I was alerted to an interview published in an anthroposophical journal with Prof. Dr. med. Harald Matthes. He is the clinical director of the ‘Gemeinschaftskrankenhauses Havelhöhe‘, a hospital of anthroposophic medicine in Berlin where apparently some COVID-19 patients are presently being treated. Anthroposophic medicine is a medical cult created by the mystic, Rudolf Steiner, about 100 years ago that lacks a basis in science, facts or common sense. Here is the two passages from that interview that I find most interesting (my translation/explanation is below):
Es gibt bisher kein spezifisches Covid-19 Medikament aus der konventionellen Medizin. Remdesivir führt in Studien zu keinem signifikant verbesserten Überleben, sondern lediglich zu einer milden Symptomreduktion. Die anfänglich große Studie vor allem an Universitätskliniken mit Hydrochloroquin und Azithromycin erbrachte sogar eine Steigerung der Todesrate. Daher haben anthroposophische Therapiekonzepte mit Steigerung der Selbstheilungskräfte eine große Bedeutung erfahren. Wichtige anthroposophische Arzneimittel waren dabei das Eisen als Meteoreisen oder als Ferrum metallicum praep., der Phosphor, das Stibium sowie das Cardiodoron® und Pneumodoron®, aber auch Bryonia (Zaunrübe) und Tartarus stibiatus (Brechweinstein). Die Erfolge waren sehr gut, da in Havelhöhe bisher kein Covid-19 Patient verstorben ist, bei einer sonstigen Sterblichkeit von ca. 30% aller Covid-19-Intensivpatienten…
100 Jahre Bazillentheorie und die Dominanz eines pathogenetischen Medizinkonzeptes haben zu der von Rudolf Steiner bereits 1909 vorausgesagten Tyrannei im Sozialen geführt. Der Mensch hat ein Mikrobiom und Virom, das unverzichtbar für seine Immunität ist und von der Quantität mächtiger als der Mensch selbst (Mikrobiom 1014 Bakterien mit ca. 1200 Spezies z.B. im Darm bei nur 1012 Körperzellen).
Matthes explains that, so far, no medication has been demonstrated to be effective against COVID-19 infections. Then he continues: “This is the reason why anthroposophic therapies which increase the self-healing powers have gained great importance”, and names the treatments used in his hospital:
- Meteoric Iron (a highly diluted anthroposophic remedy based on iron from meteors),
- Ferrum metallicum praep. (a homeopathic/anthroposophic remedy based on iron),
- Phosphor (a homeopathic remedy based on phosphor),
- Stibium (a homeopathic remedy based on antimony),
- Cardiodoron (a herbal mixture used in anthroposophical medicine),
- Pneumodoron (a herbal mixture used in anthroposophical medicine containing).
Matthes also affirms (my translation):
“The success has so far been very good, since no COVID-19-patient has died in Havelhöhe – with a normal mortality of about 30% of COID_19 patients in intensive care…
100 years of germ theory and the dominance of a pathogenetic concept of medicine have led to the tyranny in the social sphere predicted by Rudolf Steiner as early as 1909. Humans have a microbiome and virom that is indispensable for their immunity and more powerful in quantity than humans themselves (microbiome 1014 bacteria with about 1200 species e.g. in the intestine with only 1012 somatic cells)…”
The first 4 remedies listed above are highly diluted and contain no active molecules. The last two are less diluted and might therefore contain a few active molecules but in sub-therapeutic doses. Crucially, none of the remedies have been shown to be effective for any condition.
The germ theory of disease which Matthes mentions is, of course, a bit more than a ‘theory’; it is the accepted scientific explanation for many diseases, including COVID-19.
I have cold sweats when I think of anthroposophical doctors who seem to take it less than seriously, while treating desperately ill COVID-19 patients. If I were allowed to ask just three questions to Matthes, I think, it would be these:
- How did you obtain fully informed consent from your patients, including the fact that your remedies are unproven and implausible?
- If you think your results are so good, are you monitoring them closely to publish them urgently, so that other centres might learn from them?
- Do you feel it is ethical to promote unprovn treatments during a health crisis via a publicly available interview before your results have been formally assessed and published?
“Harald Matthes from the anthroposphic clinic Havelhöhe was habilitated by the FU Berlin in 2011. His habilitation thesis deals with the EvaMed superproject of his own superclinic, which revealed that anthroposophic medicines have very few side effects.
The chairman of the Hufelandgesellschaft gave his inaugural lecture on 16.11.2011 at the Charite Medical Faculty.
The Carstens Foundation was delighted.”
PS: The blog post is 7 years old, unfortunately many links in it do not work. This information about Mr. Matthes is nevertheless very meaningful.
yes, very interesting, I agree.
In one of his recent papers (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32148549/), he stated the following conflicts of interest:
HM is a member of the board of directors of Weleda AG and a member of the Network Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Wissenschaftlichen Fachgesellschaften (AWMF e.V.) guideline committee for integrative oncology (Guideline for Complementary Medicine in the Treatment of Oncological Patients). HM has an endowed professorship at the Charite´ Universita¨tsmedizin Berlin, which is financed by the Software AG Foundation, outside the submitted work.
for those interested, here is the EvaMed study:
The EvaMed study that the professor refers to, was published in a journal named “Drugs real world outcomes”. The title caught my interest so I had a look and found this manifesto:
One wonders… ?
Yep, it’s all true. Back in 1909 Steiner predicted that the Anti-Christ would appear and force people to cover their nose and mouth when they get on the bus or go to the supermarket. If only we had listened!
“Panpsychism is the view that mentality is fundamental and ubiquitous in the natural world. The view has a long and venerable history in philosophical traditions of both East and West, and has recently enjoyed a revival in analytic philosophy. For its proponents panpsychism offers an attractive middle way between physicalism on the one hand and dualism on the other.”
“Neuroscience has made great progress in uncovering the mechanisms in the brain that underlie our cognitive and behavioural functioning. But this form of scientific investigation has not produced anything approaching a satisfying explanation of why it is that a person has subjective experience,…”
Pompous pontifications by postmodern prats.
Though it explains why science changed its name away from “natural philosophy”: excruciating embarrassment.
“His habilitation thesis deals with the EvaMed superproject of his own superclinic, which revealed that anthroposophic medicines have very few side effects”. Hmmm, very few side-effects, because no effects, because negligible or no active ingredients……
The general anthroposophist response to SARS-CoV2 seems to be adhering firmly to the adage that “evidence that is inconsistent with dogma or preconceptions must be discarded” This blogpost on Covid-19 vaccines (and the comments afterwards) illustrates this very well, I think: https://anthropopper.com/2020/12/01/coercion-and-the-covid-19-vaccines/ Note how the author trots out the long-discredited antivaxxer tropes.
I also found the mention of Meteoric Iron as a remedy to be “interesting”. I recall anthroposophists scouring roofs and gutters with magnets immediately after the Leonid meteor shower (I have no idea why they favoured that one, but I could make an informed guess 🙂 ) , oblivious to the inconvenient fact that much of the iron found in “gutter-muck” is of terrestrial origin, and not necessarily micrometeorites, or that the micrometeorite fall (about 60 tonnes a day over the globe) is not that strongly correlated to meteor showers.
(Or, alternatively, that all terrestrial iron is meteoric in origin anyway, delivered during the Late Heavy Bombardment after Earths original iron had ended up in the core as it cooled and differentiated.)
Name one “trope” that was trotted out in the article you link to. Its a trope to feel that you have a right to decide what is injected into your own body? That is the main argument that is presented. You dont feel that govt and industry should have to prove the safety and efficacy of the products they require us to use and be liable for any harm they cause? Requiring a vaccine after a couple months of testing when it might have long term consequences is criminal. The consequences of this epidemic do not justify the radical measures being taken. These measures are not being taken with the consent of the governed. Seems like you are in favor of this medical fascism.
I’ll name four:
* preservatives like thimerosal (which contains mercury) – Thimerosal contains ethyl mercury. Ethyl mercury is no more “mercury” than table salt (sodium chloride) is “chlorine”. Ethyl mercury is metabolised and excreted; it does not accumulate in body tissue.
* aluminium – Again, it’s not aluminum; it’s aluminium compounds. Specifically, aluminium salts. It takes only a few seconds of critical thinking to realise that compounds have entirely different properties to the elements of which they are composed. Consider the compound HCN. A few grams will kill you. Ingesting the component elements separately will not. In fact, your body contains several kilograms of each in various compounds.
* manufactured using human embryonic kidney cells – This one is actually corrected in the comments, but since you obviously didn’t read that far: they don’t use “human embryonic kidney cells”, which makes it sound like vaccine manufacturers habitually macerate aborted foetuses. They use cell lines that were artificially cultured from a spontaneously (if you don’ t know what that means, GIYF) aborted foetus from the early1970s. Why? Because viruses grow better on the type of cells that they normally infect.
* formaldehyde – In the time it takes you to read this sentence, your body will have created, and your liver will have metabolised, far more formaldehyde than anyone ever received in a vaccine.
Now, a question for you: Which of those four tropes apply to the Pfizer vaccine?
HMG is not requiring anyone to use the vaccine.
Again, no “requiring”. (Where do you get these silly ideas from?) The rapid development of this vaccine is something that normal human beings would celebrate as what humans can achieve when obstacles to achievement are removed. The obstacles that usually exist include the necessity to make (usually repeated) funding applications and a shortage of willing volunteers (that quality of human decency).
Now, I’ll tell you what I call criminal: Advocating against the use of a vaccine which may have some as yet unknown side effects, but which has been shown to protect a majority of people against a virus that has already killed nearly two and a half million people in less than a year.
Not sure where you get that idea from – another leap in the dark? Or just a gratuitously snide innuendo? What I am is against the sociopaths who are willing to put others at risk in the name of their own “freedom”. If people like you don’t want to take the vaccine when it’s offered, that’s fine by me. But if you make that choice, you don’t get to compromise other people’s freedom to determine what is best for their well-being, and if that means excluding you from situations where your “freedom” may put them at risk, that’s absolutely fine by me as well. When decent people make decisions, they accept the consequences.
“When decent people make decisions, they accept the consequences.”
What about pants-wetting hysterics like ol’ Rog?
Fast forward to today! As of June 5, 2021, there have been tens of thousands of deaths from the COVID “vaccines”, which are not vaccines in the literal sense, but Experimental Gene Therapy and clinical trials are due to end 2023. Humans ARE the clinical trials and the data will be collected 2024. Depopulation is the goal.
do you seriously consider the article you linked to to be evidence?
Mrs. Chadwick appears to believe in all sorts of silly things – just clicking her name is quite revealing.
Was it your numerology or your astrology that told you that? Because sure as hell nothing with sufficient neurones to form a synapse would take that link you posted seriously.
Well done, Anne! It takes quite some effort to make a post containing so many demonstrably and provably false assertions. It is quite startling sometimes to realise the stupendous levels of self-delusion that antivax loons have to embrace in order to contort reality in order that it conforms to their delusions.
Any more points you want to make? Will all vaccinated people be dead within two years when the 5G activates the killer microchips?
“Thimerosal contains ethyl mercury. Ethyl mercury is no more “mercury” than table salt (sodium chloride) is “chlorine”. Ethyl mercury is metabolised and excreted; it does not accumulate in body tissue.”
Yet tetraethyl-lead is a known cause of lead poisoning. Ethyl mercury does not accumulate in body tissue in part because it is metabolised to mercury! Mercury itself is excreted, otherwise we would become more and more mercurious as we age, but it happens slowly – inorganic mercury metabolized from ethylmercury has “a longer half-life in the brain than mercury from mercury vapor”, so that mercury itself is indeed being formed from the metabolism of ethylmercury.
Mercury is excreted, but it has a half-life in the body, which means it can accumulate temporarily or if intake exceeds excretion.
Importantly, some excretion of mercury involves conjugation with selenium, a rare trace element also depleted by RNA viruses, including SARS-CoV-2; higher selenium intakes appear protective against negative COVID-19 outcomes in epidemiology, to a factor of 4 in the Chinese data. Selenium depletion by viruses or mercury is a cause of myocarditis and autoimmune diseases.
Skeptics can apparently have the same blind but misplaced faith in their “nothing to see here” version of science as anthroposophists have in their thoroughly muddled version.
If this is true it would be very important. Could you provide the references for this so that we can have a look at the original research?
I suspect he’s referring to this: https://hopefulgeranium.blogspot.com/2020/08/selenium-reduces-covid-19-risk-back-of.html
The roles of selenium and mercury in the pathogenesis of viral cardiomyopathy
Low-Dose Inorganic Mercury Increases Severity and Frequency of Chronic Coxsackievirus-Induced Autoimmune Myocarditis in Mice
Selenium Deficiency Due to Diet, Pregnancy, Severe Illness, or COVID-19—A Preventable Trigger for Autoimmune Disease
A systematic study of the disposition and metabolism of mercury species in mice after exposure to low levels of thimerosal (ethylmercury)
Many references for associations between selenium and COVID-19 outcomes can be found by clicking on my website link. I am the author of this letter.
Note the the impact of Se on Covid outcomes in a population depends on background level; where deficiency is relatively rare (as in USA) is rare association may be smaller (US association has not been described yet), other factors more important, except in CKD and sickle cell where Se is being lost thru kidneys.
That Hg accumulates in kidney, where Se is usually resorbed except in these diseases, may be relevant, given the propensity of Hg and Se to combine and be excreted together.
Irrelevant to Mercury. The toxic effect of tetraethyl lead is the metabolite triethyl lead, which accumulates in the brain, liver, muscles, kidneys….
Just as well that it mostly ends up in the kidneys, where it has a half life of around one and a half months.
Also note that it is only used in multi-dose vials,to prevent bacterial growth – which would potentially be much more harmful than the minuscule amount of ethyl mercury in a single vaccine dose.
Steve Tonkin, I prefer to speak from life experiences, what I notice and observe in my world as a Dutchy. I must confess that my observations of how my family members and friends, or neighbors take the vaccines, which are “methods of symptom treatment and not a vaccine” in the words of Moderna’s head of office, are as follows. None of them questions the quality and origin or effects of the mRNA vaccines (a technology never applied before in this construction on human bodies) They largely accept the recommendation to take the vaccine, from our government. They don’t want to question or research the background and nature of our present condition, living with a virus worldwide. Fear keeps the door closed of thinking for themselves, and fear, as I see it, is used as psychological warfare all over the world. It’s a tool, as old as the history of politics and power abuse.
A second motive to choose the vaccines is the wish to join a sports school, festival, restaurant, and cross the borders. The wish for convenience is overruling the wish to do research on scientific reports, read the documentation of the producers of the vaccine, Pfizer BionTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca. I’m a critical thinker and researcher, many years before the pandemic was announced in March 2020, and I continue to be critical towards the present push of the vaccine, and booster shots. For myself, as long as I’m not convinced of their safety, I’m not taking any vaccine.
As a health coach and nutritionist, I’m capable of sustaining my health for 40 years, without taking the yearly flu shot. It’s my belief that supporting our natural immune system is far more effective than vaccination. I’m not an anti-vaxxer, for lives have been saved by them.
In my country of birth, the Netherlands, virologists and other health experts are warning the government, now that Omicron helps us to create herd immunity, that the pushing of vaccination will lead to a loop of a need for booster shots, since the virus will mutate more and more, due to this attempts to kill and suppress it. Viruses are a natural part of our living system, fighting them will only lead to a comeback with a vengeance.
It’s similar to water control, our forte in this river delta of ours. By now, after centuries of fighting the water, an entirely new approach is developing, where the water is not restricted but is given space to find its way, in times of much rain and melting of gletchers in the Alps of Switzerland, the origin of our rivers. We’re creating space on the other side of our dykes with passageways, in the river landscape now, so that water will find a way without causing flooding of villages, and damage to bridges. To me, that’s the best way to also treat viruses and bacteria. They’re sustaining life, where death is always part of. A coming and going, sprouting and decay. They’re the two sides of one hand. The pharmaceutical industry has lost sight of that, I’m afraid. When you study the data at VAERS, of those suffering from side effects, and stillbirth of babies, born from vaccinated women, you will be surprised and shocked. There’s more to the mRNA vaccines than what meets our eyes and ears, as I see it.
“It’s my belief that supporting our natural immune system is far more effective than vaccination.”
Medicine is not a belief system. Your belief is clearly erroneous.
In my country (the UK) virologists are saying that it is failure to vaccinate most of the population in places such as Africa that is allowing the virus to circulate widely, giving it more opportunities to mutate. I believe that is what virologists worldwide are saying, but perhaps not in the Netherlands.
in every country, there are some virologists who disagree with the consensus.
if we look hard enough, we might also find an astronomer who claims the moon is made of cheddar cheese (if not, just look for an astrologist).
You are lying. Our Dutch virologists and health experts are not saying anything like this – simply because it is nonsense.
To me, the tropes in the article include: the mention of tyrrany, and the material in each of the bullet points.
Another trope, I think, is the absence of any other useful treatment suggestion as a response to a global pandemic.
I had my first-ever ‘flu jab’ today, for free, and was glad to get it.
“Its a trope to feel that you have a right to decide what is injected into your own body?”
Antivaxxers already have that right. What they demand is the right to endanger other people, free from criticism or censure. Because they’re spoiled entitled overgrown children; malignant narcissists who get off on their own delusion of power.
You don’t want to get vaccinated? Fine. As you say, your choice. But you continue wearing a mask and social distancing until the disease is well and truly nobbled. Because your right to swing your fist does not end at the back of our skulls.
Roger, why is this called fascism, when communist governments, who define fascism as opposition to their goals from the centre or the right, have been equally (probably more) coercive in their collectivist policies? This then becomes merely an emotional choice of words, reflecting one’s biases or those of a perceived audience. Better to say “authoritarian” and leave politics out of it, methinks.
I social distance and have worn a face mask at work for years so the supermarket is also fine by me.
What is fantastic is that you has have an opportunity to now show the likes of me just how fantastic modern medicine is. All the great Science minds have given us several vaccines . Hopefully you and a few million others will have at least one of the covid vaccines and show those of us asking questions just how safe it is and how well it works.
Congratulations on taking place in one of the largest ever trials in history.
Bad faith, much? JAQ off.
A interesting and perhaps revealing false dichotomy posited, between those who get vaccinated, and “those of us asking questions”. One is tickled by the concept of Professor Ernst’s career as one that did not involve asking questions……
Asking a few wider pertinent doesnt make anyone anti vaccination.
Being pro-vaccination doesn’t mean one asks no questions.
One thing I find disturbing is the idea pedaled at Rudolf Steiner Archive that people should follow Steiner’s “indications” on flu. This isn’t a flu. So the entire approach there is laughably offbase from the first thought. Not to mention what amounts to blaming sick and dead people for getting sick and dead, as we see from the Anthroposophical Society. (Clearly, there was something wrong with the astral fields of the sick and dead! Oh, dear.) These pitiful and grotesque, and frankly sad, maneuvers in illogic should discredit these folks forever. But the cult followers are too mentally eviscerated by now to contend with reality. Fantasy is just so soothing.
Germ theory is actually only a theory, which is why its called germ theory. There are any number of books out there which show germ theory to be built on junk science, while terrain theory is much more plausible. I am unable to find a good short video covering this topic (it was probably censored, like most things that run contrary to the mainstream narrative these days) but maybe start with a more lengthy video like this:
Also, you realize you are mocking a treatment approach which as you stated, has not resulted in a single death from “covid-19” instead of being critical of the allopathic approach which is conversely resulting in many deaths?
Anyone who believes in the supremacy of the conventional allopathic approach to medicine simply has not done their research. Perhaps look into the influence the Rockefellers have had on modern day medicine?
I genuinely recommend you thoroughly research alternative approaches to health and wellness before you write an article like this and show your ignorance.
I have done that for the last 30 years.
now it’s your turn.
You are clearly not aware of the technical usage of the word theory in the context of science. I would suggest that you look it up. Or do you similarly doubt the atomic theory of chemistry, the tectonic theory of geology, the evolutionary theory of biology, quantum theory and Einstein’s theory of relativity in physics?
All theories are tentative and may be found partially or completely false. ALL THEORIES!!!
… and some theories are too dumb for words.
Yes but that doesn’t mean all theories are equal; that the evidence base for all theories is of equal quality/quantity. Far from it.
Some theories have an extraordinarily high level of experimental verification. Quantum theory is an example – it is astonishing, yet time after time verified by experiments producing results that verify the predictions of the theory.
Debates do not really rage in today’s science circles about the theory that the Earth is an oblate spheroid orbiting the Sun as part of a gravitational system. The weight of evidence is heavy enough for these ideas to be called facts. The same cannot be said of some other theories.
What ignorant impertinence to come in here and accuse Professor Ernst of not doing research. Probably no-one in the world has done more research – Primary and Secondary – into so-called alternative medicine.
Anyone who claims otherwise is either woefully ill-informed, or deliberately deceitful.
not just probably, but surely and demonstrably!
Cameron, when you have occupied a Professorial Chair for longer than Professor Ernst, and of a bigger department, at a university researching alternative medicine;
when you have been Professor of Rehabilitative Medicine in venerable European medical institutions longer than he, when you have had more papers published in respected journals than he, and written more books in more languages on alternative medicine, THEN come back here and talk about research.
In which case, “the theory of gravity is actually only a theory, which is why its called the theory of gravity”.
Given the certainty with which you waded into this, I’m sure you’d be willing to verify your “actually only a theory” proposition on your own behalf by taking a long walk off a short pier.
Well, some aspects of this ‘gravity’ thing in relation to human health have never been tested in proper randomised controlled trials: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC300808/ …
@Richard. Brilliant! Thank you. 🙂
I am not sure what you mean by “the theory of gravity” as I am aware of two that are commonly used. Newton’s theory of gravity is very simple, and states that there is an attractive force between any two massive bodies which is proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between their centres of gravity. Einstein’s theory of gravity (general relativity) is fundamentally different and mathematically more complex, basically stating that massive bodies produce a curvature in space-time, so that the shortest path is no longer a straight line. In most situations they produce the same answers when predicting the behaviour of bodies in motion, but relativity predicts that gravity also acts on particles with no mass, such as photons, and this has been demonstrated as gravitational lensing in astronomical observations.
Yes, Julian, a tad “loose” there, wasn’t I? 🙂 I was thinking in terms of Newton, since long walks and short piers don’t experience sensible GR effects unless located on Mercury (or closer to the Sun).
Merely hoping that Cameron might make the connection. Gravity; theory – yet gravity exists. -> Germ; theory – maybe germs exist.
Sorry to have called you out there. I think really we were making the same point.
I remember reading the parachute study when it first came out in the Christmas edition of the BMJ.
No apology necessary; I was less precise than I could have been. And yes, I believe we are.
I don’t think Einstein’s special theory of relativity has anything to say about these, none of which were known when he formulated it.
Thank-you for that. I will have a look at these links.
I gather photons begin the process of photosynthesis in plants, how then, can photons have no mass if they begin a physical process? are they ‘Spiritual’?
They have energy (as defined by Planck’s equation: E=hν); no need to invoke anything “spiritual”.
Take a look.
You do not need to thank me for referring you to basic school knowledge.
Photons do not have zero mass; they have zero invariant mass [aka rest mass]. When moving they have both momentum and mass (from mass–energy equivalence).
Not that photons can ever not be in motion. According to Einstein’s theory of general relativity, any particle with a rest mass of zero has to have a velocity equivalent to the speed of light.
JM-K wrote “Not that photons can ever not be in motion. According to Einstein’s theory of general relativity, any particle with a rest mass of zero has to have a velocity equivalent to the speed of light.”
That’s BS. Einstein’s special theory of relativity defines only an upper bound on the speed of light, not a lower bound.
Physicist Lene Vestergaard Hau slowed light to 38 miles per hour in 1999, then stopped it altogether in 2001.
See Light Changed to Matter, Then Stopped and Moved
I am not a physicist so I won’t pretend to be an expert on relativity. However, my understanding is that Einstein’s special theory of relativity starts with the premise that the speed of light is invariant between observers and derives an upper bound for the speed of everything else.
However, I was talking about general relativity. Please correct me if I am wrong here, but I understand that there is a relatavistic counterpart of velocity which represents the rate of change of position of an object within space-time and which always has a constant magnitude, which is the square of the speed of light. Like velocity, it is a vector quantity and therefore has direction, one component of which is the speed in three-dimensional space. The allowed range of directions is affected by the mass of the object, and for a massless object this is constrained such that the three-dimensional velocity is the speed of light.
I may have misunderstood something here – it was a few years ago that I read up on it and I couldn’t really follow the maths, which involved a lot of fourth powers of imaginary numbers.
I’m sorry I didn’t specify this, but I believe Einstein was talking about the speed of light in a vacuum. It is well established that light travels more slowly through matter, which is after all the principle behind refraction and lenses.
You were the one who made the claim, but as usual, you ignored the red banner.
Stefan asked about photons starting the process of photosynthesis, which has nothing whatsoever to do with light travelling through a vacuum, obviously. Quite the opposite.
You wrote “However, my understanding is that Einstein’s special theory of relativity starts with the premise that the speed of light is invariant between observers and derives an upper bound for the speed of everything else.” That is incorrect.
Here are three practical examples of things that are faster than the upper bound:
1. the phase velocity of electromagnetic waves in a medium having a refractive index less than unity;
2. the group velocity of laser light pulses sent through certain lossy materials;
3. the expansion of the universe.
You wrote “It is well established that light travels more slowly through matter, which is after all the principle behind refraction and lenses.” That is incorrect.
The refractive index of a material is derived from the phase velocity of light in the medium; not from the speed of light in the medium: the former is scientific; the latter is pseudoscientific BS.
It is luckily not true that all anthroposophists are anti-vaxxers. Also, Rudolf Steiner has more (positive things) to say about vaccinating (sorry for no source sharing), although your statement is also true. I talked about vaccinating with my anthroposophical doctor and she said that most anthroposophical doctors in the Netherlands have been pro-vaccinating since the beginning of the pandemic. There is a small percentage of anthroposophical doctors who are against it, but the same can be said about the rest of society.