interests in pharmaceutical companies has no interest in that for some reason……their only unit of measure is how many injections of this substance never tested for its carcinogenic potential is as high possible.

Didn’t take you long to fly your anti-vaxx flag high. I’m sorry but I seemed to have missed your extensive professional qualifications listed. Perhaps you would be so kind as to list those for us shills.

Actually, David, I have zero interest in any pharmaceutical company. I am a nursing instructor, and not even close to being independently wealthy.

You really should get to know people before you make sweeping generalizations and stick your foot in your mouth. How’s that athlete’s foot tasting?

I’m curious though: just how are we supposed to test for carcinogenic potential? How would a study on that be constructed? And why would we need to do it?

Lastly and maybe most importantly, I see that the author places alot of value on the number of vaccinated children as the goal for a healthy child. Seems to me that maybe the author is abit misleading or a bit naive regarding the real criteria for a healthy child in an educational institution. Seems more valid to me that we would look at;
1. Test scores comparatively
2. College acceptance comparatively
3. Overall health outcomes comparatively

Hey, you should write about stuff I”M interested in!

Good luck with that comparison, BTW. Waldorf schools are private schools, AFAIK. The students will necessarily have a relatively affluent and privileged background. All three of your criteria are massively influenced by this.

I didn’t say he should write an article I’m interested in. I’m interested in this one obviously. I just disagree with his methods and I’ve stated that. Sorry it challenges you. its just a different opinion. No big deal really.

You are only partially right in your statement. Waldorf schools are not all private. There are many public/charter schools as well to choose from an those that are private offer tuition assistance to help the less fortunate. Still a good comment and potentially could be a metric added to my criteria.

Good Day.

Though I totally agree with Orac’s assessment of Steiner’s bizarre philosophy. The Waldorf schools I know of don’t reject kids based on ability to pay. They have sliding scale tuition and various types of scholarships. I really hate when its all or nothing. Steiner’s philosophy is bizarre, their rejection of vaccines is NUTS; but they also do a reasonable job of educating kids on the three rs and do have kids from non-wealthy families.

but they also do a reasonable job of educating kids on the three rs…

Two rs, maybe. They don’t seem so strong on reading.

I confess to a bias here. I was an early reader and it was a great part of my happiness as a child. I think that keeping children away from reading until an arbitrary time (when their permanent teeth come in?) is child abuse.

Well between MFPT’s wall of text, and David’s odd disease/prevention economics I don’t think they do too well with the other r’s: writing and arithmetic.

Chris can you point out where I made reference to disease prevention economics? I don’t recall making such a statement here.

It’s true that charter schools and probably most private schools won’t reject kids on ability to pay and I think charter schools generally can’t reject kids at all. But what they can do is make life miserable for the atheist/developmentally disabled/badly dressed/whatever children, and they can also sort of hint that a child would be better off elsewhere. Public schools simply can’t get away with that.

The experiences on here about Steiner schools point to that, and I’ve heard others say similar things. I’m sure the Christian and many other schools do the same things.

“Chris can you point out where I made reference to disease prevention economics?”

When you pulled the Pharma Shill Gambit. It is kind of a silly thing to do with vaccines, mostly because of a high cost of the diseases. If you think that vaccines are just a way to get those big Pharma Bucks, then you have show us that you are not part of Big Hospital supply by showing medical costs from actually getting sick is much less.

Basically, using the Pharma Shill Gambit is a logic fail when talking about vaccines.

Chris, trying to convince people that nobody is profiting anywhere in vaccine production or application is completely retarded but if you think the world is that naive, fine, continue to peddle it. It only adds fuel for those that question vaccines and helps them make easy decisions about whats really going on. Sites like these that are so blatantly biased only add fuel to the fire for that movement. I’m sure they think they are combating the antivaccine movement when in fact they are helping build its numbers.

“.. completely retarded …”

I know that that people are paid to do their jobs. You don’t understand that promoting diseases is not without cost, steep costs. You are missing the real issues.

My questions and the story I posted was to see how much empathy, sympathy or respect you have towards children. You obviously did not care about a baby who suffered through chicken pox, another who had seizures from another disease, nor do you care about another baby who had a stroke due to chicken pox.

We have seen stories here of Waldorf schools expelling students for various reasons, including behavior along the autism spectrum. That is probably why you do not care about children, you are just scoring points for your own ego. This was revealed in the use of the “R” word. I expect you would not take this pledge because you simply do not care:
https://www.sonc.org/EndtheRWord

You are just adding more evidence that anti-vax folk are just terrible people, like those that flooded a grieving mother’s Facebook page:
https://www.patheos.com/blogs/withoutacrystalball/2018/11/sids-vaccines/

Perhaps you should just move along. Many of the regular users here dealt with the “vaccines cause autism” crowd for years. We have heard all the excuses, and noticed that our requests for actual evidence just brings the sound of crickets. There are folks here who have children along the spectrum, and several who post who are on the spectrum. Others have had other medical issues, including mental health issues.

We don’t need others who insist on promoting your ablest agenda, especially from someone who does not care about the health of children.

They have some amazingly woooo ideas – for instance they believe in gnomes and an evil spirit named Ahriman.

http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2012/11/what-every-parent-should-know-about-steiner-waldorf-schools.html

http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2016/11/ten-things-you-should-know-about-waldorfsteiner-schools.html

Also, this:

People will object that the children then learn to read and write too late. That is said only because it is not known today how harmful it is when the children learn to read and write too soon. It is a very bad thing to be able to write early. Reading and writing as we have them today are really not suited to the human being till a later age – the eleventh or twelfth year – and the more a child is blessed with not being able to read and write well before this age, the better it is for the later years of life. A child who cannot write properly at thirteen or fourteen (I can speak out of my own experience because I could not do it at that age) is not so hindered for later spiritual development as one who early, at seven or eight years can already read and write perfectly.>

Steiner was strange to say the least. He had this idea that you were not ready to learn to read until you started getting your adult teeth.

Steiner produced both a system of education and a system of agriculture out of his religious beliefs. Perhaps the less said about biodynamic farming the better, but I am happy to pointbout its full nuttiness if requested. We could start with Preparation 501. His system of education is based on as much religious belief and as little evidence as his system of farming. For example, Steiner contended that children progressed through the same stages in their life as human civilization.

You might be right on some aspects but I have to point out your ignorance in the academic results of the education offered in Waldorf schools, since you were trying to prove your point by also criticizing that side. Here is a list of highly qualified alumni (look closely and you will find the range from prime minister to world famous artists)
https://www.thewaldorfs.waldorf.net

For grins and giggles I took a look.

I recognized almost no names. Almost no one in any science related field. No one in medicine or health care. Mostly actors, musicians, entertainment, and athletes. A few in business or politics. Models . . . really? That’s your evidence of a good education?

Seems to me these people succeeded in spite of Waldorf education, not because of it.

Are you serious that you actualy looked at that list? A few business and politics? I suppose these politics are insignificant then: Secretary General of NATO (former prime minister of Noraway), a couple other Ministers (and not refering to church ones), a US Consul General, a Biochimist (isn’t that medicine/science?) that was coawarded of 2013 Nobel Price in Physiology, musician conductor of the most famous orch of the world (Metropolitan Opera being just one of them), an opera singer that won a Grammy. I am not going to write the others here, that is why I posted the list.
You are minimalizing and overlooking these aspects and not even to mention these results come from very small scarce schools. I would be curious how would these results compare in percentage with other school systems
Unfortunately the way you presented your answer to my comment was sarcastic to say the least ” for grins and giggles” and you dismissed everything on that list. If you expected me to have a conversation that starts with an insulting tone you lost my audience.

Not really. When the profession of most of the alumni list the professions I listed, it means your vaunted names are outliers. They don’t represent the majority.

Again: it seems that anyone in a serious line of work succeeded in spite of Waldorf schooling rather than because of it.

And I really don’t care about your hurt feelings. You’re not here to engage in a rational discussion of science. You’re here to defend Waldorf schools. We won’t see you chime in on any other topic.

You’re like a Ron Paul supporter. Blow in, scream at anyone who dares criticize Paul, and blow out never to be seen or heard from again.

We have a word for that kind of blind devotion.

It’s called a cult.

You might have some valid points about the vaccinations, but I have to disagree about the education. It has been wonderful for my kids. Such a warm, nurturing and loving place. So much better than my public education experience.

I read this article, and all these comments on here. I will never come back to this website, as no one, neither the article’s writer, nor any of its commentators, have any sense of civility or respect in what they speak about. Such negativity and cynicism shows, that while both sides may have differing views, there’s no need for the negativity. A lot of comments on this article start off containing quotes of a previous comment, only to criticize their comment, and it’s an obvious sign of how little people respect each other’s differing perspectives. You all need a better education on manners, whether from a Waldorf school or otherwise, your lack of civility here reflects the growing ignorance, resentment and hatred people have for one another in our general society. Shame on you all, for your lack of civility and respect for one another.

I read this article, and all these comments on here. I will never come back to this website, as no one, neither the article’s writer, nor any of its commentators, have any sense of civility or respect in what they speak about.

Is that a promise or a threat?

Seriously, tone trolling is not appreciated here. What we have here is a whole network of schools that serve as validators and promoters of antivaccine beliefs, leading many of them to serve as foci of outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, all the while using teaching methods based on mysticism and pseudoscience while being based on a mystical philosophy that is not only ridiculous, but also quite racist. One notes that you can’t point to a single factual error in the post. You just don’t like the conclusions I (and others) draw from those facts and our extreme disapproval of how Waldorf schools put children and communities unnecessarily at risk by serving as a nidus for antivaccine parents, making the parents who are antivaccine even more antivaccine and encouraging parents who might not be antivaccine to become antivaccine.

I try to treat people with respect, but there are ideas that do not deserve my respect. Anthroposophy and Steiner’s philosophy are rife with such ideas, and I treat those ideas with the contempt that they deserve.

RiseAboveWithLove, I can’t answer for anyone else, obviously, but it’s true: I have no respect for pro-disease people.

Bravo, Ellie. If disease-promoters want to marinate in their ignorance there are plenty of places on the Internet where pro-health posts are deleted (J. B. Handley used to brag about this). If you chose to come here and see facts that you don’t like, you don’t get to complain that the facts hurt your feelings.

I read this article, and all these comments on here. I will never come back to this website, as no one, neither the article’s writer, nor any of its commentators, have any sense of civility or respect in what they speak about.

Bye.

You don’t have to be here and have your ignorance challenged. I am sure you can find an echo chamber somewhere else.

A lot of comments on this article start off containing quotes of a previous comment, only to criticize their comment, and it’s an obvious sign of how little people respect each other’s differing perspectives.

Science is built on criticism. It is how to determine what findings pass the test of time. For example, despite massive amounts of criticism, the data still demonstrates that vaccination works to prevent diseases.

You all need a better education on manners

My manners are perfectly fine, thank you. Having manners does not oblige me to have to put up with mystical nonsense and not point out that it is mystical nonsense.

Perhaps you should show some of your idea of manners and stop criticising us then?

Why, exactly did you bother to post this RiseAbove?

Was it a cry for help?

An admission that you have no evidence to refute the arguments presented?

To brag about your marvelous manners?

Seriously, what a waste of effort.

Apparently this is true. Hopefully someone more knowledgeable can clarify.

The issue is that people used to be reinfected with sub-clinical cases of chicken pox throughout their lives, and this gave them increased resistance to shingles. Assuming the anti-vaxxers drop away, that population will eventually age out, and younger people who are vaccinated of course will never get shingles.

Since we now have a shingles vax, it’s a small price to pay IMHO.

“A lot of comments on this article start off containing quotes of a previous comment, only to criticize their comment, and it’s an obvious sign of how little people respect each other’s differing perspectives.”

Nah, too easy. 🙂

I for one have learned my lesson, and in future when I criticise someone’s comment I will not quote their actual words, but instead will make up and criticise my own interpretation of what they were trying to say.
That way I won’t drive any more nice people away.

re journalists

Orac is not a journalist by trade.SO?
Often we at RI discuss how truly abysmal some articles by REAL, PAID journalists are when reporting about science and medicine
( not to mention other topics)

Be that as it may, basically, good reporters develop the ability to discern what information and which sources are meaningful and those that are either biased or blatantly untrue, frequently being spin from entrenched interests, that, if accepted as valid, would misinform our readers. And who wants to do that?

Science or journalism can be a mirror which reflects a more veridical representation of the world that contributes to the readers’ understanding of how things work, expanding their knowledge. For example, I survey various internet personalities who present information that mimics medical experimentation and leads readers towards purchasing particular products. Many followers of these entrepreneurs do not have the ability to further investigate these claims and their sources- they take them as presented. Occasionally, even a decent news outlet may report upon incredible results that – in the long run- never pan out. A well known example involves how many journalists bought into claims by a researcher who found that vaccines cause autism. Fortunately, not all reporters are scientifically illiterate, so a great fraud was uncovered. That’s journalism.

People who have studied science and/or medicine have an insider’s perspective that is usually not available to the general public outside of a classroom. Most adults don’t understand statistical analysis or research design, thus, they can be misled easily by those with either a worldview or a product to sell AND they do that all day, every day, all over the net, in magazines,
on television and in vitamin shops.

re financial interests in vaccination

Does a person have to make money in order to support something that is already inherently meaningful or useful? Isn’t that over-determination?

No one pays me to support art museums, minimalist fashion or surfing YET I DO. Actually, these things can cost me money.
Sometimes we support medical procedures because they MAKE SENSE or SAVE LIVES. That’s enough- no one has to pay us.
Doctors who comment here can assure readers that they don’t make much money off of vaccines- if they do at all.

Money isn’t the only factor that motivates people. Perhaps those who make such claims speak from their own point of view and assume everyone else is money-centric.

I know some people that choose their education because they anticipate high paying jobs; but I also know lots of people who chose their educations first and foremost because it involved what they believed in and were interest in. The amount of income some future job might involve wasn’t on their minds. When I was young, in fact, many chose liberal art educations, then applied for jobs and were trained at work. Nowadays, I understand that many schools are eliminating liberal art educations and, unfortunately, many in the younger generation seem to choose majors based on potential earnings.

In any case, the fact that people advocate vaccines can simply mean that it is what they believe in and chose to be educated and work for. Antivaccinationists must be projecting their own monetary priorities onto others. So, from a psychological standpoint, perhaps many antivaccinationists care more about money than other people, and chose to deny this negative characteristics in themselves and imagine it in others, especially since many could care less if their unvaccinated kid infects some kid with an immune disorder, etc.

In addition, it is absurd to attack pharmaceutical companies because they make a profit. Of course they make a profit, though much lower than on other pharmaceuticals; but name me a product sold that isn’t sold for profit. The antivaccinationist websites promote CAM and I really doubt that CAM practitioners sell their products at cost. And if they are so opposed to profits, I wonder what happens if one of them needs insulin or some other pharmaceutical. One can make a strong case that the pharmaceutical companies make extortionist profits; but they need to make some profit to stay in business. Fascinating how antivaccinationists seem to think that companies should sell vaccines at cost or at a loss. And if they did, antivaccinationists would come up with some other absurd criticism.

“Nowadays, I understand that many schools are eliminating liberal art educations and, unfortunately, many in the younger generation seem to choose majors based on potential earnings.”

Not all. My youngest got a degree in linguistics, but is not getting a master’s in speech/language pathology (which required getting a year long certificate because of not majoring as an undergraduate). There is some overlap.

I did know a young lady who got a BS in math with a minor in math, and another who got a BS in computer science with a minor in the Classics. They mix it up, and they have their place. The the one with the minor in the Classics seems to be spending more time traveling to Italy and elsewhere instead of finding a job.

“Antivaccinationists must be projecting their own monetary priorities onto others.”

That is why I ask if they are working in “Big Hospital Supply.” It is kind of ridiculous, but I want them to see that Big Pharma does not lose money because of non-vaccination. It is quite the contrary.

“Fascinating how antivaccinationists seem to think that companies should sell vaccines at cost or at a loss.”

I use my dad’s standard criticism: “They must be commies! Only commies think one should work for no pay”.

😉

I have mentioned this before, but as a pathologist, I am aware that the HPV vaccine, by preventing cervical dysplasia and carcinoma (along with anal and oropharyngeal neoplasia), is going to hit me in the pocketbook. Nonetheless, I want to see it given to everyone who is eligible. Am I some kind of fool? Or a communist? Am I getting paid off by Big Pharma?

No, I’m a doctor. Treating and preventing illness is what we do. Vaccination is an essential part. Simple as that.

Not exactly on topic but a favourite quote of mine from a blog no longer in existance:
I guess we now know why right-wingers are so paranoid that lazy, self-interested gits are ripping off the welfare system. That’s what they think is going on, because it’s exactly what they do when given the opportunity.
Sixth Estate

We can possibly extend the argument to anti-vaxers?

Well honestly I was not familiar with this Orac site. I thought it was a real journalist/author writing.

The implication is that the blogger must be a fake journalist / author, as in Ball’s world, anyone blogging is necessarily presenting themselves as a journalist.
The other implication — a few more steps along my chain of deduction — is that Ball is a weasel-worded fuckknuckle.

I see the Pharma Shill gambit was brought up in this thread but I could not reply. So there was some inquiry about anyone having a financial interest in the pharmaceutical industry and vaccination-gambit? Well, I do. I have worked in the industry for 28 years, my first job was actually making flu and Hib vaccines. However, I can’t submit my blog posts to my company and receive a check. Also, my posts regarding the industry usually involve keeping regulations in place, something my overlords would not like.

As for Waldorf schools, I will try to post an exchange I had with a friend of mine from college who was a Waldorf teacher, anti-vaxxer, anti-gmo and believer in homeopathy etc.. I need to figure out how to redact names and such, plus I have to start prepping the bird.

T. Bruce: “I have mentioned this before, but as a pathologist, I am aware that the HPV vaccine, by preventing cervical dysplasia and carcinoma (along with anal and oropharyngeal neoplasia), is going to hit me in the pocketbook.”

I have been known (on another forum) to make myself popular with smoking apologists by reminding them that as a pathologist, smoking has been very good to me.

As for the prospect of HPV vaccination leading to pathologists looking at fewer cervicovaginal and anal Paps, most would gladly make that deal, both for public health reasons and the sheer joy of not having to screen and diagnose the damn things.

Antivaxer Mary Holland in her newly published screed against the HPV vaccine, attacks the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology for endorsing use of the vaccine, and also takes the line that HPV vaccine promotion is about profiting from filthy Pharma lucre. This ignores the obvious fact that with use of the vaccine (and widespread HPV testing), gynecologists are gradually losing a major source of income – regular patient visits for Pap test screening.

The cognitive dissonance among antivaxers is always something at which to marvel.

Cubed id10t,

Look at yourself in a mirror before writing that Orac is an hypocrite. You are still commenting and we still get to see the cow pie dump that are your comments.

Alain

I grew up in a town named Waldorf. It’s a nice town. Fortunately it has no association with Waldorf School nuttery.

Hmmmm, I spent some time at a Camp Hill village over here and found that the approach to the “villagers”, i.e. the folk with various disabilities whose social security benefits under-pinned the finances of the place, were on the end of a load of victim-blaming, as it was their “karma” which led to their disabilities apparently.

I still remember something I once read in a Dutch magazine, that was aimed at the same hippy-dippy people who are into Steiners teachings, not especialy those people, but to the same people that are interested in alternative healing and spirituality. Someone stated that children, who were born in abusing families, had choosen to be born there, because they had to learn something. Talking about victim blaming.

Well, if karma’s a thing, the person who said that will be reborn into an abusing family. They clearly need to learn compassion, empathy, and humility.

While I find Steiner’s religious beliefs nutty, and, especially, Waldorf schools anti vaccination stand dangerous, as I wrote earlier, things aren’t usually black and white. Yes, they begin learning to read later; but I lived in Sweden for almost 20 years where most kids began school at 7 years of age; yet, at the time, their high school (gymnasium) graduates usually had the equivalent of at least one year of community college in US, including fluency in at least one other language and basics of another and many had intro to calculus. And a 1999 article in the Atlantic found that Waldorf schools scored “well above the national average” on their SATs. And the schools seem to work for children who don’t come from privileged backgrounds. One of their schools did impressive work with juvenile offenders. And, as I wrote above, the aspects of Waldorf schools responsible for this exist in other schools without the nutty philosophy. Three of them are: 1. learning about things like measurement by having to build something and coming up with some standard so each kid could contribute the same size item Parents required to participate in classroom minimum number of days per year. And having entire families contribute to maintenance of school, including painting classrooms. (Todd Oppenheimer, Schooling the Imagination, September 1999, The Atlantic). And my friend who was a Waldorf teacher, trained at the Waldorf school in Dortmund, Germany, didn’t seem to entertain the bizarre religious beliefs and I knew her quite well as we lived together for two years. She did love nature. We could be walking along and she would spot a caterpillar walking slowly, would stop, and watch it while I continued on half a block before noticing she wasn’t there. She was also great with old people, worked a while at a nursing home, and with children. I think the reason she chose the Waldorf schools was because of the learning by experiencing, the nature walks, and the parent involvement, not the “religious” philosophy.

Though this isn’t the place to begin a religious discussion, I wonder how visitors from another world would view the various religions on this planet? Would they find them as bizarre? Given this blog is “Science-Based” most if not all religious beliefs are as far from science as CAM, etc.

OT but it’s a holiday weekend, I know how much Orac’s minions enjoy woo-bent argumentation and hey, I have neither puppy videos nor Arlo Guthrie songs to share although my semi- feral outdoor cat is feasting on turkey breast bones- no photos

Today at PRN.fm , the inadvertently misnamed
Death by Medicine: Needed Now More Than Ever
wherein the chief prevaricator and a citizen journalist “demolish” Dr Hall’s SBM take-down of the original paper ( by 5 MDs and PHDs) showing how Dr HH is Totes RONG!!!

And if you believe that, I have a few lovely townhomes to sell you in Tribeca for only 100,000 each. Next door to Mr De Niro yet.

This is for Lawrence. You getting shingles has nothing to do with wether parents choose to vaccinate or not. My daughter is fully vaccinated and she still ended up getting shingles at 13 years old.

their failure to teach standard educational topics like mathematics

My old dentist was irate about the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project, which (now) involves “swirling.” His oldest son couldn’t perform division when he went off to college. Good luck with those epsilons and deltas, kid.

I misread the picture at the top of this article as “Asshole Waldorf School”.
Maybe that’s just me, but Freud seems to be at work too.

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