Rudolf Steiner and Science

Rudolf Steiner had a lifelong passion for and interest in science. He also had some criticisms. These will be explored here.


James Hindes:
"The general public, following the lead of the scientific establishment, reserves the word 'science' for the exploration and mastery of the physical world. It believes that the only real sciences are the 'hard sciences.' Steiner pointed out that this unconscious and unjustified assumption is as wrong as it is widespread. As any philosopher of science will admit, it is the method, not the subject matter that determines whether any given investigation is scientific.
Steiner's research into higher spiritual worlds was scientific in method, repeatable and verifiable. However, the exercises required to develop the faculties needed for spiritual investiga­tions are rigorous, demanding and require years of consistent application before one can verify or contest Steiner's results with modern clairvoyance. Those who have made those efforts have begun to verify Steiner's work. Those who do not possess such faculties naturally tend not to believe in their existence. At the same time much of Steiner's work has yielded results eminently practical in the earthly realm, in agriculture, medicine and in education to name just a few.
The results of Steiner's investigations are consistent inter­nally and also when placed alongside the actual facts presented to us by the physical world. Of course, Steiner's descriptions do not always harmonize with the theories of modern science. And since we do not always realize the extent to which our 'facts' about the physical world have actually been created by our theories, there is sometimes an apparent conflict. "
Hindes, James. Renewing Christianity. Hudson, NY: Anthroposophic Press, 1996. Pages 11-12.

Rudolf Steiner:
“The spiritual scientist’s way of looking at things is wholly in keeping with the methods of natural science. However, it must certainly be clear that since spiritual science covers an entirely different field from the external sense perceptible field covered by natural science, researching the spiritual realm requires a fundamental modification of the natural scientific approach. The methods of the spiritual science are in keeping with those of natural science in the sense that any unprejudiced person trained in natural science can accept the premises of spiritual science.”
Rudolf Steiner. Anthroposophy and Christianity. Spring Valley, NY: Anthroposophical Press, 1985. Page 2. (G. A. 155 lecture of July 13th 1914.)

Rudolf Steiner:
"The main point is that spiritual science, with its methods of research, only begins where modern natural science leaves off. Humanity is indebted to the view of the world adopted by natural science for which I would call a logic which educates itself by the facts of nature. An important method of training has been introduced, amongst those who have concerned themselves with natural science, with regard to the inner application of thinking.”
Rudolf Steiner. "Approaches to Anthroposophy." Sussex: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1992. Page 11.

Rudolf Steiner:
"The facts of contemporary work [modern science] fully confirm this [anthroposophical] view. It is only misled opinions regarding these facts which deny this and presume that spiritual science and natural science contradict each other. This contradiction, however, does not really exist."
Rudolf Steiner. "Approaches to Anthroposophy." Sussex: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1992. Page 32.

Rudolf Steiner:
“Not so long ago it was still possible to believe that natural science – which is by no means unappreciated by spiritual science but is as regards to its great advances fully valued – had the means to solve all the great riddles of human existence. But those who have entered with heightened inner faculties into the achievements of modern science have been increasingly aware that what natural science brings as a response to the great questions of human existence are not answers but, on the contrary, ever new questions."
Rudolf Steiner. "Approaches to Anthroposophy." Sussex: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1992. Page 39-40.

Rudolf Steiner:
"A it is neither possible nor desirable to forestall the science difficult investigations of nature, for this is necessary of modern man is to introduce anything advantageous into his daily life."
Rudolf Steiner. "Approaches to Anthroposophy." Sussex: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1992. Page 42.

Rudolf Steiner:
“Hence those who have come together in the Anthroposophical Society are of the opinion that in spiritual science or Anthroposophy a bond is to be created between the great advances associated with natural science and the religious life of man. If we enter into the real significance of natural science we can say that it leads to a picture of the world in which the essence of man's nature has no place. In saying this I am not expressing my own view, but what becomes clearly evident when we study scientific research with an unprejudiced mind; for only an age which – though with justice admiring scientific knowledge – has been unable to recognize its limitations could deceive itself about this. Individual scientists have long recognized certain limitations; and the speech that Du Bois-Reymond gave in Leipzig in the seventies, which ended with the admission ‘ignorabimus’, `we shall never know’, has become famous. This eminent scientist meant by this that however much we may investigate the mysteries of nature with the methods of natural science, we shall never ultimately be able to discover what lives in the human soul as consciousness or understand what lies at the foundation of matter. Natural science is of little use when it comes to understanding matter and consciousness, which are in a certain sense the two poles of human life. It could be said that natural science has forced man as a spiritual being out of the picture of the world that it is building up. This can be seen if we take a look at the ideas which have emerged from a scientific foundation regarding the evolu­tion of the Earth.”
Rudolf Steiner. "Approaches to Anthroposophy." Sussex: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1992. Page 42.