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Biodynamic vs permaculture?  RSS feed

 
Todd Hoff
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We went and watched the Queen of the Sun last night (really liked it BTW) and we noticed that a lot of the people were biodynamicists. I've read a bit about it, but I'm not quite sure how it differs from permaculture. Anyone with a good sense of the differentiations?

 
Jonathan Byron
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Biodynamics grew out of the work of Rudolph Steiner and the Anthroposophy movement. Permaculture grew out of the work of Bill Mollison and David Holmgren.

Both are attempts at establishing sustainable patterns of living. Both involve not only ways of raising food, but of living. Both promote their own system of ethics that deals with how humans treat the Earth and each other.  Biodynamics is by definition uber-organic while permaculture is generally organic.... biodynamics says 'you can't use this type of fertilizer or that method of pest control' while permaculture says 'if you have things set up right, why would you want to use those methods?'

Biodynamics has more of a structured community in many ways - for example, there are groups that inspect and license anyone who wants to sell 'biodynamic' foods - biodynamic is a trademark. There are also a series of communities/schools/businesses that are tied in with the biodynamic movement. Permaculture is a looser movement, there are legal limits on who can offer PDCs (permaculture design courses) but the word permaculture itself is not trademarked.

Biodynamics includes some ideas that might be described as 'mystic' or astrological although that is a rather small portion of the movement's beliefs. Steiner was a philosopher who was interested in metaphysics, and this carries over to biodynamics.  Permaculture has more of an ecological science approach and is silent on the mystical and esoteric - some permies may believe in that, others not, and it doesn't matter too much as that is not a central issue, it is something each individual deals with as they like. 


 
Todd Hoff
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Great, thanks, that helps a lot!
 
Emerson White
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Biodynamics has a canon, a dogma, some of which is derived from successful practices that Steiner observed farmers doing, and some of which Steiner got through intuition, which in the religion Steiner invented is exactly as true as things that you observe. I disagree very strongly with Steiners religion, so I find the canon of biodynamics to be a source of personal annoyance.

Permaculture is viable to revision, and organic (as in like an organism, moving, changing, and responding, rather than USDA organic) and alive, I like things that can be revised.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Emerson White wrote:

Permaculture is viable to revision, and organic (as in like an organism, moving, changing, and responding, rather than USDA organic) and alive, I like things that can be revised.


The practice of permaculture is sort of a constant process of revision as new information is learned through observation and experimentation (gee, sort of like science  )
 
Emerson White
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H Ludi Tyler wrote:
... sort of like science ...


... I wonder why I like it so much....
 
                                        
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I think there is not much difference between them, just that biodynamics accept lifeforces and works with them as a crucial part. I assume permaculture does too, but it is not crucial to its definition.

biodynamics uses in this context specially prepared (in according to planetary rythms) herbal remedies that are of homeopathic quality (but not quite the same, but no space to define). these sprays enhance soil fertility and composts. biodynamics aims to rebuild soils with these sprays. there has been reports where "dead" areas of land have been developed to a nutritious oasis where anything could grow.

spirituality is a crucial part too. which should nto be confused with religion.@ emerson white. but also science is important part. observing, measuring, repeating. biodynamics is linked to steiners antroposhy, which is called "spiritual science". There are still problems to explain why things develop, but modern science can show that biodynamic products are SUPERIOR to organic and other produce.

to sum up. permaculture can explain us everything. biodynamics not. but biodynamics is superior in quality (produce) if things work and we can repeat them, measure again, repaet and get the same results: I personally told myself, lets carry on and try to finda at to explain one day hopefully as we can explain things in permaculture.

As Jonathan wrote, different methods fit difference people..
 
Leila Rich
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I know people who combine biodynamic and permaculture methods with great results.
I'm personally more comfortable with permaculture's often rather prosaic approach.
I went to a Steiner school and us kids were driven mad by the wafty, soft-focussed, Christian-ish with a sprinkling of pagan-lite grownups...bear in mind, this WAS circa 1982 New Zealand!
BUT, the healthiest farms I've ever seen are bd  It may be a result of the intense observation and interaction bd growers have with their environments, or the preps concentrating X energies, or whatever. If it works for them, that's good enough for me.
 
                                    
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permaculture is a framework.... bill mollison himself was asked this question and he replied that permaculture is like the wardrobe and biodynamics is like a coat hanger inside of it.... biodynamics does not represent the whole wordrobe but is a contributing piece of the whole thing.... frankly you can set up a permaculture and use whatever aspects of biodynamics that you notice work... the pure interdisciplinary nature of permaculture allows for this.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I agree, gobeaguru.  As long as the other systems you incorporated don't conflict with the principles and ethics of permaculture, they are probably compatible.  For instance, I incorporate Biointensive techniques with permaculture, they seem compatible to me. 

http://growbiointensive.org/
 
                                
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biodynamics is definetly a quasi-religion intitution. You must live by its principles and believe that the actions you are doing go beyond simple actions. there is definatley a structured belief system to it. but there is a practical side to it also. As said above they do have success with the preperation applied to the land.
 
John Polk
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I'm with Emerson - it seems like a pseudo religion, based on a lot of primitive mythologies.

If you would like to explore "Bio", click on the "Intro" bar in the left Navigation bar on this site:
http://oregonbd.org/
 
Tyler Ludens
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John Polk wrote:
I'm with Emerson - it seems like a pseudo religion, based on a lot of primitive mythologies.


I'm one of those people who can't detect "energies" and "planetary rhythms" or "spirits" etc, so those sorts of things just make me feel kind of sad and confused.    I like permaculture because usually people don't drag all that stuff into it, and I have to admit it bugs me when they do.   
 
                      
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I have to enter the discussion, because this is not the first case when I see how these two strings of one flow are - to me it seems artificially - differed or even given to mutual opposition. I don´t understand why.

I AM the people who sense "spirits", "universe" etc., but I am very far from explaining that in some "supernatural" way. Everything is natural, there is no "supra" out of natural. All the more I find very odd to think in such dualistic terms which seem to me be so artificial, unnatural.

The universe is not esoteric, abstract or "spiritual" thing. It is a part of the nature. Or vice-versa. There is nothing spiritual, or nothing non-spiritual, material, on it. This is one matter. The moon phases, sowing days, homeopathic (and "homeopathic" gimmicks and so on are not esoteric and abstract, as well. If we really want to see the nature in all possible context to be able of long-term planning etc. - simply everything what we need for successfull permaculture - it is handy to incorporate all pursuable effects and influences. It is very strange to my personal nature to make the border here. And I think also, not many biodynamic farmers think dogmatically, as it was proposed here - you cannot think dogmatically as a farmer. If you say biodynamic approach is a dogma, you can say it of permaculture too - both have only their principles. As we know, ag. from Bill Mollison, principle is flexible, in contrast to dogma. In biodynamic approach there was huge development in last 50 years, it is really not dogmatic.

In terms of certification - it uses certification system, as classic ecological agriculture. It serves very good to its purpose, in the world of non-permaculture setting still. To my opinion, it will blend more and more in the future and because biodynamic approach has really great results, it would be strange if permaculture settlements of the future would not implement functional biodynamic ways. It really works. Nevermind what esoteric you want (or don´t want) to find behind it.
 
Tyler Ludens
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watta wrote:
I have to enter the discussion, because this is not the first case when I see how these two strings of one flow are - to me it seems artificially - differed or even given to mutual opposition. I don´t understand why.

I AM the people who sense "spirits", "universe" etc., but I am very far from explaining that in some "supernatural" way. Everything is natural, there is no "supra" out of natural. All the more I find very odd to think in such dualistic terms which seem to me be so artificial, unnatural.


A difference I see is - not everyone can sense "spirits" but everyone can use the scientific method and obtain the same exact results from an experiment based on scientific principles.  Science has never detected a "spirit" like it has detected x-rays and microbes,  therefore, as far as science tells us, "spirits" fall outside the purview of science and are therefore "supernatural."  When and if these things ("spirits" "energies" etc) are detected using scientific means, they will be considered "natural."  If you, as a person who can detect "spirits" can develop a means to show them to people who cannot detect them - as scientists have developed means of "seeing" ultraviolet light which is invisible to human eyes - you will be able to move the existence of "spirits" from the supernatural realm into the natural, or scientific realm.
 
                      
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OK, I can explain my point of view for the second time:

I sense the "spirits", as I wrote, but as I wrote, I am far from explain them as something supranatural. Everyone can sense spirits. Me or anybody else don't need to develop the system for "spirits" to be available also for other people, because it is already done, ready to use. What spiritual systems call spirits are laws of nature, everything what goes through us and what join us together with nature (or with universe with planets, moon etc., which is, as I wrote already, a part of nature, or vice versa). What biodynamic agriculture uses are these simple laws, revealed by people who knows them (sense them). Nevermind if you get to them by more complicated, categorizing scientific way or without this intermediary. But some of them are still not available by scientific way (our knowledge in that part is indefinite).

The method by which everyone can sense what you call spirits is - to be healthy and to be open to what nature says. Then, you even don't need many scientific methods to discover rules and principles. Scientific methods are very useful and of course, give us good basic knowledge to improve our live in some ways, and to understand processes in nature. I use them and they are, in fact, my hobby. But as well as Bill Mollison says - rigid scientific approach can never understand the integrity and complexity of any LIVING system (although it helps us to build many machines, clocks, measures etc.). He also has many good suggestions why we cannot rely without fail on scientific experiments as closed, rigid systems, or even real facts and in the samy way as me, he proposes experience and experienced know-how instead, with science as a good help. Or if you want to pull strings for the science, you can say it other way round, the meaning stays the same. The combination of both approach is best solution, and even better than best is to be able to feel, but above all practise them in one. To sense something, to sense spirits, means to be able to use our own senses. It is innate ability. You can only damage it slightly by unhelathy life.

When you are a healthy man, you are a man. As a man, you are a inseparable part of nature, homo sapiens, mammal, animal made of components of stars , whatever. When you are healthy, then you acquire informations from nature by simple way. As an example I can use organic (let's say only existing or normal) food and healthy environment: if you eat some years only organic food, breathe good air, lives in sufficiently non-toxic environment etc., your organism turns back into its own proper value, into its own natural skills. Then you can distinguish many differences in patterns of nature simply by sensing. If you eat more years only organic food, you should have this experience, animals have it as well, it is natural. It is very useful to know, how to use mechanics, solar panels, what is the chemistry of glands in gullet of earth-worm, or how to calculate efficiency of energy which you can explore in numbers. But without intuitive (using body's senses) thinking you can not apply them in the best way. We develop always. Science and biodynamic approach are both parts of this development, of this progress, of our know-how. It is possible that to some of us one of these approaches is closer, and the second is more difficult. Possibly we can also detect some differences in this area between men and women (but not sure about it in general view). But both these approach are natural to our thinking, because they are natural to possibilities of our brains, are in the same level legitimate to use, and what's more, we can gain from them relevant improvements and stability in our environment.

As an example, you used ultraviolet light. People who follow scientists warning against UV buy one by one cream to protect against UV and they think it is indispensable. Other people don't and don't die of cancer. The fact is, that no one of scientist don't know exact course of absorbtion and chemistry of that radiation by our body. As a follower of scientific data you have to rely on transfered informations. Their way to us in most cases resembles the way of South African avocado to Europe. Very few of us have our own laboraty in home and can verify what we can get from scientific experiments in number of disciplines. Most of what we think today, what we consider as conclusive scientific facts, we think because we have learned it in schools, because other people have thought it before us, other scientists discovered it, etc. In the middle ages, in this way, people believed in miasma. On this example we can also see, that the essence of such acquired knowledge is not false! But that it is not the whole. In this way, man invented antibiotics, pesticides and other human "helpers". They represent the typical weakness of a strictly scientific approach - the lack of input. While the immediate perception of the neighborhood, which is the base of biodynamic agriculture (such as life-long experimentation and work of unprecedented scope of Maria Thun and others), we can see faster the complex response of environment and we can avoid mistakes in the application of knowledge, which we know only from distant laboratories, where we don't have the other possibility than use the science as a faith.

If someone than really wants to match the results of our practical observations AGAINST scientific informations, call them spiritual and see in them esoteric far from common practise, it is obviously his right, rising from its own personal current position (we cannot do anything else that make our opinions in relation to our own personal current position). Rudolf Steiner was the inventer of biodynamic approach, but mainly he was anthroposofist, which is much broader area of life than "only" garden. He had its own philosophy. As a biodynamic farmer, you don't need to believe in Jesus, as he did. Believe me You will definitely need good natural connection with "spirits" of nature. To be able to feel them. Even to love them. It is also the main factor in biodynamic growing. But honestly, not many of biodynamic farmers does any proscription of scientific methods, they rather don't need them so much. Even protagonists of shamanism don't do their work contrary to all contemporary scientific knowledge. In fact on the contrary. These rumors could only arise out from people who, in fact, don't know very much about actual practises, to my opinion. It is all very life-oriented, nature-oriented system, whole-oriented system. I would probably compare it to many contemporaries who accuse ecologically thinking people of terrorism and blame them for their will to impose their own religion. Such dividing seems to me to be very non-permaculturistic.

Everyone from us can compare products of biodynamic growing and other organic growing. Differences are obvious. So why to deny it only because of prejudices?


 
Emerson White
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watta wrote:
The fact is, that no one of scientist don't know exact course of absorbtion and chemistry of that radiation by our body


The exact mechanism is actually very well understood now, and has been for roughly 30 years, I was in a magnet program and this mechanism was first explained to me when I was 15. This is considerably less in dept than my molecular biophysics text books went into, but being part of the natural world we were able to study the effect and learn exactly what was going on.
 
                      
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Thank you. This is nice example, to my opinion. Can you explain from that why some people are more prone to photodermatitis (caused by UV) than others, or what happens with all the body when it is in move and doesn't react in some (assumed) way (whereas reacts differently during sunbathing), even why sometime mutations sometimes occurs whereas others under same circumstances not, or even why in generally mutation occurs?

To stop you before putting in layers additional and additional wikipedia pages - I absolutely don't want to disparage this point informations and I know also some known parts of answers of presented question, although I am not expert at all - I have to refer again to dissimilarity of approaches: by layering of scientific informations you build a jigsaw of valuable know-how. It is never definite, but it could be very helpful in practical way. By conceptual holistic approach you don't create a jigsaw, but go for the aim directly. What we need are both approaches, thought as one, as I proposed in my last writing.

Practically in that case: scientists (or followers) will study purin basis, replication of DNA etc. and from that way we will recognize (only as an example) under which circumstances your skin (or body) is in danger (when we narrow it). By being under the sun, being in the nature on your garden, see and sense, we will recognize it without necessity of such scientific investigations, which is in fact even much cheaper (especially when you count the science of today). You can - intuitively, naturally - develop many mechanisms to protect yourself or doing things which don't harm you but are beneficial for you, whithout knowledge of pyrimidin bases. The saved time you can devote to your hobby, for example to science. This direction I find more useful and even more pleasant. Somebody (for example you as I guess) would like better the second way round. In addition, we all knows that all scientific yet applied facts are two-edged weapon.  Or - we know (and always detect new) many findings about cancer, but we are quite helpless in curing it etc. I don't want mention other ways of "cure" of illnesses of 20st century that unfortunately inflicted much damage, that are obvious for most of us, I suppose.

So what I wanted to point out is not the uselessness of scientific approach, but its insufficiency. I am sure Bill Mollison whom I quoted previously and who claims the same says it in much more intelligible form. Biodynamic in practise is about it, absolutely. It is nonsense to see in biodynamic only its anthroposofic infancy, even some principles are still applied and are in fact very useful (science, post res, uncovers them gradually as valid). But the image of biodynamic growers as some insane disciples is wrong - even you can meet such individuals sometimes too, for sure.
 
Jan Sebastian Dunkelheit
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Watta's "natural observation" of a phenomenon is the first step in understanding what's going on. The crude blacksmith's hammer. Scientific method or "scientific observation" is a form of putting observations in order to make them understandable and reproduceable for others. Intuition, natural observation, relying on senses are crude methods. Scientific method on the other hand is precise, a refined way to look at things, and errors are locatable by a countercheck. A Goldsmith's hammer.
 
paul wheaton
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I wish to caution people to choose your words carefully.  Please review your posts in this thread and double check to make sure that you have not suggested that anybody on permies.com is anything less than perfect. 

//////////

I wonder if there might be interest in a forum for biodynamic stuff.

I'm not much into biodynamic stuff, but several people that I very much respect are.  And it seems like there is enough cross pollination between the two, that it could be worthwhile to have a forum here dedicated to it. 

If folks are interested in a new forum, please say so in this new thread.
 
Emerson White
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I could explain that to you (It is known to science) but I am not sure it would be a productive use of time, you can research it your self. The point is that we can use science to study things like DNA replication and UV light very readily because they are part of the natural world, where as something like the spirits or astrology doesn't seem to follow natural laws and as a result those would be supernatural. Since there can be no repeated controlled observation of the supernatural science cannot examine it.

Science is not my hobby; it is my profession.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Have there been controlled/scientific studies of the Biodynamic preparations separate from the metaphysics of Biodynamics?  Anyone have any links to this research?  Thanks.

 
paul wheaton
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This kinda reminds me of the point that some people have that you cannot talk about going to mars until several people have done it, documented it, and submitted their experiences to peer reviewed journals.

Trial and Error is a big part of science.  And before you can do trial and error, somebody has to have a bit of creative thought about what to try.  And the very first part of trial and error is going to be trying something once. 

From the perspective of a lot of scientists, all of permaculture is just a bunch of kooky hippie fantasy talk. 

Steiner may be a kook, but a lot of steiners kooky stuff is turning out to be rather brilliant.  A hundred years from now, we might have figured out that 63% was brilliant and 22% was kind kooky and 15% was way off. 

I think that a scientist that writes it all of as crap is a poor scientist.

Here is a video of Brian Kerkvliet in august of 2010.  I spent two days in the bellingham area taking video and pictures of lots of farms and gardens.  Nearly every squash I saw had mildew on the leaves.  Except for Brian's.  These leaves are perfect.  He says that the reason is a biodynamic concoction he made.  He has my attention.  Those of you that are not keen on biodynamic should not look at this, because it is biodynamic and, therefore, too woowoo for you.



 
Emerson White
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It's not that we shouldn't go to mars until no one has done it, it's that we shouldn't join the groups going to mars until we know that they are in fact going to mars.

The canon of biodynamic has some wonderful common sense practices involved, and some kooky stuff, my primary objection is the metaphysics of biodynamics which expressly forbid weeding the kooky bits from the good bits.

The fact that he says that it's the biodynamic mix doesn't mean that it is, I'd like to know what Brian did to determine that the biodynamic mix is what freed him from powdery mildew. As I understand it he doesn't get as much rain as other people in the area, which means less water in the air, which means less powdery mildew, if he has some other factor taking out his mildew problem then the mixture might be just time and effort he didn't need to put it. In a scientific scheme of gardening we could test and check and see if the spray really is responsible. In the Biodynamic way of gardening you are supposed to know through supernatural means and you are not allowed to question.

I have no room in my knowledge base for anything that cannot later be rewritten, I have no room for anything that leaves me with a closed mind.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Emerson White wrote:In the Biodynamic way of gardening you are supposed to know through supernatural means and you are not allowed to question.



Does practicing Biodynamics give you the ability to know things through supernatural means, or is it if you do not have supernatural or spiritual abilities you can't practice Biodynamics? 
 
Emerson White
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According to Steiner you already have that ability. According to steiner you have the ability to intuit the absolute truth about the world around you independently of any sort of observation or experimentation.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Emerson White wrote:
According to Steiner you already have that ability. According to steiner you have the ability to intuit the absolute truth about the world around you independently of any sort of observation or experimentation.


Okey dokey.  Hasn't worked so far, but I guess I still have a couple or three decades for this ability to exhibit itself in my life. 
 
paul wheaton
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One person's kooky is another person's gold.

What makes you think that Brian gets less rain?

I have now read your analysis of Brain's stuff.  I have gobs to say.  More than I care to convey in a post.  The quick summary is:  I'm 100% with Brian on this one.
 
Emerson White
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paul wheaton wrote:
One person's kooky is another person's gold.

My gold is testing things and removing those things that do not work, my gold is not what other people consider gold.

What makes you think that Brian gets less rain?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KLt6R90VlQ#at=80 the belingham area got rain in the summer of 2010, or at least some parts of it did, if he didn't then that is a factor that is different.

I have now read your analysis of Brain's stuff.  I have gobs to say.  More than I care to convey in a post.  The quick summary is:  I'm 100% with Brian on this one.

Well that was an off the cuff idea, there isn't enough data for me to do an analysis, and with what you have presented I don't see any evidence that he has done an analysis beyond "I sprayed the spray and after that I got no mildew. No mildew happened after I sprayed... after this there for because of this.... Post hoc ergo propter hoc." That suggests very strongly that some connection is there, but it does not establish it.

There could be a million other things going on that would confound the data. There is observational bias, which all humans have, there could be a difference in the night time temps he experiences, or the daytime temps, or the humidity could spike or plummet based on some fact about his specific geography and microclimate. He could have a fungus in his soil that sustains a colony of mites that eat the spores from the powdery mildew and leaves him with clean leaves. I just don't want to accept that that is the cause until someone can be seen to have done something, even the most basic of experiments, that would be able to separate out if it is the spray or something else.

It's not that Steiner had kooky ideas that upsets me, Newton was an alchemist and I'm not against gravity because of it, it's the fact that he immunized his philosophy against testing, when you do that you also immunize your self against progress.
 
gary gregory
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We're all talking about the quality of human life here.    The planet earth doesn't care whether we humans "save" it or not!

The word 'science' is used way too broadly to define things not even measured scientifically.

paul wheaton wrote:

Steiner may be a kook, but a lot of steiners kooky stuff is turning out to be rather brilliant.  A hundred years from now, we might have figured out that 63% was brilliant and 22% was kind kooky and 15% was way off. 



Why should folks a hundred years from now get all the fun? 


From the perspective of a lot of scientists, all of permaculture is just a bunch of kooky hippie fantasy talk.
 

I believe that the permaculture that I do is based on science.



 
                      
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I think biodynamic agriculture is not only about Steiner, to be honest, there are so many other influences that continuity with Steiner still remains (and is considered as important)  in philosophical view (and pedagogical – pedagogic is of course very important part of biodynamic approach). Maria Thun, Ehrenfried Pfeiffer, Gunther Hauk, Nicolas Joly ... and many other biodynamic farmers of today spent really all their lives by continous and punctual observations and making logic deductions to obtain many practical results of gardening and farming. Yes, their work is also associated with issues whose reality is still neglected by contemporary science. The science of today considers these influences don´t exist and BECAUSE OF THIS call them spirits. That´s also why I use quotation marks on this word in my previous post. But is it wise to devise everything what we cannot explain to the realm of non-existing? I can see, it is very natural to human, we can see similar explanation as a thread through our entire history, on both sides (denying or believing). It is childish to me.

Biodynamic farmers are farmers, they work normally, it means naturally also with what you can call scientific facts and scientific method. They themselves call their approach scientific-spiritual. You don´t need to practise allf biodynamic rules, if you just want to turn to more intensive farming – that´s proper value of biodynamic agriculture).

There is still difference between permaculture and biodynamic agriculture, but to me it lays in something different: especially in strict adherence to established procedures and limits and in centralization in biodynamic farming. Conditions for farming, including environmental aspects, are more severe (for example there is not possible to use synthetic materials including plastics for any buildings,  seed has to be biodynamic (or if it is proven that this is not available than at least certificated organic),  mulch layers should be perforated (no synthetic are allowed),  particular requirements for feeding animals are done etc. etc. Among many, many requirements, only few of them apply to using of special biodynamic agents, which are a target of criticism here. But of course, they are really inseparable part of the approach. Great emphasis is placed on self-sufficiency of each biodynamic farm. I can see perhaps more sophisticated regard towards nature in biodynamic approach, or at least for example in comparison with sepp holzer´s,  protagonists of guerilla gardening, and similar works. It rises naturally from essential belief of unity of all elements in nature – here we can see philosophical influence emanating from the very base of biodynamics. Somebody could dislike it, but it is beneficial. The big difference to me lays in centralization and controlling, which is strong.

Necessary requirements for Demeter certification don´t look like esoteric or spiritual  instruction of mad, non-scientific minds:

http://demeter.net/standards/st_production_e.pdf

Yes, I once saw results of scientific studies comparing the yield of bio-dynamic farms with organic, the conclusion was that on worse fields, poorer soils and unfavorable climates biodynamic agriculture had generally excellent results. Differences on very fertile soils or subtropical areas were slight. I´ll try to look for it on the internet.
 
Burra Maluca
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Thankyou for that link Watta - I've downloaded the pdf and I'm off to have a good long read. 
 
                      
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Emerson White wrote:
According to Steiner you already have that ability. According to steiner you have the ability to intuit the absolute truth about the world around you independently of any sort of observation or experimentation.


I think he said it (if he said it, his agriculture works are about his own observation and all biodynamic stuff of sewing days is absolutely BASED on the observation) from his own experiences. But people are not all the same. I can see differences among people. E. g. I am INTJ, can guess often very quickly something, whereas somebody else needs years of calculating, experimenting  and repairs to arrive to the same result. I don´t need  to know all details on the way, so I can devote this time to something else. However, this “somebody else” much better categorizes things indeed, for example, or has many more abilities for daily scientific routine work, enjoys it (for me it really looks from the outisde like a kind of game), so he or she may construct good machines and measurements, which is not fun for me, but I can also take advantage of them. It can work perfectly together, if we both retain sense of cooperation. Is it not the principle of permaculture?

As to the sensing ability, I have personal experience that such ability is more profound after my about 12 years of being on organic food. Somebody wrote here yesterday: “you don´t need to be healthy to apply science”.  I see it as a very pregnant statement, quite sad actually.

To my knowledge (I am not an expert regarding Steiner), Steiner saw outright connection (of course) between the health of soil and health of human body. He considered  healthy food, originated from healthy soil,  as a kind of cure for human thinking, in fact in outward accordance with later James Lovelock´s work.  So he himself considered human health as an inevitable condition of such ability. Based on my experience, I can agree with him. It is inborn (animals have it, we are in fact animals), but being ill (fed by non-food and polluted by non-air etc.) could seriously skew this ability. 

The fact that we all don´t have the same abilities is very important. People need diversity inside species. That´s why it is very beneficial for us to work and cooperate together, with all possible approaches and diverse people, that´s why haughitness should not have its place in permaculture.  Permaculture should be always about sharing, implementing new ideas, discussion, trying, open-mindedness etc. It is not only gardening , it is not only “quality of human life”, it is not rigid, it has also its complex, very important overlap, only with that it could be really sustainable. Otherwise, Without it, it would bring same mistakes as industrial revolution – together with rigid science - did.
 
gary gregory
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watta wrote:

The fact that we all don´t have the same abilities is very important. People need diversity inside species. That´s why it is very beneficial for us to work and cooperate together, with all possible approaches and diverse people, that´s why haughitness should not have its place in permaculture.  Permaculture should be always about sharing, implementing new ideas, discussion, trying, open-mindedness etc. It is not only gardening , it is not only “quality of human life”, it is not rigid, it has also its complex, very important overlap, only with that it could be really sustainable. Otherwise, Without it, it would bring same mistakes as industrial revolution – together with rigid science - did.

Please define what you mean by "rigid science" and "same mistakes as industrial revolution"
 
                      
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gary gregory wrote:
Please define what you mean by "rigid science" and "same mistakes as industrial revolution"


I mean:

Rigid = deficient in or devoid of flexibility, inflexibly set in opinion

Mistakes of industrial revolution = fast short-sightednes, the inability of predictability, living in debt, lack of future vision, irreversible depletion of resources, lack of mechanisms accompanying consequences, lack of balance of speed of development, monocultures (and its broad consequences), unawareness of logical implications, need for the creation of "fictional" work places, then the entire imaginary branches, then entire virtual systems applied broadly all around the world, complex changes in the health conditions of the population not followed by appropriate measures (lifestyle diseases etc.), poisoning of natural conditions of Earth etc. - in short, all those processes with that we all are familiar
 
John Polk
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Science, by definition, cannot be "rigid".  It is dynamic, constantly changing, never complete, and forever expanding.  There are "Laws of Nature", and "Theories" of science.  Science has explained the Laws of Nature (as best they could), but each day, as new information (or interpretation of existing information) is found, we are refining our interpretations of those laws.  If the day ever came that we 'understood it all', it would be time for us to move on to the next planet.
 
                      
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It could be (perhaps without the last sentence ) beautiful truth if it was real science, what you are talking about, and if there was one direction - linear. And if there would be one single science on this planet. In non-idealized science, many interpretations occur during experiments and discussions. In reality, one is than chosen and developped further (in addition, such experiment always runs it in artificial not complex and real - environment, which is for example big problems with many things what we "know" about bacterias). It happens always, even as for a believer or a tasker it is really easy to neglect it, as I can see sometimes.

Such choice doesn´t says all of mentioned others ways are ALL wrong. It says they are not chosen at the moment, or even haven´t been discovered at the moment. You should know it from detailed history of any discipline of science. You call it "dynamic". But the chosen direction is once set as a dogma, and as a dogma is applied to whatever science investigates in next time (usually decades, or even centuries).  It is best seen in field of biology, or physics, microbiology is beautiful example too, but it exists (perhaps suprisingly) even in chemistry, geology etc. Under such circumstances, it is very difficult for scientists (educated under the dogma, brought up in some culture) to develop different strategies and discover (or even put something through) interesting novelties aside the flow, it is even much more difficult from the beginning of 20st century (or rougly from times Pasteur vs. Bechamp), when independent science almost doesn´t exist. And, it costs really huge money.

I don´t say that science is worthless. I could repeat (I did it probably three-times in this topic and I do it now for the last time) that the real science has its great role in practical field - mechanics, eletronics, energetics etc., when no linear axis of artificially sketched linear progress is applied and when it focuses strongly on producing things, products. If you as a scientist work on one task for one thing, when the simple fact that the matter is whipped out from the context DOESN´T CHANGE THE NUB OF THE THING, you don´t create theories, but things. In these circumstances, science is irreplacable. This is gadgetry (or industry). Science is pre-eminently usable as gadgetry. If it is theory-maker, which is, in last century, or it says to you HOW TO SEE THINGS, it is then religion.

We even don´t need to know chemical compositions of thing to know what is useful to do with this thing. When we apply the view that we need it, we behave religiously. Similarly, as if we explain something by supranatural spirits (and perhaps can also call them by names). But we are able to manage this thing without both these views in the equally efficient way (and with much lower budget).  In addition, it is to be honest a bit hypocritical, because the world of variables is never definite (as you also pointed out), and our memory is selective and connected in let´s say the mirror-neuron web.

Like this, science has one significant problem: it is not sustainable. It layers theories over theories (which is exactly what you described) and from one theory to the other it produces so many mistakes that every next theory has to produce BIG ENERGY only to rebuild all thinking and repair faults. Also it could be (but only in my opinion, I am not the disciple of any) the reason, why this science, which I called rigid (and their followers) is so disturbed by other systems, not following its "truths" - it is religion against religion. Of course, people usually don´t notice these influences, which was the reason of conflicts already centuries and centuries ago. This conflict is not sustainable, too.

Me personally, I prefer epxerience. Biodynamic gardening and approach is full of shared experience, collecting for years and years. I would like to combine it, together with common practice, with scientific informations, but to be honest, when I think about it now, the vast majority of applied methods are common sense, SHARED EXPERIENCE OF COMMON SENSE, can´t remember need for any truly scientific facts for the garden right now... ? if I don´t call my (or shared) observations, or literal names given to some things (for example bicarbonate) as "scientific"... So me personally, I would prefer to use science possibly as an aid in places where my two hands are not sufficient to carry something, when I need ladder, or similar. Because to be in tune with the moon is more efficient, from the experience. Anybody esle can choose completely different approach.
 
                    
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I have a book by Maria Thun.
http://www.considera.org/pbtsres.html

http://sites.google.com/site/wyeswomancelticshaman/wye-s-woman/gardening-with-the-moon-stars/maria-thun



Her ways would be right down my alley.  Since homeopathy has really worked for us, I don't see why bd would not work.  It is too work intensive for me, I can not sit and stir something for a whole hr.  Well, we do the best we can.  I try to work with the moon cycles and there definetly seems to be something to it. Btw,  sepp holzer dowses and pays attention to the moon cycles. 
 
Tyler Ludens
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watta wrote:

Me personally, I prefer epxerience.


As far as I have learned, the scientific method is based on experience, that is, on observation and experimentation.  This is the basis of all science.

sci·ence

1.
a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws: the mathematical sciences.
2.
systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.
3.
any of the branches of natural or physical science.
4.
systematized knowledge in general.
5.
knowledge, as of facts or principles; knowledge gained by systematic study.
6.
a particular branch of knowledge.
7.
skill, especially reflecting a precise application of facts or principles; proficiency.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/science
 
Salkeela Bee
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Science - a means of discerning which stories about reality are based on truth and which are the product of pure fantasy, wishful thinking and imaginative salesmanship.
 
220 hours of permaculture video, freaky cheap! http://kck.st/2q6Ycay.
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