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Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] RS about racial evolution

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  • Peter Staudenmaier
    Hi again Tarjei, you wrote: There was nothing wrong with the passages you quoted; of course they expressed what Steiner had in mind. Okay, so we agree that
    Message 1 of 57 , Apr 1, 2004
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      Hi again Tarjei, you wrote:
       
       
      "There was nothing wrong with the passages you quoted; of course they
      expressed what Steiner had in mind."
       
       
      Okay, so we agree that what Steiner says in the texts I quoted is that individual souls undergo a process of self-improvement via successive incarnations in ever higher racial and ethnic forms, eventually moving toward a perfected human type. In his account, race development is tightly correlated to soul development; as souls become better, they incarnate in more advanced races and peoples. Lower races and peoples gradually die out as the mass of souls moves upward toward perfection, thus requiring more perfected bodies to house them. Souls that fail to develop themselves in a progressive fashion (by rejecting Christ, for instance) incarnate in lower racial and ethnic forms; Steiner names Chinese and Jews as examples. These backward peoples and races still have a residual function, as long as there are less developed souls that need to incarnate in declining and decadent racial and ethnic forms. Meanwhile, small select racial and ethnic groups continue their development upward in order to host those souls that are advancing spiritually and approaching the ideal human type. Is that an accurate summary, in your view?
       
      In reply to my observation that there is no such thing as going forward or backward in evolution, you wrote:

       
      "Perhaps you should write your own evolutionary theory and see how well it catches on."
       
       
      A very large number of contemporary evolutionary theorists already agree with "my" theory, Tarjei. It is one of the dominant approaches within the field. I recommend consulting the work of Stephen Jay Gould, Ernst Mayr, Steven Rose, Richard Lewontin, Ruth Hubbard, Evelyn Fox Keller, and Richard Levins, among others.
       

      "No Peter, we do not agree on what Steiner taught about evolution, racial or otherwise, for the simple reason that you deny the influence of the
      spiritual world in this context."
       
       
      Don't be silly. Far from denying this, I emphasize that in Steiner's eyes the influence of the spiritual world on racial identity is crucial. That is exactly what makes his doctrine racist, in my view.
       
       
      "You also deny that evolution involves any progress whatsoever, backwards or forwards."
       
       
      Yes, indeed I do. That has nothing whatsoever to do with whether you and I agree about what Steiner taught. We both agree that Steiner believed that evolution is progressive.
       
      Last, when I said that it would make more sense for you to explain why you think the ideology of higher races and lower races etc. is not racist, you wrote:

      "I don't think the gods are racists."
       
       
      So what? The question was simply: do you think that the idea of higher and lower races and advanced and backward races and so forth is racist? Try to keep in mind that you're speaking for yourself here, not for the gods.
       
       
      Peter
       



       

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    • at@ael...
      Another difficult question that Peter Staudenmaier continues to run away from: cultural evolution. He has indignantly declared that natural selection does not
      Message 57 of 57 , Apr 22, 2004
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        Another difficult question that Peter Staudenmaier continues to run away from: cultural evolution. He has indignantly declared that natural selection does not apply to cultures. I don't know why he thought anyone would claim such a thing. But he cannot explain if he feels cultures evolve at all, or how. Condescend to me, Peter. Try answering this.

        Daniel Hindes
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: at@ael...
        Sent: Wednesday, April 21, 2004 10:21 PM
        Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] RS about racial evolution

        Hi Daniel, you wrote:
        "So the human body evolved, and ideas evolve, but cultures (composed of bodies and ideas) don't evolve?"
         
        Peter Staudenmaier:
        Not by natural selection. If you believe that cultures evolve by natural selection, then I think you have an inadequate grasp of the concept. Cultures are neither genetic nor hereditary.
         
        Daniel:
        Peter, one of the first things you learn in Biology is that evolution does not equal natural selection. There are many theories of evolution. Relativly few of them involve natural selection as the method of evolution (though the generally accepted ones do). Your education might benefit from a few basic biology courses.
         
        Repeat: "Evolution does not equal natural selection."
         
        Good, now I hope that you won't misapply the methods of biology to culture (you of all people should know what a mess that creates).
         
        Back to my origional question:
        "So the human body evolved, and ideas evolve, but cultures (composed of bodies and ideas) don't evolve?"
        Note: I did not ask if cultures evolved through natural selection. I asked if they evolved at all by any mechanism.
         
        Daniel Hindes
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