Biodynamics is a hoax blog.

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Biodynamics is a hoax blog.

Post #1  Postby Peter Cargasacchi » June 14th 2010, 6:23pm

Has anyone seen the Biodynamics is a hoax blog? flirtysmile
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Post #2  Postby Todd F r e n c h » June 14th 2010, 6:27pm

You have GOT to be a featured contributor, Carg!
Apparently I'm lazy, have a narrow agenda, and offer little in the way of content and substance (RMP)
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Re: Biodynamics is a hoax blog.

Post #3  Postby Jon Troutman » June 14th 2010, 6:33pm

I actually sat down today with Stu Smith today and yapped his ear off a little bit about his new blog. Really interesting dude. I'm not sure I'm in the "BioD is a Hoax" camp, but he raises a good argument and will hold his ground 'til the cows come home... or until they end up dead and buried in a vineyard ;)

http://content.corkd.com/2010/06/14/bio ... rd-winery/
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Re: Biodynamics is a hoax blog.

Post #4  Postby Roberto Rogness » June 14th 2010, 6:34pm

Aztec and Inca astronomers (and Greeks and Chinese before them) thought that the moon literally ATE the sun every time an eclipse occurred yet they could also predict them years or even decades in advance as they got the MATH right even though their underlying cosmology was complete crap.

Even raving lunatics have a point once in a while, just look at politics!
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Post #5  Postby GregT » June 14th 2010, 6:47pm

Roberto - raving lunatics may may get to the right place, accidentally or not.

Their driving makes the trip extra fun! I mean come on, this is great stuff:

"the fact is that the foodstuffs taken in through the stomach do not build up our bones, muscles, and other tissues – they only build up our head. Everything that enters the body by way of the digestive organs, and is then metabolized and distributed, only provides materials to be deposited in the head, . . . the substances we need for building up our limbs or our metabolic organs – the long bones in our legs or arms, or our intestines, for instance – those substances do not come from the food taken in by way of our mouth and stomach; instead they are absorbed from our whole environment by means of our breathing, and even via our sensory organs. . . "

I bookmarked the site. Thanks Peter!
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Re: Biodynamics is a hoax blog.

Post #6  Postby Berry Crawford » June 14th 2010, 7:19pm

Roberto Rogness wrote:Aztec and Inca astronomers (and Greeks and Chinese before them) thought that the moon literally ATE the sun every time an eclipse occurred yet they could also predict them years or even decades in advance as they got the MATH right even though their underlying cosmology was complete crap.


Nice!!
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Post #7  Postby Roberto Rogness » June 14th 2010, 7:43pm

Thank you verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry much! I'll be here all week. Remember to tip the veal and try your waitress....
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Re: Biodynamics is a hoax blog.

Post #8  Postby Berry Crawford » June 14th 2010, 7:52pm

Roberto Rogness wrote:Thank you verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry much! I'll be here all week. Remember to tip the veal and try your waitress....


Can I try the waitress?
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Re: Biodynamics is a hoax blog.

Post #9  Postby Roberto Rogness » June 14th 2010, 7:56pm

That's an old Dexter Poindexter line (but he surely stole it from some Borscht Belt comic).
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Re: Biodynamics is a hoax blog.

Post #10  Postby Berry Crawford » June 14th 2010, 7:59pm

Roberto Rogness wrote:That's an old Dexter Poindexter line (but he surely stole it from some Borscht Belt comic).


I should still get some credit for comming up with it on my feet like that
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Re: Biodynamics is a hoax blog.

Post #11  Postby Roy Piper » June 15th 2010, 9:57am

I once read many of Steiner's lectures. They were compiled into a series of books. Much of his talks had nothing to do with farming. He covered all sorts of topics. Essentially, you could ask him anything. The quickest way to lose faith in BD is to read his lectures on other things. Here is what he said to someone who asked about "The Sun."[tease.gif]

"The sun's rays, as we actually see them, are not reality, but if we consider the sun as it really is, it is not really physical matter, it is in fact spiritual, a hollowed out form created in space.Everything around the sun is denser than the sun, and the Sun is thinner than anything around it, and that is why you see it. It is an illusion to think that the Sun is something in space."

[tease.gif]

And after I read what REALLY causes a good vintage, I can stop worrying about topping my wines or simple things like fermentation...

"As you know, there are good and bad years for wine. But the good years really come because the Earth has got hungry. It then leaves its fertility more to the sun, and the sun gives the wine its quality. Now, when the Earth has had a good wine year, you can be pretty certain that a comet will appear soon after, for the Earth has been hungry and needs food again and other things. You then get poor wine years. If there is another good year, another comet will follow. The Earth's state concerning it's substance is definitely connected with the way in which comets appear or do not appear."
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Re: Biodynamics is a hoax blog.

Post #12  Postby Lyle Fass » June 15th 2010, 10:02am

He is too hostile and dogmatic to be taken seriously.
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Post #13  Postby Bob Hunnicutt » June 15th 2010, 10:39am

Bd is similar to religion in that it's based on faith. Never argue with the True Believers.
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Re: Biodynamics is a hoax blog.

Post #14  Postby G. D y e r » June 15th 2010, 10:45am

Lyle Fass wrote:He is too hostile and dogmatic to be taken seriously.


Who, Rudolph Steiner? [berserker.gif]

If you're talking about Smith, I've read about him in Conaway's books on Napa. He's certainly of an ultra-rational libertarian mindset. While that type of thinking may be too dogmatic when it comes to land use (one man building a vineyard into a mountain is quite different than an army of bulldozers and helicopters reshaping the hillside with no conscience of quite literally the downstream consequences), this is exactly the type of thinking that puts pseudo-science in its place.

I have no qualms with saying that BioD producers are more likely to produce wines that are interesting and that I'd like to drink. But I also have no qualms with saying their beliefs are inconsistent with a great many scientifically proven theories. For example, BioD's understanding of gravitation, tides and lunar cycles is embarrassing at best.

While I cannot discount that light from the moon may affect plant physiology, the justification for racking wine based on the lunar cycle is idiotic. BioD claims that the moon's gravity is stronger on a full/new moon. Not true. Yes, the tides are higher and lower, but this has to do with the gradients of the moon's and the sun's gravitational fields being in alignment. The sun's gravitational force is actually much stronger (~1/r^2) than the moon's, but the gradient (~1/r^3) is what's most important for tides. Because the moon is much closer, its gradient is felt most strongly though the sun has an effect that is not exactly small in comparison to the moon.

Anyway, the point is the gradient is tiny over the length of a barrel. Totally irrelevant, and the BioD folks claim it is the gravitational force anyway, which is essentially constant in magnitude. This silliness doesn't prevent them from making great wine. But it is not responsible for great wine, either.
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Re: Biodynamics is a hoax blog.

Post #15  Postby jcoley3 » June 15th 2010, 11:26am

Lyle Fass wrote:He is too hostile and dogmatic to be taken seriously.


Assuming your're talking about the blog's author, can you point out specific instances where he is wrong, and therefore should not be taken seriously?

You may not like his tone, but that has nothing to do with whether or not his arguments should be taken seriously. Dismissing someone as Unserious because they are "hostile and dogmatic" seems to be the 21st century ad hominem way for people not to actually engage an argument.
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Re: Biodynamics is a hoax blog.

Post #16  Postby jcoley3 » June 15th 2010, 11:30am

G. D y e r wrote:Anyway, the point is the gradient is tiny over the length of a barrel. Totally irrelevant, and the BioD folks claim it is the gravitational force anyway, which is essentially constant in magnitude. This silliness doesn't prevent them from making great wine. But it is not responsible for great wine, either.


A couple of years ago a well-regarded winemaker posted his suspicion that a night of mediocre Burgundies was caused by the full moon. I remember exactly one full moon later counting up at least a dozen positive Burgundy tasting notes on the same board.
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Re: Biodynamics is a hoax blog.

Post #17  Postby John Davis » June 15th 2010, 1:23pm

I really don't know about BD. Always seemed like a little bit of hocus-pocus to me. But, that said, I have also always thought that if someone is willing to go to that extreme in the vineyard they are probably going to go to extremes to ensure quality in the winery, too. So, if they're over-zealous, retentive in the vineyard and winery, that completely dedicated to their craft, they probably make really good freakin' juice, too. Crazy? Maybe, but if the quality is in the bottle I really don't care.

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Post #18  Postby Roberto Rogness » June 15th 2010, 1:30pm

Fusion guitarist Eric Johnson SWEARS he can hear the difference in different brands of 9 volt batteries in his effects boxes. I think he is nuts but that sort of attention to the details of tone are why he sounds like that and I don't.
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Post #19  Postby Nikolaj Krarup » June 15th 2010, 1:46pm

An incredible hostile rude and mean article.
Steiner has made great contributions in many fields. To simply disregard his work and methods, and call him nuts is completely wrong IMO. I'll admit some of it seems pretty much out there, but the fact is that his methods works, both regarding argriculture, waldorf schools and in the field of helping disadvantaged people.
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Post #20  Postby Sarah Warner » June 15th 2010, 1:51pm

Ha ha. I know the blogger. Judged with him.
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Post #21  Postby john holdredge » June 15th 2010, 2:57pm

christopher colombus
galileo
copernicus


the world is filled with people who believed what we could not see.
I have made the decision that too much of my time and effort is focused on things that I cannot and do not have the ability to change. It is affecting my personal life and well being. I need some time away from both venues for now… Bill "Tex" Landreth
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Post #22  Postby Roberto Rogness » June 15th 2010, 3:05pm

You want crazy talk, have someone try and explain string theory (physics) to you....
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Re: Biodynamics is a hoax blog.

Post #23  Postby Lyle Fass » June 15th 2010, 3:06pm

jcoley3 wrote:
G. D y e r wrote:Anyway, the point is the gradient is tiny over the length of a barrel. Totally irrelevant, and the BioD folks claim it is the gravitational force anyway, which is essentially constant in magnitude. This silliness doesn't prevent them from making great wine. But it is not responsible for great wine, either.


A couple of years ago a well-regarded winemaker posted his suspicion that a night of mediocre Burgundies was caused by the full moon. I remember exactly one full moon later counting up at least a dozen positive Burgundy tasting notes on the same board.


I don't argue with professional arguers. This guy is right out of the Monty Python sketch with John Cleese when Terry Jones wants to buy an argument. I refuse to argue with people who have a negative tone. Arguments need to be rational. This guy is clearly not.

And biodynamics is like any religion, the fundamentalist aspect is always too severe (Joly), but some people in the middle (Leflaive, Leroy, Wittman) make great wines. Who the f*ck knows why? But I am sure creating a living, breathing ecosystem in the soil cannot hurt.
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Re: Biodynamics is a hoax blog.

Post #24  Postby G. D y e r » June 15th 2010, 3:11pm

john holdredge wrote:christopher colombus
galileo
copernicus


the world is filled with people who believed what we could not see.


This is a poor comparison, though. And especially ironic that two of the figures you note had a very good sense of gravitation as it related to heavenly bodies. The problem here is that BioD makes assertions with zero experimental evidence that are in complete disagreement with theories that have been scientifically vetted.

Take the theory of evolution. Steiner proposes instead the moon shines up some animals' butts and the sun shines in the face of others. Or something along those lines as I can't be bothered to decipher the precise form of this nonsense.

The three figures you mention were not contradicting well-founded science. In fact, they were largely contradicting religion. BioD is an attempt to move backwards to faith-based pseudo-science. It is the opposite of Columbus, Galileo and Copernicus.
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Post #25  Postby Lyle Fass » June 15th 2010, 3:15pm

FYI. Dumb-ass name for a blog. Complete misuse of the word hoax. Another reason I can't engage over there.

hoax - something intended to deceive; deliberate trickery intended to gain an advantage
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Post #26  Postby G. D y e r » June 15th 2010, 3:22pm

Roberto Rogness wrote:You want crazy talk, have someone try and explain string theory (physics) to you....


String theory is an interesting comparison as the hypotheses have a basis in mathematical formalism. But I think most if not all of the hypotheses, if you wanted to do an experiment, would require energy/mass scales far beyond what we can create in a lab.

BioD, meanwhile, has hypotheses based on conjecture, but many of them could be tested systematically. Assertion seems to be enough to convince many people, though.
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Re: Biodynamics is a hoax blog.

Post #27  Postby G. D y e r » June 15th 2010, 3:25pm

Lyle Fass wrote:And biodynamics is like any religion, the fundamentalist aspect is always too severe (Joly), but some people in the middle (Leflaive, Leroy, Wittman) make great wines. Who the f*ck knows why? But I am sure creating a living, breathing ecosystem in the soil cannot hurt.


The last line is something that appeals from a rationalist/scientific perspective, though. It's not the mythology that affects the wine, but the creation of a balanced system of viticulture. The question then is what are the BioD practitioners doing that is beneficial. I want to see the science separated from the mythology because there probably is something there.
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Post #28  Postby G. D y e r » June 15th 2010, 3:31pm

Along these lines, Tablas Creek had a post on sensitive crystallization where 'stuff' is extrapolated from crystal structure. I don't disagree that a reproducible structure has meaning, but anyone who has looked at a phase diagram has a sense that the structure has everything to do with chemical concentrations and growing conditions.

My reply:
The part of this post on sensitive crystallization is a bit harder to get a grip on. On one hand, the reproducibility of the patterns does suggest they are specific to a given wine. But how does one assign meaning to that? I often find tartrate crystals in wines that are like fine dust, stick-like, like salt crystals, etc. This should be related to the concentrations of various compounds in solution, pH, temperature, etc. But here we are supposed to accept that different structure correspond to abstract qualities. Has anyone seriously attempted to correlate the wine chemistry to the crystalline forms? I think this would be more informative than assertions about fruit and minerality.
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Post #29  Postby jcoley3 » June 15th 2010, 3:33pm

john holdredge wrote:christopher colombus
galileo
copernicus


the world is filled with people who believed what we could not see.


Belief and proof are two different things. Many children may believe that Santa leaves presents under the Christmas tree on December 25th, but I suspect they would have a hard time proving it.

People have wanted to believe in magic for centuries - that does not make them any of the great scientists or explorers you list.
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Post #30  Postby Lyle Fass » June 15th 2010, 3:38pm

jcoley3 wrote:
john holdredge wrote:christopher colombus
galileo
copernicus


the world is filled with people who believed what we could not see.




People have wanted to believe in magic for centuries


They still do. It's called religion.
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Post #31  Postby jcoley3 » June 15th 2010, 3:45pm

Lyle Fass wrote: Arguments need to be rational.


Steiner and Joly are rational? It seems like you're demanding reasonableness from one side of the argument, but don't object to the high-flying romantic conjecture of the other.

Lyle fass wrote:And biodynamics is like any religion, the fundamentalist aspect is always too severe (Joly), but some people in the middle (Leflaive, Leroy, Wittman) make great wines. Who the f*ck knows why? But I am sure creating a living, breathing ecosystem in the soil cannot hurt.


I like the three "middle" wineries quite well. Have had some execrable wines from Joly. The fundamentalist aspect of any religion often creeps me out - wine religion or otherwise.
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Post #32  Postby jcoley3 » June 15th 2010, 3:48pm

Lyle Fass wrote:They still do. It's called religion.


Sure. Certain aspects of biodynamics remind me of some of the rituals you read about in 'The Golden Bough,' which describes how people believed that certain kinds of sacrifices to the Gods would (for example) bring the men home safely from the hunt. It gives people the idea that they have more control over the natural world than they do. I find it amazing that we can fly men to the moon, yet we know so little about why or how wine ages. The natural world is mysterious, despite science, but Steiner's explanations sound romantic and make little sense.
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Re: Biodynamics is a hoax blog.

Post #33  Postby Roy Piper » June 15th 2010, 4:11pm

Roberto Rogness wrote:Fusion guitarist Eric Johnson SWEARS he can hear the difference in different brands of 9 volt batteries in his effects boxes. I think he is nuts but that sort of attention to the details of tone are why he sounds like that and I don't.


This is where "blind" testing would come in handy.

In the book "Winemaker's Dance," Mark Herold said that when he was at Phelps, blind tasting tests showed no difference in either cold soaking or extended maceration with regards to wine quality. Despite this, Phelps continued to do both.

Also, Mondavi planted a section of ToKalon at various densities (4x4, meter-meter, 8x8, Lyre, etc) many years ago and then treated the vines the same, picked the grapes at the same time, fermented apart the same way, etc. Later, they did a blind tasting with winemakers and winegrowers and statistically, as a group there was NO gain in quality from one planting density to the other. Yet each person left that tasting with their own belief systems about what density worked best, and acted on that preference.

Anecdotal evidence/experience is the life blood of winemaking.
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Re: Biodynamics is a hoax blog.

Post #34  Postby M. Dildine » June 15th 2010, 5:43pm

john holdredge wrote:christopher colombus
galileo
copernicus


the world is filled with people who believed what we could not see.


+1
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Re: Biodynamics is a hoax blog.

Post #35  Postby Cris Whetstone » June 15th 2010, 6:03pm

Lyle Fass wrote:I don't argue with professional arguers. This guy is right out of the Monty Python sketch with John Cleese when Terry Jones wants to buy an argument. I refuse to argue with people who have a negative tone. Arguments need to be rational. This guy is clearly not.

And biodynamics is like any religion, the fundamentalist aspect is always too severe (Joly), but some people in the middle (Leflaive, Leroy, Wittman) make great wines. Who the f*ck knows why? But I am sure creating a living, breathing ecosystem in the soil cannot hurt.

I think you've summed it all up pretty well actually Lyle. On the one hand you talk about a need for rationality. On the other you want to link religion and the understanding of ecosystems. This is precisely where people find fault with BioD and call it religion or even a hoax. Being rational seems to not be part of the equation.

I also don't think we can hold up some wineries and say that since they make good wines so there is something to this BioD thing. That is a classic non sequitur.
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