Infant Circumcision

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Tomo
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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby Tomo » Thu Jan 05, 2012 12:54 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
Tomo wrote:In addition, they can choose to undergo circumcision after they reach the age of consent.
Should we do the same thing for cleft lips? What about vegan diets? Or playing baseball?

Children can't consent to any of these, and they all represent irreversible decisions; should we also wait till children are of the age of consent before we teach them how to read and speak? What if the kid wanted Swahili as their first, primary language? We taught them English--now they're screwed!


I absolutely think it's morally wrong to force a vegan diet on a child. The same goes for playing baseball. They should be allowed to choose for themselves. Learning to read and speak can be pretty easily shown to have HUGE benefits on an individual. Learning a single language doesn't exclude them from learning another language later.

As for cleft lips, you're equating correction of a harmful defect with a surgery with no medical value in children. It's really not the same.
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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby lutzj » Thu Jan 05, 2012 1:38 pm UTC

Tomo wrote:Learning a single language doesn't exclude them from learning another language later.


Your native tongue is still very important. Teaching your child Klingon or Old English before anything else will make it much more difficult to interact with peers and properly develop socially, even if they are able to pick up a vernacular language in time for grade school. Yes, you can learn other languages later, but you probably won't ever be as fluent as you are in your primary language.

As for cleft lips, you're equating correction of a harmful defect with a surgery with no medical value in children. It's really not the same.


Cleft lips are probably not the best analogy. Consider braces to straighten teeth (nobody has naturally perfect teeth), or training to make a left-handed person use their right hand. Both correct defects (and the first is socially acceptable most places and even expected in the US) but probably aren't medically necessary.
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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Jan 05, 2012 1:46 pm UTC

Birthmark removal is a better example, but cleft lip repair isn't a bad one. There are plenty of people worldwide who happily live with cleft lips, and the condition itself imparts very slight physical effects. Difficulty suckling as an infant can be remedied with a special bottle, and holding the child upright. Bam, problem solved, why force an irreversible surgery on a kid without their consent?

BattleMoose wrote:You were just provided with a description on the functional and qualitative differences between a circumcised and non circumcised penis. Yet you continue your denial that they are the same. This is hardly a baseless claim but indeed based on functional differences, which you deny.

Yet we've already told you that 'lack of a foreskin' does not constitute harm. Thus, framing the difference between a circumcised penis and an uncircumcised penis as 'necessary things the foreskin does that are super good for a penis' doesn't contribute anything to the conversation. But because you provided a qualitative description of how the foreskin operates, tell me why this is a Good Thing? I readily accept that this is what the foreskin does during sex, but tell me why this is relevant? Why does a penis operate less well without the foreskin?
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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby DSenette » Thu Jan 05, 2012 1:52 pm UTC

lutzj wrote:
Tomo wrote:Learning a single language doesn't exclude them from learning another language later.


Your native tongue is still very important. Teaching your child Klingon or Old English before anything else will make it much more difficult to interact with peers and properly develop socially, even if they are able to pick up a vernacular language in time for grade school. Yes, you can learn other languages later, but you probably won't ever be as fluent as you are in your primary language.

As for cleft lips, you're equating correction of a harmful defect with a surgery with no medical value in children. It's really not the same.


Cleft lips are probably not the best analogy. Consider braces to straighten teeth (nobody has naturally perfect teeth), or training to make a left-handed person use their right hand. Both correct defects (and the first is socially acceptable most places and even expected in the US) but probably aren't medically necessary.

don't even start the braces crap up again.

even slightly crooked teeth, especially during the first few years of having your adult teeth can cause severe maxilofacial issues like chronic jaw pains, chronic headaches, bite issues, sleeping issues, speech issues, etc... the amount of orthodontic procedures that are done for PURELY cosmetic reasons (and not for reasons to treat or prevent the more severe complications of not straight teeth) on children is VERY low compared to the total amount of orthodontic procedures done on the whole.

also, the amount of orthodontia that's done on a child without explanation of the procedure and the benefits in such a way that the child has the ability to comprehend the procedure and it's outcome and give some form of consent (believe me, there has never been an orthodontist that has ever put braces on a child that is actively refusing the procedure...they don't anesthetize children and hook metal to their face while they're asleep).

Izawwlgood wrote:Birthmark removal is a better example, but cleft lip repair isn't a bad one. There are plenty of people worldwide who happily live with cleft lips, and the condition itself imparts very slight physical effects. Difficulty suckling as an infant can be remedied with a special bottle, and holding the child upright. Bam, problem solved, why force an irreversible surgery on a kid without their consent?
exactly? if there is no medical need to perform the procedure. literally no medical need, then you shouldn't be forcing the procedure. no matter what that procedure is.

Izawwlgood wrote:
BattleMoose wrote:You were just provided with a description on the functional and qualitative differences between a circumcised and non circumcised penis. Yet you continue your denial that they are the same. This is hardly a baseless claim but indeed based on functional differences, which you deny.

Yet we've already told you that 'lack of a foreskin' does not constitute harm. Thus, framing the difference between a circumcised penis and an uncircumcised penis as 'necessary things the foreskin does that are super good for a penis' doesn't contribute anything to the conversation. But because you provided a qualitative description of how the foreskin operates, tell me why this is a Good Thing? I readily accept that this is what the foreskin does during sex, but tell me why this is relevant? Why does a penis operate less well without the foreskin?
the point is that it operates differently so claiming that it operates the same is incorrect.

you can claim that a circumcised penis operates exactly as you would expect a circumcised penis to operate, but you cannot say that it is functionally the same as an uncircumcised penis.

especially since the function you're talking about is pleasure (not specifically operation). you cannot quantitatively evaluate pleasure or the reasons/causes of pleasure. you can ask someone if X feels good or bad but there's no way to actually evaluate whether or not the pleasure being experienced is the same between two people.
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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Jan 05, 2012 2:14 pm UTC

Oh come off these claims that crooked teeth cause 'severe issues'. Have you seen a picture of Mike Krahulik? The vast majority of the population grows up without cosmetically straightened teeth, so honestly, claiming that braces ONLY exist to correct severe abnormalities that are going to explode out of your jaw leaving you unable to speak, eat, or breath, is utter bullshit. Big Citation Needed on the cosmetic vs NECESSARY orthodontia.

DSenette wrote:also, the amount of orthodontia that's done on a child without explanation of the procedure and the benefits in such a way that the child has the ability to comprehend the procedure and it's outcome and give some form of consent (believe me, there has never been an orthodontist that has ever put braces on a child that is actively refusing the procedure...they don't anesthetize children and hook metal to their face while they're asleep).

This is probably true, but I don't see how it's relevant. Plenty of kids need to get dragged to the orthodontist, and told to cooperate or they'll be punished. I saw it myself when I had orthodontia. A kid doesn't need to cooperate to convey consent; parents coercing a child to cooperate is basically what parenting is.

DSenette wrote:exactly? if there is no medical need to perform the procedure. literally no medical need, then you shouldn't be forcing the procedure. no matter what that procedure is.

Cool opinion bro. Myself, and many other people disagree. I welcome you to hold that birthmark removal from a child is barbaric, and hope you never have a child born with a minor cleft palate, because even though there's no medical need, they can fix either of those issues pretty easily.
DSenette wrote:especially since the function you're talking about is pleasure (not specifically operation). you cannot quantitatively evaluate pleasure or the reasons/causes of pleasure. you can ask someone if X feels good or bad but there's no way to actually evaluate whether or not the pleasure being experienced is the same between two people.

And important point! Thus claims about how necessary a foreskin is for pleasure is a fairly tenuous claim, is it not?
I've never disputed that removal of the foreskin doesn't result in the removal of the foreskin. Taking issue with the fact that the two are different is pointless; you have no quantifiable proof that they perform any differently. I'm not terribly interested in your assertions of how they look or what the foreskin does; data suggests both cut and uncut penises function exactly the same.
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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Jan 05, 2012 2:39 pm UTC

Tomo wrote:I absolutely think it's morally wrong to force a vegan diet on a child. The same goes for playing baseball. They should be allowed to choose for themselves.
Wait, what? Do you think it's wrong to force any diet on a child? So when the infant goes 'nuh-uh!' and closes its mouth to the babyfood, our response should be to buy new baby-food? Or when the six year old says 'I don't want to eat veggies! I just want to eat lollipops!', our response should be to let them loose in a candy store? Or when the ten year old says 'I don't want to go to school!', our response should be to let them stay at home?

You know why we don't let children choose for themselves? Because they make stupid fucking decisions. Parents force all kinds of things on them, and with good reason. And you know, all of these things?--they're irreversible. The primary issue I see here is that circumcision is one of the more visible examples of this; I can't somehow 'see' that you've been made to eat veggies as a kid, but I can certainly see if you've been circumcised as one.

Also, our genitals are of incredible importance to us as a society--more so than what we've eaten or what musical instrument we played. So we talk about it more, we debate it more--but let's keep in mind, this is nothing new. The only really important distinction here is that we as a society put a lot more weight behind the shape of your genitals than whether or not you learned to play the cello at 12.
Torchship wrote:I actually think this is an extremely interesting and relevant point that never really got the attention it deserves. Any social benefits to circumcision (all of which the pro-circumcision people here have gone over in thorough detail) must inevitably translate directly into social problems for the uncircumcised, because advantage is purely relative. Such uncircumcised discrimination will be quite low-key in general, but it is a long-term effect meaning that the issue will be a significant one over long enough time-scales. Obviously banning circumcision will simply reverse this effect for no real gain, but there are still plenty of other methods to disrupt the popularity of circumcision for the sake of the uncircumcised.
I do agree that this is a fascinating (albeit somewhat irrelevant) wrinkle. Most social bargains tend to be this way; you gain something to the detriment to those who don't make the same bargain.

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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby DSenette » Thu Jan 05, 2012 2:53 pm UTC

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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby Azrael » Thu Jan 05, 2012 2:56 pm UTC

DSenette wrote:learn to fucking read you asshole. fucking read. ...


My turn: You're done with this thread.

For that matter, take a 3 day cool down for all of SB.

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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby Torchship » Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:13 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
Torchship wrote:I actually think this is an extremely interesting and relevant point that never really got the attention it deserves. Any social benefits to circumcision (all of which the pro-circumcision people here have gone over in thorough detail) must inevitably translate directly into social problems for the uncircumcised, because advantage is purely relative. Such uncircumcised discrimination will be quite low-key in general, but it is a long-term effect meaning that the issue will be a significant one over long enough time-scales. Obviously banning circumcision will simply reverse this effect for no real gain, but there are still plenty of other methods to disrupt the popularity of circumcision for the sake of the uncircumcised.
I do agree that this is a fascinating (albeit somewhat irrelevant) wrinkle. Most social bargains tend to be this way; you gain something to the detriment to those who don't make the same bargain.


Indeed, but that does not mean that such social bargains (that is, ones that provide no concrete advantage to society) are something that society needs or wants, especially when nothing is lost if the social bargain is eliminated (suitably slowly, of course). Even simply getting one's kids circumcised shows implicit support for the continued social domination of circumcision and all the damage to the uncircumcised that that entails.

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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby Malice » Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:57 am UTC

Torchship wrote:
The Great Hippo wrote:
Torchship wrote:I actually think this is an extremely interesting and relevant point that never really got the attention it deserves. Any social benefits to circumcision (all of which the pro-circumcision people here have gone over in thorough detail) must inevitably translate directly into social problems for the uncircumcised, because advantage is purely relative. Such uncircumcised discrimination will be quite low-key in general, but it is a long-term effect meaning that the issue will be a significant one over long enough time-scales. Obviously banning circumcision will simply reverse this effect for no real gain, but there are still plenty of other methods to disrupt the popularity of circumcision for the sake of the uncircumcised.
I do agree that this is a fascinating (albeit somewhat irrelevant) wrinkle. Most social bargains tend to be this way; you gain something to the detriment to those who don't make the same bargain.


Indeed, but that does not mean that such social bargains (that is, ones that provide no concrete advantage to society) are something that society needs or wants, especially when nothing is lost if the social bargain is eliminated (suitably slowly, of course). Even simply getting one's kids circumcised shows implicit support for the continued social domination of circumcision and all the damage to the uncircumcised that that entails.


Are you actually suggesting that people shouldn't have differences, because preferences will result? Your argument applies equally well to adult circumcision, adult ear-piercing, race, religion, etc.
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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby sourmìlk » Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:17 am UTC

BattleMoose wrote:Curious then that they don't have it. Perhaps you should write to the UN and inform them of their error.

If the UN documents say that parents don't have rights over their children's bodies (and I didn't see anything saying that in what you quoted), then clearly that's not what is practiced. Parents have and exercise authority over the bodies of their children. Do you believe that, given what restrictions denying parents that authority would imply, parents should not have that right?
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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby BattleMoose » Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:54 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
BattleMoose wrote:Curious then that they don't have it. Perhaps you should write to the UN and inform them of their error.

If the UN documents say that parents don't have rights over their children's bodies (and I didn't see anything saying that in what you quoted), then clearly that's not what is practiced. Parents have and exercise authority over the bodies of their children. Do you believe that, given what restrictions denying parents that authority would imply, parents should not have that right?


Firstly, rights are always in the affirmative.

Secondly, seeing as you made the claim that that right exists, it is incumbent on you to provide the legal source of that right.

Thirdly, I am sure there is a legal framework for parents or more likely, legal guardians to make decisions regarding the bodies of infants under their care.

Fourthly, (I appear to like lists today) I am also very sure that this does not include the right to body autonomy.

Basically you made a claim that something exists. I am challenging that claim and it is up to you to provide the legal framework for which you based your claim. It is a fair challenge and it is expected, especially here in SB, that sources are provided for factual claims. Every single time that I made a claim that a right exists, I gave exact reference to where that right comes from and indeed the article numbers too. The same is expected from you.

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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby Torchship » Fri Jan 06, 2012 3:20 am UTC

Malice wrote:Are you actually suggesting that people shouldn't have differences, because preferences will result? Your argument applies equally well to adult circumcision, adult ear-piercing, race, religion, etc.


No, I'm saying that society should not have any preferences (that have no kind of 'objective' benefit; preferences against, say, murder are fine) regardless of the differences present in its population*. Any two people being different is entirely fine; the problem occurs when society treats the traits of some of the people as preferential to the traits of another set. Western society treats circumcision (or white people, or Christians, or straight people, etc) as highly preferential to non-circumcision, leading to a wide variety of social advantages to the circumcised and hence a wide variety of social disadvantages to the uncircumcised, which is a state of affairs which I take offence to.

*Obviously difference will, in general, lead to preference (that is, if a significant portion of the population chooses a given trait, then a preference for that trait will develop), but that does not mean we should abide by or encourage such preferences in any way.

EDIT: to be clear, while getting one's kids circumcised does implicitly aid the societal preference for circumcision, it is extremely easy to outweigh this with a small amount of anti-circumcision (or more accurately, pro-non-circumcision) activism.
Last edited by Torchship on Fri Jan 06, 2012 4:09 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby sourmìlk » Fri Jan 06, 2012 3:56 am UTC

BattleMoose wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:
BattleMoose wrote:Curious then that they don't have it. Perhaps you should write to the UN and inform them of their error.

If the UN documents say that parents don't have rights over their children's bodies (and I didn't see anything saying that in what you quoted), then clearly that's not what is practiced. Parents have and exercise authority over the bodies of their children. Do you believe that, given what restrictions denying parents that authority would imply, parents should not have that right?


Firstly, rights are always in the affirmative.

Secondly, seeing as you made the claim that that right exists, it is incumbent on you to provide the legal source of that right.

Thirdly, I am sure there is a legal framework for parents or more likely, legal guardians to make decisions regarding the bodies of infants under their care.

Fourthly, (I appear to like lists today) I am also very sure that this does not include the right to body autonomy.

Basically you made a claim that something exists. I am challenging that claim and it is up to you to provide the legal framework for which you based your claim. It is a fair challenge and it is expected, especially here in SB, that sources are provided for factual claims. Every single time that I made a claim that a right exists, I gave exact reference to where that right comes from and indeed the article numbers too. The same is expected from you.


I never made a claim that a legal right exists though, just a moral one. And, unless you think that the aforementioned restrictions should be implemented, you agree with me that this right exists. And, unless the government thinks those restrictions should be implemented, then that right exists legally as well. I don't know exactly where it's codified, but that's beside the point: unless the aforementioned actions are illegal, that right exists in a legal and moral sense.
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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby BattleMoose » Fri Jan 06, 2012 4:36 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:I never made a claim that a legal right exists though, just a moral one.


Actually you just used the term right which is in itself ambiguous as this discussion is a result of. And honestly I couldn't be arsed with moral rights because they have no standing in court.

sourmìlk wrote:And, unless you think that the aforementioned restrictions should be implemented, you agree with me that this right exists.


I am not suggesting the implementation any restrictions. You may think this is semantic but not implementing a right is not a restriction its simply not implementing a right. And I do not.

sourmìlk wrote:And, unless the government thinks those restrictions should be implemented, then that right exists legally as well.


Again, there are no restrictions here. And plainly the right only exists legally, if it is legally implemented, it cannot exist legally otherwise. You would think that would be plainly obvious.

sourmìlk wrote:I don't know exactly where it's codified, but that's beside the point: unless the aforementioned actions are illegal, that right exists in a legal and moral sense.


This is just plainly wrong. It only exists legally if in fact, it is explicitly stated within a legal framework, to exist.

I am sorry in advance for splitting your paragraph up like this but every single sentence you wrote is just so highly objectionable that I thought I should handle them in turn.

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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby sourmìlk » Fri Jan 06, 2012 5:26 am UTC

BattleMoose wrote:Actually you just used the term right which is in itself ambiguous as this discussion is a result of. And honestly I couldn't be arsed with moral rights because they have no standing in court.

I thought we were discussing morality, not legality. If we're discussing legality, then this is a very short discussion indeed: circumcision is legal, I win.

I am not suggesting the implementation any restrictions. You may think this is semantic but not implementing a right is not a restriction its simply not implementing a right. And I do not.
Again, there are no restrictions here. And plainly the right only exists legally, if it is legally implemented, it cannot exist legally otherwise. You would think that would be plainly obvious.

I think you misunderstood me. If parents do not have a right to their children's bodies, then they have no right to do any of those things. Therefore, if they have a right to do those things, then parents must have a right to their children's bodies. I didn't say that right wasn't codified, I just don't know where. But given that the aforementioned actions are legal, it necessarily follows that parents have a right to do them.

It comes down to this: if parents don't have a right to their children's bodies, then they cannot choose their diet, bring them to the doctor, or even touch them without their permission. Do you think that parents should be able to do those things?
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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby BattleMoose » Fri Jan 06, 2012 5:46 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
BattleMoose wrote:Actually you just used the term right which is in itself ambiguous as this discussion is a result of. And honestly I couldn't be arsed with moral rights because they have no standing in court.

I thought we were discussing morality, not legality. If we're discussing legality, then this is a very short discussion indeed: circumcision is legal, I win.


I have no understanding how you could possibly reach this line of reasoning, your response is entirely nonsensical. This isn't that complicated.

1. You claim a right exists.
2. I challenge your claim.
3. You respond with obfuscation and nonsense.

Just to be absurdly explicit, I still challenge your assertion that Parents have a right of body autonomy over their children.

You have done nothing to defend your claim either.






I think you misunderstood me. If parents do not have a right to their children's bodies, then they have no right to do any of those things. Therefore, if they have a right to do those things, then parents must have a right to their children's bodies. I didn't say that right wasn't codified, I just don't know where. But given that the aforementioned actions are legal, it necessarily follows that parents have a right to do them.

It comes down to this: if parents don't have a right to their children's bodies, then they cannot choose their diet, bring them to the doctor, or even touch them without their permission. Do you think that parents should be able to do those things?


No, I think I understand you perfectly fine.

Where you are going wrong is assuming that because parents can legally choose to circumcise their sons, that firstly there is a right that Parents are entitled to that allows them this authority. Further you are making the assumption that this right extends to complete body autonomy which is one huge ass assumption.

You have made a factual claim, it has been challenged. And you have done enough hand waving to try and argue your factual claim. Its time now for you to either actually cite the source of this claim or just abandon it.

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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby sourmìlk » Fri Jan 06, 2012 5:51 am UTC

I have defended the claim that the right exists, showing legal actions that could only be legal given that right. Why is this insufficient for you? It deductively proves such a right exists. I'm sorry I haven't proven my point in the way you'd liked, but I've proven it. Now, are you ready to address my claims and questions head on, or will you just keep saying I'm asserting things while ignoring my arguments?
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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby BattleMoose » Fri Jan 06, 2012 5:54 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:I have defended the claim that the right exists, showing legal actions that could only be legal given that right.


This is not true.

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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby sourmìlk » Fri Jan 06, 2012 5:54 am UTC

How is it not true? Do you need me to share the actions again?
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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby BattleMoose » Fri Jan 06, 2012 6:00 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:How is it not true? Do you need me to share the actions again?


Legal actions are legal because they are explicitly stated to be so in law and more commonly illegal actions are stated to be illegal, in laws.

Only some legal actions are based on rights, most aren't.

Ergo, because something is legal does not mean any right is involved.

An illustrative example.

In Victoria, Australia, a cyclist is legally allowed to overtake on the left. It is legal because and only because it is stated in the Road Traffic Act of Victoria. There is no right of any kind whatsoever relating to the legality of this action.

Your line of reasoning is fundamentally erroneous that if an action is legal, somehow some right is involved. Further you are actually dictating what that right should be.

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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby sourmìlk » Fri Jan 06, 2012 6:04 am UTC

Two things. First, at least in America, rights do not need to be explicitly codified. According to the 9th amendment, rights not codified in the constitution still exist.

Second, I'm not sure what definition of "right" you're using, but by all definitions I'm familiar with, if I am allowed to do something then I have a right to do said thing. If you'd prefer another word, then how about this: parents are able to legally exercise control over their children's bodies.
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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby BattleMoose » Fri Jan 06, 2012 6:24 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:Two things. First, at least in America, rights do not need to be explicitly codified. According to the 9th amendment, rights not codified in the constitution still exist.

Second, I'm not sure what definition of "right" you're using, but by all definitions I'm familiar with, if I am allowed to do something then I have a right to do said thing. If you'd prefer another word, then how about this: parents are able to legally exercise control over their children's bodies.


Wow, just wow. From wikipedia:

A bill of rights is a list of the most important rights of the citizens of a country. The purpose of these bills is to protect those rights against infringement. The term "bill of rights" originates from England, where it referred to the Bill of Rights 1689. Bills of rights may be entrenched or unentrenched. An entrenched bill of rights cannot be modified or repealed by a country's legislature through normal procedure, instead requiring a supermajority or referendum; often it is part of a country's constitution and therefore subject to special procedures applicable to constitutional amendments. An unentrenched bill of rights is a normal statute law and as such can be modified or repealed by the legislature at will. In practice, not every jurisdiction enforces the protection of the rights articulated in its bill of rights.


TL:DR or even check Wiki.

Rights are generally a part of the constitution of the country and to which all the laws of the country are subservient. Generally they cannot be altered except by altering the constitution of a country, of which very special requirements usually need to be fulfilled. The Judiciary is required to first and foremost uphold the rights within the constitution.

In short, I am using the accepted definition of the term, rights.

Also, if you are going to cite the 9th Amendment for goodness quote it! Not doing so is lazy and selfish and expecting me to look it up just so I can know what the hell you are on about, so here it is.

Amendment 9 - Construction of Constitution. Ratified 12/15/1791.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.


Now I am not sure how this has informed American law or rights within the USA bill of rights, nor am I required to. Still I am sure you cannot just make them up. And even if you could just make up rights, this would only apply in the USA.

by all definitions I'm familiar with, if I am allowed to do something then I have a right to do said thing


Yes, this appears often, colloquially, its also wrong.

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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby sourmìlk » Fri Jan 06, 2012 6:35 am UTC

Do you have any citation to show that the apparently accepted colloquial usage of the term "right" is necessarily wrong? I'm looking up definitions, and I see nothing indicating that there are more requirements for something being a right.

Also, you missed the point of my citation of the 9th amendment. I'm not saying that I can arbitrarily create rights, I'm saying that they aren't necessarily codified.

So, your post didn't address what I said and, in the one place it did, it simply asserted that I was wrong. But, even assuming that parents don't have a right to control over their children's bodies and just have a legally protected ability to, that doesn't actually change my argument.
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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby BattleMoose » Fri Jan 06, 2012 7:13 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:Do you have any citation to show that the apparently accepted colloquial usage of the term "right" is necessarily wrong? I'm looking up definitions, and I see nothing indicating that there are more requirements for something being a right.


No, its anecdotal coming from a huge swathe of personal experience. Its common for people to claim a right to something, usually within a legal context for which no right actually exists. Very common indeed.

And there are very many different meanings for the word right and will be complicated further with definitions relating to moral, ethical or religious truths or rights. From a legal standpoint (and this is the only aspect I am interested in) for something to be a right it has to exist within a legal framework, Constitution, Bill of Rights or International Treaties, as I mentioned in the very first post.

Also, you missed the point of my citation of the 9th amendment. I'm not saying that I can arbitrarily create rights, I'm saying that they aren't necessarily codified.


I am not at all interested in your interpretation of the 9th amendment. If you are going to reference it, then reference or just quote that part which you think is relevant.

sourmìlk wrote:So, your post didn't address what I said and, in the one place it did, it simply asserted that I was wrong. But, even assuming that parents don't have a right to control over their children's bodies and just have a legally protected ability to, that doesn't actually change my argument.


Firstly, I don't think you at all appreciate the power that parents would legally have over their children if they actually had the right of autonomy over their childrens body, its horrifying scary, they could literally do anything, against the laws too because laws are subservient to rights.

Secondly, it gives me the shits when people claim they have legal rights that they do not.

Thirdly, it gives me the shits when people make stuff up, think its okay and then refuse to even cite their sources for their made up claims, especially in what is supposed to be a serious business forum.

Fourthly, no, it doesn't actually change your argument if they just have a legal authority to allow circumcision but I do feel, strongly, that the first three points are of sufficient importance to have persisted with my challenge.

Fifthly, don't make stuff up.

Also, especially in a thread that has been so focused on actual legal rights so far, you are expected to get the concepts correct.

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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby Azrael » Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:11 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:Two things. First, at least in America, rights do not need to be explicitly codified. According to the 9th amendment, rights not codified in the constitution still exist.

Second, I'm not sure what definition of "right" you're using, but by all definitions I'm familiar with, if I am allowed to do something then I have a right to do said thing. If you'd prefer another word, then how about this: parents are able to legally exercise control over their children's bodies.

A right is a legal [government assured] or natural [philosophically universal characteristic (i.e. inalienable)] ability that cannot be removed or unduly restricted by law. I have the legal right to free speech. I also have the right to procreate, although it's not enumerated, thanks both to the concept of natural rights and legally, thanks to the 9th amendment. I do not have the right to drive, although I am allowed to -- and if I screw up enough, that privileged is removed. In the US, I have the legally protected right to own a firearm and other legal restrictions cannot unduly limit that right. I do not have the right to buy an ATV; were they to be found unsafe, as their 3-wheeled predecessors were, they could be legally banned.

There is a monumental difference between the actions that I can do everyday and those that are protected rights which cannot be infringed. This is an astoundingly basic concept that you really need to understand before opening your mouth on these subjects. The incorrect, albeit common, school yard-esque retorts conflating the two have no bearing on these concepts.

To clarify for you: The contention is that a parent is the default (but not exclusive) legal guardian (protector, executor) of the child's rights. This contrasts to your claims that a parent has the right to that child's body, and the child lacks any rights. In light of your misunderstanding of the concepts at hand, you may want to clarify.


-----------------------------------
However, If you wish to continue asserting that a parent is not a protector of the child's rights, but rather has the right to the autonomy of that child:

You may also want to consider that the state (acting as the arbiter of rights conflicts between individuals) routinely recognizes that there are things a parent can't do (i.e. beating a child, or to the extreme, killing a child) because it conflicts with the child's rights. Children are also (routinely, frequently) removed from the care of parents who are not caring properly for those children. So children most certainly do have some rights. It's up to you to demonstrate the legal or inherent rational in a cohesive manner that explains the apparent dichotomy in your proposal that bodily autonomy is not one of them.

Keep in mind that the state's ability to override a parent's control of their child's body (by removing the child from the parent) without causing a constitutional challenge almost certainly indicates that your broad position is incorrect.

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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby sourmìlk » Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:35 pm UTC

I don't really care enough about the definition of "right" to argue whether or not my usage was correct in more colloquial terms, so for now I'm perfectly okay with admitting I may have used the word incorrectly. My argument, however, does not change when I say that parents have legal permission to control over their children's bodies, though as I've said before, not to the point where their actions cause the child significant harm or have a significant possibility of harming the child.
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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby Azrael » Sat Jan 07, 2012 12:10 am UTC

Great.

But that answer isn't very interesting; it doesn't take any thought to get to, nor offer any insight.

"Parents shouldn't be able to harm their children." Thank you, Captain Obvious. But where's the line? How do you define it without subjectively hand-waving at a list of things that you personally believe are or aren't harm? In case it isn't clear, everything about "harm" is hotly contested.

The real kicker is that the discussion of rights is entirely integral in defining that middle ground, and whether things like "harm" have any relevance at all. If the child has a right to bodily autonomy, then the parents need to have good reason to abridge that right. Not being "harmful" isn't a very good reason. Neutral may not be good enough.

It's like having to prove someone's guilty before imprisoning them, we do it because we recognize that the person has rights. If a person didn't have rights then they could be tossed in jail or institutionalized just because the state thinks it would be good for them, or wants to do it for the sake of tradition. If the state is a conservator of those rights, they must prove (to some standard) that they are acting in the best well-fare of the individual.

So, if you aren't prepared to understand and speak knowledgeably about rights, please stop posting. Your opinion on the matter is more than thoroughly stated.

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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby sourmìlk » Sat Jan 07, 2012 12:22 am UTC

Yes, I recognize this, that's just a small part of my argument. The rest has been articulated at various points in this thread, that's just a particular thing I was using to respond to Elliot.
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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby Deep_Thought » Sun Jan 08, 2012 6:09 pm UTC

Thank you, Azrael, for putting my own thoughts on the matter into more eloquent prose than I could.

Warning: The above may appear to be an attempt to arse-kiss a moderator. It's intended as an admission that I suck at debate.

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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby The Great Hippo » Sun Jan 08, 2012 6:52 pm UTC

Torchship wrote:No, I'm saying that society should not have any preferences (that have no kind of 'objective' benefit; preferences against, say, murder are fine) regardless of the differences present in its population*. Any two people being different is entirely fine; the problem occurs when society treats the traits of some of the people as preferential to the traits of another set. Western society treats circumcision (or white people, or Christians, or straight people, etc) as highly preferential to non-circumcision, leading to a wide variety of social advantages to the circumcised and hence a wide variety of social disadvantages to the uncircumcised, which is a state of affairs which I take offence to.
I'm very confused as to your stance, here. Are you saying that a preference for circumcised infants is 'bad'? Parents who prefer circumcised children are making a bad decision because it harms the children of the parents who don't prefer circumcision? Isn't this a lot like saying parents who prefer Christian children are screwing everything up for the atheist kids?

Part of my confusion may stem from your use of 'society'; it sounds like you want to change how society perceives circumcision, but not how individual parents perceive it. But society isn't some magical thing apart from people; society is people. It's a set of individuals. Decisions made at the micro-level are what's important--macro-level decisions ("Society has determined uncircumcised penises suck!" - "Society has decided women aren't going to get equal pay to men!") are really nothing more than icons we use to represent large numbers of micro-level decisions ("Bob and Jill have decided to circumcise their infant!" - "Jack doesn't pay Jill as much as Bob."). You can't criticize the macro-level decision without addressing the micro-level decision (well, you can, but it's basically pointless).

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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby Torchship » Sun Jan 08, 2012 11:47 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:I'm very confused as to your stance, here. Are you saying that a preference for circumcised infants is 'bad'? Parents who prefer circumcised children are making a bad decision because it harms the children of the parents who don't prefer circumcision? Isn't this a lot like saying parents who prefer Christian children are screwing everything up for the atheist kids?


Fundamentally, yes ('bad' in the 'is damaging', not the 'morally blameworthy' senses). A society-wide preference for circumcision is detrimental to the uncircumcised, and hence any support for that preference (even the implicit support of merely getting one's children circumcised) is also detrimental. Parents who raise their children Christian are also detrimental to other-religious and non-religious people in a similar manner. Certainly the detriment may be small, even on a societal level, but it is still there.
That said, as per the edit I made to my last post, not getting your child circumcised certainly isn't the only method of combating the pro-circumcision bias in society.

The Great Hippo wrote:Part of my confusion may stem from your use of 'society'; it sounds like you want to change how society perceives circumcision, but not how individual parents perceive it. But society isn't some magical thing apart from people; society is people. It's a set of individuals. Decisions made at the micro-level are what's important--macro-level decisions ("Society has determined uncircumcised penises suck!" - "Society has decided women aren't going to get equal pay to men!") are really nothing more than icons we use to represent large numbers of micro-level decisions ("Bob and Jill have decided to circumcise their infant!" - "Jack doesn't pay Jill as much as Bob."). You can't criticize the macro-level decision without addressing the micro-level decision (well, you can, but it's basically pointless).


I was actually trying to convey that I condemn how society perceives circumcision, but not how individual people perceive it. Obviously a change in one implies a change in the other, but that does not mean that they are both morally objectionable*. I apologise for the lack of clarity.

*Though the individual level bias does undoubtedly lead to detriment for the circumcised, that does not mean that it is morally objectionable. I like to use the example of housewives in fiction here; any particular book portraying some major-minor character as a housewife (say, the protagonist's mother) is not sexist, while the society-wide bias towards housewife-mothers in fiction most certainly is. Otherwise this leads to the bizarre conclusion that merely writing a housewife character (irrespective of the traits that the housewife may possess; I'm assuming that all these housewives are neutrally presented) is an immoral act. It's certainly an act that needs to be discouraged in order to eliminate society's sexism, but it is not, itself, immoral (in any significant way).
Last edited by Torchship on Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:05 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:04 am UTC

An attitude that 'others harm non-others' is exactly the stance you just claimed to be against with circumcision somehow harming the non-circumcised.
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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby Torchship » Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:11 am UTC

I'm not entirely sure I understand what you mean. Can you clarify? Did you see my edit?

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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Jan 09, 2012 1:25 am UTC

Torchship wrote:Fundamentally, yes ('bad' in the 'is damaging', not the 'morally blameworthy' senses). A society-wide preference for circumcision is detrimental to the uncircumcised, and hence any support for that preference (even the implicit support of merely getting one's children circumcised) is also detrimental. Parents who raise their children Christian are also detrimental to other-religious and non-religious people in a similar manner. Certainly the detriment may be small, even on a societal level, but it is still there.
That said, as per the edit I made to my last post, not getting your child circumcised certainly isn't the only method of combating the pro-circumcision bias in society.
I assume, though, that we both agree that this is no reason to oppose circumcision any more than it's a reason to oppose Christianity? 'Because it creates a minority who isn't that way' isn't a reasonable argument for anything.
Torchship wrote:*Though the individual level bias does undoubtedly lead to detriment for the circumcised, that does not mean that it is morally objectionable. I like to use the example of housewives in fiction here; any particular book portraying some major-minor character as a housewife (say, the protagonist's mother) is not sexist, while the society-wide bias towards housewife-mothers in fiction most certainly is. Otherwise this leads to the bizarre conclusion that merely writing a housewife character (irrespective of the traits that the housewife may possess; I'm assuming that all these housewives are neutrally presented) is an immoral act. It's certainly an act that needs to be discouraged in order to eliminate society's sexism, but it is not, itself, immoral (in any significant way).
The individual bias is the only actual bias that exists. Society's bias is an amalgamation of individual bias, because it's hard to talk about individual bias on a large scale in any meaningful way.

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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby Torchship » Mon Jan 09, 2012 1:59 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:I assume, though, that we both agree that this is no reason to oppose circumcision any more than it's a reason to oppose Christianity? 'Because it creates a minority who isn't that way' isn't a reasonable argument for anything.


I'm not arguing that supporting circumcision is immoral 'because it creates a minority who isn't that way', I'm arguing it's immoral because the minority that it creates is disadvantaged relative to the majority. Creating a minority is fine, discriminating against that minority is not*.

*As I said before, actually eliminating the bias against any particular minority is almost impossible, due to the way that the human mind works. It is perfectly possible to have a majority that possesses no significant social advantages relative to its associated minority, it's just damn hard to do so. That doesn't mean we should tolerate or implicitly encourage such bias, however.

The Great Hippo wrote:The individual bias is the only actual bias that exists. Society's bias is an amalgamation of individual bias, because it's hard to talk about individual bias on a large scale in any meaningful way.


That's a very odd definition of 'actual' or 'real' you're using there. Almost everything you encounter in your daily life is composed of a huge number of components, but you do not believe that they are any less 'real' for it. You yourself are composed entirely of a large number of neurons and the electrical and chemical interactions between them, but if you do something wrong we do not punish or blame the neurons on an individual basis, we blame and punish the structure that they form. Similarly, the blame for any immoral actions that society may perform does not necessarily also apply to the individual members of said society. The structure formed from an amalgamation of individual views and actions is absolutely a meaningful object to consider and assign blame to, just as you are.

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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Jan 09, 2012 2:45 am UTC

Torchship wrote:I'm not arguing that supporting circumcision is immoral 'because it creates a minority who isn't that way', I'm arguing it's immoral because the minority that it creates is disadvantaged relative to the majority. Creating a minority is fine, discriminating against that minority is not*.
How is this any different than arguing that raising our children as Christians (in America) is immoral because it creates a minority (non-Christians) who are disadvantaged relative to the majority?
Torchship wrote:That's a very odd definition of 'actual' or 'real' you're using there. Almost everything you encounter in your daily life is composed of a huge number of components, but you do not believe that they are any less 'real' for it. You yourself are composed entirely of a large number of neurons and the electrical and chemical interactions between them, but if you do something wrong we do not punish or blame the neurons on an individual basis, we blame and punish the structure that they form. Similarly, the blame for any immoral actions that society may perform does not necessarily also apply to the individual members of said society. The structure formed from an amalgamation of individual views and actions is absolutely a meaningful object to consider and assign blame to, just as you are.
Individual neurons aren't capable of coherent thought; people are. I don't blame neurons because blaming neurons is pointless--neurons won't stop firing based on whether or not I hold them responsible for their actions. Neither will societies. But people will.

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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby Torchship » Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:21 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:How is this any different than arguing that raising our children as Christians (in America) is immoral because it creates a minority (non-Christians) who are disadvantaged relative to the majority?


It isn't; there is very little fundamental difference between getting your kids circumcised and raising them Christian in this sense. However, as I've said a couple of times now, it's almost trivial to outweigh this immorality with a small amount of activism for the plight of discriminated-against non-Christians. A Christian who raises their children Christian and does not do anything to dispel the social advantages of Christianity has performed an immoral act by implicitly aiding the social dominance of Christianity and hence its negative effects on non-Christians; while one who does the same but does speak against the detriment of the non-Christian minority has performed a moral act, as while they have supported the social dominance of Christianity, they have helped dispel the associated advantages.

The Great Hippo wrote:Individual neurons aren't capable of coherent thought; people are. I don't blame neurons because blaming neurons is pointless--neurons won't stop firing based on whether or not I hold them responsible for their actions. Neither will societies. But people will.


Indeed, neurons aren't sentient or blameworthy. That was essentially my point; from non-blameworthy components (neurons) can blameworthy structures be created (people). Evidently we have a fundamental disagreement on whether the components of society (people) are themselves blameworthy, but this does not change the fact that they can construct a blameworthy structure regardless.

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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:25 am UTC

It sounds like you're suggesting that you have this totalitarian idea of what is socially optimal for society, and everyone must abide by this paradigm or risk being morally abhorrent for perpetuating the oppressive status quo.

I would suggest that that is simply the opposite of what you seem to be working to eliminate; removing all choice from the individual (so they cannot circumcise, say) is no different from placing all individuals in a society that expects everyone circumcise. Thankfully, neither is, nor should be, a reality.
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Re: Infant Circumcision

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:31 am UTC

Torchship wrote:It isn't; there is very little fundamental difference between getting your kids circumcised and raising them Christian in this sense. However, as I've said a couple of times now, it's almost trivial to outweigh this immorality with a small amount of activism for the plight of discriminated-against non-Christians. A Christian who raises their children Christian and does not do anything to dispel the social advantages of Christianity has performed an immoral act by implicitly aiding the social dominance of Christianity and hence its negative effects on non-Christians; while one who does the same but does speak against the detriment of the non-Christian minority has performed a moral act, as while they have supported the social dominance of Christianity, they have helped dispel the associated advantages.
We're clearly getting off topic, but I have to ask: How is this any different than assigning negative moral value to writing about a house-wife? Both reinforce things you've defined as 'bad'. Under your view, they strike me as equivalent.
Torchship wrote:Indeed, neurons aren't sentient or blameworthy. That was essentially my point; from non-blameworthy components (neurons) can blameworthy structures be created (people). Evidently we have a fundamental disagreement on whether the components of society (people) are themselves blameworthy, but this does not change the fact that they can construct a blameworthy structure regardless.
That's... the opposite of what I was saying? I think the people in a society are blameworthy, but society itself is just a singular shorthand for a group of people. Maybe this is just a semantic issue, but I don't think it's useful to blame society or hold it responsible. If circumcision of infants is evil, then the people who are engaging in it are engaged in an evil act, and they can be blamed for it.


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