Infant Circumcision

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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby P3t3r » Tue Dec 20, 2011 4:31 am UTC

Malice wrote:
Malice wrote: You are either choosing that your child will get to his 18th birthday with a circumcised penis or you're choosing that your child will get to his 18th birthday with an uncircumcised penis. Defaulting to the latter based on the naturalistic fallacy is not a solution.

Or you're choosing the fact that it's not your decision to make because it's not your body. Choosing not to circumcise isn't just a question of supporting nature but also the right to bodily integrity. Some parents prefer a circumcised penis but they still decide not to circumcise their sons. Why ? Because they understand that their son may think different. I do love tattoo but I will never tattoo my child even if it were legal. I'm personnally, as you can easily imagine :D , against circumcision and I will not circumcise my child. However if my child decide at 18 that he want to be circumcised, I'll pay for it. He has the right to his own opinion and by choosing not to circumcise I'm not imposing my view on him, I just accept the fact that it's not my decision to make. I've nothing against adult circumcision.


In leaving off the surgery, you are absolutely imposing your view on your child: your view is he should be uncircumcised until he's old enough to elect for his own surgery. There's just as much chance that he'll go through adolescence wishing he'd been cut as an infant so he'd fit in as there is in the alternative scenario.


You didn't get my point. When I decided not to remove his left earlobe, did I impose my view on my child ?
If he wants to be circumcised later in life he can make this decision. I also decided not remove my daughter's clitoral hood and there's just as much chance that she'll go through adolescence whishing she'd been cut as infant (because labiaplasty is becomming more and more fashion) as there is in the alternative scenario.

I didn't make an irriversible decision. If he wants to lose his foreskin, he can go for it. If he dislikes being circumcised, he can do nothing about it.

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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby Copper Bezel » Tue Dec 20, 2011 4:39 am UTC

Malice wrote:In leaving off the surgery, you are absolutely imposing your view on your child: your view is he should be uncircumcised until he's old enough to elect for his own surgery. There's just as much chance that he'll go through adolescence wishing he'd been cut as an infant so he'd fit in as there is in the alternative scenario.

Oh, actually, this is an important point, too, one I missed with Izawwlgood's braces. Few people would opt to have crooked teeth, and I don't know that a surgery exists to restore crookedness in teeth; at the same time, many, many people legitimately find displeasure in their lack of dental rectitude and would take the option if given to "correct" it. In circumcision, a few people opt as adults to be circumcised for religious reasons and a vanishingly small number of people opt to have the surgery "reversed" for, I should assume, the pleasure of being contrary. But you can't assume that the actual inclinations are a literal 50/50 break, because they won't be, for almost any procedure you could propose. You can't guess an individual's preference, but you can determine the statistical likelihood of a choice.

I'd lump circumcision in with tattoos of Coca-Cola logos on that point, and further contend that if 51% of a society really did end up with tattoos of Coca-Cola logos as adults, it would become socially accepted as one of two evenly matched possibilities and seem like an even-break preferential situation as you're suggesting due to a false-choice fallacy perception.

Edit: Damn, sniped by LaserGuy.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby P3t3r » Tue Dec 20, 2011 4:51 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:Millions of men are alive and well and circumcised.

Among these millions of men how many really chose to be circumcised ? 0,1% ? 0,2% ?
Very few uncut males choose to be circumcised despite the fact they do have the choice to be circumcised if they do want it. If circumcision is so great, why don't you see billions of uncut guys rushing for the procedure ?
On the other hand circumcised males have no choice. They can't reverse what was done to them, they are being forced to accept their circumcised penis.


morriswalters wrote:If you have to have one as an adult you may well wish that your parents had done the dirty deed while it was still a simple procedure.

"If you have to have one as an adult' Chances are very rare that it will happen and if it does happen you can go for it. Many people have claim endlessly that circumcision doesn't cause any harm so you can go for it IF you have to have one as adult.

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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby Malice » Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:30 am UTC

P3t3r wrote:
Malice wrote:
Malice wrote: You are either choosing that your child will get to his 18th birthday with a circumcised penis or you're choosing that your child will get to his 18th birthday with an uncircumcised penis. Defaulting to the latter based on the naturalistic fallacy is not a solution.

Or you're choosing the fact that it's not your decision to make because it's not your body. Choosing not to circumcise isn't just a question of supporting nature but also the right to bodily integrity. Some parents prefer a circumcised penis but they still decide not to circumcise their sons. Why ? Because they understand that their son may think different. I do love tattoo but I will never tattoo my child even if it were legal. I'm personnally, as you can easily imagine :D , against circumcision and I will not circumcise my child. However if my child decide at 18 that he want to be circumcised, I'll pay for it. He has the right to his own opinion and by choosing not to circumcise I'm not imposing my view on him, I just accept the fact that it's not my decision to make. I've nothing against adult circumcision.


In leaving off the surgery, you are absolutely imposing your view on your child: your view is he should be uncircumcised until he's old enough to elect for his own surgery. There's just as much chance that he'll go through adolescence wishing he'd been cut as an infant so he'd fit in as there is in the alternative scenario.


You didn't get my point. When I decided not to remove his left earlobe, did I impose my view on my child ?
If he wants to be circumcised later in life he can make this decision. I also decided not remove my daughter's clitoral hood and there's just as much chance that she'll go through adolescence whishing she'd been cut as infant (because labiaplasty is becomming more and more fashion) as there is in the alternative scenario.


Were those surgical options both popular, readily available, and widely socially acceptable, I would argue the same thing. The fact that something is mainstream means you have to confront it, regardless of whether you want to or not.

I didn't make an irriversible decision. If he wants to lose his foreskin, he can go for it. If he dislikes being circumcised, he can do nothing about it.


His penis is semi-irreversible (you can have a foreskin reconstructed, although the procedure is imperfect for a number of reasons), but your decision is not. Either way, if he's unsatisfied, he's not getting the first 18 years of his life back.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby yurell » Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:37 am UTC

Malice wrote:His penis is semi-irreversible (you can have a foreskin reconstructed, although the procedure is imperfect for a number of reasons), but your decision is not. Either way, if he's unsatisfied, he's not getting the first 18 years of his life back.


But in only one case can he salvage the remaining seventy years.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby sourmìlk » Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:42 am UTC

I don't like your insinuation that circumcised bodies are somehow inferior. My body is not inferior due to circumcision. It's inferior because it is obese with poor muscle tone and developing a fatty liver.

yurell wrote:The thing is, Sourmilk seems to think parental authority over their children is sacrosanct and requires a strong reason to be violated, in comparison to my belief that a right to a healthy and whole body is sacrosanct and requires strong reason to be violated.

But how can you hold that belief in light of my argument for my belief? Please stop asserting your belief as though it matters without any sort of defense: I explained my belief, if you contradict it I expect you to display yours.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby TLCTugger » Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:47 am UTC

P3T3r wrote:Can a parent choose your future wife ? your future job ?
So why should he be able to choose the look of your penis for the rest of your life when the decision can be delayed ?


For 94% of the world, a parent can't legally choose to even prick a girl's genitals with a pin to draw one ceremonial drop of blood, with no religious exemption.

Where were the parents' rights advocates when we set off down that slippery slope?

Where were the US constitution defenders when a girl's prepuce was protected, while a boy's healthy normal prepuce is still haphazardly amputated at the whim of someone else? The 14th amendment demands equal protection.

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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby yurell » Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:53 am UTC

Oh bugger off, you absolutely did not. Why should parents have the right to do absolutely anything they want with a child short of harming it? What moral framework did you use to guide you to this position?

My own opinion is based on my own moral principles that everyone has a right to a whole and healthy body. It's a fucking axiom of my moral system. Everyone deserves to be happy with the body they're in, and just like I can't be forced to have breast implants I don't think anyone should be forced to have part of their body removed without their consent except where necessary.

I am stating my belief because my belief matters and I'm allowed to have my own opinion and state this opinion and it does matter. My belief is consistent and doesn't lead to harm, so what's the problem with it? Your belief of parents being allowed to chop off the end of a fully-functioning dick complete violate my moral principles, and I have explained this. The fact that you're not happy with my arguments is your bloody problem, so don't act all high-and-mighty when the issue is you believe a moral system that's different to yours is can be objectively wrong. If my opinion is objectively wrong (the only way in which mine shouldn't be able to exist 'in light of your argument'), state why.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby sourmìlk » Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:57 am UTC

yurell wrote:Oh bugger off, you absolutely did not. Why should parents have the right to do absolutely anything they want with a child short of harming it? What moral framework did you use to guide you to this position?

See pages two and three. I'm not rehashing my arguments.

My own opinion is based on my own moral principles that everyone has a right to a whole and healthy body. It's a fucking axiom of my moral system.

But this axiom is totally irrelevant to the discussion. Circumcision doesn't deprive a person of a whole and healthy body.
Everyone deserves to be happy with the body they're in, and just like I can't be forced to have breast implants I don't think anyone should be forced to have part of their body removed without their consent except where necessary.

The evidence does not support the notion that people are, in any significant numbers, unhappy because they were circumcised, and it certainly does not show that there are more people unhappy with being circumcised than there are with being uncircumcised.

I am stating my belief because my belief matters and I'm allowed to have my own opinion and state this opinion and it does matter. My belief is consistent and doesn't lead to harm, so what's the problem with it? Your belief of parents being allowed to chop off the end of a fully-functioning dick complete violate my moral principles, and I have explained this. The fact that you're not happy with my arguments is your bloody problem, so don't act all high-and-mighty when the issue is you believe a moral system that's different to yours is can be objectively wrong. If my opinion is objectively wrong (the only way in which mine shouldn't be able to exist 'in light of your argument'), state why.

I don't know if I'd be happy with your arguments for this moral viewpoint: you haven't made them. I've already explained why these are poor moral viewpoints, and I'm not going to do so again
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:20 am UTC

yurell wrote:My own opinion is based on my own moral principles that everyone has a right to a whole and healthy body. It's a fucking axiom of my moral system. Everyone deserves to be happy with the body they're in, and just like I can't be forced to have breast implants I don't think anyone should be forced to have part of their body removed without their consent except where necessary.
I think since you recognize it as a personal opinion based on your own moral principles, should respect the fact that in the absence of demonstrable harm, some people may disagree with your notions of 'whole and healthy body', insofar as it applies to things like circumcision. I personally feel that a parent deciding to circumcise a child, correct poly/syndactyly, repair a cleft palate, removing a birthmark, detaching attached earlobes, or getting orthodontics for their kids, without consulting their infant, toddler, or pre-adolescent children on the matter, is perfectly reasonable, again, so long as no serious harm is brought to the child. Because I don't believe that infants, toddlers, or pre-adolescents have rights.
yurell wrote:I am stating my belief because my belief matters and I'm allowed to have my own opinion and state this opinion and it does matter.

Because this is fine, and this is great, but you're getting into, I think, dangerous territory when you start demanding other people accept this view point. We aren't saying 'cut off all the foreskins', we're saying parents should be able to decide for their own kids.
yurell wrote:The fact that you're not happy with my arguments is your bloody problem

sourmilk was telling you why he wasn't interested in repeating the arguements; the reason my guess is he said that, was because we're still at an impasse wherein we go round and round with people repeating their points and talking past one another. Your post is a good example: you succinctly and rationally present your opinions, while dismissing what you know to be other members in this threads opinions, concomitant with the demand that we recognize your opinions as superior/right/whatever.
So, with due respect, I'm going to tell you that's cool you think that, and I hope you try to understand why we think differently.
Copper Bezel wrote:But you can't assume that the actual inclinations are a literal 50/50 break, because they won't be, for almost any procedure you could propose. You can't guess an individual's preference, but you can determine the statistical likelihood of a choice.

Actually, it appears that statistically, those who 'regret their circumcision' are, as you said, beyond vanishingly small. Someone mentioned there was a forum with 'tens of thousands of people registered', which to me suggests that of the 600M people who are circumcised, even if you assume only 10% of them have internet access, you're still looking at a procedure with a statistically irrelevant body of people who regret having gone through the procedure.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby distractedSofty » Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:34 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
yurell wrote:Oh bugger off, you absolutely did not. Why should parents have the right to do absolutely anything they want with a child short of harming it? What moral framework did you use to guide you to this position?

See pages two and three. I'm not rehashing my arguments.

You never hashed them in the first place: pages two and three consist of you asserting that parental discretion is sacrosanct. You never proposed any argument for that to be the case.

It appears that you just consider it to be a universal truth, but that's not the same as putting forward an argument.

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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:37 am UTC

While sourmilk didn't actually present factual evidence for why parental discretion trumps toddlers right to bodily autonomy, yurell didn't either for supporting their opinion on bodily autonomy. If we're stating our opinions, then nothing beyond a statement of belief is required. If you want to get into more details, then I'm sure you can find plenty of more detailed arguments throughout this thread.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby TLCTugger » Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:50 am UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:I'm not buying into the argument that anyone regrets losing his foreskin. That's absurd to me. If there were widespread effects, we would not be having a conversation in which everyone in opposition (however slight) of circumcision was himself uncut and everyone in support was cut.

Hundreds of thousands of men are enduring a tedious multi-year process of non-surgical foreskin restoration to undo just some of the sexual damage of circumcision.

The reason to advocate against forced genital cutting is NOT because it is barbaric. Many things we need to do for kids could be described as barbarically painful; they need to get over it if we deem it necessary (like cleaning broken glass out of a wound or drilling holes in their teeth for example). The reason to oppose forced genital cutting is the permanent harm it causes.

The foreskin includes thousands of specialized pleasure-receptive nerve endings and about 15 square inches (in the adult) of sexual interface. Removing that healthy normal body part dramatically alters sexual sensation.

The foreskin protects the glans from the drying and abrasion associated with rubbing against dry clothing and bedding and being exposed to the open air. Any doctor will instruct an adult circumcision patient that it could take a few months before his glans has caloused enough for him to comfortably where briefs. The frenulum - which is normally very ticklish (perhaps the neurological homologue to the clitoris) - is also (if it survives the circumcision) left unprotected so it can dry and numb. Eliminating the protective foreskin dramatically diminishes pleasure-receptive capacity.

The normal slack foreskin slinks and glides over the erect shaft and the corona of the glans during intimacy, massaging the penis in a way that can't be matched when the slack is absent. This gliding action reduces abrasion for a man's partner and reduces the need for sexual lubricants. The skin tube as it enrobes the glans during a withdrawal motion literally makes the perceived girth of the glans greater - by FOUR skin thickness (inner and outer on each side) - and that might partly explain why the percentage of intact men making an informed choice for penis reduction surgery is much less than 1%.

Circumcision changes the mechanics of sex. The speciallized nerve endings in the skin respond to the tight bending and re-straightening associated with the travelling roll-over point as the skin slinks - in a way a cut man will simply never understand. With the slack present a man's partner can manipulate that nerve-rich skin forward of the glans and nibble on it, or slip a tongue between the skin tube and glans ans swirl around against two surfaces simultaneously, or use the rolling bearing of the skin tube as a tool to frictionlessly flush the engorgement from the glans and then gnaw on the tips of the corpus cavernosa before the glans re-engorges. I mean there are just lots of things you can do when the normal slack skin is present that are taken out of the sexual repertoire after circumcision.

You might hear people say cut men still reach a climax so they haven't lost anything, but intact men often say the whole ride feels so good they are in no hurry to get to a big finish.

Assuming there were no accidents and unintended consequences (only the predictable ones I describe above), exactly how many men would have to regret having been cut at birth for it to warrant not closing that door for all men, but instead leaving the option so he can get cut (or stay intact) later at a rational informed age?

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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby yurell » Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:51 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:I think since you recognize it as a personal opinion based on your own moral principles, should respect the fact that in the absence of demonstrable harm, some people may disagree with your notions of 'whole and healthy body', insofar as it applies to things like circumcision. I personally feel that a parent deciding to circumcise a child, correct poly/syndactyly, repair a cleft palate, removing a birthmark, detaching attached earlobes, or getting orthodontics for their kids, without consulting their infant, toddler, or pre-adolescent children on the matter, is perfectly reasonable, again, so long as no serious harm is brought to the child. Because I don't believe that infants, toddlers, or pre-adolescents have rights.


Oh, I do agree with you that some people may disagree, and I'm perfectly willing to accept and discuss this with them, hence why I laid out the difference between my morality and Sourmilk's morality on the issue without judgement as to whose is 'more right' than the other's. My angry response, however, was directed entirely at Sourmilk. I'm willing to discuss this calmly and rationally with you, because you're willing to discuss calmly and rationally in return.

Izawwlgood wrote:Because this is fine, and this is great, but you're getting into, I think, dangerous territory when you start demanding other people accept this view point. We aren't saying 'cut off all the foreskins', we're saying parents should be able to decide for their own kids.


I don't expect people to simply accept this viewpoint. If there's a problem with my morality (i.e. it fails in some objective manner, such as not achieving its stated goals), I fully expect for it to be pointed out and I shall adjust my view accordingly. What I take exception too is Sourmilk's 'I provided an argument for my moral system based entirely on my moral system therefore yours is wrong until it's proven right'.

The argument is 'parents should be able to decide what's good for their own children, therefore they should be able to have them circumcised' (stop me if I'm misrepresenting your point) vs. 'everyone should have the right to a whole and healthy body, therefore no one should be circumcised unless they consent'.
Obviously, both these points of view have their own inbuilt exceptions, but that's the summary of moral arguments thus presented as I see it.

The thing that ticks me off about Sourmilk is that he's taken the first view as canon, asserting it and claiming from then on that he's 'proven' or 'explained' something when all he's done is 'asserted' or 'explained something else using this as a moral basis'.

Naturally, the standard of proof required to stop circumcision is different for each moral system -- in the first, it needs to be proven to be harmful before you're willing to violate the parents' rights. In the second, you need to prove it's not harmful before risking violating the child's rights. Obviously, this is a black-and-white approach, and the shades of grey come in for what people accept as sufficient evidence for reasonable doubt / people who hold a superposition of both views.

My previous post wasn't so much an attack against the arguments & points of view of people in this thread as Sourmilk successfully pushing all my buttons.

And while we're on the subject of Sourmilk pushing buttons:

sourmìlk wrote: Circumcision doesn't deprive a person of a whole and healthy body.


Bullshit. You cut a piece off, how the hell is that 'whole'? If I cut a slice out of a cake, it's no longer a whole cake, it's a cake missing a bit.

sourmìlk wrote:I've already explained why these are poor moral viewpoints, and I'm not going to do so again


To your satisfaction, maybe, not to everyone's. You haven't explained why parental rights are sacrosanct, you've just asserted it and continued from that assumption. Your entire argument is built on this assumption, which the people arguing against you don't share. And just because people stop arguing with you doesn't mean the point is conceded -- ad nauseum is not a victory.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:15 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:The evidence does not support the notion that people are, in any significant numbers, unhappy because they were circumcised, and it certainly does not show that there are more people unhappy with being circumcised than there are with being uncircumcised.


Happiness directly due to the circumcision itself may not be the only effect that we need to consider. There may be higher-order effects that are also relevant. For example, I noted a study a couple pages back that highlighted that infants who are circumcised without anesthesia experience symptoms of trauma that persist for at least some months, such as increased sensitivity to pain. Usage of anesthetics in circumcisions is pretty spotty--I see a study suggesting 84% in American hospitals (and this is a dramatic improvement from even 15 years ago), but also one here from Kuwait where anesthetic is only used about 10% of the time. Impressions made during the formative years can be very strong, even if the incident itself is forgotten, so it is entirely reasonable to expect some of these sorts of higher-order effects could persist even into adulthood. Since many of the places where circumcision is most prevalent are those with relatively poor healthcare systems, we might anticipate that many, if not most, circumcised males underwent circumcision without anesthetic, and most newborns will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. This is likewise true in the United States, where, as I mentioned, it is only very recently that anywhere near universal usage of anesthetic is being proscribed. That is to say: Most circumcisions, as it stands now, not only cause significant and immediate harm to the infant, but also have the potential to lead to negative psychological effects that may linger for extended periods of time.

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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby Copper Bezel » Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:20 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Actually, it appears that statistically, those who 'regret their circumcision' are, as you said, beyond vanishingly small. Someone mentioned there was a forum with 'tens of thousands of people registered', which to me suggests that of the 600M people who are circumcised, even if you assume only 10% of them have internet access, you're still looking at a procedure with a statistically irrelevant body of people who regret having gone through the procedure.

If I hadn't noticed that the first part of my reply invalidated my argument, the second part of the reply wouldn't have been spent uninvalidating it. = )

But seriously, the main problem I see with the 50/50 assumption is the false dilemma fallacy. "Circumcised" and "whole" are not equal opposites. "Circumcised" is one of an infinite number of possible variations from "whole."

And, of course, I argue that "whole" has the privileged position of a default, but that's irrelevant to the above.

Like yurell is saying, there are a number of lines of argument going on here. I disagree with everyone for different reasons. I agree with P3t3r on the above, and I think that Malice's argument is fairly blatantly fallacious. However, the relevance of the whole exchange is predicated on a premise I reject: that a surgery that does no harm but does no good is acceptable. (And as far as I'm concerned, circumcision is exactly that.)

Anyway, I still want to know - would that world in which all earlobes were attached at birth, and we were having this conversation about surgery to detach them, be interchangeable with the real discussion we're having?

yurell wrote:Bullshit. You cut a piece off, how the hell is that 'whole'? If I cut a slice out of a cake, it's no longer a whole cake, it's a cake missing a bit.


I've been arguing that there are at least two privileged "default" positions for "whole" - the naturally occurring, unaltered body, and the "normal," "ordinary," or even idealized arrangement. Izawwlgood has some scenarios where those contradict one another - how would you resolve them?
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby BattleMoose » Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:22 am UTC

There have been so far a number of comparisons of circumcision to other interferences of a childs or infants body, including cleft palates, birthmarks et cetera, key differences in this are that:

1. Circumcision is not correcting an abnormality, as a cleft palate is, it is an abnormality in that it occurs in a small minority of the population.
2. A number of these other procedures are enhancing functionality.
3. Or are cosmetic in nature, altering appearances to be more like what is common in natural development.

Such are the ways that circumcision is different to these other listed procedures, this has been hashed to death despite what people have been claiming so far in this thread.

After thinking I have thought that circumcision is most like foot binding, thats right, fucking foot binding.

Not in harm, clearly foot binding is much more harmful than circumcision and I still maintain that circumcision is harmful.

1. Foot binding is not correcting an abnormality.
2. It does not enhance function, much the opposite.
3. And does not alter appearance to be most like what is common in natural development.
4. It was also widespread and socially acceptable.
5. It is physically interfering irreversibly with a child's body, much like an infant in that there is absolutely no room for consent.

Fortunately society has gotten over the awful practice that is foot binding. Foot binding is a mean and horrible practice as is circumcision as I have already stated, the only difference is the harm that the two differences cause, but in my opinion, magnitude of harm cause is not so relevant in that the parents are causing harm, physically and interfering with a child's body which I find unacceptable and abhorrent.

*Just to be clear I find foot binding much much much much much much worse than circumcision, but both practices for me still fall under the category of mean and horrible.

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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby Copper Bezel » Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:28 am UTC

The connotation of harm is too distracting, though. That's why I'm suggesting earlobes. We know what detached earlobes look like, we know what attached ones look like, we're comfortable with both, and there's no net difference in experience. Imagine that one or the other was an artificial imposition and we're more or less talking about circumcision.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby Waylah » Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:50 am UTC

I don't believe it is a good thing for people, including parents, to be condoned to make permanent changes to anyone, including babies, even if the change is not in any way harmful, unless the change is decidedly positive, i.e. called-for medically. If a medical case can be made for removing earlobes or foreskins, then so be it. However, simply demonstrating that a permanent change is not in any way harmful does not, in my opinion, make it okay for anyone to do it to anyone else without the consent of the person. The right of someone to not have themselves permanently altered without their consent, even when they are a child unable to give it, comes above the desire of a parent to alter their child.

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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby BattleMoose » Tue Dec 20, 2011 12:08 pm UTC

What I like about the foot binding example is that it was socially acceptable, mainstream and probably expected to, societal pressure to bind feet. Much like circumcision is today. And at the time of its popularity, everyone was blind to the harm foot binding caused, and thought that the practice was okay. Girls who had their feet bound were probably even happy to have had their feet bound.

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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:43 pm UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:The connotation of harm is too distracting, though. That's why I'm suggesting earlobes.

Earlobes are a phenomenal example, one I wish people would be paying more attention, or respond to.
BattleMoose wrote:What I like about the foot binding example is that it was socially acceptable, mainstream and probably expected to, societal pressure to bind feet. Much like circumcision is today. And at the time of its popularity, everyone was blind to the harm foot binding caused, and thought that the practice was okay. Girls who had their feet bound were probably even happy to have had their feet bound.

Foot binding is a horrible comparison; the procedure is CENTERED around limiting functionality of the altered part. It is more akin to Type 3 FGM than male circumcision. You even mentioned that it is strikingly worse, yet still persisted in the comparison.
yurell wrote:Bullshit. You cut a piece off, how the hell is that 'whole'? If I cut a slice out of a cake, it's no longer a whole cake, it's a cake missing a bit.

This is a poor analogy, because according to you, the cake is demonstrably 'lessened'. A better analogy, would be removing some of the candied frosting from the top of the cake. I'm not trying to be flippant here, and this is actually rather pertinent to the discussion: anti-circumcision supporters are claiming that circumcised cocks are inferior, lesser, damaged, lonely for their foreskins, and are basing this on an INCREDIBLY scant minority of individuals who feel this way, whereas the world has ***600 MILLION*** circumcised cocks which don't feel this way. While I understand that it's possible that every one of those cocks has lost, reduced, or at least changed functionality, no scientific study has been able to demonstrate that a cock, circumcised from birth, has a different range of sensations than an uncut cock. What is curious to me, is this claim that only circumcised people would be pro-circumcision, to validate the veracity of their cocks I'm sure, neglects to mention that uncut cocks are doing the exact same thing, that is, claiming that their cocks are superior! This is based on no real supporting evidence, as we've pointed out repeatedly, because pointing to an adult who has had an altering surgery and saying 'yup, different sensations' is a pretty flawed study.
So, frankly, the line of argumentation that circumcision isn't 'whole' or isn't as functional, is a loaded argument, one I don't think really holds much water. Consider the other cosmetic alterations and how they fit into this concept of 'whole'.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:53 pm UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:Anyway, I still want to know - would that world in which all earlobes were attached at birth, and we were having this conversation about surgery to detach them, be interchangeable with the real discussion we're having?
Absolutely.
BattleMoose wrote:1. Circumcision is not correcting an abnormality, as a cleft palate is, it is an abnormality in that it occurs in a small minority of the population.
Abnormalities are defined by society; if we define a naturally occurring foreskin as an abnormality that should be corrected, that's what it is. We give greater weight to things which interfere with normal function (such as a cleft palate), but what about things like webbed toes?
BattleMoose wrote:2. A number of these other procedures are enhancing functionality.
A number aren't.
BattleMoose wrote:3. Or are cosmetic in nature, altering appearances to be more like what is common in natural development.
Naturalistic fallacy.

EDIT: Let me add here that the evil, for me, comes from parents realizing that there's a very significant possibility their child will grow up into someone who regrets their circumcision and proceeding anyway. That is an example of ignoring an infant's bodily autonomy. In society, parents are the individuals who we've put in charge of their children's rights; it's their job to figure out what decisions will lead to a happy, productive, satisfied adult, and what decisions won't. If they make a decision like circumcision and it leads to regret, they've made a bad choice--they've failed at part of their job. Did they know that this would possibly be a bad choice? I'd submit that most parents don't even put much thought into it.

Making people aware of the choices they're making and what their options are is one of the best ways to convince them to make better choices. Demonizing their choices - and the choices of their parents - is one of the best ways to convince them to ignore you.

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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby PeterCai » Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:29 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Let me add here that the evil, for me, comes from parents realizing that there's a very significant possibility their child will grow up into someone who regrets their circumcision and proceeding anyway. That is an example of ignoring an infant's bodily autonomy. In society, parents are the individuals who we've put in charge of their children's rights; it's their job to figure out what decisions will lead to a happy, productive, satisfied adult, and what decisions won't. If they make a decision like circumcision and it leads to regret, they've made a bad choice--they've failed at part of their job.


But by virtue of being an infant, one does not have bodily autonomy. It is not until we mature that we gain this right. The fact that we will eventually gain this right, however, is irrelevant to the situation at hand. No one is arguing that parents shouldn't be able to give consent to a doctor to fix a child's defected heart, for example. The problem of regret is also irrelevant, as parents can not predict what the child we feel regrets about, and there is no ideal archetype for a happy, productive satisfied adult, and therefore, parents can only decide base on their beliefs of what is best for the child, regardless of the child's later regrets. Plus, you don't know if many of the circumcised people actually feel regrets about it.
I feel that unless there is conclusive evidences for significant harms, these sort of issues are best left for the parents to decide.

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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:44 pm UTC

PeterCai wrote:The problem of regret is also irrelevant, as parents can not predict what the child we feel regrets about, and there is no ideal archetype for a happy, productive satisfied adult, and therefore, parents can only decide base on their beliefs of what is best for the child, regardless of the child's later regrets.
We can predict that a child who is beaten regularly will grow into an adult who regrets being beaten, and will have their quality of life reduced. We can predict that a child who has had their arms surgically removed will find this surgery regrettable (and again, have their quality of life reduced). We can predict that a child with a defective heart will grow up to find the decision to not correct this regrettable (assuming they live to that point). These are all examples of things we can predict, with relative accuracy, and would all consider highly abusive.

The premise I was positing was that if it were possible to predict regret from circumcision (as clearly as it is from removing your arms), then the decision to circumcise your child would clearly be a poor one--and an abusive one. I don't see that prediction as very clear (I've yet to see a citation concerning how many people grew up to regret their circumcision), so I'm not strongly opposed to circumcision. Were I to see evidence of significant regret, I would be opposed, because I prefer that people be satisfied with their childhood and the decisions their parents made concerning their bodies.

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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby PeterCai » Tue Dec 20, 2011 4:03 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:The premise I was positing was that if it were possible to predict regret from circumcision (as clearly as it is from removing your arms), then the decision to circumcise your child would clearly be a poor one--and an abusive one. I don't see that prediction as very clear (I've yet to see a citation concerning how many people grew up to regret their circumcision), so I'm not strongly opposed to circumcision. Were I to see evidence of significant regret, I would be opposed, because I prefer that people be satisfied with their childhood and the decisions their parents made concerning their bodies.


ah, my bad. we pretty much have the same view

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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Dec 20, 2011 4:18 pm UTC

PeterCai wrote:ah, my bad. we pretty much have the same view
I figured, so I clarified--my initial explanation above was pretty nebulous.

I think the greater point here--the thing that gets keeping lost--is that this is about people and how they feel about their bodies. Phrases like 'institutionalized sexual mutilation' or whatever keep getting thrown out, and I suppose the expectation is that I should feel horror, or outrage, or indignation, because those words sound very bad. But the fact is, if people don't care that their genitals have been mutilated, then neither do I.

If a lot of people regret their circumcisions, then I find it reasonable to assume more people in the future will feel the same way, and I want to prevent circumcision for their sake. If the number of people who regret their circumcision is very low, then I care less, because it's more likely that those who undergo circumcision won't (like me) really care.

Again, the issue here shouldn't be language or emotional rhetoric--it shouldn't even be a huge issue of bodily autonomy (as has been stated again and again and again, we already violate a child's bodily autonomy, for a variety of reasons--some of them good, some of them arbitrary). The only question that I find relevant is: How will these people feel about their bodies down the road? If a significant number of them will be dissatisfied, then there's a problem. If the vast majority of them won't care, then neither do I.

Basically? The only opinion I'm interested in is the one that belongs to those who had a circumcision and regret it. Everyone else's opinion is pretty much irrelevant.

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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby DSenette » Tue Dec 20, 2011 4:49 pm UTC

i think the issue with the "well, since there aren't a shit ton of people who don't regret having it done, then i shouldn't worry" is a really difficult argument to actually uphold.

if you don't know what the difference is, then it's really difficult to regret things. which is why the data that suggests that there are a large percentage of adult men who got circumcised as adults, and regret having it done is relevant. they're the ONLY group of people who can actually make the comparison enough to actually say whether it's a regrettable event or not.

you can't regret things that you have no way of knowing what the alternative was like (which, btw, uncircumcised men can TOTALLY try out being circumcised and make a judgment call on which seems better)
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Dec 20, 2011 4:55 pm UTC

DSenette wrote:if you don't know what the difference is, then it's really difficult to regret things.
But why is that a problem? I'm only concerned with quality of life issues; if your quality of life is demonstrably reduced by circumcision, that's when I start giving a shit. Is there a significant segment of the population who are suffering from quality of life issues that are directly related to their circumcision, and they don't actually realize it?
DSenette wrote:you can't regret things that you have no way of knowing what the alternative was like (which, btw, uncircumcised men can TOTALLY try out being circumcised and make a judgment call on which seems better)
And if they picked wrong, they can't effectively 'go back' to being circumcised. Either way, your parents have made a largely irreversible decision--whether it's circumcision or not.

I will add that the growing awareness of circumcision and the nature of the choice gives me pause, and I think that my perspective will probably shift as more and more parents choose not to circumcise their children, and more and more people describe their status as a circumcised adult as something they regret.

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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:11 pm UTC

DSenette wrote:i think the issue with the "well, since there aren't a shit ton of people who don't regret having it done, then i shouldn't worry" is a really difficult argument to actually uphold.

Not really. There are lots of things with irreversible effects on children that parents make judgement calls on. The name of the game isn't 'eliminate everything that your child may not like in the future' but 'make the best decisions you can for your child'. If you worry that circumcision will be something your kid will regret later in life, then don't circumcise your kid.
DSenette wrote:if you don't know what the difference is, then it's really difficult to regret things.

This is a rather interesting way of putting it. If you don't know what the difference is, and your 'different thing' functions perfectly well, then... well, what's the difference?
DSenette wrote:you can't regret things that you have no way of knowing what the alternative was like (which, btw, uncircumcised men can TOTALLY try out being circumcised and make a judgment call on which seems better)

And as we've already pointed out, not only is this a markedly more difficult procedure to undergo for an adult than for an infant, it also creates a situation wherein you now have the actual memory of having surgery on your dick. It's not an equivalent. Unfortunately, there's no real given equivalent that's been conducted as of yet. If someone releases a study that shows men circumcised from birth have markedly less sensation, function, or ability to masturbate than men who are uncircumcised, I'll believe that circumcision is a detrimental procedure.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby Chen » Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:59 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
DSenette wrote:if you don't know what the difference is, then it's really difficult to regret things.

This is a rather interesting way of putting it. If you don't know what the difference is, and your 'different thing' functions perfectly well, then... well, what's the difference?


I don't see how you can say "functions perfectly well". You can say both ways function, but its not clear if one is in fact superior to the other. To determine this you'd need to do a study whereby uncircumcised males got circumcised and then reported as to whether various acts were better or worse. At which point, if the study was sufficiently rigorous, you might be able to conclude that one was better than the other (or that they were effectively equal).

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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:09 pm UTC

Chen wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:
DSenette wrote:if you don't know what the difference is, then it's really difficult to regret things.

This is a rather interesting way of putting it. If you don't know what the difference is, and your 'different thing' functions perfectly well, then... well, what's the difference?


I don't see how you can say "functions perfectly well". You can say both ways function, but its not clear if one is in fact superior to the other. To determine this you'd need to do a study whereby uncircumcised males got circumcised and then reported as to whether various acts were better or worse. At which point, if the study was sufficiently rigorous, you might be able to conclude that one was better than the other (or that they were effectively equal).

No, this is not a reasonable study; memory of surgery, and a lifetime of 'using it one way' means this is not an apples to apples comparison. This is actually mentioned in the review I linked earlier, and this has been mentioned countless times by numerous people in the thread. What WOULD be equal, is if you compared the penile sensitivity, masturbation habits, and 'satisfaction' of men circumcised at birth compared to uncut men.
But right, what isn't clear is if one is superior to the other. That is precisely my point.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby Malice » Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:00 pm UTC

Chen wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:
DSenette wrote:if you don't know what the difference is, then it's really difficult to regret things.

This is a rather interesting way of putting it. If you don't know what the difference is, and your 'different thing' functions perfectly well, then... well, what's the difference?


I don't see how you can say "functions perfectly well". You can say both ways function, but its not clear if one is in fact superior to the other. To determine this you'd need to do a study whereby uncircumcised males got circumcised and then reported as to whether various acts were better or worse. At which point, if the study was sufficiently rigorous, you might be able to conclude that one was better than the other (or that they were effectively equal).


You can unequivocally say that both function "well enough"; even if there is an actual difference in sensation, the vast majority of men in both cases go on to have normal, productive sex lives.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby sourmìlk » Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:04 pm UTC

yurell wrote:The thing that ticks me off about Sourmilk is that he's taken the first view as canon, asserting it and claiming from then on that he's 'proven' or 'explained' something when all he's done is 'asserted' or 'explained something else using this as a moral basis'.

No, that's what you've done. I explained my viewpoint using examples of its applicability. I will copy paste this exactly once:

For an explanation of why it is dangerous to override parental discretion without evidence of significant harm:
sourmilk wrote:Okay, I disagree. Parents are unable to do almost anything not vitally to taking care of their children if _any_ possibility of harm is counted. They are not allowed to take them outside the house except for the purposes of school. They are not allowed to feed their children food they didn't explicitly prepare. They are not allowed to let them use any form of entertainment that, even by an iota, increases the child's chance of coming into harm. Parental discretion can't be overridden by any negligible chance that exercising such discretion might theoretically cause harm.


sourmilk wrote:I've always thought it was accepted that parents could assign their children certain after-school activities, like sports or piano lessons or whatever. And are you telling me that it's immoral for a parent to have her child eat food that it's possible he could be allergic to? There are far more people who are lactose intolerant than who have suffered due to circumcision, and yet parents might have their kids eat dairy foods prepared for them because it's easier than buying soy everything just in case.


Unless you are going to propose that parents never do anything with the slightest chance of risk unless they can demonstrate that it the least risky beneficial thing for their child, then you have to show demonstrable, significant harm in circumcision before you can ban it. You've shown demonstrable harm in about .01% of the population, which as I've shown, is significantly less than the chance of harm for somebody who plays sports, an activity parents often make their children do.

Your ignoring of my arguments doesn't mean I haven't made them.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:38 pm UTC

sourmilk wrote:Okay, I disagree. Parents are unable to do almost anything not vitally to taking care of their children if _any_ possibility of harm is counted. They are not allowed to take them outside the house except for the purposes of school. They are not allowed to feed their children food they didn't explicitly prepare. They are not allowed to let them use any form of entertainment that, even by an iota, increases the child's chance of coming into harm. Parental discretion can't be overridden by any negligible chance that exercising such discretion might theoretically cause harm.


I don't believe anyone is arguing that the possibility of harm is the only consideration that we should take. The degree of harm, the possibility of harm, and the possible benefits are valid considerations as well. This is a massive strawman.

sourmilk wrote:I've always thought it was accepted that parents could assign their children certain after-school activities, like sports or piano lessons or whatever. And are you telling me that it's immoral for a parent to have her child eat food that it's possible he could be allergic to? There are far more people who are lactose intolerant than who have suffered due to circumcision, and yet parents might have their kids eat dairy foods prepared for them because it's easier than buying soy everything just in case.


And once again, this is a strawman. Nobody is arguing that parents cannot expose their children to any harm, ever. Moreover, there is a significant difference between going to an activity or eating a particular food and permanently removing a part of someone's body. I don't understand how you could even consider these things remotely similar.

sourmilk wrote:Unless you are going to propose that parents never do anything with the slightest chance of risk unless they can demonstrate that it the least risky beneficial thing for their child, then you have to show demonstrable, significant harm in circumcision before you can ban it. You've shown demonstrable harm in about .01% of the population, which as I've shown, is significantly less than the chance of harm for somebody who plays sports, an activity parents often make their children do.


As I said above, since a significant proportion of circumcisions are performed without anesthetics, the bar for demonstrating harm in general is pretty low. And again, the point is not that parents cannot expose their children to any harm, the point is that parents should avoid exposing their children to harm unless there is substantial benefit. I mean, suppose I have a gun a clip of 10000 bullets, 9999 of which are blanks, and one random bullet is live. Am I allowed to point the gun at my child and pull the trigger, just because I felt like it? The risk of injury is only 0.01%.

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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby sourmìlk » Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:47 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:I don't believe anyone is arguing that the possibility of harm is the only consideration that we should take. The degree of harm, the possibility of harm, and the possible benefits are valid considerations as well. This is a massive strawman.

We're assuming it's benefit neutral. And the degree of potential harm in sports does not exceed the degree of potential harm in circumcision.

And once again, this is a strawman. Nobody is arguing that parents cannot expose their children to any harm, ever. Moreover, there is a significant difference between going to an activity or eating a particular food and permanently removing a part of someone's body. I don't understand how you could even consider these things remotely similar.

In terms of potential harm, in this case, not really. If you want to make an argument about permanence rather than harm, that's an entirely different argument.

As I said above, since a significant proportion of circumcisions are performed without anesthetics, the bar for demonstrating harm in general is pretty low.

Like you, I am opposed to non-anesthetized circumcision. If you want to ban that, whatever.
And again, the point is not that parents cannot expose their children to any harm, the point is that parents should avoid exposing their children to harm unless there is substantial benefit.

Um, no, see above. There's no benefit in having your child play a more harmful sport or take riskier forms of entertainment.
I mean, suppose I have a gun a clip of 10000 bullets, 9999 of which are blanks, and one random bullet is live. Am I allowed to point the gun at my child and pull the trigger, just because I felt like it? The risk of injury is only 0.01%.

I don't like this analogy: the .01% chance of harm is death, whereas in circumcision it's more like .0001%, and even then the possibility of physical harm in circumcision is usually under control of the physician / mohel. The .01% chance of harm did not refer solely to death.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:49 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote: I mean, suppose I have a gun a clip of 10000 bullets, 9999 of which are blanks, and one random bullet is live. Am I allowed to point the gun at my child and pull the trigger, just because I felt like it? The risk of injury is only 0.01%.

Reductio ad absurdum? The motivation to point a gun at someone and pull the trigger is to end their life; the risk associated with circumcision is not the end goal of the procedure.
LaserGuy wrote:And once again, this is a strawman. Nobody is arguing that parents cannot expose their children to any harm, ever. Moreover, there is a significant difference between going to an activity or eating a particular food and permanently removing a part of someone's body. I don't understand how you could even consider these things remotely similar.

While I agree that the two things (activities vs permanent alterations to an infant) are not equal comparisons, people are making the argument that parents should absolutely minimize all permanent influences on a child's life. The argument seems to be 'let your kid decide' and make absolutely zero permanent changes to them. This is a fine enough stance to take, but is precisely why we keep bringing up things like the purely cosmetic changes that are perfectly acceptable, and in some cases, expected, parents have their children go through. Furthermore, I think the position ('leave ZERO permanent changes on your child') is a bit unrealistic to hold, given how every decision you make with your child is ultimately a change that they go through; as Hippo pointed out, informing parents and letting them make their own decision is a much better way of influencing people, not shaming them for the choices they made.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby sourmìlk » Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:56 pm UTC

Yeah, the activities thing isn't meant to be a perfect analogy, it's specifically to address the argument that we can't expose our kids to any harm without proof of sufficient benefit.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:08 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:I don't believe anyone is arguing that the possibility of harm is the only consideration that we should take. The degree of harm, the possibility of harm, and the possible benefits are valid considerations as well. This is a massive strawman.


We're assuming it's benefit neutral. And the degree of potential harm in sports does not exceed the degree of potential harm in circumcision.


No, you are assuming it is benefit neutral. That's kind of what this whole thing is all about. Many sports, while they do have some potential for injury, also confer major benefits in terms of physical fitness, leadership and teamwork skills, mental acuity, dexterity, socialization, etc. For an overwhelming majority of sports, the risk of harm is vastly outweighed by the positive benefits.

sourmìlk wrote:
And once again, this is a strawman. Nobody is arguing that parents cannot expose their children to any harm, ever. Moreover, there is a significant difference between going to an activity or eating a particular food and permanently removing a part of someone's body. I don't understand how you could even consider these things remotely similar.


In terms of potential harm, in this case, not really. If you want to make an argument about permanence rather than harm, that's an entirely different argument.


Yes, it is an entirely different argument, and you are ignoring that argument by focusing exclusively on the uninteresting issue of potential harm. That is why your argument is a strawman.

sourmìlk wrote:
And again, the point is not that parents cannot expose their children to any harm, the point is that parents should avoid exposing their children to harm unless there is substantial benefit.


Um, no, see above. There's no benefit in having your child play a more harmful sport or take riskier forms of entertainment.


Here are several papers discussing the benefits of sports.

sourmìlk wrote:I don't like this analogy: the .01% chance of harm is death, whereas in circumcision it's more like .0001%, and even then the possibility of physical harm in circumcision is usually under control of the physician / mohel. The .01% chance of harm did not refer solely to death.


I never specified death, only injury. I could be shooting at their foot or something.

[edit]@Iz: Oh, I think that the argument about other cosmetic changes is not a bad one, and requires a lot more thought and care to address (the kidney transplant thing I mentioned before is still rattling around uncomfortably in my brain as well--it's legal in the United States, if you were curious). I just think that the particular line of reasoning sourmilk is employing above is flawed.
Last edited by LaserGuy on Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:18 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby sourmìlk » Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:13 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:
No, you are assuming it is benefit neutral. That's kind of what this whole thing is all about. Many sports, while they do have some potential for injury, also confer major benefits in terms of physical fitness, leadership and teamwork skills, mental acuity, dexterity, socialization, etc. For an overwhelming majority of sports, the risk of harm is vastly outweighed by the positive benefits.

Yes, but parents often make their children play a more dangerous sport for no additional benefit. We let them do this.

Yes, it is an entirely different argument, and you are ignoring that argument by focusing exclusively on the uninteresting issue of potential harm. That is why your argument is a strawman.

Except that several people have made this argument.


Missing my point, see above. And you still haven't addressed the various other things I mentioned, none of which depend on each other.

I never specified death, only injury. I could be shooting at their foot or something.

Which is (in general) still substantially more injury and of a substantially higher risk and not under the shooter's control.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:32 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:
No, you are assuming it is benefit neutral. That's kind of what this whole thing is all about. Many sports, while they do have some potential for injury, also confer major benefits in terms of physical fitness, leadership and teamwork skills, mental acuity, dexterity, socialization, etc. For an overwhelming majority of sports, the risk of harm is vastly outweighed by the positive benefits.


Yes, but parents often make their children play a more dangerous sport for no additional benefit. We let them do this.


Well, different sports carry different benefits in different proportions, but I don't know that this has been studied systematically. Moreover, there are other considerations as far as sports goes that are relevant, such as availability, costs, aptitudes/interests, etc. And... so what? As I cited below, all (or nearly all... I'm sure there's the odd exception) sports provide large positive benefits. The key concept that I am describing is net benefit. If, counting all of the harms, potential harms, benefits and potential benefits of a particular action, we come to the conclusion that the result is a net positive, that action is worth doing. It is worth doing even if there are other actions that have greater benefits. This is even more of a strawman than your previous argument. Nobody is arguing that parents should not be able to do beneficial things for their children.

[edit]
Which is (in general) still substantially more injury and of a substantially higher risk and not under the shooter's control.


Well, I can conveniently choose the number of bullets in my clip to lower the risk of injury to whatever I want, because this is purely hypothetical. If 1/10000 is too risky, how about 1/1000000? Complications of surgery are not under the parents control either, btw.


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