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Bravo, Germany!

I think this is an excellent decision.

In a decision that has caused outrage among Jewish and Muslim groups, the court said that a child’s right to physical integrity trumps religious and parental rights.

The case involved a doctor who carried out a circumcision on a four year-old that led to medical complications.

Thousands of Muslim and Jewish boys are circumcised in Germany every year.

Although male circumcision – unlike female circumcision – is not illegal in Germany, the court’s judgement said the "fundamental right of the child to bodily integrity outweighed the fundamental rights of the parents".

Circumcision, it decided, contravenes "interests of the child to decide later in life on his religious beliefs".

The big question, though, is enforcement. It says male circumcision is not illegal, and that the ruling is not binding…so it seems rather meaningless, so far.But anything to get the knife a little farther away from babies and discourage a barbaric practice is progress.

Comments

  1. says

    It’s not much if there’s no enforcement behind it, but at least it’s a step in the right direction. Better than a sharp stick in the eye.

  2. santiago says

    “fundamental right of the child to bodily integrity outweighed the fundamental rights of the parents”

    Couldn’t have said it more beautifully myself! Whenever debating Jewish friends and family on this matter, they seem to be under the assumption that “religious freedom” is somehow a magic card you can wave to dismiss any action. All I can say in response is “Oy Vey!”

  3. says

    Saw an argument today comparing this to abortion in that people will do it anyways so we should legalize it. Back alley circumcisions…

  4. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    I’m just so fucking conflicted about his.

    In principle it’s fairly easy. It harmful and there’s no consent. What makes it so difficult for me in practise is the surge in European racism (usually disguised as “Islam criticism” – before anybody jumps the gun here- not all critics of Islam are racists, but the smarter racists have learnt to say “Islam” and “muslim” instead of brown&black) and anti-semittism just makes it so fucking hard to argue.

    Especially when you catch a glimpse of some of the “allies”.

    OTOH- nobody cares about the religious/cultural rights of groups that practice the milder forms of FGM(of course, they are fewer and FGM is usually based in oral and not written tradition, but still..) – so maybe I should just harden up.

  5. chimera says

    @ bricewgilbert

    Don’t you just love that argument? ORLY, it’s going to force staunch circumcision-defenders to practice underground?* Then I guess we should just lift the ban on EVERYTHING harmful, like murder and assault and burglary–THEY’RE JUST GOING TO DO IT ANYWAY, AMIRITE!

    Oh, and I get the feeling that a lot of the people that make those kinds of arguments, whether they’re specifically anit-choice or pro-circ (or both), don’t see how harming a defenseless child is different from seeking a necessary medical procedure, like an abortion.

    *Not that I’m necessarily disputing this claim

  6. says

    Circumcision, it decided, contravenes “interests of the child to decide later in life on his religious beliefs”.

    Wait, what? You mean children don’t choose their religion at birth? Everything my scientologist parents taught me was wrong?*

    Imagine that: preserving the religious freedom of all children not to have their genitals cut up to mark them as a member of a particular sect.

    *True story, bro.

  7. tomh says

    Wish the US would give children a few rights. We can’t even insist that parents provide standard medical care for children.

  8. opposablethumbs says

    Bloody brilliant precedent. Now if only other countries would do the same (and put some effort into enforcing the law against FGM too).

    It is very regrettable that the right-wingers can jump on board with this, but the kids’ right not to be mutilated is vital.

  9. says

    @Gnumann
    Yup, harden up. Here in the States, it’s much less of a religion specific thing; many hospitals circumcise boys as a matter of course, regardless of the religious beliefs of lack thereof the parents might have. That doesn’t stop the anti-Semites from jumping on the bandwagon (There was a really terrible anti-semitic anti-circumcision comic that was being passed around SF a year or so ago), but no cause is ever so noble that it won’t attract fuckheads. (I think that’s one of Sturgeon’s laws, but I could be wrong). The fact that repulsive people may agree for repulsive reasons doesn’t invalidate the reasons that we’re opposing it. For instance, Ron Paul is in favor of ending the Federal War on Some Drugs, which I agree with, but he arrived at that conclusion through ridiculous means, and these means also led him to a lot of completely repulsive positions, which I disagree with.

  10. Ysanne says

    I wonder how the typical pseudo-medical arguments are going to be compared to religious reasons when they take centre stage… they did come up as a side point in this case but were dismissed as “in 21th century Central Europe, you don’t need to circumcise for hygienic reasons”.
    As to this point:

    The big question, though, is enforcement. It says male circumcision is not illegal, and that the ruling is not binding…so it seems rather meaningless, so far.
    This may be one of the times when the totally risk-averse mindset of most Germans comes in handy. They’re totally scared of doing something that is not expressly totally legal plus covered by some insurance.

  11. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    Dalillama:
    Had the situation over here been the same as in the states, I would have found it far easier. At least when the custom is pervasive you don’t single out already marginalised groups.

  12. says

    Some commentary from German sources (paraphrased/abridged):

    The Central Council of Jews in Germany: “This decision is an outrageous and insensitive act, and the circumcision of newborn boys is an integral part of the Jewish religion and is practiced worldwide for thousands of years. In every country in the world this religious law is respected. ”

    Jewish blogger “Chajm” writes: “The prohibition of circumcision has been a method to assault Judaism for thousands of years. … When circumcision is outlawed, it means you can not live as a Jew anymore. To be a Jew, you want Jewish children, and male Jewish children get circumcised.” And he continues, revealing his intellectual poverty: “To be consequential, ear piercings and vaccinations must also be outlawed”.
    A commenter remarks: “To call Jewish practices barbaric is a classic term used in any antisemitic argumentation.”
    http://www.sprachkasse.de/blog/2012/06/26/klares-signal/

    Blogger “gilowyn” writes: “The German justice system after the war started by keeping Nazi jurists in their jobs. … This decision is clearly an outcome of antisemitic tradition. … Sure, we don’t ask children if they want a circumcision, but I’ve never met one who complained. … A dark suspicion arises: freedom of religion is not respected anymore. Behind this decision one anticipates the face of the Antisemite.”
    http://www.judentun.de/schon-gehort-juni-iii/

    Ramona Ambs writes: “After circumcision, there are nothing but advantages for the rest of the guy’s life. … Apparently Germany is bothered by muslim penises – they want all of them to look alike.” and continues to ridicule the decision sarcastically: “obviously families who circumcise children have no love for them, as we can see every day”. … “This is not a matter of religious freedom – any circumcised man can and does switch religious beliefs any time in his life. Circumcision commonly does no lasting harm, therefore the right to bodily self-determination is irrelevant. … Jews and muslims will come to feel even less at home in Germany”.
    http://www.hagalil.com/archiv/2012/06/26/koelner-urteil/

  13. says

    I’m also unsure exactly what this will accomplish if no one’s enforcing it, but it is a step in the right direction and as far as I’m aware it’s a step further than my own government’s ever gone.

  14. Tony... therefore God says

    Sure, we don’t ask children if they want a circumcision, but I’ve never met one who complained

    …this is almost too stupid for words.
    I’m hoping some day to see Religious Indoctrination put on the chopping block. Not only is it harmful to children, they don’t get to choose which religion to believe in (and *that* is the opposite of freedom of religion).

  15. interrobang says

    I’m sorry, I also can’t see this as anything other than racism cloaked in the language of liberalism. (After the right co-opts all the left’s rhetoric, we’re going to have nowhere to go.) It is possible to become Jewish without being circumcised in a bris, but most people don’t know that, including most Jews. I know a ger (look it up, I’m feeling crotchety) who was merely required to shed the requisite two drops of blood. He’d previously been circumcised just prior to birth. The sex was awesome, thank you for asking.

    I’m also not cool with calling it “barbarism,” either, given that from an OEM end-user perspective, the modified product is clearly superior (IMO, and that a circumcised guy will never ever tear his penile frenulum during sex*, oh yes, and it eliminates morning smegma, the leading cause of lesbianism among bisexual women), and there isn’t any outwardly apparent difference in function or sensation. It’s not like you’re lopping the goddamn glans off, and, contrary to what the woo-meisters will tell you, it’s not like you’re scarring little Chaim’s memory for life, either.

    ___________
    * This actually happened to some friends of mine, to whom I am close enough to have heard the story first-hand. There’s your HIV transmission incidence statistics difference right there.

  16. joachim says

    Great to see those GERMANS taking a swipe at a well known JEWISH practice!

    Those Germans just never quit. BRAVO!

  17. says

    interrobang @19: how many sexual relationships have you had with pre-pubescent boys?
    None, I presume, not counting doctor games.

    Now, what part of your argument touches this legal decision again?

  18. petzl20 says

    The “problem” is male circumcision isn’t manifestly harmful to the patient the way female circumcision is. That, and it’s a custom that goes back 6000 years.

    And my but there’s also some painful resonances with a German court telling Jews their religious customs are backwards.

    @interrobang
    And can we ease off the “liberalism” mudslinging? totalitarian fascism is the epitome of “big government overreach.” and it’s conservatives who love to interfere with a woman’s medical and reproductive decisions.

  19. says

    interrobang:

    I’m also not cool with calling it “barbarism,” either, given that from an OEM end-user perspective, the modified product is clearly superior (IMO, and that a circumcised guy will never ever tear his penile frenulum during sex*, oh yes, and it eliminates morning smegma, the leading cause of lesbianism among bisexual women), and there isn’t any outwardly apparent difference in function or sensation.

    And why can’t all of these apparently great sexual benefits be had at adulthood, instead of from birth? Does an eight day old infant need an exposed glans? Is he going to be receiving blowjobs?

    Somehow, my family has managed without it. No little boy, regardless of his opinions on baths, has had an infection. No grown man has lamented that women are running screaming from the bedroom. None of them have desired an adult circumcision or been angry they didn’t have one at birth. If the benefit is so great, that option is available to them, but what benefit is it to an infant who will urinate and defecate on the wound?

  20. Tony... therefore God says

    interrobang:
    I’m sorry, I also can’t see this as anything other than racism cloaked in the language of liberalism.

    You can “see” this however you want it. The court however, explained it more than sufficiently (I’m guessing you missed it):

    fundamental right of the child to bodily integrity outweighed the fundamental rights of the parents”.

    It’s clearly *not* racist. The court believes (as do I), that children should have bodily autonomy. Those who whine that piercing or tattooing should be treated the same miss the point that the latter two are decisions made by an individual. Circumcision is a decision made by someone else. Unless there’s a medical reason to snip off part of a boy’s penis, such a decision should be in the hands of that individual when they are old enough to make that choice.

    And it *is* barbaric. It is an unnecessary practice that brings harm to a child:

    Like all professions, medicine has its own ethical code and principles of conduct. One rule of conduct is “First, do no harm.” Removing a normal, healthy body part and causing unnecessary pain is doing harm. Some doctors who circumcise acknowledge the associated pain and then dismiss it by saying, “It only lasts for a minute,” implying that it is acceptable to subject an infant to unnecessary pain as long as it is temporary. (In one study, the time required for the procedure ranged from six to forty minutes.) http://www.circumcision.org/ethics.htm

    Follow the link for more information (btw, anecdotes aren’t going to convince anyone that it’s right to bring harm to a child as you seem to believe).
    Given that religious beliefs are insufficient cause to circumcise, barring a necessary medical reason, I see no justification in bringing harm to a child by removing his genital tissue.

  21. says

    Speaking of painful resonances – I get angry when Jews call all of Germans Nazis, as they are currently doing on several blogs and news pages I’ve read, based on one reasonable court decision that happens to restrict their religious traditions.
    Yes, my feelings do not compare to descendants of holocaust victims. That does not give them the right to generalize me and everyone I know – none of whom are remotely anti-semitic or nazi – as genocidal maniacs simply because we happen to live on the same stretch of this planet’s surface.
    The right to protection from bodily harm that this court decision cites is a direct outcome of our constitution’s first article: “Human dignity is untouchable”. This legally irrevocable article is a direct result of the nazi era.
    It’s the darkest irony to be confronted by racist comments from Jews as a result of protecting human dignity.

  22. Tony... therefore God says

    petzl20:
    The “problem” is male circumcision isn’t manifestly harmful to the patient the way female circumcision is. That, and it’s a custom that goes back 6000 years.

    So because *you* think it doesn’t harm young boys to the extent that it does young girls, it’s somehow ok? Sorry. It’s still bringing unnecessary harm to a child.
    As for the rest, are you familiar with the appeal to antiquity? Circumcision isn’t justified simply b/c people have done it for x number of years.
    Bring some scientific evidence to the table that circumcision is a necessary medical procedure for the health of an infant or child (and not something that might be beneficial one day when they’re old enough to have sex). If you can’t do that, you don’t have an argument.

  23. robro says

    Almost 21 years ago, my wife and I went through the circumcision decision. We were conflicted about it, but poorly informed and generally ignorant. What’s more, we didn’t know our baby was a boy until he was born and at the moment we weren’t in a very good decision making state of mind. So, we made the wrong decision, for the wrong reasons, although religion played no part.

    Banning the procedure would have stopped that, of course, and it wouldn’t have been an issue for us. Even if the law or rules of medical practice simply said that doctors and midwives should clearly and explicitly inform parents that there’s no medical need for the procedure and taking care of an uncircumcised boy isn’t difficult, even for a circumcised dad, then we would have probably made a different decision. As it was, our doctor and midwives were equivocal, which didn’t help.

    Such laws or bans will not stop religiously motivated people. It would be almost impossible to enforce them once a baby is home, except after the fact if the baby ended up in hospital because of a botched “back alley” circumcision. But, it probably would stop lots of non-religious people who, like us, are simply unsure about what to do.

    Now I’m going to go bang my head on the wall until I forget how stupid I can be.

  24. ezraresnick says

    As I’ve written here, the arguments offered by outraged members of Germany’s Jewish community in defense of their tradition are rather pathetic:

    The head of the Central Committee of Jews, Dieter Graumann, said the ruling was “an unprecedented and dramatic intervention in the right of religious communities to self-determination.”

    But “self-determination” needs to be determined by each individual for himself. A community doesn’t have the right to force an unnecessary medical procedure on anyone, least of all a child who hasn’t had the chance to determine whether he wants to be part of that community or not.

    The judgement was an “outrageous and insensitive act. Circumcision of newborn boys is a fixed part of the Jewish religion and has been practiced worldwide for centuries,” added Graumann.

    Just like slavery used to be.

  25. says

    I think perhaps in the U.S. it would be a better strategy to work within the medical community to allow them to feel more free to communicate their official stance. (All English-speaking pediatric associations either condemn routine circumcision or simply state that there is no medical indication for it. I don’t know about non-English speaking ones.)

    The insurance companies might also be persuaded to simply not cover the practice since they generally do not cover unnecessary medical procedures.

    I hate to use the tactic of the anti-choice crowd – but disallowing federal or state money to be used in elective circumcisions (remember that some are actually medically needed – however rare that is). I dislike this tactic, but even attempting it might at least bring the practice into media conversations in interesting ways.

  26. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    In principle it’s fairly easy. It harmful and there’s no consent. What makes it so difficult for me in practise is the surge in European racism (usually disguised as “Islam criticism” – before anybody jumps the gun here- not all critics of Islam are racists, but the smarter racists have learnt to say “Islam” and “muslim” instead of brown&black) and anti-semittism just makes it so fucking hard to argue.

    No. It’s not difficult in practice. No child gets their genitals mutilated. Full stop.

    No child gets used as a proxy for race/tribal signaling

    No child’s physical abuse is overlooked by the state in order to not appear racist.

    Work out the problems of selective enforcement, but do not dare tell me that one kid should have to be cut in order to preserve peace. It’s NOT fucking “hard to argue.”

  27. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    I’m sorry, I also can’t see this as anything other than racism cloaked in the language of liberalism.

    Oh, for fuck’s sake. You can’t see any other possibility aside from “cut the baby’s foreskin off” for Jewish identity? Because “they” [poor, benighted religious minorities] “don’t know” any better, the best thing to do is let them continue their tribal markers, damn the kid?

    Fuck you.

  28. duce7999 says

    I used to perform circumcisions, base salary isn’t great but you get a lot of tips.

  29. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    I’m also not cool with calling it “barbarism,” either, given that from an OEM end-user perspective, the modified product is clearly superior (IMO, and that a circumcised guy will never ever tear his penile frenulum during sex*, oh yes, and it eliminates morning smegma, the leading cause of lesbianism among bisexual women), and there isn’t any outwardly apparent difference in function or sensation.

    WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU? “Clearly superior?” no “outwardly apparent difference in function or sensation?”

    Have you gone fucking mad interrobang?

    Please, horde, tell me I’m not the only one who’s about ready to pop a cork over this?

  30. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    It’s not like you’re lopping the goddamn glans off, and, contrary to what the woo-meisters will tell you, it’s not like you’re scarring little Chaim’s memory for life, either.

    If you got within 15 feet of me when I had a boy child you’d be well warned to back off because I’d have a hard time not going berserker on your ass.

    I cannot believe I’m reading what I’m reading from you. MMMMMmmm.

  31. says

    (IMO, and that a circumcised guy will never ever tear his penile frenulum during sex*, oh yes, and it eliminates morning smegma, the leading cause of lesbianism among bisexual women),

    having intimate experience with undamanged peni, I can assure you that smegma has never been a major problem for anyone who performs basic hygene.

    Oh I’m also bi so fuck you.

  32. says

    PZ, the ruling isn’t actually so bad. I’ve just gone through some of the German press reports on this, and it seems that the decision does indeed outlaw male circumcision, i.e., the doctor or person who does it from now on commits bodily harm towards the child, even if the parents consented and asked him to do it, no more legal loopholes. The decision says that the wellbeing of the child trumps the parents’ wish and consent for a circumcision. It’s not binding for future cases, but likely to be influential.

  33. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    (IMO, and that a circumcised guy will never ever tear his penile frenulum during sex)

    I’ll be sure to remind all my uncircumcised lovers how lucky they were not to tear their dicks when we fucked. I will also suggest they lop off their nuts so as to avoid testicular cancer.

    You dumb fuck.

  34. says

    morning smegma, the leading cause of lesbianism among bisexual women

    I hope you’re joking, because I’ve had enough idiots babbling at me on the internet today.

  35. Mattir says

    I, too, made the wrong decision, partly for family peace and partly for religion. I told SonSpawn recently I would never do it again and greatly regret allowing him to be circumcised as an infant. He wasn’t upset so much by the idea of circumcision as by the idea that one would do such a bizarre thing to a baby for religious reasons.

  36. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    Ugh. The worst thing? I cannot believeI’m having to chastise a woman, on Pharyngula of all places, for making an actual honest-to-douche callous argument that slimepitters would call misandry.

    Fuck you for so many reasons interrobang.

  37. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    Religion truly does poison everything. We’ve got interrobang here so goddamned besotted by the idea of race=religion=tribe=culture that she can’t think her way out of a paper bag with a hole in each end to understanding that people and their bodily integrity matter more than her fucking gripes about imperialism.

    Sweet jeezis I can’t remember when I’ve been this angry.

  38. says

    Josh,
    No, you’re not. I’ve just been unable to type anything coherent through the rage that fills me when I read that shit.

  39. Amphiox says

    Work out the problems of selective enforcement, but do not dare tell me that one kid should have to be cut in order to preserve peace. It’s NOT fucking “hard to argue.”

    “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

    It’s not like you’re lopping the goddamn glans off, and, contrary to what the woo-meisters will tell you, it’s not like you’re scarring little Chaim’s memory for life, either.

    Hey, you know what? Why don’t I punch you in the face without your consent? I’ll be careful so the chance of breaking any bones or concussing you is minimal. What pain you feel will only last a few seconds. That black eye will go away in time. There won’t be any permanent scars.

    How about it?

  40. chimera says

    @Josh:
    I’m by and large a lurker, but I think this may be as good a time as any to say that I like you. You destroy all that is bad. Thank you for that!

  41. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    chimera:

    @Josh:
    I’m by and large a lurker, but I think this may be as good a time as any to say that I like you. You destroy all that is bad. Thank you for that

    Thank you for the kind words. I’m not the most admirable person right now seeing as how I’m literally biting my tongue to hold back an avalanche of vile gendered slurs and sundy extremely anti-social insults. I like a good fight but I don’t actually enjoy being this angry. It’s not fun hating this hard. But interrobang has it coming.

  42. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    5-minute time-out for nightly blood pressure pills (thank pharma).

  43. duce7999 says

    I am suddenly worried that the PZ hammer might fall on me. I am not a regular and I hope my comment isn’t viewed as out of line.

  44. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    Well, if I remember correctly, PZ, you’re on half the dose of assorted heart medications that I take. This, perversely, entitles you to go “nyah-nyah” to a guy almost 20 years your junior and to walk around being obnoxious about it:)

  45. Amphiox says

    Please, horde, tell me I’m not the only one who’s about ready to pop a cork over this?

    When I first saw it, I didn’t respond right away because I couldn’t believe it, as Interrobang’s posts in the past that I have seen had no hint of this level of idiocy.

  46. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    I am suddenly worried that the PZ hammer might fall on me. I am not a regular and I hope my comment isn’t viewed as out of line.

    I’m pretty sure you have little to worry about unless you open up a huge can of ignunce.

  47. Mattir says

    It’s a mark of just how fucked up religion can make people that I’m actually sympathetic to the anti-semitism issue, even though I think circumcision of infants is abhorrent.

  48. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    I don’t need your permission to be obnoxious about anything. So there.

    Whatevah. I’ma go pout about how mean you are poopyhead.

  49. says

    Not content with violating the bodily integrity of a child, some practitioners of bris in the Ultra-Orthodox and the Orthodox Jewish communities appear to have spread disease, with lethal consequences. In the (rather bizarre) practice known as oral suction, or in Hebrew, metzitzah b’peh, following the foreskin removal, the practitioner, or mohel sucks the blood from the wound to clean it.

    According to a recent report in the NY Times, this practice is suspected to be the cause of death of an infant who contracted Type I herpes from a cold sore in the mohel’s mouth. Similar cases were reported in 2003 and 2004; however, “In 2004, after the death of the twin, the Brooklyn district attorney tried to investigate but received little cooperation within the community…”.

    The best of all? “The Orthodox Jewish community will continue the practice that has been practiced for over 5,000 years,” Rabbi David Niederman of the United Jewish Organization in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, said at the time. “‘We do not change. And we will not change.”

  50. Mattir says

    You know, PZ, if only you were nicer, and didn’t attract so many horribly mean name-calling people to the comment section of your blog, discrimination against atheists, circumcision of infants, and the war on women would all end.

    So be obnoxious all you want, but you’re Causing All The Problems…

  51. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    It’s a mark of just how fucked up religion can make people that I’m actually sympathetic to the anti-semitism issue, even though I think circumcision of infants is abhorrent.

    Observed and understood. But no comment. Grim face, but no comment.

  52. Amphiox says

    I am suddenly worried that the PZ hammer might fall on me. I am not a regular and I hope my comment isn’t viewed as out of line.

    PZ will always warn you by name if you are at risk of the banhammer.

    I have also never seen PZ ban anyone after a single post, no matter how egregious. Even the troll who dropped a link to a site infested with malware got at least two posts in before the banhammer fell.

  53. Mattir says

    Josh, I was pointing out how the realization that I actually think this way has actually strengthened my conviction that religion/tribalism is a dangerously evil thing.

  54. says

    As many know there was a discussion about this on No Country for Women. Someone there said that he would definitely circumcise if he had a son. If you don’t mind me reusing a comment, this was my reaction:

    If you are willing to hold you child down while they scream in agony while you cut an extremely sensitive piece of skin off of them – for no good reason what-so-ever – there is something wrong with you.

    At the very least, I encourage you – if you insist on such a cruelty – to make sure that your child’s pain management is taken into account. It isn’t always.

    I’ve had a child that had to undergo several major surgeries. I’ve had to hold him down while IV teams poked him full of holes – as he screamed terribly. I’ve done this many times because it was necessary – because he would die otherwise.

    I’ve done this over a period of a year and still now, until recently I’ve had to do other things that caused him discomfort. It became more and more difficult to do these things as he became older because he was able to not just cry, but plead with me, “Mommy don’t! Ouchy ouchy! No!”

    Do you know why we circumcise babies? I mean – why would we do such a thing before their foreskin has retracted and the penis is still very small and their bodies have just been through the trauma of birth? Why would we do it at a time when it would be the most painful, when pain management is the most risky and there is a much higher possibility of complications/mistakes? Why would that make ANY sense at all?

    Simple.

    At that age – they can’t say, “No”.

    ***

    Now considering that the child here was 4 years old, I can imagine he was traumatized by this. I remember someone telling a joke during a debate with Hitchens about a baby being so traumatized that he didn’t speak for two years – or something like that.

    One of the Early Childhood coordinators who worked with my older son (not the one mentioned in the comment, I have two sons both with medical needs) also worked with a boy who was circumcised when he was two years old and was so traumatized that he did completely lose speech. So, you can imagine how I reacted when I heard that joke.

    Of course, I do not know if his case is typical of children who are circumcised as toddlers (I can imagine it has a lot to do with how it is done). It angers me though, that neither the medical establishment nor the law was there to protect that child. At least he was given services to help him recover.

  55. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    Josh, I was pointing out how the realization that I actually think this way has actually strengthened my conviction that religion/tribalism is a dangerously evil thing.

    I know, Mattir. I just can’t help being grim about it.

  56. tomh says

    @ #30

    I think perhaps in the U.S. it would be a better strategy to work within the medical community

    In this matter the medical community is irrelevant. A country that allows parents to substitute prayer for antibiotics, no matter how many children die, is not likely to worry much about circumcision. In the US religious ritual trumps medical opinion every time.

  57. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    So, are there non-Jewish non-Muslim German residents who practice circumcision?

  58. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    He’d previously been circumcised just prior to birth.

    Was that a partial-birth circumcision?

  59. Rumtopf says

    @interrobang

    the modified product is clearly superior (IMO, and that a circumcised guy will never ever tear his penile frenulum during sex*, oh yes, and it eliminates morning smegma, the leading cause of lesbianism among bisexual women), and there isn’t any outwardly apparent difference in function or sensation.

    O noes, not the smegmas!!! Shit, apparently circumcised men can forget about washing, but that wouldn’t be a good idea because they can generate smegma too. Those with skin tags/bridges/overhangs of varying severity, caused by uneven circumcisions or the exposed glans healing to the edge of the cut(it’s easier for this to happen with tiny infant penises that haven’t finished growing yet, take too much or too little or too lop-sided or fail to provide proper after-care as medically inexperienced parents are expected to, and that’s a potential problem) have more of an issue with hygiene. Women generate a lot more smegma than men but it’s not a good reason to go chopping off the labia minora or clitoral hood of infant girls.

    An injured frenulum is a risk, but it’s one that won’t happen to every uncircumcised male and can be dealt with when it arises, same can be applied to the idea of circumcision as infection prevention(which circumcised males are not free from, either, as Caerie pointed out). Circumcision doesn’t come without serious risks, including reduced function, loss of part or all of the penis and death. Is it worth risking the loss of an infant’s glans(yes, it has happened) for questionable benefits when that person may have lived complication-free if left uncircumcised?

    It’s still not fucking okay to put parental wishes above the bodily integrity of a child unless there is an immediate threat of harm from illness. Adults can opt to have the surgery for personal/religious reasons if they wish.
    There are support groups for men who are very much not happy with their circumcisions, including those who were circumcised as non consenting infants and men who opted for the procedure as adults(often influenced by what society perceives as aesthetically better/normal, according to their stories). It’s definitely worth checking out what they have to say about their experiences.

    So, to summarise; what the fuck? No!

  60. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    So, are there non-Jewish non-Muslim German residents who practice circumcision?

    Spell out plainly what you’re trying to say.

  61. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Josh, I don’t know yet. That’s one of the things I want to take into consideration.

  62. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    Well then get to considering it, lilapwl. Because if you’re gonna throw in with interrobang and make this a (all about you) wank-fest of racism while you ignore the actual effects on children’s genitals, I’d like to know up front.

  63. A. R says

    Good on Germany. I personally happen to be bizarro-cised (half of the foreskin is gone, the other half is still there).

    Ing: Yeah, I was wondering about that “number one cause of lesbianism among bisexuals” bit.

  64. says

    @67

    I agree to some extent – however, it’s not just religious folk that circumcise; and the majority of the U.S. is Christian and most Christian groups do not demand circumcision.

    So, essentially, the idea here is that the APA become more bold and stop worrying WAY too much about offending the religious folks and the pro-circ folks and insist that it is standard medical practice to not routinely circumcise infants – IN REALITY. Because right now, a whole lot of doctors push for it. My first gynecologist did.

    I appreciate your strong ideals – but when dealing with politics is it all about strategy. The less people circumcise the more likely it will one day be outlawed or extremely rare. SOME people within the Jewish and Islamic community are also against the practice and it is becoming rarer and rarer.

    Also, reducing the number of circumcisions is a good in and of itself.

  65. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    “number one cause of lesbianism among bisexuals” bit.

    That was so over the top I wasn’t even crediting it as a serious statement from interrobang. I mean, it’s just so comically . . “no.” Was I wrong? Could she possibly be serious?

  66. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Josh, I think it’s likely that if circumcision were outlawed tomorrow in the USA, it would decline in Jewish and Muslim communities in the USA — because, since so many US residents practice infant circumcision, the law would be widely viewed as blind justice affecting almost everyone.

    I am not similarly confident that a prosecutorial approach will be effective in Germany. State propaganda and positively incentivizing non-circumcision might be preferred.

  67. A. R says

    Josh and Ing: I suppose the only way to find out her intent is to ask. Though regardless of intent (it’s fuckin’ magic you know), what she said was absolutely inexcusable. Actually, it was something I would expect from a homophobe.

  68. says

    Because if you’re gonna throw in with interrobang and make this a (all about you) wank-fest of racism while you ignore the actual effects on children’s genitals, I’d like to know up front.

    Oh, is that what it is. I was wondering briefly why he was so blatantly begging the question.

  69. A. R says

    SG: Prosecution (perhaps in the form of a test case) may well be the only thing that will stop them from circumcising. Of course, accompanying this with what you suggest would be a better approach than either on its own.

  70. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    I am not similarly confident that a prosecutorial approach will be effective in Germany. State propaganda and positively incentivizing non-circumcision might be preferred.

    Perhaps. But do we know there’s a “prosecutorial approach” being mooted in Germany?

    Seems to me any propaganda/incentivizing (a bureaucratic word for punishing/rewarding/taxing) could never avoid the charge of “you’re racistly targeting my religious/ethnic group!111!!”. Not that I think such an outcome is necessarily enough to halt such a campaign, but it is inevitably going to come up.

  71. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    A.R.:

    Josh and Ing: I suppose the only way to find out her intent is to ask.

    Indeed. And interrobang has uncharacteristically done a hit-and-run post. Believe me, I’d like to be questioning her very closely.

    Charitably we could suppose it was someone using her ‘nym (not unheard of; there are lots of assholes around). But if it’s really her she’s got a fucking boatload of ‘splainin’ to do.

  72. A. R says

    Josh: Perhaps PZ could check the IP? Otherwise, yes, she needs to explain why she wrote what she did.

  73. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    Josh: Perhaps PZ could check the IP? Otherwise, yes, she needs to explain why she wrote what she did.

    Please. He doesn’t have the time and he has better things to do with what little time he does have.

  74. A. R says

    In that case, the only alternative is to question interrobang when and if she shows up again.

  75. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    Sally, damn it, why aren’t you still in Vermont? I had a dream last night that I drove Francine over to your house and we went out on the town to eat then stayed up laughing at stupid people. It was awsummz.

  76. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    rorschach, begging the question (petitio principii) either doesn’t mean what you think it means, or you’re just plain mistaken, because I wasn’t doing that.

    +++++

    SG: Prosecution (perhaps in the form of a test case) may well be the only thing that will stop them from circumcising.

    And it may well increase the rate of infant circumcision.

    +++++

    Perhaps. But do we know there’s a “prosecutorial approach” being mooted in Germany?

    That’s why this case is being discussed; a doctor was prosecuted.

    BBC says “The doctor involved in the case was acquitted and the ruling is not binding, but correspondents say it sets a precedent that would be taken into account by other German courts.”

    So it’s reasonable to assume Germany is headed further in that direction.

    Seems to me any propaganda/incentivizing (a bureaucratic word for punishing/rewarding/taxing) could never avoid the charge of “you’re racistly targeting my religious/ethnic group!111!!”. Not that I think such an outcome is necessarily enough to halt such a campaign, but it is inevitably going to come up.

    Of course there’ll always be the Bill Donahues. But the majority of average German Muslims and Jews are probably not professional culture warriors.

    The relevant thing is not whether somebody somewhere makes the charge; what’s relevant is how many people in the affected groups can be convinced to see it as onerous. Monetary benefits for doing not-X are likely to feel less onerous than punishments for doing X.

  77. says

    interrobang:

    I’m also not cool with calling it “barbarism,” either, given that from an OEM end-user perspective, the modified product is clearly superior (IMO, and that a circumcised guy will never ever tear his penile frenulum during sex*, oh yes, and it eliminates morning smegma, the leading cause of lesbianism among bisexual women), and there isn’t any outwardly apparent difference in function or sensation.

    What in the fuck…

    So, interrobang, have you been hiding this toxic shitwad of lies in your head for long now? This is a shock, I’ll tell you, because I used to consider you to be an intelligent, reasonable person.

    Wow, was I ever mistaken.

  78. says

    Sally, damn it, why aren’t you still in Vermont? I had a dream last night that I drove Francine over to your house and we went out on the town to eat then stayed up laughing at stupid people. It was awsummz.

    Why am I not still in Vermont? Mostly it’s because I turned down one job in favor of another one, and the other one fell through at the last minute.

    ;_;

    I miss you too!

  79. ejf85 says

    As a Christian I first found myself conflicted while reading the article and the comments. I assumed this was due to me being sympathetic to freedom of religion and the right to bodily integrity. I was wrong. I was feeling a mixture of anxiety, guilt, and morality. I was feeling anxiety because this decision defies centuries of tradition here in the US, both for the religious and non-religious, guilt because I allowed my own son to be circumcised, and morality because deep down I regretted that decision and not so deep down I knew this practice was antiquated.

    Christian doctrine does not demand circumcision, and even if it did we should not blindly follow 2000 year old “laws”, but tradition does make it seem like it is demanded. Being a circumcised man myself I did not want my son to question why he was different or why I was different. What a silly reason to put him through that procedure. I am in no way traumatized by my circumcision, but I will not put another son through that if we are blessed with another.

  80. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    Being a circumcised man myself I did not want my son to question why he was different or why I was different.

    Different from whom? You? His peers? Why would that matter? Why would it be terrible for your son to be different or to have questions about that?

    What would that have to do with what “scripture” “demands?”

    It seems like you already have the answers . . .as an ethical, compassionate person who understands and empathizes with what other people (including your son) feel. No God or holy book is required for that.

  81. adamgordon says

    we should not blindly follow 2000 year old “laws”

    we should not blindly follow 5000 year old “religions”

  82. says

    I’m sorry, I also can’t see this as anything other than racism cloaked in the language of liberalism. (After the right co-opts all the left’s rhetoric, we’re going to have nowhere to go.)

    I’d wager that this sentence is a prologue to a conservative defense of religious traditions.

    I know a ger (look it up, I’m feeling crotchety) who was merely required to shed the requisite two drops of blood. He’d previously been circumcised just prior to birth.

    Damn. I lose my wager. This is apparently a defense of procedures that don’t exist. I wasn’t even aware that prenatal circumcisions existed.

    The sex was awesome, thank you for asking.

    I didn’t ask. That would be a really stupid thing to ask.

    I’m also not cool with calling it “barbarism,” either, given that from an OEM end-user perspective, the modified product is clearly superior

    So if you mutilate someone without their consent, but the person who uses them afterwards finds them better in mutilated state, it’s not barbarism. I’d actually be totally okay with that if someone invented a “Never Be Like Michael Bay” chip that was implanted into the brains of future film makers.

    (IMO, and that a circumcised guy will never ever tear his penile frenulum during sex*, oh yes, and it eliminates morning smegma, the leading cause of lesbianism among bisexual women)

    I’m pretty sure that lesbians will exist regardless of smegma. In fact, I find it hard to believe that smegma-based lesbianism even exists. I’ve known many lesbian and bisexual women, and not a single one ever said that dick cheese was the source of her sexual identity. In fact, lesbians, as far as I can tell, didn’t base their lifestyles on men at all. They seem to be into chicks. Not everything is about dicks.

    And smegma can occur with girls, too. But no sane person would say that vaginal smegma means A.) We should cut their clits and/or labia off, or B.) Straight men should swear off pussy and just suck dick from now on since girls have pussy cheese. Yes, I realize that some cultures do these things. They are not sane.

    It’s not like you’re lopping the goddamn glans off, and, contrary to what the woo-meisters will tell you, it’s not like you’re scarring little Chaim’s memory for life, either.

    But maybe little Chaim would rather have his foreskin. Why not let him grow up and decide for himself?

  83. ejf85 says

    “Different from whom? You? His peers? Why would that matter? Why would it be terrible for your son to be different or to have questions about that?

    What would that have to do with what “scripture” “demands?”

    It seems like you already have the answers . . .as an ethical, compassionate person who understands and empathizes with what other people (including your son) feel. No God or holy book is required for that.”

    Different from myself. The hospital nurses suggested it would be easier if all males in the house had the same look. I disagree now, but hours after having our first child I was not thinking clearly enough.

    Jewish law does dictate that children be circumcised, which is not demanded by Christian tradition. However, religions can, and do, change. This should be no different.

    I disagree with you on your last point, as you might have suspected. I do not believe that atheists are evil or incapable of being compassionate and ethical people. I choose to believe that God is the source of those in my life and others lives. I know full well where I am posting and I am not trying to evangelize anyone. Just sharing my thoughts.

  84. ejf85 says

    “Like, maybe 1.4 centuries.”

    Ha. Good catch. That was very poorly worded on my part. Clearly history is only as old as the US.

  85. says

    Josh:

    Different from whom? You? His peers? Why would that matter? Why would it be terrible for your son to be different or to have questions about that?

    In the last circumcision thread, a fair amount of men used the ‘will look different from daddy’ argument in favour of circumcising their son(s). They seemed to think that, yes, that would be a terrible and almost traumatic situation, junior realizing that his peen looks different from daddy’s and then daddy would have to explain *gasp* and you can’t have that.

  86. No Light says

    Did you write that comment mid-brain haemorrhage interrobang?

    As someone in a country with no routine infant circumcision, I can’t help being astounded by people defending it. It’s bizarre.

    Here in the UK it’s solely a Jews/Muslims/medical last resort thing. Oddly enough. the nation’s citizens aren’t weeping about having awful sex, and aren’t chucking a collective wobbly over the horror of intact penises.

    The only people here who are missing out, because there’s no RIC, are lube manufacturers.

    Your comment was wrong on a fractal level, so fucking bizarre. Oh and the reason I’m a dyke has fuck all to do with the gross homophobia, and gender essentialism, in your comment. “Hurr Hurr intact cock makes women gay. The real (surgically mutilated) deal will fix that right up!”

    I hope you spend your life barefoot, in a world covered with Lego bricks, because you’re fucking disgusting.

  87. ejf85 says

    Caine, Fleur du mal:

    “They seemed to think that, yes, that would be a terrible and almost traumatic situation, junior realizing that his peen looks different from daddy’s and then daddy would have to explain *gasp* and you can’t have that.”

    When our son was born we were both exhausted, her more than I obviously, and when the nurses mentioned this, in a lazy self-serving way it made sense. If I had been in my right mind I would have saw right through this argument and recognized my own desire for simplicity. I regret having the procedure done. Sad to know that my own laziness contributed in the harm of my son.

  88. says

    That whole “my son will feel weird if his doesn’t look like mine” argument is one of the wierdest things I’ve ever heard, and I’ve heard Bill O’Reilly read his poetry on helium.

    How often do these people sit around as a family with their cocks out?

    I can count on one hand the number of times I remember seeing my dad’s cock. Well, I would be able to count on one hand, if my hand had no fingers.

    FFS.

  89. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    I disagree with you on your last point, as you might have suspected.

    Really? Because my last point was:

    No God or holy book is required for that.

    That’s puzzling. Because just before that sentence, you wrote:

    I do not believe that atheists are evil or incapable of being compassionate and ethical people.

    So which is it? Do you agree that atheists are capable—without a holy book—of being good people? Or do youdisagree that atheists (remember: they don’t have a holy book) can be good people?

  90. Amphiox says

    However, religions can, and do, change. This should be no different.

    Burnt animal sacrifices aren’t so much of a thing these days (though I won’t say they’re necessarily completely gone).

    IIRC some Sikh groups changed their tradition of having boys carry knives on their persons to adapt to regulations prohibiting bringing weapons into schools to carrying a paper/cardboard/plastic symbolic representation of a dagger instead.

    How about a symbolic circumcision ceremony for infants, one that doesn’t require cutting into skin? If there’s one thing religions are good at, it is dreaming up all sorts of arcane symbolic ceremonies.

  91. ejf85 says

    “So which is it? Do you agree that atheists are capable—without a holy book—of being good people? Or do youdisagree that atheists (remember: they don’t have a holy book) can be good people?”

    I personally believe that God is the source of good in the world. Everyone is capable of doing/being good, I attribute this to God. I do not think that you have to have read a holy book or even believe in God to have this.

  92. says

    exhausted…not in a right mind…
    stressed…
    hungry, thirsty, tired…

    These are exactly the conditions in which so many “great prophets” have had their revelations from one god or another. Funny how we regret making decisions in bad states, but when someone wrote them down it’s called holy scripture.

  93. Amphiox says

    given that from an OEM end-user perspective, the modified product is clearly superior

    Assuming Josh is correct about you being female, Interrobang, how, exactly, do you think yourself to be qualified to be telling men about how they should be judging their penises?

    And how is this statement any different in spirit from all those mansplainers telling women what they should be doing with their vaginas?

    Don’t you think that it should be our end-user in this scenario who should be the one, and only one, who should get the final say on what is or is not superior? And that he shouldn’t be robbed of the chance to even make that choice?

  94. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    @ Josh:

    I’m not sure I communicated my stance good enough last night.

    From an ethical perspective I’m with you 100 per 100.

    The problem is the matter of legislation. If you want to ban something, you’d better analyse which penalties are appropriate (proportion and practicalitiy and so forth) and what are the odds of them actually helping.
    The minority question and the racist question matters quite a lot. If the people concerned has access to a script where the measure is a furtherance of old discrimination, the measure will be less legitimate in the eyes of this subgroup.

    When a piece of legislation isn’t very legitimate in the eyes of the target population, you need draconian measures to enact the legislation.

    And the real fucked-up thing with hard legal measures against parents is that they hurt the children too.

    So the question is: What penalties do you consider sufficient to enact a ban?

  95. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    I personally believe that God is the source of good in the world.

    Stop telling me what you personally believe. I already know you personally believe it because it’s a belief you’ve put your name to.

    I’m not interested in that, and it doesn’t give you a pass any more than repeated “it’s my opinion”s give you a pass. I know what your opinion is. Not relevant.

    Tell me why, for what reason, and on what basis, you personally believe and have an opinion that there is a God and it’s the source of all good.

  96. Amphiox says

    These are exactly the conditions in which so many “great prophets” have had their revelations from one god or another. Funny how we regret making decisions in bad states, but when someone wrote them down it’s called holy scripture.

    It doesn’t get to be holy scripture right away, silly.

    First you have to win a war of extermination against your detractors. Then, only if you win, do you get to call it holy scripture.

  97. No Light says

    Oh and the “It’s anti-semitic to ban anything related to circumcision!” argument, is why NYC won’t clamp down on metzitzah b’peh.

    They’re so afraid of that label, so scared of being seen to be interfering with religious practice (no matter how vile and deadly it is) that they sit on their hands.

    They know that haredim are politically organised, and incredibly vocal. They know that people largely view haredim and hassidim as devout, folksy, quietly old-fashioned people, and that this image is perpetuated and exploited. It gains large amounts of support for the group, and would result in an outcry because “Religion! Constitution!”

    So, more babies will get brain damage or fucked-up nervous systems, or they’ll die, because nobody has the guts to criticise the ultia orthodox, hence.the rampant child sexual abuse and MBP.

    I got away, others aren’t so lucky.

  98. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    So the question is: What penalties do you consider sufficient to enact a ban?

    The fuck is wrong with you that the most important thing is to peg me on what I’d do to “prosecute” such parents instead of helping the social culture-change that comes along with a ban? Seriously?

  99. says

    On what ground is it reasonable to assume that God, any god, is necessary to be the source of “good”? Many animal species care for their family, their pack members, to the point of self-sacrifice. Good is the term we invented to distinguish such behavior from neutral or bad behavior. We call something good when the benefit outweighs the pain, harm and loss. It doesn’t need any source but behavior. Any life form behaving “bad” would be at such a disadvantage that it would disappear. We can reason and argue and define these things, which is an emergent ability from our neural structure. Again, it takes nothing more than evolution to explain. Saying “God is the source of good” makes no more actual sense than “green is a pleasant color, therefore God made green”.

  100. Amphiox says

    I personally believe that God is the source of good in the world.

    That’s nice for you. Go ahead and keep personally believing whatever you want.

    In private.

    But if you want to present that as an argument in a public forum like this, you’ll need to show some evidence.

  101. Amphiox says

    Saying “God is the source of good” is no more sensible than saying “Good is the source of good”.

    It’s just playing with semantics and definitions.

  102. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    Word, Amphiox.

    I’m so tired of people thinking they can get away with saying “The Sky is green and loves me and rains love on me” simply by virtue of characterizing that as what they personally believe, which is their opinion. Reality check: Oprah Winfrey might clasp you to her bosom but your warm feelings of acceptance don’t make your bullshit true.

  103. Aquaria says

    Wish the US would give children a few rights. We can’t even insist that parents provide standard medical care for children.

    Your argument to make parents provide medical care might be less assholish if you acknowledged that millions of Americans don’t have the luxury of affording medical care.

  104. Tony... therefore God says

    Caine:

    Josh:

    Different from whom? You? His peers? Why would that matter? Why would it be terrible for your son to be different or to have questions about that?

    In the last circumcision thread, a fair amount of men used the ‘will look different from daddy’ argument in favour of circumcising their son(s). They seemed to think that, yes, that would be a terrible and almost traumatic situation, junior realizing that his peen looks different from daddy’s and then daddy would have to explain *gasp* and you can’t have that.

    WTF?
    People use that as an “argument”?
    I’m really stunned right now.
    Are there sons that run around comparing their penises to their fathers?
    I seriously need help here.
    I simply cannot fathom how…

    I’m sorry. I can usually articulate better than this, but this is so fucking beyond me that…wow.

  105. ejf85 says

    “Tell me why, for what reason, and on what basis, you personally believe and have an opinion that there is a God and it’s the source of all good.”

    This is a long conversation that is best done over a good beer. The abridged version is that I find the universe far too complex to be the result of purely random phenomena. I do not believe in the reductionist philosophy that if you go back far enough there is nothing. There has to be something and I believe that something is God. I also believe that God is not a pre-historic creator or a cosmic watch maker. I believe God to be active in creation to this day.

    That combined with personal religious experiences are my basis for belief. I do not believe religious experience to be anything but personal so I do not feel like they are relevant to this conversation. I am open to the possibility that I am wrong. I do not think there is anyway to conclusively prove that God does or does not exist. We are part of two competing traditions according to MacIntyre’s tradition-dependent rationality. Traditions which have been around for thousands of years and which will continue to be around for thousands of years.

  106. Tony... therefore God says

    Timaahy:
    How often do these people sit around as a family with their cocks out?

    I second that question.
    Follow up question: Why?

  107. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    That combined with personal religious experiences are my basis for belief. I do not believe religious experience to be anything but personal so I do not feel like they are relevant to this conversation

    Then shut up about them. You’ve said nothing but blah-blah-I-feel-blah-blah-blah-my-heart-says-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah.

    If you think your personal beliefs are not relevant to public conversation (and you’re right; not only because they’re baseless but also because no one can converse with a person who says “I feel that a thing is true, therefore blah-blah-blah”) then why did you bring them up?

  108. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Tony, I noticed you linked to circumcision.org. I do not think it is fully in the realm of evidence-based medicine. Consider such gems as

    Does circumcision affect the prevalence of autism and ADHD which both occur about four times more often in boys than in girls? We do not know.

  109. osmosis says

    Much as I hate to say this, that time she got really enthusiastic and sat down too hard and tore my frenulum.. really.. hurt..

  110. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    The fuck is wrong with you that the most important thing is to peg me on what I’d do to “prosecute” such parents instead of helping the social culture-change that comes along with a ban? Seriously?

    You do realise that the OP is about legislative measures do you? As I admitted I could have been more clear in my comments yesterday, but is it entirely unreasonable of me to assume you were advocating a ban?

    But that aside: Now that’ve clarified our positions – we’re absolutely in agreement on this issue (though I might be leaning slightly harder to the side of a ban, but practical implementation in Europe atm is just so damn hard)

  111. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    I do not believe in the reductionist philosophy that if you go back far enough there is nothing. There has to be something and I believe that something is God.

    Welcome to the millions of people who can’t wrap their minds around the fact that their expulsion from the birth canal was anything other than a fulfillment of the Universe’s deepest longing.

    Really. Grow up.

  112. Amphiox says

    The abridged version is that I find the universe far too complex to be the result of purely random phenomena.

    But this does not imply god. In fact neither evolution, nor cosmology, nor any other scientific atheistic origin theory posits the universe resulting from purely random phenomenon. Evolution, for example, was famously summarized as the interplay of chance AND necessity.

    I do not believe in the reductionist philosophy that if you go back far enough there is nothing.

    This does not imply god.

    There has to be something

    This is a presupposition that needs to be demonstrated with evidence.

    and I believe that something is God.

    Why do you believe that something needs to be God?

    I believe God to be active in creation to this day.

    Then evidence of God’s activity should be, at least in theory, available to be found, in the present day.

    Show us some.

  113. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    I do not believe in the reductionist philosophy that if you go back far enough there is a conscious agent complex enough to create the universe.

  114. says

    Tony:

    People use that as an “argument”?

    Oh yes. There were even stupider ones, believe me. “I don’t want my son looked at funny in the locker room!” “Getting my son circumcised will help him get laid!” and so on. It was eye-opening, to say the least.

    I’d link you to the thread, however, it was on Pharyngula Sciblogs, so who knows where all the comments are?

  115. Amphiox says

    I do not believe in the reductionist philosophy that if you go back far enough there is nothing.

    And in fact, reductionist philosophy doesn’t even say any such thing. Reductionism posits that all complex systems are composed of simpler parts, and can be fully described in terms of those simpler parts. It says absolutely nothing at all about “nothing”. In fact, reductionism REQUIRES that there must always be something upon which other things are built. Reductionism simply posits that this foundational something is a simple thing, and not a big complicated thing like anything that one could call a “god”.

    You seem to be parroting a bunch of old, already discredited, creationist talking points, all deliberately inaccurate distortions of what science and philosophy actually say, which the professional liars of creationism have been deliberately spreading as falsehoods for quite some time now.

  116. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    Oh yes. There were even stupider ones, believe me. “I don’t want my son looked at funny in the locker room!” “Getting my son circumcised will help him get laid!” and so on. It was eye-opening, to say the least.

    Sigh. As if their sons were going to be looked at funny in the locker room for any reason other than the same things they were looked at funny for (to see if they were “faggy,” to peep on their peen for titillation, to compare pubic hair/puberty growth, to find some reason to torture the outlier).

    As if any man ever got laid or denied because his peen had was wearing a hoodie or went out in the rain sans helmet.

    Sweet Christ on a crutch men are fucking too stupid to live. Not for the first time I find myself beyond tired of being sexually attracted to them.

  117. ejf85 says

    “If you think your personal beliefs are not relevant to public conversation (and you’re right; not only because they’re baseless but also because no one can converse with a person who says “I feel that a thing is true, therefore blah-blah-blah”) then why did you bring them up?”

    Firstly this post was written because of a perceived lack of religious freedom. This would make religious belief somewhat relevant in this conversation. Whether you agree with them or not. In my original post I did not use the phrases you seem to be so upset about. It was only after prodding from you about my religious beliefs that I did. Secondly, I used the word “personally” to make sure that no one thought I was here to try out my apologetics or evangelize anyone. I am not here to change anyones mind or attack anyone for their beliefs. I respect your beliefs and hope that you would respect mine. My beliefs are based on more than what I have written, but like I said, it would take an awful long time to write them down and it is 230 in the am.

  118. says

    Josh:

    Sweet Christ on a crutch men are fucking too stupid to live. Not for the first time I find myself beyond tired of being sexually attracted to them.

    That was another thing about that thread – several of the people making those incredibly stupid arguments were women. Speaking of, one of the stupid arguments presented by a woman was “I prefer men who are cut, so I’m getting my son circumcised.”

    Yikes.

  119. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    Firstly this post was written because of a perceived lack of religious freedom.

    1. “Firstly.” Strike One.

    2. Perceived by whom? Lack of religious freedom meaning what, exactly?

    3. “Secondly,” <Strike Two. I used the word “personally” to make sure that no one thought I was here to try out my apologetics or evangelize anyone.

    No, you didn’t. You used the word “personally” because you thought it was an epistemological get-out-of-jail-free card and that no one would call you on your inconsistent bullshit because you’d couched it in the contemporary you-can’t-touch-me-without-being-rude language of “it’s my personal opinion.”

    Sorry.

    4. ” I respect your beliefs and hope that you would respect mine. ”

    You don’t actually ‘respect’ my beliefs. You think I’m wrong. And that’s fine. Now argue why you think I’m wrong.

    I don’t respect your beliefs either. I think you’re a fucking fool and a prissy, timid argumenter who hides behind linguistic palm fronds to boot.

    I acknowledge your right to believe whatever you want. But make no mistake—I don’t “respect” your dumb-ass beliefs.

  120. Amphiox says

    At present, cosmology tells us that this universe (and possibly many more) can arise spontaneously out of the workings of the laws of physics.

    The laws of physics are decidedly not random. In fact they are very ordered.

    So what produced the laws of physics? Current scientific theory does NOT say “randomly out of nothing”, it says “we don’t know and we’re working on it”.

    So you could God-of-the-Gaps a deity into being the originator of the laws of physics. But if you’re going to cheat like that a just plop a creator-god that has always been there, why don’t you just save yourself the effort and just plop the laws of physics themselves and say they’ve always been there? The laws of physics are much simpler than something as complicated as an intelligent god.

    And god is far too complex to have resulted from random phenomena.

  121. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    Firstly this post was written

    How did I miss that? You’re really gonna go full-on passive voice? Posts were written but not by you?

    Fuckin’ tool.

  122. Tony... therefore God says

    ejf85:

    I disagree with you on your last point, as you might have suspected.

    Ok, superstitious myth I can comprehend.

    Josh said:

    Different from whom? You? His peers? Why would that matter? Why would it be terrible for your son to be different or to have questions about that?

    What would that have to do with what “scripture” “demands?”

    It seems like you already have the answers . . .as an ethical, compassionate person who understands and empathizes with what other people (including your son) feel. No God or holy book is required for that.

    [emphasis mine]

    You disagree with Josh’s {spot on} point about not needing god or a holy book to be a compassionate, ethical person?
    Does that mean without the a holy book and belief in god you wouldn’t be compassionate and ethical?
    Please, for the love of all the cosmic teapots orbiting Xenon, keep reading the bible and believing.

    P.S. if you can’t figure it out, I find it scary that your reason for being compassionate and ethical is because an old book written in English a really old language (Greek? Aramaic?) says so.

    “Tell me why, for what reason, and on what basis, you personally believe and have an opinion that there is a God and it’s the source of all good.”

    This is a long conversation that is best done over a good beer. The abridged version is that I find the universe far too complex to be the result of purely random phenomena.

    Ever hear of the Argument From Complexity?
    The idea that aspects of nature are too complex to have happened by chance (or more aptly natural processes if we wish to avoid straw men) is a fallacy of argument from ignorance, or even willful ignorance, in the case where the theist also has to reject what we already know about the facts of Darwinian evolution. It is essentially tantamount to the statement “I can’t think how it could have happened, therefore God did it!” It’s also begging the question as to whether something can be too complex for evolution, at all. How would we know whether something is too complex without a sampling of confirmed examples contrasting natural low-complexity cases versus supernatural high-complexity cases? http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Argument_from_design
    Even *if* the universe were ‘too complex to be the result of purely random phenomena’, how do you then get to ‘…therefore God exists, created the universe and is the God that I believe in? ‘

    There couldn’t possibly be *any* other reason [to explain the complexity of the universe]?
    How do you know the universe is complex?
    What are you comparing it to?
    How do you know there’s a god? Aside from appeals to faith [belief without evidence, which is meaningless] there is *no* proof of any god (or gods), let alone whichever you believe in.

    P.S. pt2:
    If your god is the Abrahamic god, he ain’t good.
    Unless you count murdering children in Egypt good…or slaughtering virtually every living thing on Earth…or condoning rape…or condoning slavery…
    If those actions fit your definitions of something good, I hope I never encounter you.

  123. Aquaria says

    There has to be something

    And that something was a singularity, not some genocidal scumbag in the sky.

    Evidence, or shut the fuck up.

    I believe God to be active in creation to this day.

    You do realize that we know what’s going on with particles tinier than your brain, even, and we can see billions of light years into space. And there isn’t one fucking shred of evidence about your genocidal scumbag.

    Evidence, or shut the fuck up.

    Welcome to Pharyngula, where your trite, pat, moron presumptions are worth fuck all.

  124. tomh says

    @ #124
    Your argument to make parents provide medical care might be less assholish if you acknowledged that millions of Americans don’t have the luxury of affording medical care.

    You think people are substituting prayer for antibiotics because they can’t afford medical care? They are doing it because the law allows religious believers to withhold medical care from their children.

  125. Amphiox says

    I respect your beliefs and hope that you would respect mine.

    I do not want you to respect my beliefs and I will not respect yours.

    Beliefs are NOT things to be respected.

    Respect is for people, to the extent that they demonstrate themselves deserving of it.

  126. ejf85 says

    I somewhat expect people to be rude. I think it is more egregious that you think you know the intentions of someone you have never met. I bet you are basing this belief on other people who you do know? Or, is it just a blind generalization? Either way, do not presume to know me, or my intentions, based on one or two internet comments. I welcome dialogue and challenges to my beliefs.

    I do not think you are wrong. I do believe that God exists. You do not. Just because I believe that to be true does not mean that I think it is the only possibility. Again, do not presume to know my thoughts or beliefs.

    You do have a point about me being timid. I am a timid person. That was an astute observation. Whether you respect my beliefs or not, I still respect yours.

  127. consciousness razor says

    ejf85:

    The abridged version is that I find the universe far too complex to be the result of purely random phenomena.

    Hey, neither do I! How about that. There are things other than random phenomena or the result of random phenomena, none of which are a god or evidence for a god. I love strawmen from ignorant people! Whheeeee!!!

    I do not believe in the reductionist philosophy that if you go back far enough there is nothing.

    You don’t apparently know what “reductionist” means, and once again: there’s no reason we should care about your beliefs themselves. Where’s the evidence or the reasoning for those beliefs?

    There has to be something and I believe that something is God.

    Reasons or evidence? Or more beliefs?

    I also believe that God is not a pre-historic creator or a cosmic watch maker. I believe God to be active in creation to this day.

    Reasons or evidence? Does this repetition thing get old to you? Why don’t you just say “I believe I believe I believe I believe I believe” followed by “Goddidit Goddidit Goddidit Goddidit Goddidit”?

    That combined with personal religious experiences are my basis for belief.

    So some sort of nebulous, unexplained “personal religious experience” and your beliefs are the basis for your beliefs. Right. Okay. Back to step one it is, then. Josh asked for reasons, not even more beliefs.

    I am open to the possibility that I am wrong.

    Then you must be open to thinking about what it would it be like if you were wrong. So what would that be like? Would you not have all (or some) of your beliefs?

    I do not think there is anyway to conclusively prove that God does or does not exist.

    Which god? There is “conclusive proof” that Zeus doesn’t exist. So is this particular god’s existence unprovable because you’re avoiding the questions that may need to be asked about your unevidenced beliefs about your beliefs in it, or is that a reason you’re offering for why they can safely be avoided, or is it supposed to be something else that’s irrelevant to your reasons for believing in a god?

  128. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Seriously, ejf85, go to bed. I’m not saying this to be an asshole. You’ll be glad you did.

    I’ll offer no advice on whether you should come back here tomorrow.

  129. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    I somewhat expect people to be rude.

    Good.

    I think it is more egregious that you think you know the intentions of someone you have never met.

    I don’t think I know your intentions. I don’t care what your intentions are. I care about what you say and do.

    I welcome dialogue and challenges to my beliefs.

    Then get used to being called stupid when you say stupid things. It happens to all of us.

    You do have a point about me being timid. I am a timid person. That was an astute observation.

    You have two choices:

    1. Throw a tantrum and whine about your hurt feelings and how mean we all are until PZ decides to ban you.

    2. Grow a thicker skin and enjoy the honest exchange here in the shark tank. We’re vicious, but we’re also caring people. We just don’t put up with bullshit.

    Whether you respect my beliefs or not, I still respect yours.

    Get this through your head: No one here respects your beliefs. “Beliefs” are not “respected” here. You don’t get a free pass for any of your meandering bullshit just because you say you “believe” it. If you make a claim you’re expected to back it up.

    There’s a difference between “respecting beliefs” (which, in your mind, means not bluntly telling people they’re full of shit when they are, in fact, full of shit) and respecting people.

    We do the latter.

    And we don’t want you to “respect” our beliefs either. If you disagree, say so. Argue it out. Prissy diplomacy and soft-touchy Oprah spirituality won’t work here (unless you’re looking for active contempt).

    Again, welcome!

  130. Amphiox says

    Either way, do not presume to know me, or my intentions, based on one or two internet comments.

    I presume that you make posts with honest intentions, and that the content of those posts reflects these honest intentions, and that you do not deliberately pretend to be something other than what you really are when you make these posts.

    I therefore judge who you are and what you intend based on the content of your posts, as these posts are your words and your actions, just as I would judge your character and your intent by your words and actions if I met you face to face.

    Are you suggesting that these posts aren’t made with honest intent, and honestly reflect who you are and what you intend?

    Are you admitting then, to deliberately lying to us on this thread?

  131. ejf85 says

    “Then you must be open to thinking about what it would it be like if you were wrong. So what would that be like? Would you not have all (or some) of your beliefs?”

    If it is conclusively proven that God does not exist, then it is reasonable that I would not have my beliefs about the existence of God. I have thought about the possibility I am wrong extensively. Honestly, if God is ever proven to exist, or not exist, I think it would mean peace for the world. God has been used for centuries as a call to war, which I find truly appalling. Hopefully, if that ever happens we can live more peacefully with each other.

  132. Tony... therefore God says

    ejf85:
    I do not think you are wrong. I do believe that God exists.

    Something about this doesn’t make sense to my head. Perhaps I’m still reeling from ‘father/son penis envy’.

  133. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    Honestly, if God is ever proven to exist, or not exist, I think it would mean peace for the world.

    Oh honey. You sweet, sweet thing. Have this here delicious egg cream and call your Uncle SpokesGay when you reach the age of majority. I’ll buy you your first beer.

  134. ejf85 says

    Josh,

    I dig that last post of yours. You are correct that respecting opinions is the same as tolerating opinions I find to be full of shit. I mistook your posts as an attack on me and not challenges to my beliefs, which I sincerely welcome. Thank you for the welcome. I look forward to further exchanges. I will be sure to reflect more carefully on my posts.

  135. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    I dig that last post of yours. You are correct that respecting opinions is the same as tolerating opinions I find to be full of shit. I mistook your posts as an attack on me and not challenges to my beliefs, which I sincerely welcome. Thank you for the welcome. I look forward to further exchanges. I will be sure to reflect more carefully on my posts.

    That’s pretty fuckin’ awesome of you to say. You may just have a good time here after all!

  136. ejf85 says

    “Something about this doesn’t make sense to my head. Perhaps I’m still reeling from ‘father/son penis envy’.”

    Ha. It is possible to maintain ones belief while simultaneously being open for the possibility that you are wrong, is it not?

    Just because I believe clearly does not make it fact.

  137. Amphiox says

    I am open to the possibility that I am wrong.

    Tell us, at least in general terms, what kind of evidence that, if presented to you, would convince you that you are wrong and change your mind. If you cannot think of such evidence, then you are NOT open to the possibility of being wrong, because this is what “being open to the possibility of being wrong” MEANS.

    Whether you respect my beliefs or not, I still respect yours.

    You see, this, in these parts, is a rude, rude insult. By saying you “respect my beliefs”, you are implying that you DO NOT respect me, as a person, enough to challenge them. You are either coddling me with condescension, or you don’t consider me worth expending effort to engage in intellectual discussion with.

    “Respect for beliefs” = “Lack of respect for the person”.

  138. ejf85 says

    “Oh honey. You sweet, sweet thing. Have this here delicious egg cream and call your Uncle SpokesGay when you reach the age of majority. I’ll buy you your first beer.”

    Should have said a more peaceful world. I realize we will never be a peaceful species.

  139. Tony... therefore God says

    ejf85:
    If it is conclusively proven that God does not exist, then it is reasonable that I would not have my beliefs about the existence of God.

    How does one go about proving something does not exist?
    I’d like to get around to disproving the existence of Vishnu, unicorns, Yggdrasil, Set, and fairies.

  140. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    Should have said a more peaceful world. I realize we will never be a peaceful species.

    But we can at least have a beer, thank goodness. If we couldn’t, what point would there be? It’s a grim, grim world. :))

  141. samoanbiscuit says

    @Josh, Official SpokesBrah #138
    Actually, yes there ARE societies where being uncircumcised as a boy will bring derision and scorn, and in the wrong neighborhood/school will lead to bullying. This attitude carries over to adulthood where prospective partners of either gender will find an uncircumcised penis “weird” or “funny”. This IS unbelievably stupid, but there are stupid people out there making this possible.
    I live in a society where circumcision is considered a rite into adulthood, and uncircumcised males are very rare in the dominant ethnic group. I am not saying this to justify circumcision, but just to let you know that, YES, it gets even worse than you think. People born and raised overseas actually come back to the homeland to get circumcised when they’re teens.

  142. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    People born and raised overseas actually come back to the homeland to get circumcised when they’re teens.

    How dreadful and sad that they feel so compelled even after not growing up with that all-encompassing cultural milieu.

  143. Aquaria says

    When I was pregnant with the spawn back in the 80s, I asked my mom about some of the papers related to the circumcision v. un from the OB/GYNs she worked with. One of them called me, and read off some of the abstracts and summaries he had, and even told me his own personal view, which was that it technically wasn’t medically necessary anymore, but his wife had insisted with his sons. She used the same arguments we’ve seen here about not being “different” from other boys, or their father.

    I decided against it, and didn’t have to fight too hard about it. But then, imagine trying to tell me to do something I’ve decided I won’t do (or vice versa).

    Go ahead. Laugh. I do when someone is dumb enough to try it. (Hi, Mom!)

    PS, for those who don’t understand that boys will see Daddy naked, kids do see things like that, all the time. Usually, a bathroom or bedroom door is more ajar than suspected, but some families just aren’t freaky about nudity, whether or not they’re stereotypical nudists. Children bathe with a parent, or parents don’t freak out if they’ve run out of towels and have to get one from the dryer in another part of the house. And the number of families that use their personal swimming pools and Jacuzzis together–naked–would astound a lot of people.

    Acceptance of non-sexual nudity around children isn’t discussed much in America, if at all, because our culture is so freaky about the matter, but it does happen, and I would bet in greater numbers than we realize.

  144. consciousness razor says

    If it is conclusively proven that God does not exist, then it is reasonable that I would not have my beliefs about the existence of God. [blah blah blah]

    That wasn’t my question, because if you’ll notice, I was trying to respond to what you were saying. You said you were open to the possibility that you might be wrong. So my question is if you were wrong (if no gods, not even yours, exist) how you would know? What do you think that would be like?

    I was not asking the following: if there were conclusive proof that no gods exist, would you still believe? Get your head out of your ass and stop putting everything into terms of what you believe and how you think you can escape the harder questions. Where are your reasons? Can you support any of your beliefs with evidence or reasons, that could convince any rational person who doesn’t already believe as you do?

  145. ejf85 says

    “Tell us, at least in general terms, what kind of evidence that, if presented to you, would convince you that you are wrong and change your mind. If you cannot think of such evidence, then you are NOT open to the possibility of being wrong, because this is what “being open to the possibility of being wrong” MEANS.”

    It would have to be conclusive proof of the origins of the universe. If the universe started with a “big bang”, then what caused the big bang? Where did the matter come from? How did this all come into existence? That is what needs to be answered. To the best of my knowledge, this has not been conclusively answered. You put your faith in science and I put mine in God. You think I am full of shit, I say ok. It doesn’t matter until the origins of the matter at the beginning of time are known. Until then, I do not think that God can completely be disproven.

  146. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    I live in a society where circumcision is considered a rite into adulthood, and uncircumcised males are very rare in the dominant ethnic group

    Honest question borne of ignorance: How would anyone know? Do boys go around waving their cocks around displaying their circumcision status?

  147. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    Acceptance of non-sexual nudity around children isn’t discussed much in America, if at all, because our culture is so freaky about the matter, but it does happen, and I would bet in greater numbers than we realize.

    Yes. It’s gotten far more prudish than it used to be. When I was a very young boy in the late 70s it was perfectly normal among a certain set of parents to be unafraid of nudity. I remember my mother bathing and changing in front of us kids just as we did with no self-consciousness. Natural modesty kicked in as we got older and that was that. But there was no mystery about what boys or girls looked like under their clothes, nor any shame about it.

    I’d far prefer that kind of upbringing to the paranoid prudishness that has taken hold today.

  148. ejf85 says

    “So my question is if you were wrong (if no gods, not even yours, exist) how you would know? What do you think that would be like?”

    That is a brilliant question. I would know that God does not exist because it would have been scientifically proven through the discovery of the origins of the universe. I realize there are theories, but it has not been conclusively proven. Where the matter came from and how it came into being would have to be answered.

  149. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    Funny story: My little brother (probably six at the time) walked in on me in the bathroom when I was peeing. At 11 or 12 I was fully into puberty and very self conscious. When he stumbled in accidentally and saw me he ran out to my mother who was in the kitchen.

    “Mooooooommmm! Why does Josh have hair down there like a monkey?”

  150. ejf85 says

    “I’d far prefer that kind of upbringing to the paranoid prudishness that has taken hold today.”

    I suspect that this is a symptom of the ultra conservative Christian takeover of America.

  151. Aquaria says

    Actually, yes there ARE societies where being uncircumcised as a boy will bring derision and scorn, and in the wrong neighborhood/school will lead to bullying.

    Which societies? Which schools? And who says societies and schools can’t be changed?

    This attitude carries over to adulthood where prospective partners of either gender will find an uncircumcised penis “weird” or “funny”.

    So?

    There are people who won’t date redheads, guys who won’t date flat-chested women, women who won’t date men under 6 feet. Yet, somehow, redheads, flat-chested women and short men all seem to find people to be with.

    It will work itself out and stop being an issue, if we stop butchering children in high enough numbers to let it stop being an issue. Doing nothing isn’t an option. It’s just plain wrong to do this to children.

  152. Aquaria says

    If it is conclusively proven that God does not exist, then it is reasonable that I would not have my beliefs about the existence of God.

    Prove unicorns don’t exist.

    Prove I don’t have an invisible green dragon under my bed.

    We’ll wait.

    Hint: You might want to read some real philosophy. Or at least Carl Sagan’s Demon-Haunted World, so that you’ll realize just how dumb that assertion of yours is.

  153. ejf85 says

    “Prove unicorns don’t exist.

    Prove I don’t have an invisible green dragon under my bed.”

    I understand your point. Instead, tell me where everything in the universe came from. Where did the matter that exploded in the big bang come from?

  154. Amphiox says

    If the universe started with a “big bang”, then what caused the big bang? Where did the matter come from? How did this all come into existence? That is what needs to be answered. To the best of my knowledge, this has not been conclusively answered.

    This is all true.

    But why do you think “God” is actually an answer for these questions, rather than a three-letter-shorthand for “I don’t know”?

    You put your faith in science and I put mine in God. You think I am full of shit, I say ok.

    I don’t actually think you are “full of shit”, though others here might. I think you are making a category error regarding what “proof” and “disproof” actually mean, and how science deals with them.

    Science never “proves” anything. Science disproves things, and by process of elimination, asymptotically approaches truth. Science therefore renders and estimation of the probability of a fact claim being true. With each new discovery concerning origins, the likelihood of a creator god decreases, such that now it is infinitesimally small.

    I do not think that it is practical or worthwhile to waste effort believing in something that has an infinitesimally small likelihood of being correct, even if it is not actually possible to completely disprove it.

    It doesn’t matter until the origins of the matter at the beginning of time are known. Until then, I do not think that God can completely be disproven.

    Specific descriptions of God can and have been completely disproven. Zeus the thunderbolt thrower with a palace on the peak of Mt. Olympus has been disproven. Yahweh who flooded the entire earth has been disproven.

    The burden of proof is on the positive claim. If you want to positively claim that god exists, you must provide the evidence in favor. Otherwise, the default position is disbelief. One cannot justify belief with “it can’t be disproved.”

    Similarly if I claim that evolution is the process that produced the diversity of life on earth, it burden is on me to provide the evidence that this is so. However, if the evidence is not forthcoming, or is overturned, it does not default to “not evolution, therefore god”. It defaults to “not evolution, time to try to find another explanation”.

    God and evolution are separate explanations, each must be supported by its own evidence.

    Similarly the “universe is too complex” for X naturalistic explanation, even if true, does not default to “and therefore God”. God, once again, is a separate explanation and requires separate supporting evidence.

    Otherwise, all you’re doing is turning God into a three-letter substitute for “I don’t know”.

    And “I don’t know” does not strike me as something worthy of worship as a god.

  155. Amphiox says

    Instead, tell me where everything in the universe came from. Where did the matter that exploded in the big bang come from?

    We don’t know. Scientists are working on it.

    And since we don’t know, of all the possible explanations out there (the number of which we don’t even yet know), why should “god did it” be affording a privileged place in our hierarchy of things we should believe in?

  156. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    If the universe started with a “God”, then what caused the God? Where did the spirit come from? How did that all come into existence? That is what needs to be answered. To the best of my knowledge, the average Christian hardly ever thinks about it, let alone care whether it’s answered.

  157. ejf85 says

    Amphiox,

    You make valid points. Rather than waste your time with a comment I construct at 330 in the morning, I will take them and ponder over them. If I come to a satisfactory answer I will come back and respond.

  158. ejf85 says

    “why should “god did it” be affording a privileged place in our hierarchy of things we should believe in?”

    I am not saying it should have a privileged place. I am arguing that it still remains a possibility.

  159. Amphiox says

    I would know that God does not exist because it would have been scientifically proven through the discovery of the origins of the universe.

    You continue to make the same category error.

    Imagine that we have discovered the origins of the universe. How does that disprove the existence of God? It doesn’t. All it demonstrates is that God did not directly create the universe. God could still exist.

    The origin of the universe and the existence of God are separate questions. One does not and cannot imply the other. Each requires separate lines of evidence.

  160. consciousness razor says

    That is a brilliant question. I would know that God does not exist because it would have been scientifically proven through the discovery of the origins of the universe. I realize there are theories, but it has not been conclusively proven. Where the matter came from and how it came into being would have to be answered.

    No, you’re still answering something like the second question, which I wasn’t asking, because it would’ve been irrelevant to the claim you made about yourself.

    I’m not asking whether you’d be wrong about the lack of conclusive proof for or against the existence of a god. I’m asking whether you’d be wrong about the existence of a god, whether or not anyone has (or ever will have) whatever you think you mean by “conclusive proof.” Openness to the possibility of being wrong means you are open to thinking about what would be entailed by being wrong, not that you simply think it’s possible to be proved wrong. You’re not yet showing any signs of thinking about that.

    I’ll put it somewhat differently:
    If a god didn’t exist, do you think something about the universe would in some way be different than how you think it is with a god, other than your beliefs about it because we’ve found “proof” that there’s no such thing?

    For example, you said a god is “still active,” interacting with the world. Where’s your evidence? Some of those could be things you could cite as being impossible without a god. You just haven’t offered any. You might of course be wrong, but if you understood the point and weren’t intent on evading it, you could at least try.

  161. Amphiox says

    I am not saying it should have a privileged place. I am arguing that it still remains a possibility.

    Why waste time and effort believing in something that is only a possibility, a possibility for which the probability of being correct you cannot even quantify?

    Why not withhold judgement until you get more evidence upon which to make a choice?

    If it is necessary to make a choice on incomplete information, as sometimes in real life it is, why choose that particular choice and not one of the countless other possibilities?

  162. Aquaria says

    When I was a very young boy in the late 70s it was perfectly normal among a certain set of parents to be unafraid of nudity. I remember my mother bathing and changing in front of us kids just as we did with no self-consciousness.

    Same here, and I grew up in the 60s and 70s. In East Texas (which would be like the 50s everywhere else).

    What would freak out a lot of people is that my brothers and I bathed together until a kid got too big to fit in the tub with the others (probably when I was about 7). You didn’t bathe kids separately–you put them all in there at once, and scrubbed away. Or that was my grandmother’s approach. Most likely, she did this not to waste water running separate baths for each kid. Besides, we had only one bathroom. Imagine how long it would take to wait for all the kids to take a bath when you had eight kids–like my grandmother did!

    It’s probably a holdover, too, from when people had to warm huge cauldrons of water to take baths, and my grandparents were of the generation that did bathe that way. You weren’t going to fill up that cauldron (with pails to a stream) or heat it up, or fill up a bath from it any more times than you had to. Get in and bathe together, as many of you as can fit! The family that bathes together stays together!

  163. ejf85 says

    “To the best of my knowledge, the average Christian hardly ever thinks about it, let alone care whether it’s answered.”

    I guess I am not your average Christian. I know what the Bible says about God being creator of the universe. I know that most Christian’s think of God as being outside of time and space and because of this there does not need to be anymore exploration. I have still asked myself that question. If there is one thing I will never do, it is pretend I have all the answers. I do not know. I do not know conclusively that God exists. I choose to believe.

  164. Aquaria says

    I understand your point. Instead, tell me where everything in the universe came from. Where did the matter that exploded in the big bang come from?

    Steven Hawkings’ A Brief History of Time would do you a world of good.

  165. Aquaria says

    f there is one thing I will never do, it is pretend I have all the answers. I do not know. I do not know conclusively that God exists. I choose to believe.

    Actually, you do act like you know. Because you have stated that your scumbag in the sky created everything–without one shred of evidence of that being so.

    And there is NO EVIDENCE of it. Not a bit.

    There is evidence of the singularity. There is evidence of an expanding universe from the sudden expansion of that singularity.

    Just because you don’t understand it isn’t our problem, cupcake.

  166. Amphiox says

    I realize there are theories, but it has not been conclusively proven. Where the matter came from and how it came into being would have to be answered.

    In using this as an argument in favor of believing in God, you are setting up “God did it” as an alternative explanation to those scientific theories.

    And this actually puts you in an even bigger pickle.

    All those existing scientific theories are quite detailed. They provide extensive specifics about how and why matter and energy came about, include hard numbers and predictions about what we should observe in the real world (typically in particle accelerators) if the theory is correct. And nearly all of them have made such predictions and have had some of those predictions turn out to be correct, meaning that all of these theories have some evidence supporting them.

    You want to put up “God did it” as an alternate explanation to these theories, you have to provide the same level of detail. You have to tell us HOW specifically God created matter, and all the relevant NUMBERS concerning how much matter, in what forms, at what time, and you have to produce PREDICTIONS about what we should see in the real world if the God explanation is correct, predictions we can then TEST with experiments. Those experiments will then provide the evidence that supports your God explanation.

    If you cannot do these things as well as the other theories, then those other theories are preferred to your “God did it” theory, and therefore should be believed instead of your God theory.

  167. ejf85 says

    “If it is necessary to make a choice on incomplete information, as sometimes in real life it is, why choose that particular choice and not one of the countless other possibilities?”

    I assume that it is ok to discuss my personal beliefs in regard to this question. To be honest I choose to believe in God because that belief gives me a sense of purpose, guidance, and identity. It was a personal choice. Science is something that I have always found fascinating, but also something that did not give me the peace that belief in God has.

    I would not be hopelessly adrift, not knowing what to do or where to go if science removes any possibility of the existence of God. I would be left very disappointed with our simple meaningless lives though.

  168. Amphiox says

    I do not know conclusively that God exists. I choose to believe.

    WHY do you so believe?

    You still have not explained that.

  169. Amphiox says

    To be honest I choose to believe in God because that belief gives me a sense of purpose, guidance, and identity.

    WHY does believing in God give you a sense of purpose, guidance, and identity?

    HOW does believing in God give you a sense of purpose, guidance, and identity?

    WHY does not believing in God not give you a sense of purpose, guidance, or identity?

    I would not be hopelessly adrift, not knowing what to do or where to go if science removes any possibility of the existence of God.

    WHY would you think yourself adrift without belief in God?

    I would be left very disappointed with our simple meaningless lives though.

    Why do you think a belief in God gives meaning? Why do you think a universe without a god would not provide meaning to our lives? Why do you think you have to have a God to have a meaning to your life?

    And here you are doing yet another semantic trick. You are simply turning “God” into a three letter word for “meaning”. This is not a reason to believe in God, this is just a reason to believe in meaning.

  170. Amphiox says

    Also, eif85;

    WHAT purpose, guidance, identity, and meaning, does believing in God give you, specifically?

    If science did show that God does not exist, how would that sense of purpose, guidance, identity, and meaning change, specifically?

    And why would it have to change?

  171. benjaminsa says

    The argument that this is going to create “back ally” circumcisions is probably partially true, but not the extent it does in the case of abortion. The reason women risk a dangerous abortion is that you cannot afford a child long term, or the pregnancy is either medically or socially dangerous. Most parents are not going to subject their child to something so obviously risky. The ones who do, you arrest, prosecute, and remove the child from them. That is not like abortion, where you would have to prosecute the women, who is already being victimised.

    More likely is that alternatives are going to arise, do it outside of Germany, or use the medical necessary term as a legal loophole etc etc. The other harm you create is, when children grow up and then decide to be circumcised, ouch, but it is at least a choice at that point.

  172. quisquose says

    Imagine that we live in the most advanced nation on the planet, but the majority religion happens to advocate FGC (Female Genital Cutting).

    Imagine that that the majority of girls have labiaplasty surgery at the request of their parents, in a medical setting with sharp knives and anaesthetics.

    Imagine that this practice was a tradition done for thousands of years, and was seen as normal.

    I suspect that the practice would be defended in much the same way as MGC is now. The labiaplasty involves the removal of “just a bit of skin”, it “looks nicer”, there is no loss of sexual function, it’s cleaner and has health benefits.

    Now imagine that immigrants into this country follow another religion, and practice MGC. The practice is done in a more primitive manner, in a religious setting, with no anaesthetics. The boys are often dragged kicking and screaming, held down, and then have their genitals cut in a variety of ways, from removal of the foreskin in the majority of cases, to cutting of the whole length of the penis from foreskin down through the shaft, opening up the urethra in a minority of cases.

    I have no doubt that in this imagined scenario people would be horrified by the practice of MGC. It would be attacked by the media, and it is likely that all MGC would be branded as MGM and banned, whist the tradition FGC would continue.

    There is no difference between MGC and FGC, no matter how much the defenders of MGC want to claim there is. It’s just how it’s done and who is doing it.

  173. says

    If I get to “choose” the cause, reason for the existence of and purpose of the entire universe(s) and everything in them based on what makes me feel good inside, then apparently there IS a god – ME.

    People invent gods to invest themselves with godlike powers – immortality, etc., not to mention that control of the universe by power of “choosing.”

    Organized narcissism.

  174. Beatrice says

    There is no difference between MGC and FGC, no matter how much the defenders of MGC want to claim there is.

    There is, actually. Your imaginary scenario shows how little difference there would be if things you described weren’t freaking imaginary.

    Why are you even starting this right now, here? People here are mostly against circumcision already. The one who wasn’t got it explained to her quite thoroughly why she’s wrong. We don’t need false equivalence to convince us.

  175. FlickingYourSwitch says

    When they say things like “circumcision is an integral part of my religion”, the only thing I hear is “barbarism is an integral part of my religion.”

  176. hugorune says

    I don’t know if someone has already explained this here, too many posts to read through all of this but here’s a heads up on how continental European legal systems work.

    Court decisions are binding only for the parties involved in the secific case that was decided. They do not bind any other courts, not even lower ones or the court who issued the ruling in the first place for future cases. Ther are no such things as precedents, no stare decisis, courts can, in principle, not create general rules. That’s just not what they are there for in civil law systems where seperation of powers is interpreted as meaning that legislation is strictly and only in the hands of the legislators. Court decisions can de facto become something like general rulas as “ständige Rechtsprechung” which is a uniform and continuous practice to decide in a certain way in certain cases. This creates certain expectations and thus an added burden of reasoning for the judge who wants to deviate from the rule but it’s still not technically legally binding, not law in any way, shape or form. In any case, it takes time and much discussion for any rule to permiate the legal system in such a way that it comes to be considered “ständige Rechtsprechung”.

    So,this decision is nothing more at this point than the reasoning of a single court, in a single case on which a single decision is based. It has no effect for anyone but the parties involved as long as the German parliament doesn’t step in or at least there have been a lot of similar cases decided in this way, with the German Constitutional Court (and probably the European Court of Human Rights) adding it’s view.

  177. Tyrant al-Kalām says

    @Josh, Official SpokesBrah

    Wait, is it the norm nowadays that children never see their parents and siblings nakid? That’s insane! No wonder many people have a hard time developing a healthy relationship to their bodies.

  178. feedmybrain says

    @ejf85
    ‘To be honest I choose to believe in God because that belief gives me a sense of purpose, guidance, and identity.’

    Is choosing to believe because it makes you feel good even proper faith?
    Why does a God give you a sense of purpose/guidance or identity?
    The purpose I see is to worship until you die then worship some more. I prefer the purpose I give myself. Where does the guidance come from? You acknowledged earlier that there was no need for a holy book for morality so unless your God is communicating with you how does it instruct your life?

  179. danfidler says

    Hell with all of this religious bull crap. Forgive my blunt speech but holy crap did both sides miss the forest for the trees here. Today’s modern medicine can answer or at a minimum guide us in the proper direction for many procedures. Circumcision is definitely one of those. Religion should be completely disregarded as a viable excuse for this medical option. Knock off the religious and anti-religious red herrings and stick with medical facts. Now countries are telling us what we can and can’t do for the sake of our children, but have no problem allowing us to have abortions, plastic surgery, and gender changes. F their two-faced ill-informed bullcrap and stick to the medical truths. webmd.com has a short any easy pro/con list:

    What are the benefits of circumcision?

    There is some evidence that circumcision has health benefits, including:

    A decreased risk of urinary tract infections.
    A reduced risk of sexually transmitted diseases in men.
    Protection against penile cancer and a reduced risk of cervical cancer in female sex partners.
    Prevention of balanitis (inflammation of the glans) and balanoposthitis (inflammation of the glans and foreskin).
    Prevention of phimosis (the inability to retract the foreskin) and paraphimosis (the inability to return the foreskin to its original location).
    Circumcision also makes it easier to keep the end of the penis clean.

    Note: Some studies show that good hygiene can help prevent certain problems with the penis, including infections and swelling, even if the penis is not circumcised. In addition, using a condom during sex will help prevent STDs and other infections.

    What are the risks of circumcision?

    Like any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with circumcision. However, this risk is low. Problems associated with circumcision include:

    Pain
    Risk of bleeding and infection at the site of the circumcision
    Irritation of the glans
    Increased risk of meatitis (inflammation of the opening of the penis)
    Risk of injury to the penis
     

  180. says

    Considering the different shapes, sizes and angles of different penises. I wouldn’t expect a child’s penis to look like their father’s anyway. Especially when said child hasn’t gone through puberty yet. That’s a much bigger change on your body.

    But then when you have no good reasons, any bizarre logic will do… And that is a sure sign that you have lost the argument.

    As for making it more likely that you’ll hurt the penis during sex, well if I mistreat my computer keyboard it will break. It doesn’t mean we should remove all the keys so there is less to damage… and yes i sometimes need to clean my keyboard and shake the crumbs out of it. That’s not a reason to remove the keys either…

  181. says

    Danfidler – You seem to be on the side of circumcision. The problem with your list is that:

    A) It doesn’t help make a decision at all. The risks aren’t balanced or known so it is useless. How am i supposed to comapare a risk of infection in a child with a risk of getting cancer as as an old man?!?

    B) The risk should still be decided by the riskee. Not their parents or the local priest. Because first “do no harm”.

    From your list most of the risks of NOT circumcising come later in life. Whereas the risks OF circumcising are when you are at your weakest and most vunerable.

    The takeaway then is that logically circumcision should happen when older and able to decide for yourself.

  182. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    There is no difference between MGC and FGC, no matter how much the defenders of MGC want to claim there is.

    This is not even wrong. Both male and female versions varies a lot. The “ohmyfuxkingFSMican’treallybelievetheydothat” male variants are pretty rare though and none are as bad as type III and most types II of FGM (WHO definitions)

  183. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Jesus fucking Christ. Even in a thread specifically cheering a decision against forced male circumcision there are still little whinny fucks who have to measure it up to FGM creating imaginary scenarios where they are equal.

    Grow. Up.

  184. Beatrice says

    Now countries are telling us what we can and can’t do for the sake of our children, but have no problem allowing us to have abortions, plastic surgery, and gender changes.

    o.O
    Wut?

    Let’s see… cutting part of your child’s penis (hint: someone else’s body) on one side and a woman having an abortion (hint: her own body), someone having plastic surgery (Hint: their own body) and gender change (hint: their own body) on the other side. Yes, I see how these two sides are totally the same.

  185. bernarda says

    Gnumann N° 6. You are clueless. There is no increase in racism against Muslims and Jews. For the first group, some of them look for any reason to be offended and want their barbaric practices like the Sharia recognized by the state. For the second, anti-semitism does not exist, at least in any organized form. Of course there a always a few individuals who do not like one group or another. But the Jews are more protected by the state in Europe than any other group.

    If there is a fight or some contention between a goy and a Jew for whatever reason, the Jewish organizations immediately cry “anti-semitism”. If a Jew is a victim of a crime, the police spend more time investigating it than if the victim was Muslim or Black. When an author writes a pro-palestinian book, he and his readers risk being attacked by Jewish thugs, as has happened to Alain Sorel among others.

    When anyone cries “anti-semitism”, I know that they are simply Zionists who care more about Israel than anything else, including their home country.

  186. Beatrice says

    gender change

    I should have written “gender reassignment surgery” here instead instead of jut copying what that idiot wrote.

  187. says

    Ricardo, you make excellent points, you actually do. But Infants don’t make choices for themselves, we as parents do. A grown man may be more informed but is less likely to chop into his wang if given the option. I sure know I wouldn’t no matter what the negative outcomes could be.

    Beatrice,

    A woman having an abortion effects two living creatures, the woman and the fetus. You cant say the chopping off of some arbitrary skin is in any way more important than the chopping up of a fetus, no matter who’s body it is happening to. Where’s the fetus’ choice?

    I am an atheist and a parent, and a free citizen. This should come down to parental rights, not infants. I weigh the pros and cons. I chose if they eat granola or eggo waffles. I chose if they get orange juice or orange drink. I decide if they get homeopathic remedies or prescription drugs. I decide if they will have to take care of some useless piece of flesh for their entire adolescent life or if we remove it. The trauma to an infant boy having a circumcision cannot be any where near as bad as homeless children in impoverished countries. You want to do some good? Throw your time and effort into saving them from pain and suffering.

    I have four boys, and not a one of them remember being ircumcised. No freaking idea. And they don’t think twice when taking a bath that they have to draw back their foreskin and worry that they didn’t clean their penises good enough. They are better for it.

  188. khms says

    @131 Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation

    You do realise that the OP is about legislative measures do you?

    This turns out not to be true.

    There is no “ban against circumcision” in Germany, just as there is no “ban against hitting people called John” in the US.

    There are laws against bodily harm. Nothing has changed about those.

    What has changed, is that for the first time in the Federal Republic of Germany, we’ve had a court case, because there were medical complications.

    It is not that this was perfectly legal before; medical doctors had already talked about it being a “gray area”. If this decision stands (and it might not), then in the future, doctors can no longer say “I did not know this was not legal” (so-called Verbotsirrtum), as the doctor in this particular court case got away with saying.

    Essentially, the court said snipping off foreskin is legally the same as snipping off your middle finger – if there are no accepted medical reasons, or it’s an adult, then it’s not legal. That the parents might wish it is not sufficient excuse.

    At this point, we can’t know what higher courts might say about this. It was just the Landgericht in Cologne, after all – Germany has 116 of these regional courts. And I suspect the argument in this case is kind of iffy, given, for example, braces. Or maybe it just means we should use fewer of those, too – I’m not a lawyer.

    But in any case, the law has not changed – it just has been applied in this specific area for the first time. No German legislator was involved, just one judge. Somehow I suspect legislators wouldn’t want to touch this one with a 10 meter pole, given how interested we’re over here of having good relations with Jews and Muslim (for separate and mostly reasonable reasons). And how easily the members of these groups do the Christian thing and pull the victim card.

  189. says

    interrobang:

    It is possible to become Jewish without being circumcised in a bris, but most people don’t know that, including most Jews.

    Anyone that can fucking think for two fucking seconds knows this. Despite the fact that Judaism isn’t an evangelical religion, one can still choose to “convert” (at least when we’re talking about Reform and Reconstructionist sects; I don’t know about more orthodox believers).

    He’d previously been circumcised just prior to birth. The sex was awesome, thank you for asking.

    lolwut? I certainly hope you meant just after birth.

    And if we’re comparing dick stories, I’ve been with both cut and uncut dudes, so the fuck what?

    I’m also not cool with calling it “barbarism,” either, given that from an OEM end-user perspective, the modified product is clearly superior

    So… plastic surgery for ugly infants is all good ‘cos from the “end-user perspective” it would be clearly superior to have a beautiful baby?

    Seriously, define “superior”. And if it’s so superior to mutilate babies, why is the US the only country in the world that routinely performs circumcisions? I’ve yet to read any news stories about a vast swath of European men suffering from cock rot.

    (IMO, and that a circumcised guy will never ever tear his penile frenulum during sex*, oh yes, and it eliminates morning smegma, the leading cause of lesbianism among bisexual women)

    *eyeroll*

    Dudes can also sprain their penises during sex, so what?

    Morning smegma can also be eliminated with the simple act of cleaning off your dick. Shockhorror! And, as has been pointed out, women and girls also deal with smegma, but it can be eliminated with the simple act of cleaning off your vulva/clit. Shockhorror!

    Seriously, lesbianism is caused by foreskins? That it the stupidest thing I’ve read in weeks (and yes, I’m comparing your stupidity to all of the assholery that went on in the Thunderf00t threads). Here’s a newsflash: lesbians are lesbians because they are sexually attracted to women. I mean, Jesus Christ, that’s even more moronic than arguing the lesbianism is created through trauma.

    And if that was supposed to be funny, you missed it by a fucking mile. Don’t quit your day job, sweetpea.

    It’s not like you’re lopping the goddamn glans off, and, contrary to what the woo-meisters will tell you, it’s not like you’re scarring little Chaim’s memory for life, either.

    Unless little Chaim has a botched circumcision, but you know, who cares about risks/medical complications of a completely unnecessary medical procedure. It looks nice! It’s tradition! [Insert whatever other shitty argument you pulled from your ass here]

    So, I take it that you’re cool with tattooing and piercing infants as well?

  190. says

    Dan:

    Where’s the fetus’ choice?

    Hey, from a pregnant woman: fuck you. My fetus isn’t a rational being– I am. Even this late in the game, my fetus is still a parasite and the only reason why I am “donating” my body to incubate it is because I want to.

    But it’s nice to know that my life counts for squat when it comes to assholes like you.

  191. says

    Audley. I wasn’t voicing my opinion about abortion. I was comparing the removal of foreskin to the removal of a fetus. They dont compare for so many different reasons. I believe I didn’t even come close to discussing abortion rights. And your uncivil attitude and petty name calling is embarrassing to say the least.

    Instead of putting words in my mouth, why don’t you remove a few choice ones from yours.

  192. says

    Now countries are telling us what we can and can’t do for the sake of our children, but have no problem allowing us to have abortions, plastic surgery, and gender changes.

    What exactly did you mean by this? That parents should have the same choices over their children’s bodies (read: not theirs) as their own bodies? Children have no right to bodily integrity because you want to control it?

    And, lol, WebMD is hardly a reliable medical source.

  193. says

    Audley:

    Anyone that can fucking think for two fucking seconds knows this. Despite the fact that Judaism isn’t an evangelical religion, one can still choose to “convert” (at least when we’re talking about Reform and Reconstructionist sects; I don’t know about more orthodox believers).

    Yeah, this isn’t hard. I’ve known several Jewish trans men who were accepted just fine sans circumcision. One was a convert and there was a little ceremony to stand-in for it. If a family was concerned about circumcision they could talk to their rabbi. Assuming ze’s not a lying prick who wants to see “back-alley circumcisions” (*snerk*), ze’d explain.

    I’m really rather disappointed that interrobang hasn’t been back to explain herself. I’d been hoping to find out more about how male circumcision could cure my erotic interest in vulvas. Man, Europe must be crawling with lesbians. I gotta get in on this.

  194. Beatrice says

    A woman having an abortion effects two living creatures, the woman and the fetus. You cant say the chopping off of some arbitrary skin is in any way more important than the chopping up of a fetus, no matter who’s body it is happening to. Where’s the fetus’ choice?

    You invented pods where fetuses can develop independently from a woman’s body? Great! Oh, you haven’t. Well then, I’m afraid I’m going with “no unauthorized personnel beyond this point”.

    I am an atheist and a parent, and a free citizen. This should come down to parental rights, not infants. I weigh the pros and cons. I chose if they eat granola or eggo waffles. I chose if they get orange juice or orange drink. I decide if they get homeopathic remedies or prescription drugs. I decide if they will have to take care of some useless piece of flesh for their entire adolescent life or if we remove it.

    Except that if you are making an informed decision, based on scientific fact, your decision should most certainly not include homeopathy.
    Or chopping off bits of their flesh.
    Why not chop of a finger or two while you’re at it. Who needs all those dangly bits, especially on their feet.

    ALso, noted how children are your property and you can do with them whatever you want. Do you beat your children? Should people who beat their children be stopped or are they just exercising their ownership?

    The trauma to an infant boy having a circumcision cannot be any where near as bad as homeless children in impoverished countries. You want to do some good? Throw your time and effort into saving them from pain and suffering.

    Giving him a slap isn’t as bad either. Does that excuse giving your kid a slap?

    Going without food for a day or two isn’t as bad as going hungry for days on end only to get some scraps after days of famine. Does that excuse not feeding your kid when you have means to?

    I have four boys, and not a one of them remember being ircumcised. No freaking idea. And they don’t think twice when taking a bath that they have to draw back their foreskin and worry that they didn’t clean their penises good enough. They are better for it.

    Because teaching them to clean under the foreskin would be such a terrible burden on your life as well as theirs’.

    I feel sorry for your children.

  195. says

    But Infants don’t make choices for themselves, we as parents do. A grown man may be more informed but is less likely to chop into his wang if given the option. I sure know I wouldn’t no matter what the negative outcomes could be.

    Yes, it’s very telling that grown men won’t mutiliate their own penis when given this as a choice. Even you yourself admit as much. Funny that.

    I have four boys, and not a one of them remember being circumcised.

    I’m sure that someone can do quite a lot of cruel things to a baby that it won’t remember. However you have still scarred them physically without their permission for less than impressive reasons. Not exactly comparable to choosing between orange juices. It’s also not inconsequential when you are talking about mutilating the thing that basically makes a “man” a man in the eyes of society.

    And they don’t think twice when taking a bath that they have to draw back their foreskin and worry that they didn’t clean their penises good enough.

    Or behind their ears, between their toes and under their arms…

  196. opposablethumbs says

    Where’s the fetus’ choice?

    Dan, by saying that you have just unequivocally demonstrated that you are a 24-carat, industry-standard moron. The foetus isn’t a sentient being. The pregnant woman is. Her choice is the only one that matters or has any meaning whatsoever.
    .
    Circumcision in infancy is not medically necessary. Therefore there is absolutely no fucking reason not to leave it up to the man himself when he is old enough to make an informed decision.

  197. says

    Caerie:

    I’d been hoping to find out more about how male circumcision could cure my erotic interest in vulvas.

    One would think that there’d be almost zero lesbians in the US, since very few men are uncircumcised.

    I’ll have to tell my lesbian friends that they’ve got it all wrong, it’s the smegma that made them run into the arms of another woman, not their sexual attraction to women.

    Man, Europe must be crawling with lesbians. I gotta get in on this.

    :D :D :D

  198. says

    Audley, no. Even the idea that I was trolling is obviously wrong as It is easy to see that I was participating in the conversation and responding to people that disagreed with me. I believe this type of discourse is healthy and progressive.

    It’s true I might not have been clear in some of my statements and it’s good that people contradict me. This is normal. Your contradictions were rude and personal however. And with the trolling comment I decided to visit your blog to see if I could get some incite into why you are responding in such a harsh and disproportionate manner.

    I notice you’ve written a few articles about abortion and your positive stance for pro-choice. We both agree with each other. I am an atheist, a liberal, and believe in total equality between men and women., as do you. However I also noticed you lack civility and grace. Not that you need any or are required to show it. I choose not to walk the path you walk. Anger is good, but militant belligerence closes doors.

    With almost 220 posts on this article alone you have only posted three times. Twice was to insult me and call me names. And only because I breached the subject of abortion and probably because of your pregnancy and recent topics on the subject has made you very passionate about the subject.

    But none of that is an excuse for your behavior. Being smart doesn’t make you right. Having a vagina doesn’t make you queen of the pregnancy topic or give you any greater privilege to its domain. My penis doesn’t make me the enemy.

  199. opposablethumbs says

    My penis doesn’t make me the enemy.

    No, but making stupid comments about foetuses having a choice certainly implies it.

  200. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    Khms:

    I’m not a lawyer

    This is obivous from your post. It might be my shaky English, but I would say a radical new interpretation of law on a highly politicised subject follow by PZs question “how to enforce it” is a piece about legislative measures – even though no new law has been passed yet.

    Anyhow – if you actually read for comprehension and understanding you’ll see what I was discussing with Josh is “ban” vs “no ban”.

    We can discuss the finer points of legal language and definitions of legal change some other time, somewhere else (but only if I’m seriously bored, I try not to let work-life and pharyngula mix)

  201. says

    Dan:

    Your contradictions were rude and personal however.

    So? You brought up reproductive choice in the context of infant circumcision. I have every right to be pissed about that comparison.

    And if naughty words hurt your tender feelings: too fucking bad.

    (Is this your first time on the ‘tubes, Dan?)

    Anger is good, but militant belligerence closes doors.

    Put up or shut up, Dan. Give me concrete examples of how belligerence shuts doors. Difficulty: I don’t really give a good goddamn if it makes you feel squirrely.

    (I’d point to the anger and “belligerence” of various equal rights campaigns, but I’m sure the point would be lost on you.)

    With almost 220 posts on this article alone you have only posted three times. Twice was to insult me and call me names.

    Have you considered that maybe it’s ‘cos I was busy last night, so I only made one quick response then? This morning I wanted to deal with interrobang’s dumbassery, then I saw yours. Excuse me if I didn’t fucking reply to everyone else.

    Having a vagina doesn’t make you queen of the pregnancy topic or give you any greater privilege to its domain.

    LOL, wut? Tell you what, Dan, when you get your ass pregnant, feel free to chime in on the “pregnancy domain” at any time. Until then, feel free to sit quietly in the corner.

  202. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    @Bernarda: I almost missed your post there. You actually impress me. Since my post was unsupported, you could have called me out on that and done some lowbrow tricks like asking for some sources or anything like that. And that would have cost me some work (especially to find English studies and such).

    But you’re of course too good for that and decided that a screed with heavy antisemite overtones was the right way to go. Way to go! You left out racism though. Shouldn’t you include a couple of lines about how Islam isn’t a race, so howling bigoted islamophobes can’t possibly be racist? And where is the veiled references to Gates of Vienna?

  203. says

    Opposable thumbs. I might not have made my point clear so I’ll clarify.

    A running point here was that circumcision is wrong because it causes pain to a child that has not been given an option. The attached solution is to allow the male to grow to adulthood and make the choice for himself. I used the fetus comparison only that the same situation applies with abortion. If pro-choice advocates or any body for that matter are going to use the loss of choice as a reason not to circumcise, should the choice of the child only be valid after birth?

    This was a comparison of one country beleiving undo suffering and pain can be caused by circumcision, but allows abortions. I am not posing any opinion, just a point for discussion.

  204. Beatrice says

    I am not posing any opinion, just a point for discussion.

    Your point has been noted and given due consideration, upon which it has been dismissed.

    (Your lie about it not being your opinion has been noted as well.)

  205. Emrysmyrddin says

    Yeah, my posts-with-links are being eaten. Briefly, child=!=foetus, and Google ‘tone troll’ if you’re too dense to parse the meaning.

  206. julietdefarge says

    This law will give a lot of support to parents who need help resisting the nagging of religious grandparents who are keen to have the little nipper snipped.

  207. says

    Dan – I don’t think there are enough similarities to the complexities of abortion to make it a useful comparison. A foetus is not really a baby.

    We do however have specific rules on how late an abortion can happen that take into account the foetus as it turns into a “baby”. Once a baby is born though, there is most definitely no “grey area” about whether the child is sentient and can feel pain.

  208. Emrysmyrddin says

    Nope, just the one, to the Pharyngula Wiki of all places. It’s happened with my account here from time to time.

  209. apucalypso says

    Don’t know if this has been mentioned, but the court’s decision actually includes a nice comment on the supposed hygiene advantages of circumcision:
    “As a justification for circumcision, hygiene is often mentioned as an advantage. However, regular personal hygiene is a significantly less invasive way. If a procedure can be avoided, because its intended goal can be achieved with less intensive measures, the more intensive procedure is not in the best interest of the child.”
    So…this statement leads me to conclude that people citing hygiene benefits to circumcision most likely have a questionable attitude towards personal hygiene and thus should be avoided in enclosed spaces..

  210. Louis says

    I read the OP, I googled about the judgement, I predicted that anti-abortionists would go ZOMG THIS MEENZ NO ABORSHUNZ!

    I hate being right.

    Look, people, it’s only Wednesday. If you destroy my faith in humanity this early in the week I’ll be on a killing spree by Friday. Can’t you and your woman hating (anti abortion) peepee chopping (pro circumcision) fuckwit friends hold off until at least Thursday, so that the bigotry and stupidity I am exposed to is back loaded closer to beer time.

    Louis

  211. A. R says

    Emrysmyrddin: Linking to the Pharyngula Wiki is teh ebil to the spam filter for some reason.

  212. Gregory Greenwood says

    Dan Fidler @ 233;

    A running point here was that circumcision is wrong because it causes pain to a child that has not been given an option. The attached solution is to allow the male to grow to adulthood and make the choice for himself. I used the fetus comparison only that the same situation applies with abortion. If pro-choice advocates or any body for that matter are going to use the loss of choice as a reason not to circumcise, should the choice of the child only be valid after birth?

    There is simply no credible medical case for performing circumcisions on children. In some rare cases, the procedure may be medically indicated in later life, but circumcision performed on children is in most cases done for cultural reasons. The alleged medical benefits are largely unevidenced and employed as little more than a fig leaf for the true (usually religious) motivations behind taking a sharp implement to the genitalia of newborns.

    In such cases, pain (and, in a not insubstantial fraction of cases, medical complications in later life) is inflicted on a child in pursuit of the aesthetic preferences and/or cultrally mandated imperatives of adults, and that is a poor reason indeed to cut pieces off children. The child here is capable of existence independent of its mother and has full status as an individual, and so should be allowed to make any such decisions itself when it is old enough to do so.

    Abortion is a fundamentally different situation. Circumcision harms the body and denies the bodily autonomy of one individual, the child, in pursut of the preferences of other individuals (parents, religious peer group, etc). Inflicting pain on a child, and compromising its freedom to choose in later life, merely so that the sensibilities of the parents are not offended is clearly unethical.

    In the case of abortion, however, the health and bodily autonomy of the mother is itself a factor. Here, one must weigh the wellbeing of the foetus – which is non-sentient, non-conscious, and dependent of the woman’s body for its survival in the fashion of a parasite – against the bodily autonomy, health and possibly life of the pregnant woman – a fully conscious and sentient person who has her own dreams and aspirations. In such a sitation, the only ethical course is the privilege the actual personhood of the woman against what is only the potential future personhood of the foetus.

    I would also point out that @ 226 you wrote;

    But none of that is an excuse for your behavior. Being smart doesn’t make you right. Having a vagina doesn’t make you queen of the pregnancy topic or give you any greater privilege to its domain. My penis doesn’t make me the enemy.

    Audley is pregnant – don’t you think it conceivable that her personal experience of pregnancy might leave her in a better position to understand what it means to be pregnant and what the issues are, compared to persons such as you or I that, as men, will likely never be able to go through that experience ourselves?

    In more general terms, ‘having a vagina’ certainly helps give one perspective when the topic under discussion directly relates to the rights, freedoms and personhood of vagina-possessors. In such circumstances, men are well advised to listen to the women whose lives and bodies will be effected by these issues before they hold forth on such things as the notional equivalency between abortion and circumcision.

    It is not your penis that may make you a problem here, but your attitude that women should be denied their bodily autonomy so that a foetus should be taken to term irrespective of the woman’s wishes (using something as irrelevant as the issue of circumcision as the reason, no less) most certainly can make you a problem, since it creates cover for the repugnant forced birther ideology we encounter all too often here.

  213. Thomathy, Holy Trinity of Conflation: Atheist-Secularist-Darwinist says

    ricardodivali,

    We do however have specific rules on how late an abortion can happen that take into account the foetus as it turns into a “baby”.,

    this is not universally true. You should be specific about who this royal ‘we’ is and in what country these ‘specific rules’ are.

    The ‘we’ here in Canada, for instance, have no abortion laws at all and that means literally no ‘specific rules’ on how late an abortion can happen.

  214. Thomathy, Holy Trinity of Conflation: Atheist-Secularist-Darwinist says

    Also, good for Germany.

    I know for a fact that doctors in Ontario may not ask the parents about circumcision and that it is no longer an OHIP covered procedure. Parents must inquire about circumcisions and must also pay for them. In effect, though I’m not sure there have been any studies done on it, that may have actually reduced the rates of circumcision because paying money for and having to remember to ask about circumcision are onerous.

    The decision in Germany sets a nice precedent, even internationally.

  215. Amphiox says

    should the choice of the child only be valid after birth?

    It is NOT A CHILD until after birth. The above question is nonsensical.

  216. A. R says

    It’s pretty simple actually, always respect bodily autonomy. There, no more rape and harassment, no more FGM, circumcision, anti-choicers, etc.

  217. says

    #247 – England. For some reason I thought that was a common feature of abortion laws for western countries.

    So i’ll have to stand corrected and defer to Gregory’s post at #246.

  218. Amphiox says

    I used the fetus comparison only that the same situation applies with abortion.

    Except that it does not. The two are not even remotely comparable.

    This should come down to parental rights, not infants.

    There is no such thing as parental “rights”. There are parental responsibilities, and parental privileges granted to enable the easier fulfilment of these responsibilities.

    These privileges are contingent upon the proper fulfilment of the responsibilities.

    I weigh the pros and cons. I chose if they eat granola or eggo waffles. I chose if they get orange juice or orange drink. I decide if they get homeopathic remedies or prescription drugs.

    You are responsibile for being their surrogate decision-maker so long as they are unable to properly make informed decisions of their own. However your range of choices is not absolute. You CANNOT chose between granola and rat poison, or orange juice and alcohol. Even if you honestly think the latter choices are in the best interests of your child.

    The state/society ALSO has a responsibility, both to you and your children. Its responsibility to you is to protect you from the danger of making bad choices in error because you from your perspective do not have and cannot get the information necessary to make the choice. Thus the state is responsible for regulating and enforcing the quality of the granola and waffles and orange juices and drinks that you have a choice of obtaining.

    The state’s responsibility to your children is to act as oversight on YOU, to protect your children, from you, if you should fail in your responsibility towards them, whether it is from simple ignorance, rank incompetence, or outright malice. Thus the state prohibits you from choosing alcohol as a drink for your children. The state removes alcohol from the table of available choices that you are allowed to make.

    I decide if they will have to take care of some useless piece of flesh for their entire adolescent life or if we remove it.

    And so it is with circumcision. The state has the duty, if it is so deemed appropriate, to remove circumcision from the table of choices you are allowed to make, as part of its responsibility to protect your children, as part of its responsibility to protect ALL its citizens, among which number your children.

    That is what this German court decision is about.

    (Incidentally as well, you’re going to need a citation if you want to throw out claims like “useless piece of flesh”.)

  219. Gregory Greenwood says

    ricardodivali @ 251;

    To the best of my knowledge, the legal transition from foetus to child under British law takes place at birth, but there are still a set of laws that specifically restrict abortion beyond a certain limit except in cases where the woman’s life is threatened.

    Our system certainly is not a model example of how things should be, and as you are probably aware, although the topic is not the same kind of red button issue it is in the States, even over where we still get anti-choice protesters popping up from time to time, usually supported by Tory back benchers (hardly what you would call surprising behaviour from the Nasty Party), and often backed up with American money.

  220. opposablethumbs says

    I’m sorry I’m late back, and a whole bunch of work just materialised on my desktop – so although Dan mentioned me by name in a post upthread I’m afraid I’m going to have to keep it short and sweet here.

    I agree with every damn word of the various posters who pointed out that there is absolutely no valid comparison between circumcision (somebody else’s body) and abortion (the woman’s own body, about which nobody other than her has any damn say whatsoever (and physicians are only there to inform and advise her, not tell her what to do)).

    With apologies to all for the gross image – Dan, drop this line of “argument” and come back when your son’s penis is somehow part of/physiologically attached to and directly affects your body.

  221. Thomathy, Holy Trinity of Conflation: Atheist-Secularist-Darwinist says

    England. For some reason I thought that was a common feature of abortion laws for western countries

    Well, there’s your problem. It may well be a common feature of abortion laws for western countries that have abortion laws, but it simply can’t be a feature of the non-extant abortion laws of western countries that have no abortion laws.

    You can defer to Gregory Greenwood’s post encouraging people to defer to women on the matter (an incredibly wise thing to do), but that has nothing to do with my asking you for the clarity which you’ve provided regarding your other post.

  222. says

    My defering to Gregory’s post was because it was a better example than mine once you dismantled my incorrect assumption about the US and Canada. So I thought i’d back him instead.

    Unless you had a different question?

  223. Amphiox says

    The abortion debate in Canada was as bitter and dividing as the abortion debate currently is in the US. When the Canadian Supreme Court struck down the existing abortion laws, there was no political appetite or will to try to replace them with anything new.

    Thus, by default, Canada has ended up in a position of having no abortion regulations of any sort.

    And interestingly, the sky has not fallen! There was no big upswing in horrible abuses of abortion procedures. No horde of women rushing for late term abortions of healthy fetuses just for birth control reasons. No increase in partial-live-birth horror stories. No slippery slope tumble to legalization of infanticide (not even a court challenge of infanticide laws….)

    Who’d have thunk it?

  224. Thomathy, Holy Trinity of Conflation: Atheist-Secularist-Darwinist says

    usually supported by Tory back benchers (hardly what you would call surprising behaviour from the Nasty Party), and often backed up with American money.

    You know no Canadian politician has ever successfully broached the subject of abortion since the 1970’s? Not a Tory nor a Liberal nor anyone in any other party or any level of politics. And, largely, the anti-choice crowd, when they do get up the nerve to say anything, take their cues from anti-choice American groups.

    I actually think that Canada could have an excellent law regarding abortions, if not for the catatonic fear induced by the mere thought of having to actually talk about it legislatively.

    As it is, it’s neither legal nor illegal, which does cause some problems to be sure, but doesn’t inherently nor broadly limit access (though it certainly does in places of a more conservative bent). I sympathise that the system is not model in England (do those laws extend across the UK? or are there difference in Scotland?), but at least you have legislated that they are a legal right that must be offered (despite problems of access and the like). It’s undeniable that Canada is in a better position that the US which is a quagmire of legal and legislatively stupidity when it comes to all reproductive rights, not just abortion, but I tend to think that considering the absence of law here, there is at least something about the state of abortion in England that is an improvement over a legal void.

  225. Thomathy, Holy Trinity of Conflation: Atheist-Secularist-Darwinist says

    Unless you had a different question?

    Not at all.

  226. says

    Gregory:

    Audley is pregnant – don’t you think it conceivable that her personal experience of pregnancy might leave her in a better position to understand what it means to be pregnant and what the issues are, compared to persons such as you or I that, as men, will likely never be able to go through that experience ourselves?

    Oh noes! The Ebil Feminazis have their Ebil Feminazi hooks in you!

    Remember, as a bepenised one, you can comment with full authority on any subject that you choose even if it doesn’t directly effect you. You (and Dan) obviously know more about pregnancy and abortion than I do– I’m just a silly, hysterical laydee, afterall.

    Behold the power of the mighty peen!

  227. LuminiferousEthan says

    If it is conclusively proven that God does not exist, then it is reasonable that I would not have my beliefs about the existence of God

    Sorry, I didn’t read the rest of the comments since this one, so it was most likely already addressed but, here goes:

    This really irks me. First off, science does not deal in “proofs”. It simply finds the most likely possibility based on the observable evidence, and is always, always open to accept new evidence which may change the current theory.

    I’m quite sure you said you are Christian. So you believe in the god of the bible. The bible is a book of some pretty fantastical tales, I hope you agree.

    -God poofed the heavens, earth, light and darkness, then the sky, then plants, the sun and the moon (where did the light on the first day come from?) then living creatures, then man, then woman (from mans rib, instead of nothing like everything else). All poofed into existence, out of nothing, from his SuperBrain.

    -God wasn’t happy with what he created, so he decides to kill ‘em all, and floods the entire earth and kills everyone, except Noah and his family. Noah is able to make a boat and take two of a few known species on board.

    -God turns people into salt.

    -God allows a bush to burn without actually burning, somehow.

    -He rains animals from the sky and somehow separates bodies of water.

    This is just the beginning. Some guy, somehow, changes the molecular structure of H2O into C2H5. The earth stops rotating on it’s axis so that it appears from the surface the sun has stopped moving over the sky. People rise from the dead… it goes on and on.

    Everything we know about the laws of physics has shown that these things do not, can not, have not, and will not ever happen.

    How much more “proof” do you need?

  228. allencdexter says

    When I was much much younger and a starrry-eyed follower of an ultra-fundalmentalist cult, I had both of my sons circumcised shortly after birth because it was taught in the Bible — a book I now recognize as one of the worst farces ever foisted on gullible humanity by both Jewish and gentile practicioners of preistcraft.

    This is one of my great regrets in life. I despair that such stupidity and ignorance is probably never going to disappear from the human race.

    What exists naturally evolved to be there for a reason. Cutting it off to satisfy the dictates of a manufactured god is totally stupid. But, stupidity was the stock in trade of ancient shamans and preists. As long as people bow in awe to such ancient nonsense, the practice will go on.

  229. kassad says

    I was pretty sure that the leading cause of lesbianism was that some women were lesbians… The more you know!

    @Bernarda #212

    I’m a newbie here, so I did not want to be rude, but your post made me so mad I could spit. You’re a fucking disgrace.

    Gnumann N° 6. You are clueless. There is no increase in racism against Muslims and Jews. For the first group, some of them look for any reason to be offended and want their barbaric practices like the Sharia recognized by the state.

    First, Gnumann never said that Muslims or Jews did not feigned offense to get privileges based on their religion. He said that some people used critism of religion as a cover for racism. No mention of the attitude of the 2 groups you dump on. Talk about clueless.

    For the second, anti-semitism does not exist, at least in any organized form. Of course there a always a few individuals who do not like one group or another. But the Jews are more protected by the state in Europe than any other group.

    Second, antisemtism do not exists in Europe? Are you having a stroke?! It is latent AND a lot of critics of Israël are just covering their antisemitism as anti-zionist rethoric. Not that critics of Israël are not justified, but people passed copies of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion last year in France in at least two different occasions for fuck sake!
    You have jewish cemeteries prophaned every year in Europe. The Jews are no more protected than any other minorities, and everytime they are, a fucker like you pop up to say “they just leech on Holocaust-guilt!”. Several elected politicians are Holocaust deniers, as well as some historians. In Europe, where you can visit the camps! Asshole.

    If a Jew is a victim of a crime, the police spend more time investigating it than if the victim was Muslim or Black.

    What? Ok, you make up wathever you want apparently.

    When an author writes a pro-palestinian book, he and his readers risk being attacked by Jewish thugs, as has happened to Alain Sorel among others.

    Yeah the Jewish thugs are a curse on Europe… That’s where you reach critical mass of stupidity. It is Alain Soral, not Sorel, dipshit. And you really use a known antisemitic author to explain that antisemitism does not exist? The guy that said that the Jews should ask themselves if they are not the problem for being persecuted for so long? Really?!

    Also, why didn’t you precise that the guy is anti-feminist AND homophobic, since he is? That should drive your point home.

    Go hump a landmine.

  230. Thomathy, Holy Trinity of Conflation: Atheist-Secularist-Darwinist says

    Amphiox

    And interestingly, the sky has not fallen! There was no big upswing in horrible abuses of abortion procedures. No horde of women rushing for late term abortions of healthy fetuses just for birth control reasons. No increase in partial-live-birth horror stories. No slippery slope tumble to legalization of infanticide (not even a court challenge of infanticide laws….)

    This is true, and laudably so. I actually think Canada could well be the one place upon which the world could look to for an example of how to determine the upper limits of abortion in non-life-threatening cases. Which is, not to set that limit at all.

    It’s incredibly fascinating to look at the abortion statistics in Canada and see that it becomes increasingly rare, to the point of vanishingly rare, for abortions to be carried out past the first 3 months until the end of the third trimester.

    (I can’t find those stats anymore, since StatsCan has changed how it handles the data and apparently the CIHI is in charge of those statistics now, though an analogue of those stats can be found here).

    Indeed, it seems that women are capable, and so are medical practitioners, or making choices themselves which seem to largely reflect societal consensus on when a voluntary abortion should occur and when it is considered too near to birth (for whatever reason it is so thought) for it to occur.

    Now, who’d have thunk it?

  231. Louis says

    Gregory,

    …often backed up with American money.

    Is it just me or are you noticing this getting increasingly more common too? It might just be an anecdote, but I really am noticing the obvious influence of wealthy American Evangelicals a bit more obviously and often nowadays.

    Louis

  232. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    I’m a newbie here, so I did not want to be rude, but your post made me so mad I could spit. You’re a fucking disgrace.

    Don’t worry, I think you’ll do just fine. Just remember that being wilfully stupid and using hate speech (including otherwise ubiquitous gendered, homophobic and ableist slurs) will get you in trouble (not that I have any reason to suspect you of those).

    No one will shout at you for accurately describing nitwits.

  233. kassad says

    And BTW, Gnumann is right in #6. Curtailing of religious privileges in Europe, while laudable in themselves (particularly on children mutilation) often have strong whiffs of xenephobia and nationalism.

    I was for the banning of the burqa, because the law in France already banned it. It is illegal to conceale your face in public areas and official buildings. Try wearing a ski mask or a motorcycle helmet to the post office and see how it goes. Similarly, religious signs are forbidden in schools. I’ve seen kids denied access to school if they wore a cross on their neck or a kippa. They had to remove them.

    But the new law, while the principle was sound, was associated with real islamophobia, trumpeted as a “national identity” wake-up call by more than one unsavory characters of french politics.

    Is banning circumcision a good thing? – YES
    Was it promoted by some xenophobic european elements? – YES

  234. Emrysmyrddin says

    Gregory,

    …often backed up with American money.

    Is it just me or are you noticing this getting increasingly more common too? It might just be an anecdote, but I really am noticing the obvious influence of wealthy American Evangelicals a bit more obviously and often nowadays.

    Louis

    Yes, yes, yes. All that racket with Nadine ‘Fucking’ Dorries about abortion providers recently seemed to be backed by US groups exporting their filthy infantilising rhetoric. Do Not Want, US.

  235. Louis says

    Emrysmyriddin,

    Oy! Nadine “Fucking” Dorries indeed. I dislike that woman passionately. She seems to be very naughty, and not in any of the good ways. There are a few people who cause me to twitch in British media/politics. Melanie Philips, Peter Hitchens, Nadine Dorries, John Gaunt, pretty much all of any talk radio channel not Radio 4, and even that causes rage on occasion despite being a universal good! ;-)

    Oh dear, the rage is building again. I am sharing a planet with Peter Hitchens and Piers Morgan aren’t I? Now where did I put those nuclear bombs? I’m sure the etch-a-sketch treatment of life on the planet would be a good idea…

    Louis

  236. Emrysmyrddin says

    Try a Nick Abbott or James O’Brien podcast on LBC FM’s page – they’re a real antidote to all the right-wing bollocks that’s flying around lately. I don’t know what I’d do without them and Skeptics With A K at the moment; go back on blood pressure medication, probably.

  237. Emrysmyrddin says

    I am sharing a planet with Peter Hitchens and Piers Morgan aren’t I?

    I try very very very hard not to think about precisely this. I start bewailing and gnashing my teeth if I don’t succeed.

  238. kassad says

    @Gnumann

    Don’t worry, I think you’ll do just fine. Just remember that being wilfully stupid and using hate speech (including otherwise ubiquitous gendered, homophobic and ableist slurs) will get you in trouble (not that I have any reason to suspect you of those).

    No one will shout at you for accurately describing nitwits.

    Thanks :)
    I just did not want to yell at someone when the regulars to a great job of dismantling idiots. On the other hand, many people might not know Soral, so I felt like participating on this one.
    The guy’s a piece of work. Everybody should check him, just to be sure to avoid anything from him .

    And if I’m ever using hate speech, I sincerely hope I’ll get shot down fast!

  239. Emrysmyrddin says

    Hey, the US is giving us anti-choice wankers, and we give them Moron in return.

    No, it still doesn’t work. *grump*

  240. Gregory Greenwood says

    Thomathy, Holy Trinity of Conflation: Atheist-Secularist-Darwinist @ 258;

    You know no Canadian politician has ever successfully broached the subject of abortion since the 1970′s? Not a Tory nor a Liberal nor anyone in any other party or any level of politics. And, largely, the anti-choice crowd, when they do get up the nerve to say anything, take their cues from anti-choice American groups.

    It doesn’t surprise me that the US anti-choicers are also trying to export their nasty forced-birth ideology to Canada.

    I actually think that Canada could have an excellent law regarding abortions, if not for the catatonic fear induced by the mere thought of having to actually talk about it legislatively.

    I didn’t realise that the debate had stagnated so totally over there – I thought that sanity had won out and the forced-birthers had been routed*.

    I sympathise that the system is not model in England (do those laws extend across the UK? or are there difference in Scotland?),

    As far as I know, the issue has been legislated at the national level in the Westminster Parliament.

    It’s undeniable that Canada is in a better position that the US which is a quagmire of legal and legislatively stupidity when it comes to all reproductive rights, not just abortion, but I tend to think that considering the absence of law here, there is at least something about the state of abortion in England that is an improvement over a legal void.

    Oh, I agree that it is much better than an ambiguous legal void – that is one of the reasons why the anti-choicers are sporadically trying to dismantle it with the usual misleading claims about the ‘horrors’ of abortion that conveniently ignore the nasty realities that come about when access to it is limited or denied altogether – like backstreet hatchet jobs and the needless, agonising deaths of women.

    * And when I say ‘routed’, I had pleasant visions of them being driven into the sea to be devoured by Cthulhu’s betentacled minions…

    —————————————————————-

    Audley Z Darkheart, reducing all men to their pee-pees since 1981 @ 260;

    Oh noes! The Ebil Feminazis have their Ebil Feminazi hooks in you!

    *Camera zooms in on my face to showed a stereotypically masculine stoic look that doesn’t quite hide my fear, as the dramatic music is qued*

    Give it to me straight, doc – how long do I have before my gentleman vegtables shrivel up and drop off…?

    ;-P

    Remember, as a bepenised one, you can comment with full authority on any subject that you choose even if it doesn’t directly effect you. You (and Dan) obviously know more about pregnancy and abortion than I do– I’m just a silly, hysterical laydee, afterall.

    Of course! What was I thinking, actually listening to women as if they have anything of merit to say? I have obviously spent so much time around teh laydees that the spoors from their lady parts have infected my man-noggin with PFLBS (Pink Fluffy Lady-Brain Syndrome).

    There is but one cure – moronic macho posturing about how harassment totes isn’t a big deal, and I should be able to chew on the leg of any woman I want. Only one man can help me cure an infestation this severe. I must make a pilgrimage to that monastery of male privilege – Thunderfoot’s blog…

    Behold the power of the mighty peen!

    I now have a mental image of the sound of a fly unzipping, and a group of awe-struck onlookers being bathed in the golden light of the benificent god-peen…

    That is pretty much how most MRAs view their members, afterall…

    —————————————————————-

    Louis @ 265;

    Is it just me or are you noticing this getting increasingly more common too? It might just be an anecdote, but I really am noticing the obvious influence of wealthy American Evangelicals a bit more obviously and often nowadays.

    I have definitely noticed an increase. Even in the quiet backwater where I live, we have had Mormon ‘missionary elders’ wandering around making a nuisance of themselves, and a group of oh-so polite twenty something American men dragging a cross through some of the local towns to ‘spread the good word’. Then there is the fact that almost every anti-choice group I come across in the UK seems to have rather obvious connections back to the US.

    For the most part, people like that tend to be viewed rather indulgently as curiosities so long as they don’t become too obnoxious, though two of the Mormon elders I mentioned earlier did get arrested for breach of the peace when they started loudly preaching about the supposed ‘immorality’ of he UK’s secular culture at a local supermarket, and then refused to leave when asked to do so by the management. When they were brought up before the magistrate, they went on to claim that they were being ‘persecuted’ for their religious beliefs, and did not recognise the authority of the court to ‘silence god’s word’.

    They had a couple of days to mull over their pseudo-mayrtyrdom in the local cells after he sent them down for contempt of court.

    @ 269;

    Oh dear, the rage is building again. I am sharing a planet with Peter Hitchens and Piers Morgan aren’t I? Now where did I put those nuclear bombs? I’m sure the etch-a-sketch treatment of life on the planet would be a good idea…

    You see, Lois, this is why you aren’t allowed to have nuclear launch codes anymore…

  241. says

    A couple of points from a German perspective:

    0. I’m personally against circumcision of infants for any non-medical whatsoever. You should be able to decide for yourself if you want to do that.

    1. The doctor was acquitted, which means the verdict will not be appealed (until now I haven’t heard of parents being prosecuted). Circumcision of male infants for nonmedical reasons was already in a gray area. Unfortunately the verdict is not available as of yet on the internet for free. Might check back in a couple of months later. This will probably create a chilling effect, just like in the case of artificial insemination of lesbian women, since the doctor risks being sued for alimony.

    2. This doesn’t mean this is over. Germany has a civil law system and precedent is not binding (of course if you ignore the precedent of the Constitutional court, you’ll get overturned). There might be other cases ending up before the Constitutional court (which according to experts is bound to affirm the right to religiously indicated circumcision), but there might also be an initiative in parliament amending the section on bodily harm. For instance, Volker Beck, a Green Party MP and a prominent advocate of human rights (LGBT rights in particular) commented today that he disagreed with the verdict and that religious freedom of the Jewish and Muslim communities might need to be protected better.

    3. This related to what lilapwl remarked, because this practice is not practiced outside the Jewish and Muslim communities, and a ban would be perceived to target those communities. Far-right groups love to use cases like this to fan xenophobic sentiments (I don’t know what the poster was on who said antisemitism didn’t exist in Europe. IIRC Studies estimate that 15-20% of Germans do have antisemitic and/or xenophobic sentiments). So I’d advocate for working with(in) these communities to push for social change.

    PS: prior to 2008, the legal community had largely ignored the issue. Then an article was published in a medical journal arguing that it would be a crime for doctors to perform a circumcision:

    http://www.aerzteblatt.de/archiv/61273

  242. says

    I personally believe that God is the source of good in the world. Everyone is capable of doing/being good, I attribute this to God. I do not think that you have to have read a holy book or even believe in God to have this.

    Thank you. It’s so nice to have some asshole come in and literally belittle every single solitary accomplishment I ever had in life. See I think God is the source of intelligence, because there’s no other way you could actually figure out how to eat and breath without some other force accounting for your unfathomable stupidity.

    This is a long conversation that is best done over a good beer. The abridged version is that I find the universe far too complex to be the result of purely random phenomena.

    Your inability to understand something does not make it magic. If it did I imagine the toaster would be magic to you

    I do not believe in the reductionist philosophy that if you go back far enough there is nothing.

    Saying “i don’t believe that because I don’t believe it” is idiocy.

    There has to be something and I believe that something is God. I also believe that God is not a pre-historic creator or a cosmic watch maker. I believe God to be active in creation to this day.

    Remember my point about you not understanding being too low a bar to be reasonable?

    a) There has to be something THEREFORE SUPERBEING!!!! Jumping to conclusions much?
    b) You seriously deny fucking knowledge that some of us worked hard to obtain because of your pittiful musings you apparently spent 30 seconds on.

    That combined with personal religious experiences are my basis for belief. I do not believe religious experience to be anything but personal so I do not feel like they are relevant to this conversation.

    Oh thanks, good to know that the reason why you insult me isn’t relevant. I’m going to thus assume that it’s because you’re an idiot and your personal experiences were basically a plastic bag in the wind you mistook for a ghost.

    I am open to the possibility that I am wrong.

    Liar. If so your proclamations would be intellectually irresponsible. If I accused you of being a theif out of the blue and insisted my reasons were personal but don’t worry I am open to the possibility of being wrong; but I won’t let you explore my reasons would you think that is rational?

    I do not think there is anyway to conclusively prove that God does or does not exist.

    By default something that’s existence is indistinguishable from it’s non existence most likely does not exist. It is the rational stance to presume it doesn’t. There’s no way you can know even if it did. Also proves you lie about being open to being wrong.

    We are part of two competing traditions according to MacIntyre’s tradition-dependent rationality. Traditions which have been around for thousands of years and which will continue to be around for thousands of years.

    Way to say absolutely fuck all.

    To summarize you said NOTHING in that entire speal. You gave absolutely NO insight and NO reason for your belief. You literally said “I believe that because I believe that”. Thank you for insulting everyone and then wasting their time.

  243. Gregory Greenwood says

    Audley Z Darkheart, reducing all men to their pee-pees since 1981 @ 276;

    *swoon!*

    Wait… what were we talking about again? :p

    What can I say… I sometimes have that effect on the ladies.

    ;-P

    There are times when I think that the world’s patriarchal religions should just be honest, and admit that it is basically teh mighty anthropomorphised peen that they worship. It would certainly save them a lot of needless intellectual contortions pretending that their religion is really all about the will of an invisible creator deity/love/the ground state of all being.

    This is about putting a particular subset of penis-possessors on a pedestal such that they can control the lives of everyone else, particularly those who possess vaginas. It really is that simple.

    As for the MRAs, even if they profess atheism, they still worship teh peen in practice – it just happens to be their own peen that they worship, rather than an abstract concept of an invisible sky peen.

  244. Tyrant al-Kalām says

    As for the MRAs, even if they profess atheism, they still worship teh peen in practice – it just happens to be their own peen that they worship, rather than an abstract concept of an invisible sky peen.

    Monopenism is even worse than polypenism.

  245. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    Monopenism is even worse than polypenism.

    *snorfle*

    Am I wrong in thinking that Germany is the first “big” country to take this (baby, true) step in terms of children’s rights to bodily integrity or did I miss a whole fucktonne of cluesticks?

    Because in principle, this is awesome.

  246. Tyrant al-Kalām says

    Gen,

    Am I wrong in thinking that Germany is the first “big” country to take this

    hm, as pelamun and others have explained, because of how our court system works, you can’t really count the ruling of a court in Hamburg as setting a binding precedent. So it’s maybe somewhat of an overstatement to say that “Germany” is taking this step. We’ll have to wait and see whether this decision becomes a template for others.

  247. Gregory Greenwood says

    Tyrant al-Kalām @ 280;

    Monopenism is even worse than polypenism.

    I do declare that for this you deserve your very own sniny new internets (possibly peen shaped).

  248. Tyrant al-Kalām says

    ^[...]the ruling of a court in HamburgCologne as setting [...]

    I do declare that for this you deserve your very own sniny new internets (possibly peen shaped).

    Suck on that, various other people without peenternets!

  249. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    PS: prior to 2008, the legal community had largely ignored the issue. Then an article was published in a medical journal arguing that it would be a crime for doctors to perform a circumcision:

    http://www.aerzteblatt.de/archiv/61273

    Quite interesting (even though I had to read it through google translate – damn me for skipping German in highschool :(). Thanks Pelamun.

    It is a quite interesting read and it raises some interesting legal and policy questions. I’m not sure I’m comfortable high-jacking the tread for those discussions, but if anybody else is interested give me a small discrete “oi!” and I’ll set up a forum…

  250. Gregory Greenwood says

    Audley Z Darkheart, reducing all men to their pee-pees since 1981 @ 286;

    That level of honesty would be… refreshing, if nothing else.

    Unfortunately, honesty seems to burn fundies like acid.

    Then there is the problem of the sacrament and rituals of such a religion.

    *Emotionally scarring mental image warning – proceed at your own risk, and bring your own brain-bleach*

    I invite you to contemplate the possible creation of crotchless vestments…

  251. Gregory Greenwood says

    Audley Z Darkheart, reducing all men to their pee-pees since 1981 @ 289;

    ARGH! Gregory, what the hell? I thought we were friends!

    *Sigh* You didn’t read the warning, did you? Now that image is stuck in thee, it is going to be hell to get it out…

    ;-P

  252. Gregory Greenwood says

    ‘Thee’ should be ‘there’ in my last post, not that I imagine it matters overmuch now that everyone on the thread has been shocked into insensibility by the image of priestly doo-dahs gently swaying in the breeze…

  253. says

    Gnumann,

    almost 300 comments in I don’t think that would constitute threadjacking.

    I’m politically active in Germany, and I think we have to look at this from a long-term perspective. While society is largely secularised, religious privilege is quite entrenched, and many active in politics, incl the leadership, are members of a religion. This includes even the parties on the left, though not as much the LEFT Party (basically ex-communist party of former east Germany) and the Pirate Party.

    Campaigning for a ban will only lead to defeat in parliament and probably also court, and you will have antagonised the Jewish and Muslim minority groups at the same time. I’ve followed the Twitter shitstorm (is this a word used in American English) on the issue today, and it not leading anywhere..

    So my official position at this point is while I personally oppose the practice, I understand that there is freedom of religion guaranteed by the constitution in Germany.

  254. says

    Here’s a quote from Germany’s President of the Clerical Office of the Protestant Church: “Freedom of religion and parental rights were inadequately weighed against the child’s right to bodily integrity.”

  255. says

    Gregory Greenwood,

    Great post. Although I might disagree on a few minor details your words have given me reason to look further into this debate and the medical validity behind circumcision. I can speak with honesty that my choice for it for my four sons was as much about me not feeling anger or resentment towards my parents for it. I dont even think about mine. Doesn’t mean I’m right or believe I am just that those are the facts behind my choice.

    To close this whole fetus mess. I am pro-choice. As staunch and militant as anyone on these forums. It was obvious tha I was neither clear or ellequent enough to give a comparison like this and express my point. You are probably right though in that it wasn’t a good comparison at all.

    Audley is pregnant – don’t you think it conceivable that her personal experience of pregnancy might leave her in a better position to understand what it means to be pregnant and what the issues are, compared to persons such as you or I that, as men, will likely never be able to go through that experience ourselves?

    No. I have five children of my own ranging from 19 years to 18 months. Im fairly well versed on infants, children, and teenagers. I’m not saying I know more, well i am actually, but to take the opinion above would mean Audley doesn’t have any authority in this topic because she doesn’t have a penis. Hell, she could be a urologist for all I know. She might be able to tell me a thing or two. If the above were the case we wouldn’t have male gynecologists. Yes a woman has greater insight into how she feels during her pregnancy, but not necessarily greater knowledge into pregnancy. This does not remove her authority or right to chose though. I am definately not saying that.

  256. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    Pelamun:

    That’s one of the perspectives – not the one I find most interesting since I think poltically atm you’re basically right for most of Europe (some of the darker patches might go the other way on pure anti-brown sentiment of course).

    For me as a law-person, the interesting bit about the article was the argument from personal integrity. At least in my neck of the woods the law hasn’t been discussed too much in this area. Not generally. Specific issues like slapping-laws have been discussed (and implemented) but no-one discusses the limits of the child’s personal autonomy.

    Perhaps because it’s very hard. It’s obvious that a 1-year old can’t be given full physical autonomy, and that the parents can force actions that clearly would have been illegal against an adult (and this is necessary of course). It’s not obvious where the lines are drawn after that.

    One issue where I’ve been semi-lobbying is tattooing vs children (that is, persons who are legally children, but usually 15, 16 or 17). Currently we got no laws regulating this special case. There are laws against bodily harm of course, and they can be used against tattooing with insufficient consent. The big nagging question though is can a 15 or 16 year old consent to a tattoo legally. And if not – can the parents? (In my view, the current answer to the first is maybe (but it ought to be no) and the answer to the second is no, but the discussions here have in no way been thorough enough for me to be certain about these conclusions.

    Why is this relevant?
    The issue goes to: Where does parent’s influence about children’s autonomy start and end. And frankly as I see it the issue is a huge blank spot on the map marked “here be dragons!” with the occasional drawn-in spots. This uncertainty is of course easy to exploit for religious interests.

    The other quite interesting question is: Provided there is political will for a ban – how do you secure compliance?

    I think this one is quite hard. The behaviour is pretty deep-felt among some groups. It’s clear to me that for these, a fine would only serve as a tax.
    Penalties towards the physician? That would only drive the practice abroad.
    Imprisonment of the parents? That will usually make the child suffer too.
    Loss of parental rights? I don’t know how it is in Germany, but at least in my neck of the woods the outcome is usually not good for the child.

    FGM has been combatted by a combination of those last three. I find this easier to argue for since type II and type III FGM is so damn horrid it’s clear it has to be stopped. The common male circumcision variants though (while in no way defensible) is usually no worse than other shit people do to their children (like giving them religion or low self-esteem through bad parenting).

  257. opposablethumbs says

    priestly doo-dahs gently swaying in the breeze…

    Except that they would never expose their own flesh and blood to scrutiny – not impressive enough; consider the robes, the croziers, the thuribles, thrones and funny hats! No, it would definitely be massive, gold-plated, diamond-encrusted, neon-lit codpieces all round.
    .
    Dan, with five kids you have plenty of experience of being a parent; you have bugger-all experience of being pregnant. And of course it is possible to have an excellent Ob-Gyn who is male – doesn’t mean he is in any position to tell a woman how to experience pregnancy; such an Ob-Gyn might be wonderful at advising and informing, just as a woman specialist in the male reproductive system could be great at informing and advising a man but could not tell a man how he ought to experience a condition affecting the prostate.

  258. says

    Gnumann,

    are you from Norway, by any chance? I came across an article in a Norwegian newspaper about the issue today..

    I do understand where you’re coming from. The right of parents to interfere with their children’s autonomy has been upheld as a legal principle in Germany, especially if it is for the children’s welfare. The court now has denied that.

    While the article I cited above was written by legal scholars, I do think it was written from a clearly anti-religious viewpoint, which does not take into account the position of the Constitutional Court on religious freedom. The Court has held now and again that freedom of religion is inviolable (Art. 4). In its 2002 decision on the Shechita issue, it found that by preventing a Muslim butcher from killing animals without anesthetics the state had infringed upon his freedom of religion (and his freedom of choice of profession, as guaranteed by Art 12). A couple of years ago, animal rights was included as a “state objective” in Art 20a, but this would still not cancel out freedom of religion, which is a personal right (I think the lawyers call these subjective as opposed to objective)

    Now as far as the circumcision issue goes, Art. 6 also guarantees the parents’ rights in educating their children. Together with Art. 4, I can’t see how the Court would come to the same verdict as the lower court. It’s true that in Art. 1 it is stated that “human dignity is untouchable”. This might be used as an argument for outlawing circumcision even with parental consent, but here I think the Court would find that male circumcision would not violate human dignity.

  259. says

    Dan:

    No. I have five children of my own ranging from 19 years to 18 months. Im fairly well versed on infants, children, and teenagers.

    Which has fuck all with being pregnant. Did you give birth to those five kids? What symptoms did you experience? How much weight did you gain, how often did you feel kicks, what foods did you avoid during your pregnancy, Dan?

    I’m not saying I know more, well i am actually…

    About a condition which you’ve never experienced, and yet you somehow know more about it than I do.

    I’ll take “mansplaining” for $500, Alex.

    … but to take the opinion above would mean Audley doesn’t have any authority in this topic because she doesn’t have a penis.

    Nope, I’m concerned with bodily autonomy rather than the specific part in question. I really don’t care if we were talking about cutting off the foreskin or a different cosmetic procedure– my opinion would be the same.

    I will never claim to know more about having a penis than a man does. However, I will fight for his right to determine what happens to his body, because that is something that should be afforded to all people.

    It seems like my stance is a lot more consistent than yours, Danny.

    Yes a woman has greater insight into how she feels during her pregnancy, but not necessarily greater knowledge into pregnancy.

    *eyeroll*

    I’m sick of this shit. I’m sick of your patronizing attitude, Dan, so cut it the fuck out. Do you honestly think that most women don’t research the shit out of pregnancy before/during their pregnancies?

    It’s my body and I want to give birth to a healthy child. I have more of a stake in keeping myself healthy and comfortable than, say, my husband does.

    Jesus Christ, take your head out of your ass.

  260. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    Pelamun:
    Yes, I’m from Norway. The debate here has been on and off for the last year, but surged a bit lately with the death of a small boy recently.

    The good thing about the debate here is that so far no known antisemite loons have been prominent (but they are certainly lurking in the woodworks. A recent study puts the rate of anti-semitism at about 12 per cent of the majority population) – there’s been some usually reasonable voices on the pro-ban-side like the Children’s Ombudsman and the Norwegian humanist association.

    Unfortunately, none have gotten through to talking about the practicalities. Not to mention (as with Germany) getting a ban past the human rights provisions in the constitution and the ECHR.

    As far as I’ve been able to follow the European Court of Human Rights they’ve swung awfully towards emphasis on religious freedom lately too.

    Until there’s a test case there is no definite answer though. Although children’s rights generally are poor, in theory bodily autonomy that doesn’t threaten others should outweigh most other considerations. It certainly would have if it had been an consenting adult.

    Unfortunately, the idea that children are their parent’s property is still pretty widespread in practise.

  261. says

    Audley,

    You are a child with a megaphone. I brought up one statement about a fetus and you begin a diatribe against me as an inhuman ignorant beast. You took my conversation and others’ off topic to treat me like shit. Yes, I needed criticism as I didn’t express myself well enough, but at least Gregory Greenwood was good enough to explain it in less than ear-shattering discourse.

    However, I am thankful for your words. I mean that with no sarcasm. This is a good debate for my meetup groups to discuss. Seriously, this is a great topic for conversation.

    “Where is the line between civil and militant discourse? If you speak louder and with more anger does your listener understand you better?”

    I, like most, know there are the ranters and haters in every segment of conversation. There are those that speak with civility and open ears, if not open minds. You and me agree on almost all moral and ethical beliefs (I came to that conclusion from reading your blog). I think I agree with most of what you said in this post (absent your comments to and about me). But you are too involved in demoralizing and humiliating those who disagree with you to stick to the subject, unless they agree with you of course. But instead of us continuing a healthy debate and maybe pointing out our disagreements on something, you closed me down from having any further respect for you. What a missed opportunity.

    I will follow this conversation but probably won’t post further. I have complete faith that no matter how I present anything here, for or against, you will continue this bashing. Your previous actions show this to be the most probable outcome.

    I’m sorry to everyone for wasting your time.

  262. says

    Audley,

    Your right. I never heard that term before until you called me one, but I definitely fit that definition. I get I come across douchey sounding and sanctimonious, but that isn’t my intent. I’m fairly new at blogging and writing in general. I have a lot to learn. I don’t want to come across like that to the point of shutting people down.

  263. says

    Dan,
    Okay, well, thank you for looking that up. Here’s a couple of protips:
    1) Welcome to the shark tank. Being polite doesn’t excuse shitty arguments; don’t expect it to earn you any brownie points.
    2) No matter how progressive you claim to be, mansplaining (look it up) is also going to earn you scorn.

    Here’s my point, very briefly: abortion only effects my body. Infant circumcision does not effect my body, therefore I shouldn’t be making that decision for anyone else (including any sons I may have in the future).

  264. says

    Audley,

    Point #1: Got it.

    Point #2: Disagree, but that could just as well be me not being a great writer. Growing up with just a mom, I would say I have daddy issues, before mommy ones. I don’t think I was born with testosterone, and being in the military for 19+ years, I am still confused by the way men act (macho bravado and the sexual dehumanizing of women is a huge question mark for me). My wife has two graduate degrees while I am still struggling for my one. I intentionally surround myself with strong women as I relate to them more than I do with men. I always joke I was lucky I learned to pee standing up.

    But the mansplaining is noted and I’ll keep that in mind. This is good info to have. I want to be a better writer and speaker so this is good feedback.

    Now if I can only find a guppy pond to wade into for a while till my wounds heal… :-)

  265. says

    Dan,
    There’s no shame in lurking if you’re willing to learn. I didn’t comment for (I think) about a year before I waded in.

    It pays to get to know the community. If you click on the links that are provided and follow the various discussions closely, you will learn a lot here. Just don’t let yourself dismiss what everyone has to say simply because they’re blunt or using naughty words.

  266. Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff says

    Dear Dan, I’m going to make a suggestion — or give you an instruction, whatever you want to call it.

    There are a few things which set people off here, things/actions/words which you would do well to avoid unless you get off on coarseness, bluntness, and insults.

    1) If you assert something, and a commenter asks you for proof of some kind DO NOT IGNORE THE REQUEST! Present your proof, or go look for it. No proof or support offered for your position and you will be told to fuck off in any number of entertaining ways.

    2) If you are asked repeatedly to clarify or back up some statement DO NOT CONTINUE TO IGNORE SUCH REQUESTS! Multiple requests from other posters mean they are being exceptionally patient and welcoming. And if you absolutely refuse to address the questions posed, the language will become much blunter.

    3) Don’t double-down on your statements if you cannot or will not support them. That make people much angrier, and there are a lot more of them than you.

    4) If you make a mistake, a simple and sincere and not-passive-aggressive apology will quickly accepted. Even our regulars here, who seem to you to be quite abusive, will apologize is made aware of a mistake. We don’t just police you, we police ourselves.

    5) If other posters give you a link, an article, or some writing to study, please study it. Your ignorance will be relieved, as will be the tempers of the other posters.

    5) Don’t hesitate to challenge or correct someone’s assertion of fact if you have reliable contrary information.

    6) Finally, think of this as an intellectual biker bar, complete with the impatience for bullshit and the salty language that you would expect in such a venue.

    Welcome, and get used to pulling your foot out of your mouth.

  267. Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff says

    I should add, that, unlike me, you should use Preview and edit for typos and grammar (sigh, it’s too late . . .)

  268. says

    Hairhead,

    Thanks for the post. All good info.

    6) Finally, think of this as an intellectual biker bar, complete with the impatience for bullshit and the salty language that you would expect in such a venue.

    Perfection! If I knew that at the beginning I would have been more understanding. Also like Audley mentioned, I should have researched the feel of the posts prior to my pointed inputs.

  269. kassad says

    As far as I’ve been able to follow the European Court of Human Rights they’ve swung awfully towards emphasis on religious freedom lately too.

    That might be the more serious problem. While a tendencie toward a crackdown on religious privileges seems to appear in a lot of Europe, it often is, if not created at least encouraged by a large anti-immigrant sentiment (the figure of 15%/20% percent xenephobic inclinations looks common through most of western Europe). More over, contrary to the US, the circumcistion affect ONLY minorities in Europe. It could easily result in a perception of attack toward them and entrench them in a defensive attitude.

    I don’t see the European Court encouraging that by “curtailing religious freedom” right now.

  270. bernarda says

    Smegma is a naturally occurring fatty fluid from evolution that serves health purposes. You can easily look it up or consult sites like Cirp, Circumcision Information and Resource Pages. There also Jewish sites like the Jewish Circumcision Resource Center that show that it is not required of Jews. Why don’t we give all babies an appendectomy so they won’t get appendicitis in later years?

    I once wrote to Amnesty International to ask them why they opposed female mutilation, but not male mutilation. Their excuse was that no international organization had opposed it. Since when does AA need the acceptance of an outside organization?

    ______

    Kassad 263, thank you for well thought-out response, especially your use of such measured vocabulary and not being rude. A few years ago a young Jewish man was kidnapped in France and ransom demanded. The police spent weeks, maybe months, investigating and found the perpetrators, too late though. At around the same time, a black African student was found murdered in Marseille. Of course the police investigated for weeks, but never found the killer and dropped the case. If the African had been Jewish, I think the outcome might have been different.

    “a fucker like you pop up to say “they just leech on Holocaust-guilt!”.” Ya, a fucker like Norman Finkelstein who wrote, “The Holocaust Industry”. Now you will just say that he is a self-hating Jew. That is always the knee-jerk response.

    Xian and Muslim tombs are desecrated every year too. Just because you don’t like someone’s ideas or books, there is no excuse for accepting a violent response to them. As to the Protcols, I said that there were individuals who have such ideas, but there is not organized anti-semitism.

    “Several elected politicians are Holocaust deniers, as well as some historians.” What are the politicians name and at what level are they elected. The “historians” you mention are roundly decried. France has several silly laws prohibiting free speech on different subjects, including Holocaust denial. People have been convicted and fined for it. These laws are criticized by real historians who argue that the state has no business establishing official histories which are the only ones allowed.

  271. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    I once wrote to Amnesty International to ask them why they opposed female mutilation, but not male mutilation. Their excuse was that no international organization had opposed it. Since when does AA need the acceptance of an outside organization?

    Let’s do a thought experiment:

    Let’s imagine that type II and type III FGM (look it up if you don’t know what it is) was unknown in the general public, and only existed in some small regions most people know nothing of. Virtually all FGM is mild type I-variants and has been for centuries.

    Let’s also pretend that the common male variant as following:
    The bottom of the penis is cut open, so the urethra is freed. This is of course done with a dull stone knife without any anaesthetics, but it’s done over some baking hot stones since tradition dictates that the steam from the blood and the urine lessens the pain. The results of this procedure makes the men unable to stand and urinate, and may leave some sexual problems.

    Now, under these two circumstances (we are still being contrafacutal here) – would you fault anyone for combating MGM and not FGM?

    (A small note, the male description here is from a hazy memory, but from a real anthropological work from some pacific tribe*. I don’t remember actually where, and it comes with some caveats. This is the worst male variant I’ve encountered and it still is a walk in the ballpark compared to types II and III of FGM).

    (*This brings some caveats of course. We all know that “What shit can we make the anthropologist believe” is a fun game, especially on New Guinea).

  272. kassad says

    @ bernarda

    A few years ago a young Jewish man was kidnapped in France and ransom demanded. The police spent weeks, maybe months, investigating and found the perpetrators, too late though. At around the same time, a black African student was found murdered in Marseille. Of course the police investigated for weeks, but never found the killer and dropped the case.

    Yeah, funny how this is not a white/black inequality for you, but a Jewish/Black inequality.
    But I guess that it have to do with the fact that the Jews are “more protected by the states in Europe” like you said. A fact that you pulled out of nowhere.

    If the African had been Jewish, I think the outcome might have been different.

    Ok, since we’re apparently allowed to imagined what we want, if he had been christian, I think the police would have found him in 20minute and given him a million euros!

    Ya, a fucker like Norman Finkelstein who wrote, “The Holocaust Industry”. Now you will just say that he is a self-hating Jew. That is always the knee-jerk response.

    I don’t think Norman Finkelstein is a self-hating Jew (sorry). He is quite articulate and rational in his opposition to Israël, even if he sometimes goes over-board (Hamas isn’t as nice as he thinks…). But if you read his book instead of quoting it, you would have seen that “The Holocaust industry” decries almost exclusively american lobbies.

    Moreover the fact that there is a knee-jerk reaction from Zionist to critics DOES NOT MEAN that there isn’t a knee-jerk reaction from anti-Zionist. Which you proved.

    Xian and Muslim tombs are desecrated every year too. Just because you don’t like someone’s ideas or books, there is no excuse for accepting a violent response to them.

    Not with swastika and nazis slogans! Given the fact that at least two of those desacrations were done by pro-palestinian, I guess that bad behavior isn’t only Zionist.
    You still did not explain why the only author you could think of and reference in your first post was a infamous anti-Semite, anti-femisniste and homophobe. And you cite one altercation with him as a symptoms of the presence of “Jewish thugs” in Europe.

    As to the Protcols, I said that there were individuals who have such ideas, but there is not organized anti-semitism.

    It was tracts, distributed by several people at festival and manifestations. How is that not organized?

    “Several elected politicians are Holocaust deniers, as well as some historians.” What are the politicians name and at what level are they elected.

    Of the top of my head, Jean-Marie Le Pen, who was elected at the European parlement, or Roeland Raes, ex-head of one of the largest pro-dutch belgian party. Bruno Gollnisch, elected at the european parlement and several in France (regionale elections). Nikolaos Michaloliakos, whose party gained 21 seat in the recent Greek election. Jörg Haider, who was an Austrian governor. For the rest, do your homework. It is not that hard to find.

    The “historians” you mention are roundly decried. France has several silly laws prohibiting free speech on different subjects, including Holocaust denial. People have been convicted and fined for it. These laws are criticized by real historians who argue that the state has no business establishing official histories which are the only ones allowed.

    No question that these laws are stupid and cowardly. They are toxic exercise in political theatre, especially in France with all the “memory laws” that try to tell historians what to do. But that does not change the fact that several pseudo-historians argued that the Holocaust did not exists, or was exagerated. If you think this is not a symptom of antisemtism in Europe, I don’t know what you need.

    Exept that given your arguments and the fact that you mentionned Soral, I pretty sure that nothing would convince you.

  273. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    Yikes! I didn’t catch who I was speaking to and didn’t catch the under-the-line.

    Kassad did a more thorough job than I would have arsed. I’ll just add some nitpicks for my own amusement:

    organized anti-semitism

    Holy moving goalposts batman!

    What’s next? Racism is only racism when the racist has an armband which says “racist”?

    If the African had been Jewish, I think the outcome might have been different.

    Yes, there are other forms of racism that are worse at the moment than antisemittism. Did anyone claim otherwise? It’s kind of funny actually. In one screed your are sobbing over how Amnesty only focuses on the larger problem, in the next you are using the larger problem to deny the smaller one.

    Of course, that shouldn’t be surprising. Pond-scum like yourself have to maintain a high level of cognitive dissonance to be able to live with yourself I guess.

  274. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    As a Zionist and an American chauvinist, I figure I don’t think about Israel for even 1/2000 of the amount of time I spend thinking about the USA.

    Anyway this “Zionists care more about Israel than their home country” thing is just a rewording of the antisemitic trope that Jews are disloyal to the country where they live — one of the major components of the Dolchstoßlegende.

    It’s silly. In the real world, the only people who commonly have conflicted feelings about two countries they identify with are some — and certainly not all — first-generation immigrants. Show me someone who spent their whole childhood and adolescence in Israel and then moved to another country, and you may have found an individual with conflicting feelings of loyalty. For the average Zionist, Zionism is just one interest among many.

  275. opposablethumbs says

    Dan, if you’re still around (I only dropped back in just now) – may I just say that I hope you do decide to stick around and read and at some point join in again. Lots of people start off with a foot firmly lodged against their molars but later become appreciated Pharyngulites.

    Personally I lurked for quite a while before dipping a toe in. Having been, like most of us, schooled to believe in “civil discussion”, that was what it took for me to grok the difference between the “rude” of using Bad Language from the off and the genuinely unforgivable of erasing another’s voice and experience (and mansplaining and all those other good things. Not saying that’s what you were doing, btw, but that this is typical of what people turn up here with all the time).

    Anyway, from a minnow – welcome to the shark tank.

  276. says

    Gnumann,

    to come back to the issue of bodily autonomy, I went back and checked:

    Art 2 sec 2 guaratees right to life and bodily integrity, which can, however, be restricted by law. (I do understand that the Court has been criticised for taking this issue too lightly in the case of nuclear power stations, though in recent years it seems to have changed its position somewhat).

    Nonetheless we can see that the right to bodily integrity is not an inviolable one, the state can choose to restrict it. So if the legal practice to exclude circumcision from §223 of the Penal Code should become an issue, Parliament could easily choose to amend it to clarify matters (but as I said many legal scholars predict the Court to affirm a right to circumcision for religious reasons).

    The issue of the the children’s autonomy is interesting as well. I have a 924-page handbook on “endangerment of children’s welfare in accordance with §1666 of the Civil Code”, which also explains the legal framework of parental rights.

    First, as long as the child does not have a grasp on their situation and their civil rights, the parents can interpret that for them. The older the child becomes, the less the parents can interpret on behalf of their children.

    The state can be called upon on observing how parents exercise their right to educate their kids (in fact the constitution suggests this should be done by the entire society), and does so through child protection agencies and the family courts. But anything the state does has to be weighed against the constitutionally guaranteed parental rights (so the state always has to choose the mildest measure possible taking into account the severity of the situation)

    The law (§1666) stipulates that

    – either the bodily, mental or spiritual welfare, or the child’s property must be in danger (the law was changed in 2008, taking away the obligation of the state to exactly prove one of four causes)
    – and the parents are not willing or able to take the appopriate steps to avert the danger.

    Family courts over the years have developed some yardsticks by which to assess a given situation:

    – is the danger currently present?
    – how considerable is the damage?
    – how certain is the prediction?

    The law then lists in an escalating order the types of steps the state (agency/court) can take.

    I suspect Norway has a similar framework. It’d be interesting to see how this plays out in practice, though I think usually the state does not get involved in cases of ear piercings (for ear rings) or tattoos.

    chigau

    Hey! Yeah, I’ve been …. away. I’ll post on TET soon…

  277. says

    - either the bodily, mental or spiritual welfare, or the child’s property must be in danger (the law was changed in 2008, taking away the obligation of the state to exactly prove one of four causes)

    to make myself clearer:

    prior to 2008, the state had to prove that either of four causes had led or would lead to the damage on the welfare/property of the child:

    – abusive exercise of parental care
    – negligence
    – parental failure due to no fault of their own
    – behaviour of a third party

    After changing the law, now the state only has to find that the danger to the child exists and the parents aren’t willing or able to do anything about it.

  278. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    Art 2 sec 2 guaratees right to life and bodily integrity, which can, however, be restricted by law

    Oooh – swell! We have no such thing.

    Not that it’s not applied of course, and there are lots and lots and lots of regulations that regulate it, but no higher-level formal laws that says generally “you have the right to bodily integrity”. I ought to learn more about German law, it’s just so damn hard when you don’t know the language…

    I suspect Norway has a similar framework. It’d be interesting to see how this plays out in practice, though I think usually the state does not get involved in cases of ear piercings (for ear rings) or tattoos.

    There’s the general framework for protection of children – from the summary you gave the framework is basically the same. Thankfully there’s in recent years an emphasis on voluntary low-level measures as a main rule – but with loss of custody in cases where’s danger (if things play out in practice as they ought to. It’s on municipality level – and we got 429 of them (in a country of approx 5 million and a very uneven geographical distribution of people. Municipality population varies from 620.000 (Oslo) to 200 (Utsira), so actual capability of the government varies a lot). In addition, Norwegian legal tradition is extremely “soft law” (ie- very open for interpretation).

    This of course makes the principles a bit hard to filter down to the population at large.

    What the officials get involved in and not varies a lot, from place to place and person to person. Simply because the framework is loosely defined (ie – what “harm” is isn’t always easy to gauge, and depends a lot on the eye of the beholder. Especially at the level of psychological harm).

    Outcomes for loss-of-custody cases are generally bad; but I suspect not worse than anywhere else (pure speculation though, I haven’t done my homework on this part).

    So, for instance – letting your 15-year-old go to a scratcher to get neck tattoo? I would say that is negligence. Would child services get involved? Maybe, maybe not (but of course, 15-year-olds getting neck tattoos rarely happen in a vacuum). (And the sad part is that currently the legal culpability of the said scratcher is kinda uncertain).

    A lot is good, but a lot needs clearer definition and further discussion – like the limits of parental consent on bodily integrity. More areas ought to have hard rules like the age of sexual consent. While many assumes that a lot of consent from parents towards their children’s bodies is valid when the child is not mature enough to consent – no-one as far as I know have argued parental consent for sexual acts. Perhaps that ought to be taken a bit further into other fields)

  279. says

    Gnumann,

    I do think that the exercise of parental rights is also tied to the idea of “the child’s welfare” (Kindeswohl). So even if a parent’s action infringes upon the self-determination of a child, if it’s ultimately for the best of the child, it will be lawful, this the more, the younger the child is. So you might argue along these lines regarding the tattoo issue.

    One big question is whether bringing your child up according to the traditions of a religion is in the best interests of a child or not. While many of us here, myself included, would disagree, I’m afraid the Court would hold that it is in the best interests of a child to be raised in their parents’ religion.

  280. says

    Pelamun

    So even if a parent’s action infringes upon the self-determination of a child, if it’s ultimately for the best of the child, it will be lawful, this the more, the younger the child is. So you might argue along these lines regarding the tattoo issue.

    Erm… I’m curious. Would your point about “best for the child” be still valid if the child’s bodily integrity is breached, that too, at an age when it cannot provide consent? (Which is what happens in case of circumcision, no?)

  281. bernarda says

    Kassad, so I use only two or three examples to keep my already long posts shorter. I am not making a shopping list. As to the Le Pen–a war criminal and an admitted torturer in Algeria–he is best known for his comment that the extermination camps were “a point of detail” in WWII. That is an arguable statement, because none of the Allies fought Hitler to save the Jews. They didn’t bomb the camps or the railway lines.

    Several prominent Jews have said that they can’t say he is anti-semitic.

    “Le Cours de Cassation” decided that Gollnisch was not guilty of denying one or several crimes crimes against humanity.

    Furthermore, personal insults have nothing to do in a debate and the right or wrong of someone’s argument.

    Gnumann, I didn’t not move the goal posts, I mentioned the difference between individual and organized acts in my first post. The Tea Party in the U.S. is an example of organized racism.

  282. says

    I
    Hate
    Parental Rights

    Seriously, that’s a fucked up concept in and by itself.
    Parents have no extra-special rights towards thier children. Children are independent human beings, not cattle.
    Parents are stewards of their children’s rights, nothing more.
    Sadly, courts and society don’t agree with me.

    I agree with pelamun that this will have mainly a chilling effect: Doctors who don’t subscribe to Judaism or Islam will be very careful and think of themselves first. Who even wants to risk a court case, even if you win? Risk to be sued later when the boy is an adult who is pretty unhappy with having been circumcised?
    Another possibility will be that sympathetic doctors create a diagnosis to justify the circumcision.

    With respect to this court rule there are several things to mention:
    For all those going on about how harmless it is: this court-case followed the case of a 4 yo who was seriously injured and suffered complications, that’s why state prossecutors took this to court.
    Secondly, the judge very cleverly did’t only talk about religious freedom vs. bodily integrity, but also about religious freedom of the parents vs. the religious freedom of the boy. What about his freedom of religion not to be visibly marked as member of a certain religion?
    As for the balance between religious freedom and bodily autonomy: That exception is not made anywhere else. “Spare the rod, spoil the child” isn’t a valid argument against the ban on corporal punishment. Jehova’s Witnesses frequently lose health-care custody. Seventh Day Adventists have been granted political asylum in the USA because German law bans homeschooling and insists that the kids get taught is a school where they get at least a chance at a different perspective.
    Why make that exception with circumcision?

    +++++

    Wait, is it the norm nowadays that children never see their parents and siblings nakid? That’s insane! No wonder many people have a hard time developing a healthy relationship to their bodies.

    Mr. was asked whether he wore swimming trunks when taking a bath with our daughters by a colleague.
    To us it is important that the kids know how naked bodies look like, that there’s nothing bad o shameful about them. They are allowed and encouraged to ask and look. Naturally, the only penis in the house causes some interest…

  283. says

    Giliell,

    the way I see it, circumcision is not an exception. It falls under Art 4 (religious freedom) and Art 6 (parental rights), and that’s it.

    Schooling is defined in Art 7 as being under the auspices of the state, and here the Court has found that as long as the school is presenting the subject matter in a neutral way, it cannot be construed as being infringing upon either the parents’ rights or religious freedom.

    Health-related custody issues come up when there is considerable danger for the child. I would suspect that the Court would not find circumcision of male infants to constitute a considerable danger to the child, but I would certainly welcome it if the Court would take up the matter (in a different case since this one won’t be appealed).

    In many matters, Art 4 does make the difference, unfortunately. For instance, the difference between religious and mundane bell-ringing. When a church rings the bells at 6am for religious purposes, this is lawful, otherwise it can be a nuisance the neighbours can sue against.

  284. says

    “Spare the rod, spoil the child”: until the Civil Code was amended (the last time in 2000), corporeal punishment was actually legal. However, Art 4 is not restrictable by law, so you can only weigh other constitutional rights against it, like Art 2 sec 2 (“bodily integrity”) and Art 1 (“human dignity”), but then also on the other side Art 6 sec 2 (“parental rights”). How a corporeal punishment case would be decided by the court is something that would interest me greatly.

  285. says

    Pelamun (good to see you back, btw)

    Schooling is defined in Art 7 as being under the auspices of the state, and here the Court has found that as long as the school is presenting the subject matter in a neutral way, it cannot be construed as being infringing upon either the parents’ rights or religious freedom.

    Obviously the parents disagreed.
    The US court that granted them asylum disagreed.
    So, in fact, courts do frequently rule that in the case of conflict between two constitutonal issues freedom of religion does take a backseat (although the word it differently).

    Health-related custody issues come up when there is considerable danger for the child. I would suspect that the Court would not find circumcision of male infants to constitute a considerable danger to the child, but I would certainly welcome it if the Court would take up the matter (in a different case since this one won’t be appealed).

    yeah, but that’s what we’re actually talking about here: a boy’s life and health were greatly endangered by a (non-botched) non-necessary circumcision. That’s kind of a precedent case. Again I see a chilling effect here: would a doctor risk compensation payments because of that?

    n many matters, Art 4 does make the difference, unfortunately.

    Yep, sadly yes. That’s why I think it was good of the judge to bring up the religious freedom of the child. Because unlike a baptism, a circumcision cannot be simply ignored, have your name taken out of the lists, etc…

    “Spare the rod, spoil the child”: until the Civil Code was amended (the last time in 2000), corporeal punishment was actually legal.

    I know. And it’s sickening to think that I could already have been married by the time rape within marriage was outlawed.
    Yet in the last years corts have weighed the wellfare of the child as more and more important, like in visitation rights and stuff.
    Still, not enough in many respects, but it’s a start.

  286. says

    Just as a quick post, the Research Service of the Bundestag has published the following review of the verdict:

    http://t.co/YHVWXakM

    According to their research, the criminal justice literature agrees that circumcision constitutes bodily harm according to §223 Penal Code, but also points out that this has not been taken up by the Constitutional Court. §224 “Dangerous bodily harm” has been explicitly denied, and amending §223 to except religiously motivated cases of bodily harm, as insinuated by Volker Beck, would be fully constitutional.

  287. says

    to come back to Giliell’s post:

    Obviously the parents disagreed.
    The US court that granted them asylum disagreed.
    So, in fact, courts do frequently rule that in the case of conflict between two constitutonal issues freedom of religion does take a backseat (although the word it differently).

    This is because religious freedom as defined in Art 4 gets its limits in other civil rights as defined by the basic law/constitution. So, religious freedom cannot be infringed upon by law, but it can be limited by another constitutional right.

    And as I said, I see Art 2/2 as substantially weaker than Art 7, so I do believe that in the circumcision case, Art 4 would prevail.

    US law does not apply, but of course the US is free to interpret the matter according to its law.

    yeah, but that’s what we’re actually talking about here: a boy’s life and health were greatly endangered by a (non-botched) non-necessary circumcision. That’s kind of a precedent case. Again I see a chilling effect here: would a doctor risk compensation payments because of that?

    Which is why some people advocate changing no223 of the Penal Code to explicitly allow circumcision on religious grounds. I’m opposed to it because I oppose having yet another instance of religious privilege made into an explicit law (even though I do understand the reasoning behind it). I would prefer a ruling by the Constitutional Court because that would mean clarity on the matter. The bigger the chilling effect becomes, the greater the possibility, no223 will actually be amended.

    I know. And it’s sickening to think that I could already have been married by the time rape within marriage was outlawed.
    Yet in the last years corts have weighed the wellfare of the child as more and more important, like in visitation rights and stuff.
    Still, not enough in many respects, but it’s a start.

    I think visitation rights is a different issue, the child’s welfare is defined as paramount in the Civil Code no1626, it’s the interpretation of that law that has been changing. In the case of religion, we get a clash of civil rights, which ultimately can only be resolved by the Constitutional Court.

    I still don’t know the answer to my question if corporal punishment would be allowed if it was according to the parents’ religious conviction. Then you would have another instance of Art 2/2 directly in opposition to Art 4 and 6/2.

  288. says

    As I am quiet new in Jewish, looking around for some Jewish information> Got something important here. Nice to get it.
    This piece goo.gl/DT6FN of video helped me forgive and let go of my frustration.