Thus there is an objective standard by which things
can be determined, and assertions about the regularities
of nature can be tested.
Assertions about Biodynamic agricultural techniques come
in two varieties: those that address regualrities in nature
such as imporvements in crop yield, crop quality, nutritional
value, long-term productivity, soil biological activity, or
other measurable things; the other varitiety are a priori
unmeasurable matters of belief, such as the difference between
tap water and tap water that has been blessed by a Catholic
priest and has become Holy Water.
Where testable assertions are made such as the assertion
that calcium and potassium can be converted into nitrogen
by the addition of yarrow, camomile and stinging nettle
to a compost heap, those assertions should be subject to
verification and scrutiny. Other statments, having to do
with the ethical, or spiritual aspects of biodynamics are
matters of beleif and should be treated as such.
Further, concerns about the environment and management of
farms for sustainability or efficient use of renewable resources
should not be conflated with specific assertions about the
efficacy of biodynamic techniques. It does not follow that
because a particular farm is successful that all of the
biodynamic techniques are efficacious and contribute to
the production of this success. In the past there were
villages (cited in Fraser's "The Golden Bough") that
suspended horizontal logs at their entrance so that evil
spirits would bump their heads and be detered. Pointing
out the long term agricultural success of such a village
does not demonstrate the effectiveness of the log.
Preferences for different computer operating systems have been
cited as an analogy to the current debate. Certainly different
people prefer different opperating systems, but there are also
very specific and testable statements that can be made about
opperating systems (i.e. benchmarking, the 640K limit, etc.) So
testable statements and personal preference are separable. Because
I like MSDOS doesn't mean I can assign filenames of 127 characters.
If Microsoft announces that Windows 95 will be able to interface
with Novell software, this is a testable question, as is the
ability to make elemental conversions under ambient conditions.
Neither of these are subject to personal preference.
Certainly it is important to ask the right questions. The question
that I am asking is as follows. Where assertions have been made
about the specific benefits of biodynamic techniques have these
been tested and what are the results. These questions should be
separated from questions of spiritual belief.
So let me pose a question. Where is the evidence for elemental
transformations using biodynamic methods (i.e. potassium and
calcium to nitrogen in a compost heap).