Objections to biodynamics

Research publications concerning biodynamics
Mark
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Objections to biodynamics

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ON FERTILE GROUND? OBJECTIONS TO BIODYNAMICS

While acknowledging the quality of many biodynamic wines, Jesús Barquín and Douglass Smith dismiss the movement as a mix of good intentions, quasi-religious hocus-pocus, good salesmanship, and scientific illiteracy

Biodynamics has been kicking around the vineyards for
several years now and is a subject ever more present in
popular wine publications. The practice is suggested as
an innovative, arguably superior alternative to simple
organic agriculture. And in fact, biodynamics is, by its very nature,
organic. But we miss a more critical treatment of the pseudoscience
that makes up the balance of the biodynamic doctrine. In this article
we will investigate some of the issues that, from a more sober
perspective, force us to reject the theory and methodology that
differentiate biodynamic from organic agriculture.

Stephen Jay Gould distinguished two basic ways we may
approach the natural world: the Franciscan, charmed by the
beauty and complexity of natural phenomena; and the Galilean,
impassioned by the ability of human intelligence to comprehend
the hidden mechanisms working behind the appearances. There
is a similar spiritual duality in the more prosaic world of wine:
those who approach wine as something literally alive, which is the
direct result of some force of nature, and those of us who consider
it “the fruit of the vine,” yes; but also, and above all, “the work of
man.” The followers of biodynamics, in their cosmogony of vitiand
viniculture, are of the former type. Each vine, each harvest,
even each barrel, is an organ or aspect of a universal living thing,
constituted first by the vineyard and, at its most grand, by the
planets, stars, and indeed the entire cosmos.

In approaching this material, one is moving through faithinfused
terrain: of people who, against all evidence, believe in the
memory of water; in the disequilibrium of bodily humors as a
cause of cancer; in scattering the ashes of weeds and insects to
frighten such pests off the land. They, or at least some of their more
conspicuous spokesmen, believe that it was the Greeks’ desire to
reason about natural things that broke the harmony between man
and the stars. These believers will not agree with those of us who,
to put it in Virgilian terms, think that the happiest moments are
those where we understand the true causes of things.