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No more mangled wee-wees!

Mano Singham has discovered a good analysis of the claim that circumcision has health benefits. I agree with it entirely, because I looked at those same papers and came to the same conclusion a year ago! So they must be right.

The analysis points out a few new things I hadn’t noticed, in addition to the bad experimental design and the inflated statistics: the results were confounded by the fact that the newly circumcised individuals also got additional counseling about safe sex, and were restricted in their sexual practices by their surgical wounds. It’s bad research coming to impractical and unrealistic conclusions, and they suggest that there are better answers than promoting this shaky idea that circumcision reduces the risk of AIDS.

Rather than wasting resources on circumcision, which is less effective, more expensive, and more invasive, focusing on iatrogenic sources and secondary prevention should be the priority, since it provides the most impact for the resources expended.

Exactly — the defense of circumcision is ludicrous, it’s an unnecessary cosmetic surgery promoted entirely for historically religious reasons, and it’s time to stop.

Comments

  1. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ Ace of Stevens

    What gets me is how this was widely accepted by people who freak out at the thought of a five-year-old getting their ears pierced.

    You know, I still remember when a lady came to my house when I was like 3 or 4 years old and I hid under the table because I knew she was there to pierce my ears, and I didn’t want to go through the pain.

    I also still remember that my mom dragged me from under the table and forced me to stay put, because apparently having a 3 year old daughter conforming to patriarchal standards by having her ears pierced is more important than whether you are putting your child through unnecessary pain and choosing to ignore the risk for medical complications.

    People advocating for mauling kids’ genitalia do so because they know the kids can’t fight back. If they left it up to the adults to decide instead of forcing the procedure on them when they are children, the number of circumcisions would probably decrease.

  2. says

    Butchpansy:

    This is the new, endless MRA thread, yes/ no?

    Nah, they only get involved in order to shut us uppity feminists up. If the MRA crowd can’t whine “but what about teh menz??” they just don’t give two shits.

    OP:

    It’s bad research coming to impractical and unrealistic conclusions, and they suggest that there are better answers than promoting this shaky idea that circumcision reduces the risk of AIDS.

    Condoms for everyone!

    *throws condom-fetti!*

  3. says

    If I ever have children, though I am Jewish, I plan on letting any male ones decide if they want a circumcision when they are able to do so. I don’t have any complaints about mine, but don’t see the point.

  4. Walton says

    This is the new, endless MRA thread, yes/ no?

    You’d think so, but the hallmark of the true male supremacist* is that they complain about male circumcision only when other people are trying to talk about female genital mutilation. They’re completely silent on the subject otherwise. They only bring it up in order to silence Teh Icky Feminists.

    (*I refuse to call them “men’s rights activists”, since they have no interest in anybody’s rights. They’re male supremacists.)

    ===

    I agree with PZ that the defence of circumcision on health grounds is weak, and that there is no very good reason why male infants should be circumcised by default. I’m not circumcised myself (neither are most British men who aren’t Jewish or Muslim), and I wouldn’t have any child of mine circumcised, if I had children.

    However, I would add that I really don’t think that the practice of infant male circumcision should be illegal. If it were to be made illegal, such a ban, to be effective, would have to be enforced by the state – in the last resort, presumably, by the threat of sending parents to prison for non-compliance, and/or taking kids away from their parents and putting them into state care. This would be far more harmful to the child’s interests, and far more traumatic for the child, than being circumcised is. There are plenty of otherwise kind and loving families who have their children circumcised (for religious reasons or otherwise), and it would be hugely disproportionate to label those people as “child abusers” and subject them to criminal sanctions. I know PZ wasn’t explicitly arguing for such measures, but I think it’s important to make the point that it would not be a good idea.

  5. klatu says

    If the arguments in favour of genital mutilation are so damn lucid, why can’t they be explained to children when they’re mature enough to be able to comprehend them? If confronted with Reason™, surely they will understand why their genitalia need to be hacked up.

  6. says

    Captaintripps:

    If I ever have children, though I am Jewish, I plan on letting any male ones decide if they want a circumcision when they are able to do so

    It took me years to convince my (Jewish) husband that tradition be damned, circumcision is bad. Once he finally completely let go of God, he was able to see how much nonsense his arguments were.

    I’m proud of him.

    Of course, this revelation happened a week before we found out that I’m pregnant with a girl. :D

  7. smhll says

    However, I would add that I really don’t think that the practice of infant male circumcision should be illegal.

    I’ll make the leap and conflate the two “circumcisions”. It damned well better be illegal to remove a baby’s clitoris (unless it’s about to explode, or something.) Therefore, I am willing to consider making it illegal to remove a baby’s foreskin. I chose not to circumcize my son, who is now grown, because it is an irreversible change to his body that may affect functionality. If he ever wants to remove his foreskin (doubtful), he is free to do so.

    Half of the reason that I decided not to have this operation performed on my son was listening to men who were upset about being circumcized call into a radio show in which Alice Walker was talking about female genital mutilation (FGM). I listened to them and accepted their feelings as legitimate. (I hate to give some of the subject-changers the satisfaction, but I feel obliged to be fair.)

  8. says

    I just want to say that I love wee-wees, mangled or otherwise.

    smhll:

    I’ll make the leap and conflate the two “circumcisions”.

    Uh-oh. Now you’ve done it. Buckle your seat belts, Horde.

  9. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    Even if the studies deep flaws are overlooked, there was something in at least one of them that the m->f transition risk actually increased.

    So: “Nevermind the women, this decreases risk to men” was something several authorities (including the WHO) was prepared to accept.

    Fuckers!

    It’s the unholy combination of three misogynistic religions lobbying, one against condoms, two for mangling children.

  10. Walton says

    As regards making it illegal. To my way of thinking, it doesn’t matter whether it’s harmful or not. Even if it’s unharmful, it’s unnecessary cosmetic surgery on a person who, by definition, cannot make an informed choice. So yes, it should be illegal.

    How would you enforce your ban? Do you think it would be reasonable and proportionate to threaten parents with being sent to prison, and/or with having their children taken away by the state, because they had their infant son circumcised? Do you think this would be in the child’s best interests?

    I wish we could have fewer arguments from Lofty Principle on this subject, and more engagement with how such a ban would actually be enforced in practice. Putting parents in prison, and/or taking kids away from their parents and putting them into state care, is incredibly traumatic and damaging for children – much more damaging than being circumcised is. If we’re putting the children’s interests first in this debate – as we should be – then it’s hard for me to see how criminalizing circumcision could be a reasonable measure.

  11. ManOutOfTime says

    Religious Jews will smack you down hard if you mention that some of Jewish ritual has its roots in hygiene – ritual hand washing, for nstance, has probably saved some people from nasty bugs – but how boy are they all over the health benefits of the peepee clipping! Which makes sense because it’s BS! Which makes it all the more useful an argument!

  12. says

    Walton

    There are other punishments than prison. I’m guessing that there’s already some way of punishing a surgeon or other person who performs other kinds of unnecessary surgery without the informed consent of the person being operated on. I don’t see why removal of a perfectly healthy foreskin should be considered any different. Even a tattooist will be punished for knowingly tattooing a minor.

    As for the parents, if they can’t see the difference between being a guardian and being an owner, able to ‘customise’ their ‘possession’ as they see fit, then there are also systems in place to examine whether they are considered fit to bring up a child.

  13. says

    Walton,
    I’ve got an idea that makes me feel totally sleazy on the inside: make it illegal for doctors and mohels and whoever else regularly performs circumcions to do it.

    Ugh ugh ugh. I feel dirty just thinking that.

    I think before we decide whether or not to criminalize infant circumcision, we should try to educate Americans* until they understand that holy crap, it is not necessary. We need to let go of this silly death grip we have on cut penises.

    *Sorry, the rest of the world.

  14. Don Quijote says

    @ Walton;

    How about punishing the person who performs circumcision illegaly?

  15. FluffyTheTerrible says

    Educate all you want, but people are going to use the Religion! card on you, and try to say you are robbing them of their culture… or something.

    You need to have some sort of firm policy in place that makes it impossible for parents to have their children circumcised.
    We all know religious bigots don’t stop doing something harmful in the name of their religion until they are forced to do so, usually by legal means.

    Just think what happened when Jessica Ahlquist pointed out prayer in school was in direct opposition to the Constitution. The fundies didn’t stop until they were forced to.

    Obviously, I’m not saying awareness campaigns wouldn’t work, but they have to be framed as combating unnecessary, hurtful and potentially risky medical procedures.

  16. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    How would you enforce your ban? Do you think it would be reasonable and proportionate to threaten parents with being sent to prison, and/or with having their children taken away by the state, because they had their infant son circumcised? Do you think this would be in the child’s best interests?

    I wish we could have fewer arguments from Lofty Principle on this subject, and more engagement with how such a ban would actually be enforced in practice. Putting parents in prison, and/or taking kids away from their parents and putting them into state care, is incredibly traumatic and damaging for children – much more damaging than being circumcised is. If we’re putting the children’s interests first in this debate – as we should be – then it’s hard for me to see how criminalizing circumcision could be a reasonable measure.

    Depends on which variant we’re talking about. The USAian non-religious variant could perhaps be stopped by fines and/or measures against perpetrators.

    For the religious variant, I think fines would just effect to a tax on circumcision. That would stop some, but not too many, and this at the cost of further othering of already marginalized groups(at least in a European context).

  17. Tyrant al-Kalām says

    Heard a discussion on that topic (well I wish it had been on that topic) on a very respectable german radio station (you know, one of those official politically correct ones) due to the recent court ruling in Cologne. Wow was that irritating. As a guest they had a surgeon on from Heidelberg, so you would hope that he would provide all the statistics, studies and science to put the discussion on firm ground, but he was going on and on abou how he was personally totally OK with circumcision of small boys because it is so important to people culturally, and yes, of course, the kids maybe can’t walk straight or pee for a weak, but that’s not worth mentioning, really, because they’ll forget anyways, and when they later, in the locker room, look at peers from their own cultural background (in our case: mostly muslims from turkey) and see that their pee pee looks the same, that would be an essential part of their cultural identity. I thought to myself, what a joke of a physician.

  18. says

    Just to clarify my second paragraph at #18:

    I don’t mean to say that having your child circumcised should automatically lead to the child being placed in care. I do think, however, that it should, in any sane and just state, lead to your fitness as a parent being examined. It seems indicative, to me, of someone who views a child as property without rights of its own.

  19. says

    Fluffy:

    Educate all you want, but people are going to use the Religion! card on you, and try to say you are robbing them of their culture… or something.

    I’m well aware of this (having Jewish family), but in the US the vast majority of circumcisions aren’t done on religious grounds and we should tackle those first (since I bet it’d be easier to put a stop to the “but everyone else does it!” reasoning than the religious reasons).

  20. efogoto says

    “We need to let go of this silly death grip we have on cut penises.”

    I winced.

  21. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    I’ve got an idea that makes me feel totally sleazy on the inside: make it illegal for doctors and mohels and whoever else regularly performs circumcions to do it.

    Might work for the USAian variant, won’t make much difference in Europe (and might kill quite a lot of little boys too).

  22. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ Audley

    I confess I didn’t go looking for a statistical break down of the categories/reasons for circumcisions. If they are done on mostly non-religious reasons, it should be easier to reduce the incidence of cases.

    I still think the argument should primarily be a medical one – as in, unncessary, risky procedure – because getting bogged down in *but my reliogious customs!!* will not get us very far in trying to eradicate the practice.

  23. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    Damn my US focus!

    It’s ok. The US custom is of course the worse since it’s reason is no longer remembered by americans, and that reason is pretty horrid in it self.

    So it’s got to go. And it’s the easiest one to combat. Might as well start there.

    I think rather the problem is me (surely) and Walton (possibly) indulging in a bit of European navel-gazing.

  24. Alantas says

    Reading the proposed approaches to banning it, the analogy comes to my mind about how anti-abortion people propose banning abortion. (Threatening the doctors with sanctions, mandatory persuasion against it, etc.) It feels like a double standard.

    So, it may be useful to evaluate an anti-circumcision approach in light of: how would we feel about an analogous anti-abortion approach? To attack the latter is to attack the former, unless a way can be shown how the comparison is unwarranted (for example, a baby boy can’t grant or withhold consent, while a pregnant woman can).

    An approach that fulfills the anti-circumcision and pro-choice positions, while remaining ethical in both contexts, has a stronger foundation from which it can be defended, because it’s less likely to involve double standards.

  25. says

    Having undergone the procedure as newborn over 60 years ago, I have no redress on the procedure. My oldest step grandson did not have it performed and he still has chronic problems with mild phimosis on occasions. At one time, I have heard, the US military did the procedure on new uncircumcised recruits.

    And last, an article authored from one of my Medical School Professors, from long ago:

    http://www.cirp.org/library/general/morgan/

  26. says

    Audley:

    It took me years to convince my (Jewish) husband that tradition be damned, circumcision is bad. Once he finally completely let go of God, he was able to see how much nonsense his arguments were.

    Godsdamn, he finally got it? Yay, Mr. Darkheart! I’m proud of him too.

  27. says

    Alantas

    I don’t see how it’s analogous to abortion. Abortion is elective; child-circumcision isn’t.

    If a surgeon were to remove, say, one of my kidneys, or any other body-part, without there being a medical need for the operation, and without my consent, s/he would be most likely struck off and fined for acting unethically. I really don’t understand why a foreskin is considered a special case.

  28. Beatrice says

    So, it may be useful to evaluate an anti-circumcision approach in light of: how would we feel about an analogous anti-abortion approach? To attack the latter is to attack the former, unless a way can be shown how the comparison is unwarranted (for example, a baby boy can’t grant or withhold consent, while a pregnant woman can).

    What? Your comparison sucks.

    The only thing similar that comes to mind is possibility of the equivalent of back alley abortions. That is, parents finding unqualified people to preform circumcision and permanently harm (or kill if some nasty infection takes place) little boys.

  29. says

    @Alantas

    Reading the proposed approaches to banning it, the analogy comes to my mind about how anti-abortion people propose banning abortion. (Threatening the doctors with sanctions, mandatory persuasion against it, etc.) It feels like a double standard.

    Thinkin’: Ur doin it rong. See, e.g., false equivalence.

    So, it may be useful to evaluate an anti-circumcision approach in light of: how would we feel about an analogous anti-abortion approach?

    Or maybe, you know, not.

    To attack the latter is to attack the former, unless a way can be shown how the comparison is unwarranted (for example, a baby boy can’t grant or withhold consent, while a pregnant woman can).

    So close.

    An approach that fulfills the anti-circumcision and pro-choice positions, while remaining ethical in both contexts, has a stronger foundation from which it can be defended, because it’s less likely to involve double standards.

    Google “personal autonomy.” Read. Then come back and explain how anti-circumcision and pro-choice are antithetical positions, and how the defense of both requires a “double standard.”

  30. says

    @Audley Z. Darkheart (liar and scoundrel)#19
    Why does that make you feel sleazy inside? As far as I’m concerned, a doctor who performs medically unnecessary circumcisions should lose their license to practice medicine, and mohels should be charged with practicing medicine without a license (as should delicensed doctors, if they keep it up). Where’s the problem?

    @Alantas #32
    What part of the difference between your body and someone else’s body are you having trouble grasping. Pull your head out of your ass.

  31. Forbidden Snowflake says

    Reading the proposed approaches to banning it, the analogy comes to my mind about how anti-abortion people propose banning abortion. (Threatening the doctors with sanctions, mandatory persuasion against it, etc.) It feels like a double standard.

    These are the regular means by which an undesirable medical procedure can be marginalized and discouraged. Whether this is ethical or unethical depends strictly on the procedure itself: whether it’s medically necessary and ethical.
    Would you have a problem with using the same measures to prevent FGM? While this comparison is problematic, it’s still much more apt than the comparison to abortion. And it would really make more sense to compare abortion to grown men getting themselves circumcised rather than to infant circumcision.

  32. says

    Back-alley circumcisions already exist. They’re done by moyles. The ones done by doctors are not usually religiously motivated and would be easier to persuade people on.

  33. Beatrice says

    But if we criminalize it, think of the back-alley circumcisions!

    It does sound ridiculous, but I imagine some parents might decide to find someone non-professional to perform circumcision, you know how religion makes people. Still, since I doubt the harm could be in any way comparable to the harm done by banning abortion, the whole comparison is pretty shaky.

    I am for criminalizing circumcision. I just noted that religion makes people do stupid things.

  34. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    If memory serves, it was an anti-masturbatory measure, yes?

    Yup. Doesn’t work very well tough (especially since the advent of body lotion/hand cream/lube)

  35. says

    Dalillama:

    Why does that make you feel sleazy inside? As far as I’m concerned, a doctor who performs medically unnecessary circumcisions should lose their license to practice medicine, and mohels should be charged with practicing medicine without a license (as should delicensed doctors, if they keep it up). Where’s the problem?

    I know it’s a false equivalence, but as soon as I thought of it I realized that I was making the same argument as anti-choicers. It wasn’t at all rational, but that’s how I felt when I wrote it, ‘cos I don’t like sounding like those assholes. *shrugs*

    That said, I would prefer not to make circumcision illegal as the first step, at least in the States. I think that a strong public awareness campaign could do wonders, whereas just criminalizing the procedure will have the religious screeching about persecution and First Amendment rights and all of that bullshit.

  36. Beatrice says

    The only thing similar that comes to mind is possibility of the equivalent of back alley abortions.

    I fell like a shit for using the word equivalent here. It’s in no way equivalent, it’s not even close.

    Let’s just keep my first sentence there, that the comparison of banning circumcision and abortion sucks.

    Sorry.

  37. says

    Clearly, the solution is to go into as many public forums as possible and begin discussing FGM.

    Once men show up and begin discussing the horrors of male circumcision, there really won’t be any quieting them down. Nothing more for us to do.

  38. Aquaria says

    So, it may be useful to evaluate an anti-circumcision approach in light of: how would we feel about an analogous anti-abortion approach? To attack the latter is to attack the former, unless a way can be shown how the comparison is unwarranted (for example, a baby boy can’t grant or withhold consent, while a pregnant woman can).

    This is a ridiculous argument, because it assumes no procedures are illegal–when they are, right now. Removing someone’s functioning and healthy heart or brain is illegal. FGM is illegal in several countries. By your so-called logic, it wouldn’t be. And couldn’t be.

    What’s the difference if we extend the FGM laws to male genital mutilation?

  39. says

    How would you enforce your ban?

    Make it a very serious crime to perform the operation, and then invest in education to overcome the “no it’s GOOD FOR YOU!” nonsense. Sure, there’d be a few back-alley-mohels (good punk band name, really) but they’d be easy to round up. Say a child comes into the hospital with (something) and is discovered to have mutilated genitals. Police are called and ask the parents “who did the operation? Either you take the fall or you give up the person who did it…”

  40. says

    I imagine some parents might decide to find someone non-professional to perform circumcision

    Already happens. Bill Cosby tells some pretty funny stories about his experience as an amateur penis-cutter. I always hoped that it was mostly comedic hyperbole…

    Mine was performed by some doctor at a general hospital in the 60s and, apparently, I was a practice round for him or something. He didn’t do a very good job (but it could have been LOTS worse so I am not complaining)

  41. Alantas says

    An ethical concern had occured to me, and it’s good to see that it’s been solidly refuted. With that, comes clarity: personal autonomy (#39) is the basis on which one can oppose circumcision while defending abortion.

    —————

    I agree with Audley Z. Darkheart at #48: Maybe it should just be made illegal outright, rather than going for the middle-ground position – education, pretty-please, etc – at the outset, as though that were the goal rather than a concession of it.

    Easier to ask for forgiveness than permission, after all, and right-wingers aren’t inclined to grant either. I’d rather lack their forgiveness than lack their permission.

  42. sawells says

    Has it really, seriously, taken this long for someone to point out that the people in the study who had just got circumcised were probably having less sex than the ones who didn’t have bleeding penile wounds? Really? This wasn’t flagged in the study?

  43. Walton says

    Make it a very serious crime to perform the operation, and then invest in education to overcome the “no it’s GOOD FOR YOU!” nonsense. Sure, there’d be a few back-alley-mohels (good punk band name, really) but they’d be easy to round up. Say a child comes into the hospital with (something) and is discovered to have mutilated genitals. Police are called and ask the parents “who did the operation? Either you take the fall or you give up the person who did it…”

    Which is a catastrophically bad idea. I am trying to point out that this kind of reaction is hugely disproportionate to the actual harm caused by circumcision. Criminalizing people and sending them to prison ruins lives, and it should not be done without a damn good reason. Doubly so when the people criminalized are parents who will be separated from their children, ruining life for the children as well as the adults.

    For the religious variant, I think fines would just effect to a tax on circumcision. That would stop some, but not too many, and this at the cost of further othering of already marginalized groups(at least in a European context).

    Yes, that’s another concern I have – especially as regards Muslim religious circumcisions, when Muslims are already a marginalized and oppressed group in Western countries. You’d essentially be giving cops another convenient excuse to harass Muslims.

    @ Walton;

    How about punishing the person who performs circumcision illegaly?

    Well, you could probably stop doctors performing circumcisions by threatening to take away their licences to practice medicine. And that might stop most non-religious circumcisions (in the US; non-religious circumcisions are not common in the UK, or, as far as I know, in most other countries). But it obviously wouldn’t stop religious circumcisions.

    Of course you could go for the nuclear option: make it criminal to be a mohel, or whatever. But I think it’s obvious that many people who believe in circumcision as a tenet of their religious faith would not suddenly stop circumcising their children merely because it was banned. Better, I think, for it to be legal and regulated for maximum safety, rather than illegal and pushed underground. And if you actually enforced your ban vigorously in practice, you’re talking, potentially, about putting a lot of people in prison and ruining a lot of lives.

  44. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    However, I would add that I really don’t think that the practice of infant male circumcision should be illegal. If it were to be made illegal, such a ban, to be effective, would have to be enforced by the state – in the last resort, presumably, by the threat of sending parents to prison for non-compliance, and/or taking kids away from their parents and putting them into state care.

    Why? It seems to me that targeting the supply side would be more effective – remove religious exemptions for practice of surgery without a medical license, and forbid physicians from performing medically unnecessary surgeries on minors.

  45. Walton says

    I want to reiterate that I’m not at all pro-circumcision. I’m not circumcised, I wouldn’t have my children circumcised (if I had any), and I don’t believe it’s useful or medically beneficial. I’m just very worried about the prospect of criminalizing the procedure, and the human consequences of actually enforcing such a ban. I think it’s very dangerous to leap from “X is a bad idea” to “X should be outlawed” without analyzing the actual consequences for those affected.

  46. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Reading the proposed approaches to banning it, the analogy comes to my mind about how anti-abortion people propose banning abortion. (Threatening the doctors with sanctions, mandatory persuasion against it, etc.) It feels like a double standard.

    So, it may be useful to evaluate an anti-circumcision approach in light of: how would we feel about an analogous anti-abortion approach? To attack the latter is to attack the former, unless a way can be shown how the comparison is unwarranted (for example, a baby boy can’t grant or withhold consent, while a pregnant woman can).

    An approach that fulfills the anti-circumcision and pro-choice positions, while remaining ethical in both contexts, has a stronger foundation from which it can be defended, because it’s less likely to involve double standards.

    Are you fucking serious?

  47. Walton says

    A hypothetical: If we replace ‘circumcision’ with ‘branding’ and give branding all the same religion-derived social acceptance, would you be as staunchly anti-criminalisation of those who brand children?

    If not, what would be the moral difference?

    Well, to start with, branding would be much more harmful than circumcision. There are plenty of practices which are socially accepted in many societies and which are extremely harmful – violent “corporal punishment” of children, for example, and FGM – which absolutely should be illegal, and which I have repeatedly argued should be illegal. (There are entire threads here, or were, in which I argued for an outright ban on “corporal punishment”.)

    Male circumcision, however, does not cause really serious harm to most people. Banning it, by contrast, would ruin a lot of lives – because if you want your ban to be effective, you would have to be willing to send people to prison for circumcising children, and/or for having their children circumcised. It seems to me to be an overreaction to the problem, and one which would cause more problems than it solved.

    ===

    I think there’s a privilege issue here, too. Given the amount of discrimination, stigma and harassment that Muslims in Western countries already face, it seems to me that such a law would just give cops and prosecutors another excuse to harass Muslims.

  48. tsig says

    After reading many threads on many forums about circumcision here is what I hear.

    To the tune of “I love you Conrad” from “Bye Bye Birdie”.

    I love my penis

    Oh yes I do

    And to my penis, I’ll be true

    I love my penis and so should you

    Oh penis I love you.

  49. says

    Walton

    Why I picked branding as a comparison. A swift, light touch with a branding-iron will produce a relatively light burn, if not botched. It’ll heal quickly if properly care is given, but leave a permanent mark. As such, it makes a nice comparison with circumcision, which also leads to no ill effects if the operation and after-care are competent, and also leaves a permanent ‘mark.’

    Given the above caveats, would you answer, rather than evade, the question please: Would you be as staunchly anti-criminalisation of child-branders as of child-circumcisers, and if not, what is the moral difference?

  50. says

    @Walton
    I have no hesitation in arguing that people who will mutilate a child to make their imaginary friend happy are not fit custodians of that child. Given the other things that popular imaginary friends allegedly demand, I can on no account trust such individuals to respect any rights or autonomy on the part of the child. Doing it to ‘match friends/dad/whoever’ is just as bad, for similar reasons, although I make exceptions in cases where a physician does it without consulting the parents, which I understand happens sometimes in the states, in which case the physician is the culpable one.

  51. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Schneider, et al. “A Protective Effect of Circumcision Among Receptive Male Sex Partners of Indian Men Who Have Sex with Men”. AIDS and Behavior. 2012. DOI: 10.1007/s10461-011-9982-2

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/e8076550l2l0n14v/

    The role of circumcision in the transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) among men who have sex with men (MSM) in resource restricted regions is poorly understood. This study explored the association of circumcision with HIV seroprevalence, in conjunction with other risk factors such as marriage and sex position, for a population of MSM in India. Participants (n = 387) were recruited from six drop-in centers in a large city in southern India. The overall HIV prevalence in this sample was high, at 18.6%. Bivariate and multivariable analyses revealed a concentration of risk among receptive only, married, and uncircumcised MSM, with HIV prevalence in this group reaching nearly 50%. The adjusted odds of HIV infection amongst circumcised men was less than one fifth that of uncircumcised men [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 0.17; 95% CI 0.07–0.46; P < 0.001]. Within the group of receptive only MSM, infection was found to be lower among circumcised individuals (AOR, 0.30, 95% CI 0.12–0.76; P < 0.05) in the context of circumcised MSM engaging in more UAI, having a more recent same sex encounter and less lubricant use when compared to uncircumcised receptive men. To further explain these results, future studies should focus on epidemiologic analyses of risk, augmented by social and sexual network analyses of MSM mixing.

  52. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Gray, et al. “The effectiveness of male circumcision for HIV prevention and effects on risk behaviors in a posttrial follow-up study.” AIDS. 2012 Mar 13; 26(5):609-15.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22210632

    BACKGROUND:
    The efficacy of male circumcision for HIV prevention over 2 years has been demonstrated in three randomized trials, but the longer-term effectiveness of male circumcision is unknown.

    METHODS:
    We conducted a randomized trial of male circumcision in 4996 HIV-negative men aged 15-49 in Rakai, Uganda. Following trial closure, we offered male circumcision to control participants and have maintained surveillance for up to 4.79 years. HIV incidence per 100 person-years was assessed in an as-treated analysis, and the effectiveness of male circumcision was estimated using Cox regression models, adjusted for sociodemographic and time-dependent sexual behaviors. For men uncircumcised at trial closure, sexual risk behaviors at the last trial and first posttrial visits were assessed by subsequent circumcision acceptance to detect behavioral risk compensation.

    RESULTS:
    By 15 December 2010, 78.4% of uncircumcised trial participants accepted male circumcision following trial closure. During posttrial surveillance, overall HIV incidence was 0.50/100 person-years in circumcised men and 1.93/100 person-years in uncircumcised men {adjusted effectiveness 73% [95% confidence interval (CI) 55-84%]}. In control arm participants, posttrial HIV incidence was 0.54/100 person-years in circumcised and 1.71/100 person-years in uncircumcised men [adjusted effectiveness 67% (95% CI 38-83%)]. There were no significant differences in sociodemographic characteristics and sexual behaviors between controls accepting male circumcision and those remaining uncircumcised.

    CONCLUSION:
    High effectiveness of male circumcision for HIV prevention was maintained for almost 5 years following trial closure. There was no self-selection or evidence of behavioral risk compensation associated with posttrial male circumcision acceptance.

  53. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Mehta, et al. “Circumcision status and incident herpes simplex virus type 2 infection, genital ulcer disease, and HIV infection.” AIDS. 2012 Jun 1; 26(9):1141-9.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22382150

    OBJECTIVE:
    : We assessed the protective effect of medical male circumcision (MMC) against HIV, herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), and genital ulcer disease (GUD) incidence.

    DESIGN:
    : Two thousand, seven hundred and eighty-seven men aged 18-24 years living in Kisumu, Kenya were randomly assigned to circumcision (n=1391) or delayed circumcision (n = 1393) and assessed by HIV and HSV-2 testing and medical examinations during follow-ups at 1, 3, 6, 12, 18, and 24 months.

    METHODS:
    : Cox regression estimated the risk ratio of each outcome (incident HIV, GUD, HSV-2) for circumcision status and multivariable models estimated HIV risk associated with HSV-2, GUD, and circumcision status as time-varying covariates.

    RESULTS:
    : HIV incidence was 1.42 per 100 person-years. Circumcision was 62% protective against HIV [risk ratio = 0.38; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.22-0.67] and did not change when controlling for HSV-2 and GUD (risk ratio = 0.39; 95% CI 0.23-0.69). GUD incidence was halved among circumcised men (risk ratio = 0.52; 95% CI 0.37-0.73). HSV-2 incidence did not differ by circumcision status (risk ratio  = 0.94; 95% CI 0.70-1.25). In the multivariable model, HIV seroconversions were tripled (risk ratio = 3.44; 95% CI 1.52-7.80) among men with incident HSV-2 and seven times greater (risk ratio = 6.98; 95% CI 3.50-13.9) for men with GUD.

    CONCLUSION:
    : Contrary to findings from the South African and Ugandan trials, the protective effect of MMC against HIV was independent of GUD and HSV-2, and MMC had no effect on HSV-2 incidence. Determining the causes of GUD is necessary to reduce associated HIV risk and to understand how circumcision confers protection against GUD and HIV.

  54. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Krieger, John N. “Male circumcision and HIV infection risk ” World Journal of Urology. 2012. DOI: 10.1007/s00345-011-0696-x

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/g5x2m107374r3734/

    Background
    Male circumcision is being promoted to reduce human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV) infection rates. This review evaluates the scientific evidence suggesting that male circumcision reduces HIV infection risk in high-risk heterosexual populations.

    Methods
    We followed the updated International Consultation on Urological Diseases evidence-based medicine recommendations to critically review the scientific evidence on male circumcision and HIV infection risk.

    Results
    Level 1 evidence supports the concept that male circumcision substantially reduces the risk of HIV infection. Three major lines of evidence support this conclusion: biological data suggesting that this concept is plausible, data from observational studies supported by high-quality meta-analyses, and three randomized clinical trials supported by high-quality meta-analyses.

    Conclusions
    The evidence from these biological studies, observational studies, randomized controlled clinical trials, meta-analyses, and cost-effectiveness studies is conclusive. The challenges to implementation of male circumcision as a public health measure in high-risk populations must now be faced.

  55. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Morris and Wamai. “Biological basis for the protective effect conferred by male circumcision against HIV infection.” International journal of STD & AIDS. 2012. doi: 10.1258/ijsa.2011.011228

    http://ijsa.rsmjournals.com/content/23/3/153.short

    Here we provide an up-to-date review of research that explains why uncircumcised men are at higher risk of HIV infection. The inner foreskin is a mucosal epithelium deficient in protective keratin, yet rich in HIV target cells. Soon after sexual exposure to infected mucosal secretions of a HIV-positive partner, infected T-cells from the latter form viral synapses with keratinocytes and transfer HIV to Langerhans cells via dendrites that extend to just under the surface of the inner foreskin. The Langerhans cells with internalized HIV migrate to the basal epidermis and then pass HIV on to T-cells, thus leading to the systemic infection that ensues. Infection is exacerbated in inflammatory states associated with balanoposthitis, the presence of smegma and ulceration – including that caused by infection with herpes simplex virus type 2 and some other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). A high foreskin surface area and tearing of the foreskin or associated frenulum during sexual intercourse also facilitate HIV entry. Thus, by various means, the foreskin is the primary biological weak point that permits HIV infection during heterosexual intercourse. The biological findings could explain why male circumcision protects against HIV infection.

  56. says

    WaltonThe problem I have is that they’re cutting off pieces of helpless babies.
    I understand the difficulties in creating a policy that both protects them and doesn’t cause unwanted splash damage.
    How about this:
    Allow men who were circumcised as babies to sue the fuck out of whoever performed that circumcision.

    ++++
    Can anybody help me out? I have a massive understanding problem with this:

    Bivariate and multivariable analyses revealed a concentration of risk among receptive only, married, and uncircumcised MSM, with HIV prevalence in this group reaching nearly 50%. The adjusted odds of HIV infection amongst circumcised men was less than one fifth that of uncircumcised men [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 0.17; 95% CI 0.07–0.46; P < 0.001]. Within the group of receptive only MSM, infection was found to be lower among circumcised individuals (AOR, 0.30, 95% CI 0.12–0.76; P < 0.05) in the context of circumcised MSM engaging in more UAI, having a more recent same sex encounter and less lubricant use when compared to uncircumcised receptive men.

    Receptive only means they only get fucked, yes?
    How does the fact that their not used in this encounter penis is lacking a foreskin somehow reduce the risk of contracting HIV while being fucked?
    It makes no more sense than saying that having your ears pierced reduces your risk of having an ingrown toenail.

  57. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Morris and Wamai. “Review: A critical evaluation of arguments opposing male circumcision for HIV prevention in developed countries.” AIDS Care. 2012.

    http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09540121.2012.661836

    http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/faculty/detels/epi227/reader/Morris_AIDSCare_2012.pdf

    A potential impediment to evidence-based policy development on medical male circumcision (MC) for HIV prevention in all countries worldwide is the uncritical acceptance by some of arguments used by opponents of this procedure. Here we evaluate recent opinion-pieces of 13 individuals opposed to MC. We find that these statements misrepresent good studies, selectively cite references, some containing fallacious information, and draw erroneous conclusions. In marked contrast, the scientific evidence shows MC to be a simple, low-risk procedure with very little or no adverse long-term effect on sexual function, sensitivity, sensation during arousal or overall satisfaction. Unscientific arguments have been recently used to drive ballot measures aimed at banning MC of minors in the USA, eliminate insurance coverage for medical MC for low-income families, and threaten large fines and incarceration for health care providers. Medical MC is a preventative health measure akin to immunisation, given its protective effect against HIV infection, genital cancers and various other conditions. Protection afforded by neonatal MC against a diversity of common medical conditions starts in infancy with urinary tract infections and extends throughout life. Besides protection in adulthood against acquiring HIV, MC also reduces morbidity and mortality from multiple other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and genital cancers in men and their female sexual partners. It is estimated that over their lifetime one-third of uncircumcised males will suffer at least one foreskin-related medical condition. The scientific evidence indicates that medical MC is safe and effective. Its favourable risk/benefit ratio and cost/benefit support the advantages of medical MC.

  58. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Receptive only means they only get fucked, yes?

    How does the fact that their not used in this encounter penis is lacking a foreskin somehow reduce the risk of contracting HIV while being fucked?

    Presumably this is due to self-sorting, circumcised men preferring circumcised partners.

    I can’t get a free copy of the paper. All google will show me is:

    While from a physiological and biological perspective we would not expect to find a protective effect of circumcision for MSM who take the receptive role in anal intercourse, the lower HIV rates among circumcised
    receptive men found in Fig. … This phenomenon has been postulated to explain higher seroprevalence rates of HIV among African American MSM, and may also provide an explanation for the lower rates of HIV among circumcised receptive only MSM in India [10 …

  59. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Ah, here’s another paper citing that one.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3207867/

    Although HIV was 70% lower in circumcised receptive-only MSM, this was probably a result of homophily.

    So yes, probable self-sorting.

    +++++
    Wamai et al. “Male circumcision for HIV prevention: current evidence and implementation in sub-Saharan Africa.” Journal of the International AIDS Society. 2011. doi: 10.1186/1758-2652-14-49

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3207867/

    Heterosexual exposure accounts for most HIV transmission in sub-Saharan Africa, and this mode, as a proportion of new infections, is escalating globally. The scientific evidence accumulated over more than 20 years shows that among the strategies advocated during this period for HIV prevention, male circumcision is one of, if not, the most efficacious epidemiologically, as well as cost-wise. Despite this, and recommendation of the procedure by global policy makers, national implementation has been slow. Additionally, some are not convinced of the protective effect of male circumcision and there are also reports, unsupported by evidence, that non-sex-related drivers play a major role in HIV transmission in sub-Saharan Africa. Here, we provide a critical evaluation of the state of the current evidence for male circumcision in reducing HIV infection in light of established transmission drivers, provide an update on programmes now in place in this region, and explain why policies based on established scientific evidence should be prioritized. We conclude that the evidence supports the need to accelerate the implementation of medical male circumcision programmes for HIV prevention in generalized heterosexual epidemics, as well as in countering the growing heterosexual transmission in countries where HIV prevalence is presently low.

  60. Rip Steakface says

    No – this will be the new “How dare you call my penis “mangled”!” thread.

    …Admittedly, it does bother me to be called mangled…

  61. mrbbq says

    A court in Germany just ruledthat circumcision is a criminal act, causes bodily harm and is a prosecutable offense.

    Please write Germany’s politicians and tell them not to pass any new laws legitimizing circumcision!

    Writing a letter is easy and quick! Use this site to contact prominent German officials (some of whom have made comments in the media supporting male circumcision).
    http://intactiv.tumblr.com/

    All you have to do is click the politician’s link and it will take you directly to their contact page, where you can write a short letter.

    —-

    Sample letter:
    (You can add write your own note on top of this one if you like)

    Circumcision is a physical assault against a male minor which causes irreperable and permanent damage to his body. It is known to have no real medical benefits, and is only justified on the grounds of “religious freedom”. This supposed religious right of parents to physically abuse their children violate’s the child’s own right to be safe from harm and his own religious freedom. Circumcision of children is not compatible with modern notions of human rights, and legalizing circumcision violates a child’s right to equal protection under the law.
    Please protect young boys from unnecessary and harmful surgery. Do not pass any laws that try to legitimize this assault on minors.

    Thank you.

  62. petejohn says

    When it comes to circumcision, I look at it this way. If I hadn’t already been circumcised, I wouldn’t think too highly of having chunks of my penis cut off as an adult. So certainly don’t plan on making my kids do it if I ever have any. That’ll be up to them.

    @Tyrant, 23

    …and when they later, in the locker room, look at peers from their own cultural background (in our case: mostly muslims from turkey) and see that their pee pee looks the same, that would be an essential part of their cultural identity.

    I have literally never been in a all-dude shower, looked at another dude’s penis, and gone “Damn, I’m glad we’re both circumcised and share a cultural tradition.” And I played college baseball for four years and had a lot of team showers

  63. says

    I hate this argument. It’s stupid and sensationalistic.

    And if you get to lump in supporters with crazy studies of HIV reductions – I get to lump in crazy guys talking of mangled wee-wees and foreskins as erogenous zones unparalleled by the fabled g-spot. It’s not like you ever talk about the other historical and common modern ailments that it prevents; or that there’s no evidence for any reduced sensation en masse.

    It’s a stupid argument. If people want to trim their skin or change the shape of their infant’s ears or whatever, I don’t care until it has an actual physiological or neurological result that is soundly negative. Some random assortment of guys feeling inadequate is not something I’m going to listen to.

    And partially because guys already got the easy-mode, so why should this become important?

  64. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    Fuck you Crissa, a baby is not a fucking doll to do with as you please. If it isn’t important to you then fine, don’t fucking talk about it. There’s the door.

  65. ibyea says

    @Crissa
    Do you think corporeal punishment should be allowed? To me, it only caused temporary pain, I wasn’t traumatized by it, and no sign of damage appeared. I still think it was an assholish move by my parents. Or is that just an “inadequate feeling”?

    If you answer yes to the first question because you don’t care, since there is no soundly negative result in my phisiology, you are an asshole. If you answer no, then you are a hypocrite, since you shouldn’t care as long as there is no actual negative result. Either way, you lose, making your second paragraph a stupid argument.

  66. says

    @lilapwl
    What’s your point with all of those posts? What has that got to do with mutilating unconsenting infants? If people, as adults, choose to have bits of their genitals removed, for whatever reason, that’s up to them. Me, I’ll stick to condoms.

    @Crissa
    Here is your dead porcupine. I trust you know what to do now.

  67. ibyea says

    @PZ
    Pitbull just posted various studies, and it seems there is a concensus on circumcision in terms of protecting one from HIV. While I agree that condoms would be more effective, less invasive, and would prevent people from riskier behavior with circumcision, the idea that circumcision does reduce risk doesn’t sound shaky. Are you sure you didn’t cherrypick studies?

  68. ibyea says

    @Dalillama
    The point was that PZ posted a blog post from someone who claims that circumcision studies that support the claim that it reduces risk from HIV infection are very flawed. PZ says he came to the same conclusion. Pitbull is posting those studies because to him, it seems like they are cherrypicking bad studies (I think). In effect, Pitbull thinks PZ is wrong in that regards. While I think circumcision should be done away with for unconsenting infants, bad information is bad information, and they should be corrected.

  69. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    This wouldn’t even be a topic for discussion in open company if not for the fact that it’s normal and we’ve always done it this way in the US and/or but my Jewish heritage!.

    Full stop. Stop making excuses. Stop “debating” it. Stop giving quarter to fucking bullshit.

  70. ibyea says

    BTW, in case I haven’t made it clear, I think circumcision as a solution to the AIDS crisis is kind of silly when condoms are cheaper, more effective, and non invasive. Err, condoms are cheaper than circumcision, right? Are there countries where the opposite is true? That is the only way I can think of that it could kind of be justified (and condoms would still be more effective in the long run). And if it is kind of justified, it should be for consenting adults.

  71. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    ibyea,

    I think circumcision as a solution to the AIDS crisis is kind of silly when condoms are cheaper, more effective, and non invasive.

    Condoms should already be “a solution” to unplanned pregnancies, but even where they are distributed freely and everyone is taught exactly how to use them, unplanned pregnancies still happen.

    As for the efficacy of condoms, it can vary wildly:

    “Both groups had been given free access to HIV testing, intensive instruction about preventing infection, and free condoms (which were continuously available), but 89% of the men never used condoms, and condom use did not seem to influence the rate of transmission of HIV.”

    Err, condoms are cheaper than circumcision, right? Are there countries where the opposite is true?

    I do not know, but the options are not just condoms or circumcision; there is also the option of both, which should be most effective.

    +++++
    About places like the United States, UNAIDS says: “In settings with lower HIV prevalence in the general population, including where HIV infection is concentrated in specific populations at higher risk of HIV exposure, such as sex workers, injecting drug users or men who have sex with men, limited public health benefit would result from promoting male circumcision in the general population. However, there may be individual benefit for men at higher risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection such as men in sero-discordant partnerships and clients presenting at clinics for the management of sexually transmitted infections.”

    As for sub-Saharan Africa, millions of lives are at stake. I think it is sensible for non-experts to try to not hold strong opinions about issues of public health which are still being reasonably debated by public health experts.

  72. Walton says

    Full stop. Stop making excuses. Stop “debating” it. Stop giving quarter to fucking bullshit.

    I wasn’t arguing in favour of circumcision – as I said, I am not circumcised and I wouldn’t have any infant of mine circumcised. I’m arguing against criminalizing it, because criminalizing things generally has unintended harmful effects.

    @Walton
    I have no hesitation in arguing that people who will mutilate a child to make their imaginary friend happy are not fit custodians of that child.

    Are you really saying that every parent who has their child circumcised is a terrible parent who can’t be trusted, and that it would be better for their kids to be taken away by the state? There are plenty of generally decent, loving parents who have their children circumcised (either for religious reasons or because they erroneously believe that it’s better for their child’s health). Making one mistake doesn’t in itself make someone an evil person or an unfit parent, and it doesn’t mean that the child would be better off in state care. If you’re claiming that parents who have their children circumcised are more likely to go on to harm their children in other ways, do you have any empirical evidence of that?

    There is a mountain of evidence that being removed from one’s parents and put into state care is extremely traumatic for a child. It’s a strong predictor of psychological problems in later life. Sometimes it’s necessary, of course, where the parents are actually abusing their children. But to take children away from their parents over something as relatively harmless as circumcision, in the absence of any other harm, seems to me to be a bad idea that would be harmful to the child’s interests.

    If circumcision is bad for children’s health – and it may be; it certainly seems from PZ’s post that it isn’t good for children’s health – then start an education campaign to inform parents of this. That’s the way to change attitudes. The “nuclear option” of forcibly removing kids from their parents is not a good one.

    Why I picked branding as a comparison. A swift, light touch with a branding-iron will produce a relatively light burn, if not botched. It’ll heal quickly if properly care is given, but leave a permanent mark. As such, it makes a nice comparison with circumcision, which also leads to no ill effects if the operation and after-care are competent, and also leaves a permanent ‘mark.’

    Given the above caveats, would you answer, rather than evade, the question please: Would you be as staunchly anti-criminalisation of child-branders as of child-circumcisers, and if not, what is the moral difference?

    If we lived in an imaginary parallel universe in which a significant proportion of the population had been for several centuries in the habit of branding their children for religious and cultural reasons, if many of them had been taught for many years and sincerely believed (albeit wrongly) that branding was necessary for health and hygiene, and if it were carried out in such a way as to cause no serious ill-effects with proper aftercare, then yes, it might well be better for it to be legal and regulated for safety than for it to be banned.

    ===

    Past experience has shown that we should be very, very, very wary of trying to change social practices by criminalizing things and punishing people.

    When we first discussed the French ban on the burqa and niqab here, a couple of years ago, many Pharyngulites were vociferously in favour of it. I was strongly against the ban, and said so, and I was attacked at the time for my position. (It was on this thread, though Scienceblogs seems to have deleted all the old comments.) Two years on, now that the ban is in force, it seems clear that I was (unhappily) right, and that the ban has had catastrophically bad consequences for Muslim women. (I very much wish I’d been wrong.)

    Circumcision is not, of course, particularly similar to the wearing of the burqa and niqab (besides both being controversial religious practices engaged in by religious minorities). But leaping to criminalization of unpopular social practices has been such a catastrophic disaster for a whole range of social issues – from drugs to the burqa – that I don’t see why you think criminalization is going to work in this case either. And here, I’d say the impact is even more worrisome because any decision we make will affect children’s upbringing.

  73. says

    Walton

    Are you really saying that every parent who has their child circumcised is a terrible parent who can’t be trusted, and that it would be better for their kids to be taken away by the state?

    I wouldn’t say that the child should be taken into custody (btw, I think that’s a strawman, because I can’t see people argue that there should be mass imprisonment and children in orphanages), but I’d say that there’s a precedent already where the parents caused bodily harm to their child and disrespected his bodily autonomy for no good reason.
    The scenarios you paint are actually pretty unrealistic and over the top. Nobody here argues that corporal punishment should be legal but outlawing it, as several countries have done did not lead to those horrible scenarios you are describing.
    This is a problem I’ve had with you before when discussing legal systems, crime and punishment:
    You easily lose any slight focus whatsoever on the victim (OK, to give you credit, you mention that separating parents and children is traumatic for children).
    It’s not a question between allowing people to circumcise their children and outlawing it and putting them into prison. There are many other meassures that can be taken (removal of health-care custody, mandatory parenting classes with focus on children’s rights and so on).
    Also, he comparison with the burqa ban is not valid. The burqa ban is about telling adult women what they can and cannot wear. This is about what parents can’t do to their children.
    Do you think that muslim parents should be allowed to force their daughter to wear a burqa? After all it doesn’t cause permanent damage and can be taken off once she’s an adult?

  74. kassad says

    I think that, at least for Europe, Walton is right.
    I was for the ban on the burqa because it was already illegal under the law (two different law I think). But the new law only served to alienated further a community that was already “othered” in several occasion (in France, the nationalist and anti-immigration party is the third and score around 20% in presidential election).

    Why it IS a good thing to ban circumcision (the argument from Crissa is stupid: what if I want the remove the middle toe of my baby? It is mostly cosmetic so… a baby isn’t a fucking bonzaï tree!), it WILL have a terribly negative social impact in a lot of european countries, where it will be seen as targeting specific minorities. Which will in all likelyhood increase the religiosity of those minorities. Religion is considered a defense, a unifying factor against an hostile majority.

  75. kassad says

    While it IS a good thing to ban…”
    Damn no edit!

    Educate and integrate minorities, which tend to dramatically decrease religiosity, should be done before a ban on circumcision.

  76. isilzhaveni says

    @#32 Alantas–

    How is anti-circumcision equivalent to anti-abortion? The parents don’t OWN the bodies of their children and should not be able to cut off the body parts of their children without a valid medical reason. Just like only the woman can decide on an abortion, only the owner of the penis can choose to have a circumcision.

  77. Walton says

    I wouldn’t say that the child should be taken into custody (btw, I think that’s a strawman, because I can’t see people argue that there should be mass imprisonment and children in orphanages)

    I was responding to Dalilama, who wrote “I have no hesitation in arguing that people who will mutilate a child to make their imaginary friend happy are not fit custodians of that child.”

    You easily lose any slight focus whatsoever on the victim (OK, to give you credit, you mention that separating parents and children is traumatic for children).

    That was, in fact, my first concern. If I thought that circumcision was so harmful that it would ruin a child’s life, I would be in favour of banning it, notwithstanding the harmful consequences of a ban. (I am, as you know, in favour of banning spanking, which I do see as harmful to children.) But as it is, I think it’s clear that sending parents to prison, and separating children from their parents, would in general be much more harmful to the child than being circumcised is. My argument is based entirely on the child’s interests.

    It’s not a question between allowing people to circumcise their children and outlawing it and putting them into prison. There are many other meassures that can be taken (removal of health-care custody, mandatory parenting classes with focus on children’s rights and so on).

    True, but I was responding specifically to people who advocate criminalizing infant male circumcision. Which several people have done on this thread. I readily admit that my arguments don’t apply if you’re advocating a more moderate solution.

    I’m all for a campaign of education to discourage circumcision. As I said, I am not at all pro-circumcision. I don’t think it’s a good thing.

    Also, he comparison with the burqa ban is not valid. The burqa ban is about telling adult women what they can and cannot wear. This is about what parents can’t do to their children.

    I agree: as I said, they’re different issues. But I think the burqa ban illustrates a general principle – when well-intentioned people use the blunt instrument of the criminal law to try to stamp out a long-established social practice they see as oppressive, the law often ends up harming rather than helping the victims it’s intended to benefit. I think criminal law is a very risky tool, and we should be very careful about using it.

    ===

    If we lived in an imaginary parallel universe in which a significant proportion of the population had been for several centuries in the habit of branding their children for religious and cultural reasons, if many of them had been taught for many years and sincerely believed (albeit wrongly) that branding was necessary for health and hygiene, and if it were carried out in such a way as to cause no serious ill-effects with proper aftercare, then yes, it might well be better for it to be legal and regulated for safety than for it to be banned.

    In fact, I’m going to recant that part. Because I don’t think it’s a useful comparison at all. Context is everything; you can’t evaluate a long-established social practice, like circumcision, without reference to its social and cultural context. Drawing a comparison, for shock value, with some other kind of bodily injury really isn’t helpful.

  78. isilzhaveni says

    @#64-70 life is like a pitbull with lipstick

    I think you’re missing the overall point. It doesn’t really matter if circumcision is actually effective or not at preventing HIV (or whatever), the point is that parents should not be allowed to make that decision for their infant son. Only the owner of the penis can weigh the risks and benefits and make the choice. If it turns out that circumcision has some strong benefits then 18 is surely a young enough age to reap them.

  79. isilzhaveni says

    @81 Crissa–

    How do you not get that parents don’t actually OWN their children and are not free to hack off healthy body parts for any reason. Of course, in many religious traditions this idea is firmly rooted. Just look at how times the bible advocates that disrepectful children be brutally murdered. Moving away from the perception of children as property is a good thing!

  80. says

    Walton

    My argument is based entirely on the child’s interests…

    That’s not entirely true since in #55 you argue about the harmfull effect of prison on people’s lives (I don’t disagree, but as far as I can see nodoby suggested sending them to prison. You could argue that the phrase “serious crime” would imply that, but I don’t think it’s an argument you can actually make).
    And although in the USA “criminalized” pretty much means prison, that’s not a valid argument internationally (see spanking)

    If I thought that circumcision was so harmful that it would ruin a child’s life, I would be in favour of banning it, notwithstanding the harmful consequences of a ban. (I am, as you know, in favour of banning spanking, which I do see as harmful to children.)

    Does spanking do enough harm to ruin a child’s life?
    It causes harm, no argument there, but at how much harm do you set the bar?
    Circumcision causes harm. Usually very little harm, but sometimes serious harm. The little boy in Germany had to be taken to the ER. Very few, but some boys lose their penises, some die.
    How big are the sacrifices you’re willing to make?
    When are you going to walk away from Omelas?
    Would you also oppose a ban on certain kinds of circumsicions like mohels gnawing off the foreskin?
    Also, what are you going to tell those men who regret that they were circumcised as infants? That you think that their suffering is worth it?
    And I’m not only talking about the bodily consequences, think about the psychological consequences of realizing that your parents were more concerned for their sky-daddy than for you?

  81. Walton says

    For clarity, I don’t agree with Crissa’s argument at all. I don’t think parents should have their children circumcised at birth, nor do I think that the issue is trivial or unimportant. Bodily autonomy does matter.

    But I think banning it is a case of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

  82. Walton says

    Would you also oppose a ban on certain kinds of circumsicions like mohels gnawing off the foreskin?

    Wait, what? They gnaw off the foreskin? I’ve never come across that method before.

    Of course that should be illegal. The danger of infection must be substantial.

  83. isilzhaveni says

    Walton–

    You seem to be arguing that by criminalizing circumcision suddenly the majority of parents and doctors would become criminals. It’s doubtful that would happen.

    This is a more likely scenario:
    When parents ask the doctor to perform a cosmetic circumcision on their infant son then the doctor refuses and hands them a pamphlet explaining the law. Likely most parents would not seek to have an illegal circumcision done. However, those that do go to such an extreme would be subject to some form of penalty, but it doesn’t necessarily mean removing the children from the parents.

  84. Walton says

    When parents ask the doctor to perform a cosmetic circumcision on their infant son then the doctor refuses and hands them a pamphlet explaining the law. Likely most parents would not seek to have an illegal circumcision done.

    I agree that this proposal would probably end almost all non-religious circumcisions (which are common in the US, much less so elsewhere). And that would be a good thing.

    I don’t see how it would prevent religious circumcisions, though. If anything, your proposal would seem to make it more likely that Muslim circumcisions will be performed unsafely by amateurs, rather than safely by doctors. And Jewish circumcisions, as I understand it, are usually performed by a mohel rather than a doctor in any case. But maybe I’m missing something.

    However, those that do go to such an extreme would be subject to some form of penalty, but it doesn’t necessarily mean removing the children from the parents.

    What form of penalty? That’s what I want to know. Giliell made some suggestions earlier, but I’d like to know what exactly you’re advocating.

    Even without imprisonment, the stigma of having a criminal record is harmful to a person’s life. It can really impact their ability to find employment, for instance – and can thus indirectly harm their children, too. And don’t forget the danger of being indirectly discriminatory: such a law would, in practice, be overwhelmingly targeted at two already-oppressed religious minorities.

  85. Matt Penfold says

    But I think banning it is a case of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

    If a nut gets cracked the circumcision is being done wrong.

  86. Walton says

    If a nut gets cracked the circumcision is being done wrong.

    No pun was intended (indeed, I think joking about this topic would be rather tasteless). Apologies if it seemed like I was making some sort of joke. I wasn’t.

  87. says

    Walton

    Even without imprisonment, the stigma of having a criminal record is harmful to a person’s life. It can really impact their ability to find employment, for instance – and can thus indirectly harm their children, too.

    But all those things would probably not hold true for Germany, which sparked part of the renewed discussion.
    Things only show up in a criminal record if they pass a certain treshold. If you get convicted to pay 5000€ because you were drunk driving that doesn’t get put into your record. Also employers are not allowed to ask for your criminal record unless that would be actually important for that line of work (a bank is allowed to ask for your record to make sure you’re not convicted of theft and fraud, that makes sense)

  88. Matt Penfold says

    No pun was intended (indeed, I think joking about this topic would be rather tasteless). Apologies if it seemed like I was making some sort of joke. I wasn’t.

    What I don’t understand is why you say you accept the concept of bodily autonomy, but then don’t want anything done in about circumcision in order to ensure it is upheld. And whilst very rare, serious complications arising from circumcision is not unknown, and can have a catastrophic impact on the person’s life. Risk in medical procedures, especially in children, should be commensurate with gain, and I simply cannot see what the gain is for most circumcisions.

  89. Walton says

    Oh sorry, I confused you there, I was being hyperbolic since I thought you were aware of the custoom of bris. No, actually they don’t gnaw, they usually cut and then suck the penis.

    Oh, I didn’t realize you were being hyperbolic. Sorry.

    As I understand it, the practice of sucking at the circumcision wound (metzitzah b’peh) is only generally used by mohels in ultra-Orthodox communities; other Jewish communities have abandoned the practice, and use modern hygienic methods instead. (Correct me if I’m wrong.) I’m perfectly comfortable with banning that practice completely, since it poses a danger of infection, and has evidently led to deaths in the past (a total of eleven herpes infections and two deaths in New York City between 2000 and 2011, according to this article).

  90. Walton says

    But all those things would probably not hold true for Germany, which sparked part of the renewed discussion.
    Things only show up in a criminal record if they pass a certain treshold. If you get convicted to pay 5000€ because you were drunk driving that doesn’t get put into your record. Also employers are not allowed to ask for your criminal record unless that would be actually important for that line of work (a bank is allowed to ask for your record to make sure you’re not convicted of theft and fraud, that makes sense)

    Yes. And that’s a good thing. (In Britain, similarly, some criminal convictions are “spent” under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act after a certain period of time, meaning that they don’t have to be disclosed to employers after that period.)

    But the discussion on this thread hasn’t been restricted to Germany. People commenting here come from a variety of countries, with varied criminal justice systems. And there’s also the fact that a ban on circumcision, and whatever criminal or non-criminal sanctions were imposed on parents who violated the ban, would be inevitably targeted mostly against Jews and Muslims, who are already oppressed groups.

  91. says

    But the discussion on this thread hasn’t been restricted to Germany. People commenting here come from a variety of countries, with varied criminal justice systems.

    That’s true and that’s why I find it particularly annoying that you constantly argue as if the worst possible case were the only possible outcome and therefore circumcision should not be banned.

    And there’s also the fact that a ban on circumcision, and whatever criminal or non-criminal sanctions were imposed on parents who violated the ban, would be inevitably targeted mostly against Jews and Muslims, who are already oppressed groups.

    That’s half-true. It could also be primarily targeted at people who circumcise boys. And it also poses the question of how much violation of human rights are we willing tolerate for the “greater good”? It seems particularly cruel to me that people are willing to make babies pay that price.

  92. says

    Walton

    I’m curious as to what measures you would advocate in countries where the majority of circumcisions are done for religious reasons? (I’m in the UK and was writing from that perspective too, by the way.

    An ‘educate them out of it’ policy would be, I’d think, pretty useless in the face of religious conviction. Indeed the more hot-headed religious types would probably spin any campaign along those lines as Islamophobic/anti-Semitic, just as much as they would a law.

  93. Walton says

    That’s true and that’s why I find it particularly annoying that you constantly argue as if the worst possible case were the only possible outcome and therefore circumcision should not be banned.

    Given the bad track-record of most previous attempts to effect social change through criminalizing things – especially where the thing being criminalized is a practice of a vulnerable religious minority – I am worried that the worst possible case is the most likely outcome. I don’t have a lot of confidence in the ability of cops and prosecutors to improve any situation. I’ll be happy if I’m proved wrong (just as I’d have been very happy to be proved wrong about the burqa ban), and if a ban on circumcision is implemented and nothing bad happens, I’ll gladly eat my words.

    That’s half-true. It could also be primarily targeted at people who circumcise boys.

    And to my knowledge, such people, outside the US, are predominantly Jewish or Muslim. In Britain, at least, it’s rare for non-Jewish and non-Muslim boys to be circumcised. I think it’s reasonable to predict that if European countries criminalized circumcision, the great majority of the people prosecuted under the new law would be Jewish or Muslim. Enacting laws that specifically target the religious practices of already-oppressed religious minorities is not, generally, a good thing.

  94. says

    Given the bad track-record of most previous attempts to effect social change through criminalizing things – especially where the thing being criminalized is a practice of a vulnerable religious minority – I am worried that the worst possible case is the most likely outcome.

    And I think you’re unreasonbale in this, especially since for countries like Germany even something that resembled half your worst case scenario would require to screw the complete criminal system.
    Spanking, for example, is a good precedent I think and you can hardly argue that this led to any mass imprisonment of parents and children in state custody.
    Do you also think that making drunk driving illegal and seat-belts mandatory* had nothing to do with lowered traffic deaths?

    I think it’s reasonable to predict that if European countries criminalized circumcision, the great majority of the people prosecuted under the new law would be Jewish or Muslim.

    Yes, and I understand that it’s problematic.
    So, do you think that I argue against circumcision because it’s a human rights violation or do you think I argue against it because it’s practised by muslims and jews?
    And I’m still waiting for your justification why you consider it OK to make babies pay the price.
    Also, muslim tradition includes anything from babies to adolescents. I don’t see why it couldn’t be arranged in a way that circumcision becomes legal at the point when the child is able to provide some form of insight and consent.

    *together with education

  95. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Also, muslim tradition includes anything from babies to adolescents.

    There is no one thing called “Muslim tradition”. You might as well try to tell Anabaptists what their traditions are by reading from an RCC catechism.

  96. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    @#64-70 life is like a pitbull with lipstick

    I think you’re missing the overall point. It doesn’t really matter if circumcision is actually effective or not at preventing HIV (or whatever),

    In fact it does matter a lot.

    See, the overall point of PZ’s post is to claim that circumcision does not have a preventive effect against HIV. That’s what I’m responding to.

    Maybe you didn’t RTFA, but I did.

    the point is that parents should not be allowed to make that decision for their infant son. Only the owner of the penis can weigh the risks and benefits and make the choice.

    And that’s not necessarily a wise approach for a public health issue. It really depends on the magnitude of the epidemic where the individual will be growing up.

    If it turns out that circumcision has some strong benefits then 18 is surely a young enough age to reap them.

    18? No, that’s ridiculous. Teenagers start having sex long before 18. (Tangentially, don’t forget 18 is not the age of majority in every country.)

    Szabo and Short have suggested starting ASAP with circumcision at puberty, though they’re just saying that’s a way of getting the public health benefit ASAP. I don’t know what they think about infant circumcision.

    Morris et al. say a general practice of delaying circumcision “is unrealistic and impractical (Morris et al., 2012a; Tobian & Gray, 2011). By circumcising in infancy the male will be equipped with substantial protection against STIs when he reaches sexual maturity. Infant MC also provides immediate protection against urinary tract infections, kidney damage, balanitis, balanoposthitis, foreskin injuries, hygiene-related problems and phimosis. Foreskin retraction difficulties cause pain, problems with urine flow and difficulty with erections in the teen years and later. Infant MC may afford greater protection against penile cancer than MC later in life (Larke, Thomas, Dos Santos Silva, Weiss, 2011b; Morris et al., 2011a). It is simpler, quicker, cheaper, more convenient, lower risk and provides a better cosmetic outcome than circumcision later (Morris & Eley, 2011; Sansom et al., Schoen, Wiswell, & Moses, 2000; Tobian et al., 2010; Weiss, Larke, Halperin, & Schenker, 2010; WHO and JHPIEGO, 2010). Wound healing is, moreover, quicker (Bermudez, Canning, & Liechty, 2011). Parents must make many decisions on behalf of their children. The decision to circumcise (UNAIDS, 2007) is one of many that also includes vaccination.”

  97. johnscanlon says

    Enacting laws that specifically target the religious practices of already-oppressed religious minorities is not, generally, a good thing.

    So Walton, how do your arguments apply to FGM? Or would you just play this* card again?

    *Drawing a comparison, for shock value, with some other kind of bodily injury really isn’t helpful.

    Because without it, you would seem to be defending the right for minorities to mutilate children in an indefinite variety of ways.

  98. originalantigenicsin says

    @ life is like a pitbull with lipstick-

    Quoting crappy studies and reviews doesn’t really prove your point.

  99. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    I realize it’s “intactivist” dogma that all studies which you dislike are

    crappy studies

    but you should try to demonstrate this instead of asserting it.

  100. originalantigenicsin says

    @ life is like a pitbull with lipstick-

    Well judging from the abstracts, they suffer from the same flaws as Auvert B, et al, “Randomized, Controlled Intervention Trial of Male Circumcision for Reduction of HIV Infection Risk: The ANRS 1265 Trial”. For example Schneider, et al completly ignore non-sexual transmissions in their evaluation of risk factors.

    But what strikes me most is, that even if the studies prove a significant correlation between circumcision and reduced risk of HIV infection, none of the authors provides a reasonable hypothesis for the underlying mechanism, let alone results proving one.

  101. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    So Walton, how do your arguments apply to FGM? Or would you just play this* card again?

    I’m not Walton, but we’re mainly on the same page on this issue.

    And therefore I would like to say:

    Have some fucking sense of proportion

    Type II and III FGM is usually far worse than any male circumcision out there. If you’re talking about type I or the less malign type IV’s you’d better specify it. (If you don’t know the types, read the wikipedia article on FGM).

    When you are assessing what measures is appropriate to stop an unwanted behaviour, proportionality is everything. That’s why we don’t lop of people’s hands for stealing bread.

  102. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Well judging from the abstracts, they suffer from the same flaws as Auvert B, et al, “Randomized, Controlled Intervention Trial of Male Circumcision for Reduction of HIV Infection Risk: The ANRS 1265 Trial”.

    While the importance of those flaws has been overstated here, your assertion is simply not true.

    For example Schneider, et al completly ignore non-sexual transmissions in their evaluation of risk factors.

    And?

    Unless there is good reason to believe that circumcised men tend to be exposed to different non-sexual transmission opportunities than uncircumcised men,

    this is no more relevant than pointing out that they ignore diet and exercise.

    But what strikes me most is, that even if the studies prove a significant correlation between circumcision and reduced risk of HIV infection, none of the authors provides a reasonable hypothesis for the underlying mechanism, let alone results proving one.

    Untrue.

  103. Walton says

    So Walton, how do your arguments apply to FGM? Or would you just play this* card again?

    That’s not an appropriate comparison. Female genital mutilation, as traditionally practised, is linked to many serious health problems, including but not limited to extreme pain, bleeding, trauma, various nasty infections, and an increased risk for transmission of HIV. Many girls die from septicaemia, tetanus or other infections after undergoing the procedure. These are all good reasons for banning it completely, in all circumstances.

    None of this is true of male circumcision, which is a far more trivial and less harmful procedure. I’m not saying that infant male circumcision is a good thing – indeed, I’ve repeatedly stated that I’m against it. But it’s important to have a sense of proportion.

  104. originalantigenicsin says

    @ life is like a pitbull with lipstick

    Non-sexual transmissions are relevant, because the evaluation of circumcision effects is concerned about sexual transmissions.

    As for the mechanism: If this was true, then of all CD4+/CCR5+ cells in the penis , HIV had to use almost exclusively dendritic cells as entry points and almost all of these dendritic cells had to be inside the tissue removed by circumcision. I don’t see evidence for this.

  105. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Non-sexual transmissions are relevant, because the evaluation of circumcision effects is concerned about sexual transmissions.

    But unless there is good reason to believe that circumcised men tend to be exposed to different non-sexual transmission opportunities than uncircumcised men,

    there is no reason to think that non-sexual transmissions would affect Schneider’s findings about circumcised men relative to uncircumcised.

    Is this actually hard to understand?

    (Is anyone else having trouble understanding this? What about you, dear reader?)

    As for the mechanism: If this was true, then of all CD4+/CCR5+ cells in the penis , HIV had to use almost exclusively dendritic cells as entry points and almost all of these dendritic cells had to be inside the tissue removed by circumcision. I don’t see evidence for this.

    Appeal to ignorance.

    I gave evidence.

  106. Alantas says

    @isilzhaveni #94

    The parents don’t OWN the bodies of their children

    One could argue against abortion using that very reasoning.

    See, that’s the point I was making in my post at #32: that we should be wary of making arguments that could be turned around like that.

    Consider this thread, where some circumcision arguments are being tested by applying the same standard to FGM or ritual branding. A given argument is designed to produce good results in context X; if the same argument fails to produce good results in related contexts Y and Z, then it’s (probably) falsified as a good argument.

    While reading this thread, a new test had occured to me, and I proposed it at #32. It’s not as closely related to the immediate topic (circumcision) as FGM and branding. But, I think, that makes it an even stronger test, and passing that test is an even stronger defense of an argument. (Or I could be wrong and it could be too far away to be a useful test; feel free to say so. A little meta-meta-argumentation never hurt anybody!)

    Everyone seems to think I’m equating circumcision itself with abortion itself. It seems trolls are not the only ones who can fail at reading comprehension. (On the other hand, I guess I didn’t make my point and position as clear as I thought I had. Turns out that’s a bad way to make a first impression. x_x)

  107. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    One could argue against abortion using that very reasoning.

    One could, if one were stupid enough to believe that A) an embryo is a child and B) that “child’s” right to use the woman’s body as a life support system trumps her right to bodily autonomy.

  108. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    One could argue against abortion using that very reasoning.

    Only if you are an idiot who doesn’t understand the crucial difference between a foetus and a child.

    Consider this thread, where some circumcision arguments are being tested by applying the same standard to FGM or ritual branding. A given argument is designed to produce good results in context X; if the same argument fails to produce good results in related contexts Y and Z, then it’s (probably) falsified as a good argument.

    No, as is said before have some fucking sense of proportionality!

    Everyone seems to think I’m equating circumcision itself with abortion itself.

    Then what are you equating? If you’re going to try an analogy, you’d better have good knowledge of both fields, or you’ll fail (like you do here).

  109. originalantigenicsin says

    @life is like a pitbull with lipstick -

    How do you know, that there is no such reason ?
    And you gave evidence, that there are more CD4+/CD5+ cells in the mucosa of the foreskin than in the outer surface of the foreskin (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1867269/). This, however, was not what I questioned.

  110. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    But unless there is good reason to believe that circumcised men tend to be exposed to different non-sexual transmission opportunities than uncircumcised men,

    there is no reason to think that non-sexual transmissions would affect Schneider’s findings about circumcised men relative to uncircumcised.

    How do you know, that there is no such reason ?

    Because I have a rudimentary understanding of subtraction.

    This, however, was not what I questioned.

    You’re evidently in propaganda mode, but anybody who wants to see my evidence can see it.

    Nice talking to you.

  111. quisquose says

    @ life is like a pitbull with lipstick

    If you think that male circumcision can actually reduce HIV infection, can you explain why this is not the case in the real world?

    I’m thinking majority circumcised USA v majority uncircumcised Europe here.

  112. isilzhaveni says

    @115 life is like a pitbull with lipstick–

    Yes, most people do start having sex before 18. However, I said most people would reap the benefit of circumcision at that age because most of that person’s sex life is still ahead of them. This would hold true even taking into account that people tend to have riskier behaviors during their youth.

    I don’t understand why you want to advocate that we forcibly mutilate all the penises for what may be a *slight* overall benefit to society of some *potential* disease reduction.

  113. isilzhaveni says

    @125 Alantas–

    A fetus is NOT a living being existing in the world outside of a woman’s womb. An infant, however, is no longer dependent on another person’s biological form to support it. That’s a very crucial distinction. There is no comparison between abortion and circumcision, though you seem to be trying very hard to make one.

  114. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    If you think that male circumcision can actually reduce HIV infection, can you explain why this is not the case in the real world?

    It demonstably is the case in the real world.

    I’m thinking majority circumcised USA v majority uncircumcised Europe here.

    Ohhhh. I didn’t realize that India and Africa aren’t part of the real world. My bad.

    If there are 1.2 million in the US with HIV, that’s 0.5% of the adult population. In Portugal, 0.6% of the adult population has HIV, and it’s 0.4% in France, Spain and Switzerland, and circumcision is rare in each of these countries. What accounts for the difference between Portugal and Germany? What accounts for any differences throughout Europe? What accounts for the concentration of HIV in coastal area within the United States? Your question is too simplistic.

    Researchers have given explanations for the difference between Europe and Africa:

    [T]hree or four of these factors [multiple and concurrent sexual partners, absence of male circumcision, other sexually transmitted infections, and low condom use] are present in the largest epidemics. The presence of one or two alone is not sufficient to cause substantial epidemics. For example, male circumcision is rare in much of Western Europe, marriage is late, and most men and women have multiple partners during their sexually active years. Yet HIV prevalence is very low among heterosexuals in Western Europe. The likely explanation is the protective effect of condom use, the near absence of other STIs, and the lower prevalence of concurrent partnerships. In contrast, Southern Africa’s epidemics are very large because multiple and concurrent partnerships are relatively common, male circumcision and condom use are relatively rare, and other STIs are more prevalent.

    This piece is about pregnancy, but it shows the significant differences in how sex education is treated between Europe and the United States:

    Unfortunately, there is not a single, ‘silver bullet’ solution. Yet, the United States can use the experience of the Dutch, Germans, and French to guide its efforts to improve adolescents’ sexual health. Indeed, the United States can overcome obstacles and achieve social and cultural consensus respecting sexuality as a normal and healthy part of being human and of being a teen by using lessons learned from the European study tours.
    • Adults in the Netherlands, France, and Germany view young people as assets, not as problems. Adults value and respect adolescents and expect teens to act responsibly. Governments strongly support education and economic self-sufficiency for youth.

    • Research is the basis for public policies to reduce unintended pregnancy, abortion, and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Political and religious interest groups have little influence on public health policy.
    • A national desire to reduce the number of abortions and to prevent sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, provides the major impetus in each country for unimpeded access to contraception, including condoms, consistent sexuality education, and widespread public education campaigns.
    • Governments support massive, consistent, long-term public education campaigns utilizing the Internet, television, films, radio, billboards, discos, pharmacies, and health care providers. Media is a partner, not a problem, in these campaigns. Campaigns are far more direct and humorous than in the U.S. and focus on safety and pleasure.
    • Youth have convenient access to free or low-cost contraception through national health insurance.
    • Sexuality education is not necessarily a separate curriculum and may be integrated across school subjects and at all grade levels. Educators provide accurate and complete information in response to students’ questions.
    • Families have open, honest, consistent discussions with teens about sexuality and support the role of educators and health care providers in making sexual health information and services available for teens.

    • Adults see intimate sexual relationships as normal and natural for older adolescents, a positive component of emotionally healthy maturation. At the same time, young people believe it is “stupid and irresponsible” to have sex without protection and use the maxim, “safer sex or no sex.”

    The lack of circumcision is not alleged by anyone to be the only factor in HIV transmission, so pointing to differences between the USA and Europe — which have major differences in sex education, condom use, regulation and the availability of medical care for prostitutes, medical care for STIs in the general population, and treatment of intravenous drug users — cannot tell us much about circumcision. There are many other major confounding factors.

    +++++

    Yes, most people do start having sex before 18. However, I said most people would reap the benefit of circumcision at that age because most of that person’s sex life is still ahead of them.

    Well no, that’s not quite right, is it? They’d reap some benefit of circumcision at 18, not the full benefit.

    I don’t understand why you want to advocate

    Maybe you should try reading what I’m actually advocating.

  115. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    If you think that male circumcision can actually reduce HIV infection, can you explain why this is not the case in the real world?

    It demonstably is the case in the real world.

    I’m thinking majority circumcised USA v majority uncircumcised Europe here.

    Ohhhh. I didn’t realize that India and Africa aren’t part of the real world. My bad.

    If there are 1.2 million in the US with HIV, that’s 0.5% of the adult population. In Portugal, 0.6% of the adult population has HIV, and it’s 0.4% in France, Spain and Switzerland, and circumcision is rare in each of these countries. What accounts for the difference between Portugal and Germany? What accounts for any differences throughout Europe? What accounts for the concentration of HIV in coastal area within the United States? Your question is too simplistic.

    Researchers have given explanations for the difference between Europe and Africa:

    [T]hree or four of these factors [multiple and concurrent sexual partners, absence of male circumcision, other sexually transmitted infections, and low condom use] are present in the largest epidemics. The presence of one or two alone is not sufficient to cause substantial epidemics. For example, male circumcision is rare in much of Western Europe, marriage is late, and most men and women have multiple partners during their sexually active years. Yet HIV prevalence is very low among heterosexuals in Western Europe. The likely explanation is the protective effect of condom use, the near absence of other STIs, and the lower prevalence of concurrent partnerships. In contrast, Southern Africa’s epidemics are very large because multiple and concurrent partnerships are relatively common, male circumcision and condom use are relatively rare, and other STIs are more prevalent.

    This piece is about pregnancy, but it shows the significant differences in how sex education is treated between Europe and the United States:

    Unfortunately, there is not a single, ‘silver bullet’ solution. Yet, the United States can use the experience of the Dutch, Germans, and French to guide its efforts to improve adolescents’ sexual health. Indeed, the United States can overcome obstacles and achieve social and cultural consensus respecting sexuality as a normal and healthy part of being human and of being a teen by using lessons learned from the European study tours.
    • Adults in the Netherlands, France, and Germany view young people as assets, not as problems. Adults value and respect adolescents and expect teens to act responsibly. Governments strongly support education and economic self-sufficiency for youth.

    • Research is the basis for public policies to reduce unintended pregnancy, abortion, and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Political and religious interest groups have little influence on public health policy.
    • A national desire to reduce the number of abortions and to prevent sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, provides the major impetus in each country for unimpeded access to contraception, including condoms, consistent sexuality education, and widespread public education campaigns.
    • Governments support massive, consistent, long-term public education campaigns utilizing the Internet, television, films, radio, billboards, discos, pharmacies, and health care providers. Media is a partner, not a problem, in these campaigns. Campaigns are far more direct and humorous than in the U.S. and focus on safety and pleasure.
    • Youth have convenient access to free or low-cost contraception through national health insurance.
    • Sexuality education is not necessarily a separate curriculum and may be integrated across school subjects and at all grade levels. Educators provide accurate and complete information in response to students’ questions.
    • Families have open, honest, consistent discussions with teens about sexuality and support the role of educators and health care providers in making sexual health information and services available for teens.

    • Adults see intimate sexual relationships as normal and natural for older adolescents, a positive component of emotionally healthy maturation. At the same time, young people believe it is “stupid and irresponsible” to have sex without protection and use the maxim, “safer sex or no sex.”

    The lack of circumcision is not alleged by anyone to be the only factor in HIV transmission, so pointing to differences between the USA and Europe — which have major differences in sex education, condom use, regulation and the availability of medical care for prostitutes, medical care for STIs in the general population, and treatment of intravenous drug users — cannot tell us much about circumcision. There are many other major confounding factors.

  116. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Yes, most people do start having sex before 18. However, I said most people would reap the benefit of circumcision at that age because most of that person’s sex life is still ahead of them.

    Well no, that’s not quite right, is it? They’d reap some benefit of circumcision at 18, not the full benefit.

    I don’t understand why you want to advocate

    Maybe you should try reading what I’m actually advocating.

  117. isilzhaveni says

    #134–

    Oh, good grief…ALL of life is a tradeoff. However, none of us has the right to hack off bits and pieces of another person for some possible benefit that MAY have, not really for them, but mostly for the benefit to society as a whole. We have vaccines we don’t give to everyone (even if it could have an overall positive effect on the human population as a whole) because it could be harmful to the individual.

    So, unless there’s some very strong evidence that circumcision dramatically reduces disease at a very consistent rate, then there’s no reason to advocate for forcibly circumcising infants. Once the owner of the penis reaches 18 they can make their own choice about the issue. And yes, there may be some years they don’t get the “benefit” of circumcision, but that’s a fair tradeoff for each individual having total right to their own bodies.

    Also, how are you suggesting that all those African boys be tracked down and circumcised. From what I understand most women don’t give birth in a hospital. How are you going to track and hack foreskins of all those babies?

  118. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    However, none of us has the right to hack off bits and pieces of another person for some possible benefit

    That’s just an unsupported assertion. Maybe we do have that right, as an extension of the rights to impose vaccinations, perform quarantines, and so one.

    that MAY have, not really for them, but mostly for the benefit to society as a whole.

    This is HIV we are talking about. A 50-60% relative risk reduction is a benefit to the individual.

    We have vaccines we don’t give to everyone (even if it could have an overall positive effect on the human population as a whole) because it could be harmful to the individual.

    Be specific.

    All these considerations are about relative degrees of risk. There is a reason we rely on public health experts for such matters.

    So, unless there’s some very strong evidence that circumcision dramatically reduces disease at a very consistent rate,

    There is.

    then there’s no reason to advocate for forcibly circumcising infants. Once the owner of the penis reaches 18 they can make their own choice about the issue.

    Unless they’ve already caught HIV by the time they turn 18, eh?

    And yes, there may be some years they don’t get the “benefit” of circumcision, but that’s a fair tradeoff for each individual having total right to their own bodies.

    A right which will do them very little good if they die by age 20 of a preventable autoimmune disorder.

    Also, how are you suggesting that all those African boys be tracked down and circumcised. From what I understand most women don’t give birth in a hospital. How are you going to track and hack foreskins of all those babies?

    Well I’m going to roam from town to town with a machete, of course.

    Seriously, I’m not suggesting anything except that this is a public health issue which non-experts should try not to hold strong opinions about.

    How are public health experts talking about making circumcision more widespread in Africa? You’d have some idea if you’d call up Google Scholar and read some stuff. But I have no opinion on what’s the best methods — and unless you’re a public health expert, neither should you.

  119. originalantigenicsin says

    @life is like a pitbull with lipstick -

    Yep, I’m in propaganda mode, because I’m the one posting the same links over and over again. Also I’m the one who claims it’s unnecessary to prove equal distribution of non-sexual HIV-transmission between circumcised and uncurcumcised men, because that’s just a given thing.

  120. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Yep, I’m in propaganda mode, because I’m the one posting the same links over and over again.

    Lol.

    People don’t read them the first time, they say something which is already addressed — what would you do? Type it out another way for someone who didn’t read the first time?

    Also I’m the one who claims it’s unnecessary to prove equal distribution of non-sexual HIV-transmission between circumcised and uncurcumcised men, because that’s just a given thing.

    Yes, the null hypothesis is that there is no difference.

    It would be very, very, very strange if there was any difference. Can you provide some reason to think that there is a difference?

    I’m not saying it’s not at all worth studying, but unless you can plausibly explain why there would be a difference which anyone should expect to see, then the lack of such investigation is not a flaw in any current studies.

    So far you’re not evidently doing anything different from creationists who point to a gap, and then when something is found in the gap, they respond now there are two gaps!

    Give the reader some reason to take your wild hypothesis seriously.

  121. says

    @Walton #90

    If you’re claiming that parents who have their children circumcised are more likely to go on to harm their children in other ways, do you have any empirical evidence of that?

    I said that people who are willing to harm a child in one fashion due to their religion cannot be trusted not to harm a child in other fashions for the same reason. As far as religious dictates in re: child abuse, look at the bible/torah/koran (many passages advocating beating children), the Pearl’s guide to child abuse in the name of Jesus, assorted abuse problems in Hasidic communities, and here’s an overview of religion-based child abuse.

  122. originalantigenicsin says

    @life is like a pitbull with lipstick-

    How do you know that it would be so incredibly strange ? Certain religious beliefs could influence both the rate of circumcision and restraint from drug abuse.

  123. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Certain religious beliefs could influence both the rate of circumcision and restraint from drug abuse.

    Show me that parents’ religious beliefs (ever, anywhere) correlate with restraint from drug abuse and we’ll talk.

    (What a stretch though! I like it. Nice try, seriously, I do respect this attempt. It’s profoundly stupid but elegant, which is how I like to think of myself.

    Soooooooooo farfetched as to not constitute any flaw in current studies, but plausibly worth some investigation. Props for effort.)

  124. darwinharmless says

    PZ wrote: “A majority of American males have been circumcised, and we’re a randy, raunchy, sexed-up lot who don’t seem to be suffering from an epidemic of sexual inadequacy. Well, maybe eident9 is, but one frustrated guy does not an epidemic make.”

    PZ, I get that you do not support or condone infant male circumcison. But this statement of yours gives support to the “it’s not worth making a fuss about” argument. I see it as equivalent to Richard Dawkins refusing to reconsider his stupid rant at Rebecca Watson. R.D. doesn’t get that the issue is important to some women. You don’t seem to get that this issue is important to some men.
    Nobody is suggesting that you, personally, need to consider your life ruined by circumcision. But stating that this issue is trivial is… not a good thing for a man of your status and authority to say. It isn’t trivial. It’s a human rights violation and a mutilation, however slight the damage might be for most men. Or for you.
    Would it really hurt you to give eident9 the apology he asked for? Does it really serve your intentions to double down and continue to insult him?

  125. eident9 says

    to DarwinHarmless: Why thank you for the thought however when you added “however slight the damage might be for most men. Or for you” you lost all ground. That was a cunt thing to say. Maybe when you hear a man saying about FGM “however slight the damage might be” you’ll understand. But I doubt your protected ass ever can get it.

    For the ignorant people out there, the penile glans is not an especially sensitive area, whether normal or mutilated by circ. The foreskin regardless of its other functions contains all our fine touch nerves.

    So DarwinHarmless and PZ Myers… while cutting up childrens’ privates is not only disgusting, it leaves us males with no ability to ever know what normal sex feels like, and just as women researchers found about women with their clit cut off, we can almost always still orgasm but it requires severe pressure, and we can’t feel what our protected by law female counterparts can feel.

  126. Ogvorbis: The only post-Permian seymouriamorph says

    . . . you lost all ground.

    By the same token, you lost, for me, whatever argument you may have been making when you decided to use a gendered insult. Think about what you are objecting to and how a gendered insult makes me wonder about you. Or, at least, your argument.

  127. eident9 says

    to Ogvorbis:

    You overlook the gender insults posted again and again on this board over the issue of forced male circumcision.

    How about we use proper terms. It’s a bit childish for Myers to trivialize our reproductive organs with terms like “wee-wees” or “boo-boos”. And it’s more than subjective for you to overlook someone calling cutting up the male reproductive organ “slight damage”. That is a gender insult. I responded accordingly, especially after so many years of supporting females like my foster sister who were scarred.

  128. Ogvorbis: The only post-Permian seymouriamorph says

    You really don’t grok the idea of gendered insults, do you?

  129. broboxley OT says

    when examining a swollen member that the owner has proclaimed it to be the “monster” the examiner remarks, “that’s not a monster, that’s a wee-wee” is that a gendered insult or a description?

  130. eident9 says

    to brobox: What ON EARTH did you try to get that from? I don’t see anyone here saying “swollen monster” but you.

  131. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    to Og: I think the same of you.

    You think? Could have fooled anybody, much less the regulars here. Your concern is noted and circularly filed.

  132. eident9 says

    To Nerd: If I said cutting up the female privates was something I stood against (which I am), but then added like DarwinHarmless did “however *slight* the damage”, are you saying that wouldn’t be a gender insult?

  133. eident9 says

    To Nerd: What she said in context of the removal of the foreskin, which is usually about half the skin of the penis and our most sensitive area, was something she followed with the phrase “however slight the damage”.

    So, turn it around to see it from the other gender perspective: it’s like a man saying “removal of the clit or inner labia.. however slight the damage”…. Do you see how offensive?

  134. hotshoe says

    To Nerd: If I said cutting up the female privates was something I stood against (which I am), but then added like DarwinHarmless did “however *slight* the damage”, are you saying that wouldn’t be a gender insult?

    Correct, that would not be a gendered insult.

    A “gender insult” is not anything which happens to upset you which refers to something about sex or sexual anatomy.

    A “gendered insult” is specifically using a gendered body part as a slur against a person or a person’s actions. Which is what you did – when you said “That was a cunt thing to say”.

    No, it goddamn was NOT a “cunt” thing to say. Cunts had absolutely nothing to do with whatever DarwinHarmless said that you didn’t like. Sweet. lovely, cunts don’t deserve to be used as the insulting term for something you don’t like, not ever.

    Since you were just ignorant, no big deal if you learn better and say “Oh, sorry, I won’t do it again.”

    P.S. “Dickhead” is not really acceptable as an insult, either.

  135. darwinharmless says

    eident9 Way to attack your allies, buddy. Hey, you’re running at the wrong goal post there. Turn around and run the other way. When I said “no matter how slight the damage” I suppose I should have added “in the mind of the penis owner (i.e. PZ and others like him)”. In context that was what my message implied. If you read any of my other posts or comments on this subject you would see that I do not take the damage to be slight.

    I invite you to go to my site, http://www.darwinharmless.com and select the “circumcision debate” category. Then read my many posts on this issue. Then stop acting like the nutcase PZ accused you of being, and I defended.

  136. eident9 says

    to Hotshoe who said “Correct, that would not be a gendered insult.”

    That is entirely opinion. I have my own as well.

  137. eident9 says

    to DarwinHarmless, I CAN NOT guess at what’s not stated clearly beyond the words of a post. None of us have ESP here. You’re still stpping in it though: “In the MIND of the penis owner”??

    Ok, turn your own comment around so you’re saying … “I think it’s wrong to cut up a girl’s clit or labia, no matter how slight the damage in the mind of the vagina owner”. Doesn’t sound so f’n great does it.

    Until you get it, hell no you’re not doing a whole lot of good on the issue.

  138. hotshoe says

    to Hotshoe who said “Correct, that would not be a gendered insult.”

    That is entirely opinion. I have my own as well.

    Fuck, NO, it’s not entirely opinion. It’s flat-out a fact. I correctly told you what the phrase “gendered insult” means. Ogvorbis used the phrase correctly. You didn’t. And you still haven’t admitted or apologized for the gendered insult you did use.

    Don’t be an idiot. Learn something new today and do better next time.

    Jesus fuck, no one is telling you not to feel insulted or upset by the words you read from PZ or darwinharmless. Just don’t use gendered insults against other persons. They’re not acceptable.

  139. darwinharmless says

    Eident9 If you can’t tell who’s on your side and who is against you, then you will stand alone. Go fuck yourself.

  140. eident9 says

    to DarwinHarmless:

    per your concept in it’s wording (gender-switched):
    “however slight the damage might be for most women.”

    That’s how we don’t acknowledge each other’s bodies as equal, and has to stop.

  141. eident9 says

    We have to not *imagine* or *pretend* that harm to both our gender organs is just as serious… we have to understand that truthfully it is, without slighting words.

    I’ve seen so many women say things like “male circumcision is *probably* wrong” or “male circumcision is bad but it’s nothing compared to FGM”.

    And yeah DarwinH, it seemed like you were doing same.

    Look HotShoe, I hear you but it really is in my opinion just as offensive to hear the “slight damage” thing as a footnote.

  142. chigau (違う) says

    eident9
    You are using the term “gendered insult” incorrectly.
    It’s not about an injury to a person’s genitals.

  143. eident9 says

    chigau: I hear you and respectfully disagree. Though it wasn’t about quite just “an injury to a person’s genitals” I was talking about. It was about what I feel was female gender-based condescending remarks that somehow male circ represented “slight damage, in the *mind* of male” as she put it.

    I hope you understand where I’m coming from.

  144. Amphiox says

    I’ve seen so many women say things like “male circumcision is *probably* wrong” or “male circumcision is bad but it’s nothing compared to FGM”.

    Well the first one may be an example of unrecognized privilege of women not having the experience of what it is like to possess a male sexual organ.

    However, the second one is objectively correct.

    Rail against male circumcision as much as you like, as it is wrong (not *probably*, assuming we’re talking about doing it on infants who do not consent, and not adults willingly inflicting it on themselves), but the moment you start saying that male circumcision and female circumcision are equally bad you stray beyond the realm of reality.

    Female circumcision is worse. Equating the two is a minimization of the one.

  145. Amphiox says

    It was about what I feel was female gender-based condescending remarks that somehow male circ represented “slight damage, in the *mind* of male” as she put it.

    But that is not a gendered insult.

    It’s an example of a gender-specific privilege.

    You could even call it, stretching a bit, a gender insult.

    But not a gendered insult.

    That has a very specific definition.

  146. eident9 says

    to amphiox: You said FGM is far worse than MGM. Please prove it so, please prove it exactly. I can’t fucking wait.

  147. Amphiox says

    The anatomical damage inflicted in FGM is objectively more severe than in MGM. The risk of adverse morbidity from the procedure greater.

  148. Amphiox says

    I do work on the null hypothesis that, on average, men and women are equally psychologically resilient, equally able to recover psychologically from violation and betrayal. Thus, on average, any psychological or subjective damage from FGM and MGM not directly related to degree of physical trauma cancels out.

    The violation of consent cancels out.

    The only objective measure that remains is total amount of tissue trauma, and here only the very mildest forms of FGM can be said to be roughly equivalent to MGM, whereas the most severe forms would be equivalent, in a male, to removal without anesthesia of the entire glans and penile shaft along with the splitting and subsequent reconstructive of the scrotal sack into two pouches, one for each testicle.

    You COULD make the argument that MGM is more prevalent and therefore affects a greater number of individuals – that I would concede. But on a per individual comparison, well, there is no comparison.

  149. hotshoe says

    Look HotShoe, I hear you but it really is in my opinion just as offensive to hear the “slight damage” thing as a footnote.

    Fuck you, dumbshit. That’s NOT how you type my name. You’re an idiot.

    AND you’re still goddamn wrong about gendered insult. You used a gendered insult when you chose to type the words “That’s a cunt thing to say”.

    It doesn’t matter one tiny little bit how offended you were about “slight damage”. You don’t get to express your offended-ness by using a gendered insult.

    You still haven’t admitted to or apologized for using the gendered insult “cunt”. Grow up, you ignorant little ass, and learn something today. Admit it and move on.

  150. eident9 says

    amphiox: you said the anatomical damage is greater to females, yes? Basically (and I’m not trying to put words in your mouth, but I think it came down tissue damage you said). Please describe.

    You added some lurid language “whereas the most severe forms (of FGM) would be equivalent, in a male, to removal without anesthesia of the entire glans and penile shaft along with the splitting and subsequent reconstructive of the scrotal sack into two pouches, one for each testicle.”

    Now, please explain what type of FGM you’re equating this to.

  151. eident9 says

    amphiox let me save you the trouble; what you’re describing being done to males as the only comparison (in your eyes) is absurd.

    FGM sunna circumcision is most common. Removal of the clitoral hood, or partial or complete removal of the external clitoris.

    The male glans is not an analog to the sexual nerve center you consider the clit to be. The female external clit has about 8,000 fine touch nerve receptors. The male glans has none. The male foreskin has about 20,000.

    Even with removal of the female clit, the woman still has her reproductive organ. What you claim to be necessary to make an equivalent amount of damage for males would destroy his reproductive organ entirely.

    If, like most who don’t really think about it you’re trying to make assumptions based on Type III FGM, you need to consider incidence/frequency. Type III FGM is rare. Compare to the Janjaweed castrations of boys that usually kills them. You have little point you can make here.

    Last, if you look at tissue damage it’s far greater to males, averaging 50% total excoriation (skin removal) of the reproductive organ.

  152. eident9 says

    to SallyStrange: Um, no. Hardly sexist considering your precious little privates were protected by law from cutting, while I and every male I’ve grown up knowing was genitally mutilated. All we’re doing is pushing to have the same genital integrity laws applied to little boys as they are to little girls.

    That means at the present time you’re not only priviledged but you seem to resent males making a case for such child protection laws that happen to include our gender. So save your feminist crap for other feminists.

  153. says

    Thanks for proving my point, cupcake. Were you halfway informed, you’d know that this blog and its commenters overwhelmingly oppose male circumcision.

    However, we are also rational thinkers and thus recognize that FGM as usually practiced has medical side effects far more severe than MGM. Those cases where doctors make a sort of ritual nick in the clitoral hood excluded.

    You’re sexist, and you’re dumb. What else is new.

  154. hotshoe says

    What you claim to be necessary to make an equivalent amount of damage for males would destroy his reproductive organ entirely

    Nonsense.

    Why would we believe anything else you say, when you get such an obvious fact wrong ?

    Removing a male human’s entire penis would not destroy his reproductive organs – which are the testes – and would not destroy his ability to impregnate a female, even without assistance. Most, probably all, males can ejaculate with non-penile stimulation, and the ejaculate never needs to be deposited inside the female by PiV intercourse to cause pregnancy. External deposition, sadly, works well enough.

    Evolution gave you a penis because, on average, it’s more efficient – and more fun – to deposit sperm with a penis than without. Good for you, dude, glad you’ve got one. Not the same as your reproductive organ, though. Too bad you’re so ignorant about this subject.

    You should lurk more and post less until you’ve remedied your ignorance.

  155. eident9 says

    Sally you said “Were you halfway informed, you’d know that this blog and its commenters overwhelmingly oppose male circumcision.”

    You are out of your mind about this blog. Myers posted “for the boys with boo-boos” and every time I tried to speak out against his and a lot of others’ comments I was either censored or insulted.

    He posted “Whatever happenned to first do no harm” and when Patricia Robinett (a 50′s age American FGM victim and author) spoke out againstwhat you all were saying she was severely insulted, on *both* boards.

  156. hotshoe says

    Hardly sexist considering your precious little privates were protected by law from cutting

    You’re behaving worse than a pig. You’re a waste of supposedly-human skin. Go away. Your kind is not wanted here.

  157. eident9 says

    HotShoe you said “You’re behaving worse than a pig. You’re a waste of supposedly-human skin. ”

    Why are you so crazy?

  158. says

    You are out of your mind about this blog. Myers posted “for the boys with boo-boos” and every time I tried to speak out against his and a lot of others’ comments I was either censored or insulted.

    The only reason I’m refraining from calling you a liar right now is that your cognitive abilities are clearly limited.

  159. eident9 says

    Sally, calling me a liar on that issue would be silly. Most people who’ve been on these boards for last couple years remember it.

  160. eident9 says

    HotShoe; Sally:

    Can I suggest something.. you’re mostly just insulting me now and it’s late. Why don’t we all give each other a break to get some sleep. We can always pick it up again later

  161. Brownian says

    You are out of your mind about this blog. Myers posted “for the boys with boo-boos” and every time I tried to speak out against his and a lot of others’ comments I was either censored or insulted.

    You know what I miss? I miss the kind of censorship where, if someone was censored, you didn’t fucking hear or read them again.

    The kind of censorship that my grandparents fled as refugees across Europe from.

    I am so fucking sick of whiny pieces of shit who don’t know what words mean.

  162. hotshoe says

    HotShoe you said “You’re behaving worse than a pig. You’re a waste of supposedly-human skin. ”

    Why are you so crazy?

    Why are you behaving as if you can’t restrain yourself from being an ugly creep ?

    If you have a genuine disability, please let us know. We can make allowances for misfortune of your birth or raising. For your apparently-deliberate kind of assholism, not so much.

    P.S. Learn to blockquote, you fuckwit.

  163. hotshoe says

    You know what I miss? I miss the kind of censorship where, if someone was censored, you didn’t fucking hear or read them again.

    Or not even hear of them after that.

    We’d need a dungeon the size of Siberia to contain all the trolls who claim they’re being “censored” around here.

  164. Loqi says

    Anyone else starting to think eident9 just sits around Googling “old circumcision threads”?

  165. eident9 says

    Hi Loqi, I am in many cases both the old and the new circumcision comments. I’ve been posting against male and female circumcision since the old BBS days.

  166. eident9 says

    HotShoe, saying “You know what I miss? I miss the kind of censorship where, if someone was censored, you didn’t fucking hear or read them again.” is disgusting. You are acting like child.

    The people who resist censorship are usually people with a strong sense of conviction. Perhaps you would like it if people against apartheid had been silenced. Human rights violations must be exposed and discussed.

  167. Ze Madmax says

    eident9 @ #191:

    HotShoe, saying “You know what I miss? I miss the kind of censorship where, if someone was censored, you didn’t fucking hear or read them again.” is disgusting. You are acting like child.

    eident9, if you were any more dense, you would collapse into a black hole.

    First, that wasn’t hotshoe, that was Brownian*

    Second, what is disgusting is that you compare your experience in a private blog to censorship, which clearly shows you have no fucking clue what censorship means. Hint: “censorship” doesn’t mean “people are disagreeing with me!” dumbass.

    Third, your disgusting misuse of censorship is a slap in the face of people who HAVE been silenced and HAVE suffered censorship because they stood up to what they believed. You are trying to take up a mantle of martyrdom, and all you’ve done is make yourself look like a twit with a towel wrapped around his shoulders.

    The people who resist censorship are usually people with a strong sense of conviction. Perhaps you would like it if people against apartheid had been silenced. Human rights violations must be exposed and discussed.

    Funny thing is, people in this blog would agree with this 100%. But here’s news for you: you can agree on the principle (MGM is bad) and disagree on the details (MGM is the same as FGM, MGM causes irreparable psychological damage, etc.)

    *Does this mean there’s a line for Ghey Secks with hotshoe?

  168. Brownian says

    Perhaps you would like it if people against apartheid had been silenced.

    Jesus Christ, but you’re fucking stupid.

  169. Amphiox says

    In eident’s world, censorship is being allowed to post strings of multiple comments in a row without waiting for any replies (something PZ has specifically asked people not to do just s couple threads ago) without PZ even peeping up at all about it, on an ancient thread (so old that on many other blogs comments would have long been closed).

    Also, not a single one of this spammation of postings changes the undeniable reality that FGM is objectively worse than MGM as it inflicts greater tissue trauma using cruder procedures with higher rates of severe complications.

    Insults at this point are richly deserved.

  170. darwinharmless says

    Christ on crutches, don’t you people have any ear for irony. If I started talking about MGM on an FGM thread, the first thing I’d hear is “Oh yeah, here it comes. What about teh menz.” This is, or at least started out as, a thread about infant MALE circumcision. It is not as bad (sigh) as SOME, but worse than MANY (but not all) forms of FGM and so fucking what? Eident9 has poven himself to be a total idiot, but the rest of you don’t have to follow his example. What about teh wimmenz has no place on a thread about infant male circumcision. So can you stop beating that horse now. It’s fucking dead, Jim.

  171. says

    Oh, look. A textbook-perfect example of the kind of behavior I cited as being harassing, obnoxious, and obsessive. Eident9 is now on automod.