Infant Circumcision

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lalop
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby lalop » Mon Dec 19, 2011 6:17 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
yurell wrote:But that's the problem — people cannot know how someone else feels. I can't compare what, say an orgasm feels like to me to what it feels like to you.

This kind of proves our point about a loss of sensitivity. If it is unfalsifiable that there is less sensitivity in circumcised men than in uncircumcised men, you cannot make an argument based on lost sensitivity. Thus we assume the null hypothesis, i.e. no effect.


The burden of proof you are requiring (to override "parental discretion") is way too strong. Because you are taking Izawwlgood's unfalsifiability as a killer argument, we can replace "circumcised" with any other crazy notion, like "locked in the basement while being sexually abused". After all, we can't honestly compare the trauma, standard of living, etc of someone's who's been LITBSA with someone who hasn't, because we can't compare states of mind between different people! (Sure, some people may have reported a downgrade after starting free and having been LITBSA, but this is just "anecdotal evidence", after all, and not even comparable with having been LITBSA from before memory!) This implies that the issue of LITBSA's badness is unfalsifiable, and thus up to "parental discretion". Do you have any idea how insane this is?

.

That being said, the way you are treating the "null hypothesis" is completely wrong. The null hypothesis is not something you "assume" by default. Indeed, this would imply that lack of evidence against any hypothesis is sufficient for us to assume the hypothesis' truth.
Last edited by lalop on Mon Dec 19, 2011 6:26 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Dec 19, 2011 6:23 am UTC

Yes, the null hypothesis is what you assume in the absence of evidence. I'm pretty sure I'm using that right.

And I linked to effort showing that sexual abuse clearly causes mental and physical trauma. We have demonstrable, verifiable evidence that that is bad. We cannot say the same of circumcision. We have contradictory reports mostly in cases that don't apply.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby lalop » Mon Dec 19, 2011 6:35 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:Yes, the null hypothesis is what you assume in the absence of evidence. I'm pretty sure I'm using that right.


No it's not: I don't assume there is a Flying Spaghetti Monster or a Santa Clause, or that your body temperature is 99.2 degrees.

sourmìlk wrote:And I linked to effort showing that sexual abuse clearly causes mental and physical trauma. We have demonstrable, verifiable evidence that that is bad. We cannot say the same of circumcision. We have contradictory reports mostly in cases that don't apply.


Sorry, but how is this even possible by the unfalsifiability standards you were defending in that quote? After all, you cannot compare different people's pleasures or pains, and you especially cannot compare it with regards to < 1 year olds (thus, any reports, even if they did somehow address falsifiable questions, would similarly "not apply" to the ages we are dealing with: does this make sexual abuse at that age "up to parental discretion" as well?)
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Dec 19, 2011 6:39 am UTC

lalop wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:Yes, the null hypothesis is what you assume in the absence of evidence. I'm pretty sure I'm using that right.


No it's not: I don't assume there is a Flying Spaghetti Monster or a Santa Clause.

I know, because the null hypothesis is that there isn't one.

Sorry, but how is this even possible by the unfalsifiability standards you were defending in that quote? After all, you cannot compare different people's pleasures or pains, and you especially cannot compare it with regards to < 1 year olds (thus, any reports would similarly not apply to the ages we are dealing with: does this make sexual abuse at that age "up to parental discretion" as well?)

So, you need to follow the quote tree. Yurell was the one who said that we can't compare what two people say their perception is beyond what they tell us. Thus the whole deal with circumcision changing sensitivity when done on an infant is unfalsifiable. I don't see what that has to do with rape.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby lalop » Mon Dec 19, 2011 6:47 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:I know, because the null hypothesis is that there isn't one.


Not true: the null hypothesis could be anything that you attempt to disprove, including, yes, the negation of the one you'd just suggested (though unfalsifiability kind of hits the nail for these examples).

sourmìlk wrote:So, you need to follow the quote tree. Yurell was the one who said that we can't compare what two people say their perception is beyond what they tell us. Thus the whole deal with circumcision changing sensitivity when done on an infant is unfalsifiable. I don't see what that has to do with rape.


What it has to do: you can replace "circumcision" with any sort of unsavory activity and gain an argument that is equally valid. This is so because your requirements are so strong that any sort of unfalsifiability is able to kill any attempt to breach "parental discretion".

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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Dec 19, 2011 6:57 am UTC

I'm not sure what you're getting at with the disagreement about my use of the term 'null hypothesis.'

lalop wrote:What it has to do: you can replace "circumcision" with any sort of unsavory activity and gain an argument that is equally valid. This is so because your requirements are so strong that any sort of unfalsifiability is able to kill any attempt to breach "parental discretion".

Where the hell are you getting that? I simply said that, if it can't be demonstrated that significant harm is done (or that there is a significant chance of harm) then parental discretion should not be overridden. In the case of circumcision, if it's impossible to show whether there was a loss in sensitivity, then you cannot show that harm has been done. I don't see how that's even remotely comparable to rape where we know damn well that rape causes mental and physical trauma.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby lalop » Mon Dec 19, 2011 7:52 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:I'm not sure what you're getting at with the disagreement about my use of the term 'null hypothesis.'


A null hypothesis is not one that you pick and choose for prior acceptance. Rather, it's something that you try to reject (and are either able to, in which case you know it was wrong, or you fail to, in which case you don't know jack; you never "accept" or "assume" a null hypothesis).

sourmìlk wrote:I simply said that, if it can't be demonstrated that significant harm is done (or that there is a significant chance of harm) then parental discretion should not be overridden.


That's the problem: by the exacting standards you require for circumcision, we can't actually show that rape causes harm either. Actually, I'll skip straight to a most damning thought-experiment: you can't feasibly demonstrate that one-time sexual abuse, prior to memory, causes long-term damage. You can't demonstrate it for exactly the same reasons you can't show circumcision causes damage: they can't talk, there isn't a viable means for studying this, and, most importantly, they don't remember. Just like circumcision, it would've been a one-time trauma for the child, soon forgotten.

So we have an act whose evil is practically designed to be unfalsifiable. (That's not actually true; it was just designed to be similar enough to circumcision.) Does that make it "up to parental discretion"?

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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Dec 19, 2011 8:08 am UTC

lalop wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:I'm not sure what you're getting at with the disagreement about my use of the term 'null hypothesis.'


A null hypothesis is not one that you pick and choose for prior acceptance. Rather, it's something that you try to reject (and are either able to, in which case you know it was wrong, or you fail to, in which case you don't know jack; you never "accept" or "assume" a null hypothesis).

Yes, and in lieu of rejection you act according to the null hypothesis.

That's the problem: by the exacting standards you require for circumcision, we can't actually show that rape causes harm either. Actually, I'll skip straight to a most damning thought-experiment: you can't feasibly demonstrate that one-time sexual abuse, prior to memory, causes long-term damage. You can't demonstrate it for exactly the same reasons you can't show circumcision causes damage: they can't talk, there isn't a viable means for studying this, and, most importantly, they don't remember. Just like circumcision, it would've been a one-time trauma for the child, soon forgotten.

Oh, this again? yes, if you invent a form of rape that doesn't cause harm then it's fine, but only because anything that doesn't cause harm is fine, whatever the hell you call it. You're attempting to use some sort of emotional ploy in a context it doesn't exist. Rape hurts people. It provably and demonstrably hurts people, and I am aware of no feasible scenario in which there is rape that doesn't hurt people. Circumcision is almost exactly the opposite of that.

So we have an act whose evil is practically designed to be unfalsifiable. (That's not actually true; it was just designed to be similar enough to circumcision.) Does that make it "up to parental discretion"?

I linked to studies that showed that rape is harmful. That's clearly falsifiable, as the data indicate a clear conclusion, accepted by the consensus of experts in that field. No such phenomenon exists with circumcision.

Why is there no Godwin's Law for rape analogies? From now on, you can call that new law Avi's Law, and it shall be known across the internet, that comparing something to rape is like comparing something to Hitler. It is almost invariably an emotional tactic with only a tenuous connection to what's being discussed.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby lalop » Mon Dec 19, 2011 9:13 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:Yes, and in lieu of rejection you act according to the null hypothesis.


Perhaps you do, but such a policy has nothing to do with science or statistics, and is rather silly when you consider that literally anything can be taken as a null hypothesis.

sourmìlk wrote:Oh, this again? yes, if you invent a form of rape that doesn't cause harm then it's fine, but only because anything that doesn't cause harm is fine, whatever the hell you call it.


Your summary is false: I've never suggested there's a type of rape that doesn't cause harm. Rather, there's a type of rape that cannot be demonstrated to cause harm (mainly because it has so much in common with circumcision).

Now, because you've adopted "demonstration of harm" (and not actual harm) as the required standard for going against parental discretion, this implies one of two things: either 1) that form of rape is within parental discretion, or 2) your standard for parental discretion is too strong. I hope we agree it is, in fact, the latter.

sourmìlk wrote:Rape hurts people. It provably and demonstrably hurts people, and I am aware of no feasible scenario in which there is rape that doesn't hurt people.


This is a double-standard: you've allowed specific evidence to demonstrate "all rape is bad", while refusing to allow specific evidence to demonstrate "all circumcision is bad". The but-this-is-a-different-case argument no longer works here, because the type of rape in the thought-experiment was designed to be so similar to circumcision (in terms of the harms done). With your standard, you'll either have to accept both, or neither, as being within parental discretion.

(Indeed, can you demonstrate that the type of rape in the thought-experiment causes harm? If you can, the thought-experiment is automatically defeated, after all. But if you can't, then lack of demonstrability is enough to apply your - frankly, gross - standard and put it within the realm of parental discretion.)
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Dec 19, 2011 9:22 am UTC

lalop wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:Yes, and in lieu of rejection you act according to the null hypothesis.


Perhaps you do, but such a policy has nothing to do with science or statistics, and is rather silly when you consider that literally anything can be taken as a null hypothesis.

Er... no? The null hypothesis is always opposite what the person with the burden of proof is trying to assert. It isn't arbitrary.

Your summary is false: I've never suggested there's a type of rape that doesn't cause harm. Rather, there's a type of rape that cannot be demonstrated to cause harm (mainly because it has so much in common with circumcision).

If it can't be demonstrated to cause harm then, as far as we know and as far as we can know, it doesn't cause harm. If a proof that something has trait X is unfalsifiable, then we can say it doesn't have trait X, particularly when the decision here is overriding parental discretion.

Now, because you've adopted "demonstration of harm" (and not actual harm)

There is absolutely no difference between the two from anybody's perspective at all ever. If it caused harm, it would be testable.
as the required standard for going against parental discretion, this implies one of two things: either 1) that form of rape is within parental discretion, or 2) your standard for parental discretion is too strong. I hope we agree it is, in fact, the latter.

Um, that form of rape is within parental discretion because it's not actually rape in that it causes the "victim" no harm.

This is a double-standard: you've allowed specific evidence to demonstrate "all rape is bad", while refusing to allow specific evidence to demonstrate "all circumcision is bad". The this-is-a-different-case argument no longer works here, because the type of rape in the thought-experiment was designed to be so similar to circumcision. You'll either have to accept both, or neither, as being within parental discretion.

What? No. I'm not just using specific evidence to demonstrate "all rape is bad", I am using the agreed upon consensus by experts in the field.

(Indeed, can you demonstrate that the type of rape in the thought-experiment causes harm? If you can, the thought-experiment is automatically defeated, after all. But if you can't, then lack of demonstrability is enough to apply your - frankly, gross - standard and put it within the realm of parental discretion.)

My standard is that, if it does not cause harm, it's okay. I don't care what you call the action that does not cause harm, if you call it rape or murder or theft or jaywalking, if it does not cause harm, then it is acceptable. I don't see what your objection to this is.

And furthermore, you appear to not understand that testability is defined by reality. If it's not testable, it's not real. And even if it is real, it has no effects because any effects would be demonstrable. You asking to me to trust unfalsifiable assertions is exactly the same, logically, as me insisting that you must believe in the invisible pink unicorn because it can't be disproven.
Last edited by sourmìlk on Mon Dec 19, 2011 9:24 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby Copper Bezel » Mon Dec 19, 2011 9:23 am UTC

sourmilk wrote:There are those arguments for circumcision, actually. Adult circumcision has significantly more complications.

I'm not arguing with you, because as a couple of people have said, I feel that you already conceded this discussion when you equated circumcision to tattooing - or rather, I'm just not interested in that argument, because from my point of view, that's already a sufficiently blatant violation of the child's rights, and I don't see any need to hash out that argument here. There's some exasperation on both sides in this thread, and I don't mean to add to that.

However, I do want to clarify, as I should admittedly have done in the first place, that I'm aware that the procedure is slightly less prone to complications if performed at birth. The difference just doesn't reach the same threshold as it does for other (legitimate, corrective) procedures.

I would like to add, though, that all this talk of parents raping and tattooing children really does carry some damned unnecessary implications. If circumcision had never been done before, no one would have just pulled it out of the ether in the last hundred years and thought it might be a good idea; it's an artifact of a bloody-minded tribal history. Parents who choose to circumcise may be benighted traditionalists, or else they may accept the procedure because it's the status quo in their communities or on the basis of disingenuous and self-serving arguments from other parties, but I can't imagine that anyone actually does it out of malice.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Dec 19, 2011 9:26 am UTC

How is the parent doing something non-harmful to the child a violation of its rights? You are all dodging the questions with assertions and emotional ploys. I would like to know why you think performing an action on a child that does the child no harm is inappropriate in any circumstance. I have backed up my decision, I expect you to back up yours.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby lalop » Mon Dec 19, 2011 9:37 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:Um, that form of rape is within parental discretion because it's not actually rape in that it causes the "victim" no harm.


This is a bit unusual - if you're willing to accept such forms of rape (and it is rape - that is, non-consensual sex - regardless of harm), then I believe we're at an impasse and our discussion is done.

.

However, keep in mind that:
sourmìlk wrote:You asking to me to trust unfalsifiable assertions is exactly the same, logically, as me insisting that you must believe in the invisible pink unicorn because it can't be disproven.


I'm not asking you to trust unverifiable assertions. You yourself have volunteered an unverifiable assertion by asserting that all rape is bad. It's sort of difficult to live or form any opinions without relying on some unverifiable assertions; if you think this is as bad as the invisible pink unicorn, then you probably shouldn't form any opinions at all.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Dec 19, 2011 9:41 am UTC

lalop wrote:This is a bit unusual - if you're willing to accept such forms of child abuse, then I believe we're at an impasse and our discussion is done.

But... it's not child abuse. It doesn't do the child any harm. It can't possibly be child abuse.

However, keep in mind that:
sourmìlk wrote:You asking to me to trust unfalsifiable assertions is exactly the same, logically, as me insisting that you must believe in the invisible pink unicorn because it can't be disproven.


I'm not asking you to trust unverifiable assertions.

You are asking me to disapprove of circumcision based on the unfalsifiable assertion that, when does as an infant, it reduces sensitivity.
You yourself have volunteered an unverifiable assertion by asserting that all rape is bad.

Nope, I linked to studies showing that rape is bad.
It's sort of difficult to live or form any opinions without relying on some unverifiable assertions; if you think this is as bad as the invisible pink unicorn, then you probably shouldn't form any opinions at all.

There are some unverifiable assertions, I know. But you don't trust them. You cannot, in good conscience, trust unverifiable assertions. For example, if I believe my sister is secretly a demon plotting to take over the world, I can't show this is false. If I kill her to save humanity, I have done something morally reprehensible. It is dangerous, illogical, and unscientific to ever rely on unfalsifiable assertions, and it is morally senseless to condem people for refusing to operate on an unfalsifiable assertion that you made.

Look: if something causes no verifiable harm, how can it possibly be bad? That's a question you have consistently refused to answer and is essentially the crux of your argument.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby lalop » Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:02 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:You are asking me to disapprove of circumcision based on the unfalsifiable assertion that, when does as an infant, it reduces sensitivity.


That's actually not what I was doing, if you read the thought-experiment carefully. The thought-experiment presumed a lack of demonstrable long-term harm in both scenarios. Indeed, that was what led to you concluding that this type of rape must be "okay".

sourmìlk wrote:Look: if something causes no verifiable harm, how can it possibly be bad?


Something can cause unverified harm. Not everything in the universe can be verified by peer-review journals, you know; indeed, most things are not.

Now, your harm standard leads to many other issues, concerning lack of knowledge. If [verifiable] harm is the only thing that makes something bad, then is it bad to rape someone without their knowledge? After all, they know nothing about it afterwards, and we can assume for the sake of argument no adverse side-effects - no harm done. Hell, you could even go back to the original issue and ask why the thought-experiment's action was only within parental discretion. If some other stranger does it, and no one ever finds out, then once again there's no harm done - is this a conclusion you're willing to accept? Or are you going to accept one of those "unverifiable claims" that it's bad despite being harmless?

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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:13 am UTC

lalop wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:You are asking me to disapprove of circumcision based on the unfalsifiable assertion that, when does as an infant, it reduces sensitivity.


That's actually not what I was doing, if you read the thought-experiment carefully. The thought-experiment presumed a lack of demonstrable long-term harm in both scenarios. Indeed, that was what led to you concluding that this type of rape must be "okay".

sourmìlk wrote:Look: if something causes no verifiable harm, how can it possibly be bad?


Something can cause unverified harm. Not everything in the universe can be verified by peer-review journals, you know; indeed, most things are not.

But you can't know that is causes unverified harm. By your standard, I can do literally nothing ever because it can cause unverified harm.

Now, your harm standard leads to many other issues, concerning lack of knowledge. If [verifiable] harm is the only thing that makes something bad, then is it bad to rape someone without their knowledge? After all, they know nothing about it afterwards, and we can assume for the sake of argument no adverse side-effects - no harm done. Hell, you could even go back to the original issue and ask why the thought-experiment's action was only within parental discretion. If some other stranger does it, and no one ever finds out, then there's no harm done - is this a conclusion you're willing to accept? Or are you going to accept one of those "unverifiable claims" that it's just bad? The list could go on and on.

The burden of proof, in the case of a stranger with a child, is to show that it is so beneficial and necessary that it overrides parental discretion. But if something does no verifiable harm, then as far as I know, it does no harm.

I don't think you grasp the weight of the term "unverifiable." If something does no verifiable harm, it is completely nonsensical to take said unverifiable harm into consideration. This isn't some argument I'm conjuring up, it's very basic philosophy. And to illustrate the practical affects of working off of unverifiable harm:

It is possible, albeit unverifiable, that every time I eat a gram of fat it takes away the opportunity for a starving infant in some third-world country to eat a gram of fat. Am I no longer allowed to eat fat?

It is possible, albeit unverifiable, that my parents are secretly plotting to take over the world and have hidden the means to do so. Would it be moral for me to kill them so that I could stop them from doing that?

It is possible, albeit unverifiable, that only through the consistent destruction of other people's property can I prevent World War III. Is it an ethical obligation for me to engage in wanton vandalism?

It is possible, albeit unverifiable, that circumcisions causes a loss of sensitivity. Do I need to take this potentiality into account?
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby lalop » Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:26 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:The burden of proof, in the case of a stranger with a child, is to show that it is so beneficial and necessary that it overrides parental discretion.


Why is there even a burden of proof? If the stranger causes no harm then, by your harm standard, he's doing nothing bad.

sourmìlk wrote:I don't think you grasp the weight of the term "unverifiable." If something does no verifiable harm, it is completely nonsensical to take said unverifiable harm into consideration. This isn't some argument I'm conjuring up, it's very basic philosophy.


Let's say you were kicked ten years ago, and everyone else has forgotten the incident. The harm done to you would be unverified and, for all intents and purposes, unverifiable, yet it would have still happened.

Similarly, let's say someone was mentally tortured (perhaps told gross stories, or something similarly gruesome). We may similarly be unable to verify the harm (either in practice or even in principle, depending on whether or not all evidence was completely destroyed), yet it would've still happened.

Let's say a martial arts master managed to press a few nerves and cause you great pain. He dies a few minutes later and not all the scientists in the world are able to duplicate the feat. Then it is not only the harm, but even the possibility of harm, that would go unverified, yet it would've still happened.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:28 am UTC

lalop wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:The burden of proof, in the case of a stranger with a child, is to show that it is so beneficial and necessary that it overrides parental discretion.


Why is there even a burden of proof? If the stranger causes no harm then, by your harm standard, he's doing nothing bad.

He's overriding parental discretion. I've already justified why the burden of proof is on the person overriding parental discretion.

Let's say you were kicked ten years ago, and everyone else has forgotten the incident. The harm done to you would be unverified and, for all intents and purposes, unverifiable, yet it would have still happened.

Yes, and it would have hurt then, and thus have been immoral to do. In fact, it would have been verifiable that I was hurt. And not only that, but the actor cannot rely on an imperfect memory when determining the morality of his actions. And even if he did, that still wouldn't be relevant, because it was verifiable then.

Similarly, let's say someone was mentally tortured (perhaps someone told gross stories, or something similarly gruesome). We may similarly be unable to verify the harm (either in practice or even in principle, if all evidence was erased/destroyed), yet it would've still happened.

See above.

Neither of those only commit unverifiable harm. The harm is clearly verifiable, it's just forgotten.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby lalop » Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:34 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:He's overriding parental discretion. I've already justified why the burden of proof is on the person overriding parental discretion.


Firstly, I doubt you have, and secondly, he's not necessarily overriding parental discretion. The parents might never have considered "I will not allow any stranger to perform the above thought-experiment to my child without anyone's knowledge" because, frankly, that would be an insane thing to even consider. So, without loss of generality, we can even assume the stranger is not overriding anything (though, of course, the parent would not have explicitly consented to it either).

Finally, may I point out that you've quite ignored my other example of an adult being raped without her knowledge. Parental discretion does not even apply there, and I suggest this is a useless tangent.

sourmìlk wrote:In fact, it would have been verifiable that I was hurt. And not only that, but the actor cannot rely on an imperfect memory when determining the morality of his actions. And even if he did, that still wouldn't be relevant, because it was verifiable then.


How on earth are you supposed to verify that you were kicked five years ago? And if you're going by "verifiable in principle at some point in time", then we can start quoting nonexistent studies that never happened as justification for harm having occurred on such and such a date.

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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:43 am UTC

lalop wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:He's overriding parental discretion. I've already justified why the burden of proof is on the person overriding parental discretion.


Firstly, I doubt you have,

Read the thread. I did twice.
and secondly, he's not necessarily overriding parental discretion. The parents might never have considered "I will not allow any stranger to perform the above thought-experiment to my child without anyone's knowledge" because, frankly, that would be an insane thing to even consider. So, without loss of generality, we can even assume the stranger is not overriding anything (though, of course, the parent would not have explicitly consented to it either).

Doing something with a child without the parent's permission is an override of parental discretion, just like borrowing an object of mine without my knowledge is an override of the ownership, and just like doing anything to me that I can't remember is an override of my (parents') right to my body. Are you contesting that action not specifically condoned by an owner is not a violation of the rights of the owner?

And this "but it's not verifiable in the future" stuff is totally irrelevant. When did I ever state that the morality of an action is based on whether or not people can recall in years later? When have any of my arguments relied on that notion?

You're being ridiculous here, and none of these thought experiments have even the slightest connection to reality.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby lalop » Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:49 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:And this "but it's not verifiable in the future" stuff is totally irrelevant. When did I ever state that the morality of an action is based on whether or not people can recall in years later? When have any of my arguments relied on that notion?


You easily implied it by acknowledging the action in my thought-experiment was "not bad" (and, I quote, "not actually rape"). Just like circumcision, the action would have been painful and inconvenient at the time, merely forgotten afterward.

sourmìlk wrote:Are you contesting that action not specifically condoned by an owner is not a violation of the rights of the owner?


No, sir, you contested such a thing, by asking me "Look: if something causes no verifiable harm, how can it possibly be bad?" in order to try to justify the conclusion of my thought-experiment. This implies that so many things are not bad, so long as they cause no verifiable harm (and indeed, I've improved your hypothesis: no harm at all).

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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:55 am UTC

lalop wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:And this "but it's not verifiable in the future" stuff is totally irrelevant. When did I ever state that the morality of an action is based on whether or not people can recall in years later? When have any of my arguments relied on that notion?


You easily implied it by acknowledging the action in my thought-experiment was "not bad" (and, I quote, "not actually rape"). Just like circumcision, the action would have been painful and inconvenient at the time, merely forgotten afterward.

What? nooooo..... I thought you meant that the actions weren't painful and inconvenient at the time, a la Yurell's example. I am against non-anesthetized circumcision because it hurts.

No, sir, you contested such a thing, by asking me "Look: if something causes no verifiable harm, how can it possibly be bad?" in order to try to justify the conclusion of my thought-experiment.

Oh, so you mean an unfalsifiable violation of an owner's rights? Well, I suppose that if a person knew with 100% certainty that he would be causing no falsifiable harm and succeeded in causing no falsifiable harm, then it is exactly as though he committed no harm. So again I ask: how is it possible than an action with unfalsifiable harm can be wrong? Remember that, for the harm to be unfalsifiable, everything must be exactly the same as if no harm was committed, because a change would be used as evidence of harm.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby lalop » Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:04 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:What? nooooo..... I thought you meant that the actions weren't painful and inconvenient at the time, a la Yurell's example. I am against non-anesthetized circumcision because it hurts.


It's going to hurt either way (though anesthesia helps to reduce the pain, you'd still have the needle and recovery period).

sourmìlk wrote:Oh, so you mean an unfalsifiable violation of an owner's rights? Well, I suppose that if a person knew with 100% certainty that he would be causing no falsifiable harm and succeeded in causing no falsifiable harm, then it is exactly as though he committed no harm. So again I ask: how is it possible than an action with unfalsifiable harm can be wrong?


I have no answer to that. But does this acceptance mean that you accept all those unsavory "rights" I'd listed earlier?

sourmìlk wrote:Remember that, for the harm to be unfalsifiable, everything must be exactly the same as if no harm was committed, because a change would be used as evidence of harm.


Not exactly. If a pin moves in Tibet, is that evidence of harm? All you need is a lack of noticed changes.
Last edited by lalop on Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:08 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:08 am UTC

lalop wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:What? nooooo..... I thought you meant that the actions weren't painful and inconvenient at the time, a la Yurell's example. I am against non-anesthetized circumcision because it hurts.


It's going to hurt either way (though anesthesia helps to reduce the pain, you'd still have the needle and recovery period).

If done correctly, the pain is totally minimal. The infants very often don't even notice. I'd hardly call that grounds to override parental consent, given the more unpleasant shit parents put their kids through.

I have no answer to that.

In which case: if things that do unverifiable harm aren't bad, then how can circumcision be non-negligibly bad if the supposed non-negligible side-effects aren't verifiable? And if circumcision isn't non-negligibly bad, what grounds do we have for overriding parental consent?

But does this acceptance mean that you accept the stranger's right to do that to the child (despite your earlier portrayal of "parental discretion"), and everyone's right to commit rape on people who never find out?

No: rape is demonstrably harmful to the victim.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby lalop » Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:14 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:If done correctly, the pain is totally minimal. The infants very often don't even notice. I'd hardly call that grounds to override parental consent, given the more unpleasant shit parents put their kids through.


And this is part of what I was saying: the infants might not notice a lot of things. And yet, many of those things would not be accepted by anyone in our society besides yourself.

sourmìlk wrote:how can circumcision be non-negligibly bad if the supposed non-negligible side-effects aren't verifiable?


I've already acknowledge that my comparison has no convincing power when you are already accepting of child rape.

sourmìlk wrote:No: rape is demonstrably harmful to the victim.


After the umpeenth time of your insisting I justify how certain rapes could possibly be harmful, this is just.. stupid.

If you were able to demonstrate all along that my thought-experiment (as well as all the other probes I've been asking you) was invalid, then by all means, just do so.

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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:23 am UTC

lalop wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:If done correctly, the pain is totally minimal. The infants very often don't even notice. I'd hardly call that grounds to override parental consent, given the more unpleasant shit parents put their kids through.


And this is part of what I was saying: the infants might not notice a lot of things. And yet, many of those things would not be accepted by anyone in our society besides yourself.

Wooh, appeal to popular opinion! Yeah, emotional ploys tend to work better on others than on me. It's because I have a mental illness that partially deprives me of empathy. Like I said: if nobody is harmed by it, it's not bad.

I've already acknowledge that my comparison has no convincing power when you are already accepting of child rape.

I am not accepting of child rape. Never did I say I was accepting of child rape. I do not accept activities that provide a demonstrable significant net harm.

After the umpeenth time of your insisting I justify how certain rapes could possibly be harmful, this is just.. stupid.

No, I'm not. For the third time, I have already linked to studies showing that rape is harmful. That is a verified fact. You do not need to prove rape is harmful, I've done that for you.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby lalop » Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:44 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:No, I'm not. For the third time, I have already linked to studies showing that rape is harmful. That is a verified fact.


And, yet again, your studies do not actually demonstrate all types of rapes are harmful: indeed, that was how you kept insisting I demonstrate certain types of rapes were "bad", if you recall from barely two posts ago.

I'm not sure if you're trolling or just have a very short memory, but you seem to be bringing back assertions that were debunked long ago. But more alarmingly, you'd frankly expect these assertions to be false. The scientific community cannot possibly study all sorts of harms, or all sorts of rapes, to form conclusions about them all.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:45 am UTC

lalop wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:No, I'm not. For the third time, I have already linked to studies showing that rape is harmful. That is a verified fact.


And, yet again, your studies do not actually demonstrate all types of rapes are harmful: indeed, that was how you kept insisting I demonstrate certain types of rapes were "bad", if you recall from barely two posts ago.

When did I ask you to demonstrate that certain types of rape are bad?

Also, if the consensus is that rape is bad, and then a person suggests that a kind of rape isn't, it is up to that person to prove it. His hypothesis is unconservative and does not fit well with the consensus, the burden of proof is on him. But all of this is totally irrelevant because I never asked you about specific kinds of rape.
Last edited by sourmìlk on Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:07 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:06 pm UTC

Copper Bezel wrote: If circumcision had never been done before, no one would have just pulled it out of the ether in the last hundred years and thought it might be a good idea; it's an artifact of a bloody-minded tribal history

Yes, but arguably so is straightening of teeth, removal of birthmarks, and correction of polydactyly. These are three forms of child modification we have decided are perfectly acceptable, and while you can fuzzily hand wave some 'improvement of function' behind these modifications, the fact is they are still practiced on children for whom the change is purely cosmetic. This to me, again, argues that in lieu of any concrete data of negative physical impact, just let the parents decide.
lalop wrote:but I can't imagine that anyone actually does it out of malice.

This is also clutch: the sentiment of 'I want my child to look like me' or 'I want to incorporate my child into these ancient traditions' is not a malicious decision.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:09 pm UTC

The question you need to answer, lalop, is this: how can something with no verifiable harm done be bad? And if it can't, then how is circumcision bad, as the only significant negative effects are unverifiable? And if it isn't significantly bad, why should we override parental discretion?
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby P3t3r » Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:10 pm UTC

If circumcision were being proposed today without its extraordinary cultural baggage, there's no way it would ever be accepted as ethical and any doctor performing any kind of genital cutting would go to jail. Circumcision is institutionalized sexual mutilation. The problem is male circumcision is so engrained in our culture that we see no problem with it. Most people don't even know that circumcision was introduced in the US to stop masturbation (in the 1870s), it had nothing to with hygiene. The fact it is still legal doesn't mean it is okay, Female Genital Mutilation was legal until 1996.

Put yourself in the child's shoes : do you really believe he's going to think circumcision is okay and doesn't cause any harm because it is socially accepted and may have potential health benefits ?
It is funny how literally strapping down a child and cutting up his gentals is okay, but if you fondle a child's genitals, you get your ass thrown in jail and are branded a monster because of sexual abuse.
Just google "infant circumcision" and see the different videos, it's hard to believe it doesn't cause any harm.

The benefits of circumcision are debatable at best. The US is the only industrialized country cutting babies at birth, the rest of the world is just doing fine without circumcision, they don't suffer from all the diseases circumcision is supposed to cure. When you read the American Academy of Pediatrics position statement on male circumcision, you’ll notice that they refer to “potential” medical benefits. They use the word potential because there still aren’t any known benefits. No medical organization in the world supports infant circumcision.

Anyway this is about infant circumcision. Nobody has been able so far to explain why not let the child decide later what he wants to do with his penis ? Why should it be a parental choice ? Why is it so important for a parent to make this decision ? Seriously it doesn't matter what your son's penis look like. So once again why not let the owner of the penis choose when he is old enough ?

sourmìlk wrote:The question you need to answer, lalop, is this: how can something with no verifiable harm done be bad? And if it can't, then how is circumcision bad, as the only significant negative effects are unverifiable? And if it isn't significantly bad, why should we override parental discretion?


First there's no evidence that it doesn't cause harm. Do you know that at birth the glans is fused to the glans just like the fingernail is fused to the nail bed ? If you try to separate your finger-nail from your finger, it would be extremely painful. Just like that, on a baby, the surgeon has to physically tear the foreskin away from the glans first, before he can cut the foreskin.

But let's assume it doesn't cause any harm. It just changes nothing. The foreskin isn't a birth defect. It shouldn't be up to parents to make this decision. Circumcision is no more of a decision than considering whether to hack the kid's toes off or any other part of his body. Assuming all parts of the body are functioning normally then there are no "decisions" for anyone to make.

You are asking "why should we override parental discretion?" My answer is : why should it be a parental decision in the first place ? If a guy loves so much circumcision, he can make this decision for himsel when he's old enough to do so the exact same way some female adults are choosing labiaplasties because they think it looks better and is more hygienic. But that doesn't make labiaplasty for baby girls okay.

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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby lalop » Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:57 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:The question you need to answer, lalop, is this: how can something with no verifiable harm done be bad? And if it can't, then how is circumcision bad, as the only significant negative effects are unverifiable? And if it isn't significantly bad, why should we override parental discretion?


Actually, with your new clarification that "verifiable" is supposed to be highly general, there is a simple (yet dirty!) answer to this. Circumcision does verifiable harm, just not verified harm. Like the previous example where a person was kicked five years ago: the harm was not verified (indeed, could not be verified now), but it was verifiable at the time and you'd clarified that that's all that matters.

As I suggested then, the problem with the kicking example lies in the reliance on hypothetical, nonexistent studies as being sufficient (in order to avoid the conclusion that harm simply did not occur five years ago). I now pull out one such study to show that circumcision in adult males really does reduce sensation.

This study never happened (you may rightfully protest). Neither did, however, the study on the person kicked, and yet that verification-that-did-not-happen was sufficient to demonstrate harm to you. Why not this one?

That's the issue: are we going to say that only verified harm ever happened (which would exclude circumcision, but also the vast majority of harms that no one bothered to write down), or are we going to allow verifiable harms (which includes harms that weren't actually verified, thereby opening up a huge can of worms)?

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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Dec 19, 2011 1:05 pm UTC

yurell wrote:But for those who do have issue with circumcision and have it inflicted upon them, it is literally as life-destroying as rape.
That is a revolting statement. Please just drop this entire analogy. There are far better, far more accurate, and far less disgusting ones.
P3t3r wrote:If circumcision were being proposed today without its extraordinary cultural baggage, there's no way it would ever be accepted as ethical and any doctor performing any kind of genital cutting would go to jail. Circumcision is institutionalized sexual mutilation.
One of the reasons I find these discussions so galling--and so chock full of stupidity--is because in the end, it's really all about words. Take the term 'sexual mutilation', for instance. Is that term supposed to fill me with horror and revulsion? Because it really doesn't.

Because, in the end, circumcision is indistinguishable from the thousand other forms of cosmetic surgeries we perform on infants every fucking day. Webbed toes. Removal of birthmarks. Correcting cleft lips. Take your pick; we already strap our children down and mutilate them according to a variety of aesthetic principles. The only real difference here? This particular mutilation is aimed at our genitals--and your intense obsession with genitalia is so overpowering that you can't look beyond it and realize just how institutionalized infant mutilation really is.

I cannot comprehend this discussion. The thoughtless moral platitudes, the incredibly stupid and insensitive analogy with rape, the inability for anyone against circumcision to justify why certain types of mutilation are okay but this one isn't, the overwrought emotional rhetoric with no actual grounding in reality, the obsession with comparing and contrasting benefits versus consequences (when neither are the fucking point), the manipulative use of language--I feel like I'm in college all over again.

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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Dec 19, 2011 1:16 pm UTC

P3t3r wrote:If circumcision were being proposed today without its extraordinary cultural baggage, there's no way it would ever be accepted as ethical and any doctor performing any kind of genital cutting would go to jail. Circumcision is institutionalized sexual mutilation. The problem is male circumcision is so engrained in our culture that we see no problem with it. Most people don't even know that circumcision was introduced in the US to stop masturbation (in the 1870s), it had nothing to with hygiene. The fact it is still legal doesn't mean it is okay, Female Genital Mutilation was legal until 1996.

We should make this very clear, in case it isn't: FGM is not the same as male circumcision. The equivalent would be removing the entire head of the penis.

Put yourself in the child's shoes : do you really believe he's going to think circumcision is okay and doesn't cause any harm because it is socially accepted and may have potential health benefits ?
It is funny how literally strapping down a child and cutting up his gentals is okay, but if you fondle a child's genitals, you get your ass thrown in jail and are branded a monster because of sexual abuse.
Just google "infant circumcision" and see the different videos, it's hard to believe it doesn't cause any harm.

And yet, the data do not reliably indicate that there is harm.

The benefits of circumcision are debatable at best. The US is the only industrialized country cutting babies at birth, the rest of the world is just doing fine without circumcision, they don't suffer from all the diseases circumcision is supposed to cure. When you read the American Academy of Pediatrics position statement on male circumcision, you’ll notice that they refer to “potential” medical benefits. They use the word potential because there still aren’t any known benefits. No medical organization in the world supports infant circumcision.

Except the CDC? The CDC actually is considering universal circumcision because, in third-world countries, it dramatically lowers STD rates.

Anyway this is about infant circumcision. Nobody has been able so far to explain why not let the child decide later what he wants to do with his penis ? Why should it be a parental choice ? Why is it so important for a parent to make this decision ? Seriously it doesn't matter what your son's penis look like. So once again why not let the owner of the penis choose when he is old enough ?

Because that's not the question. The burden of proof is on you to say why we should override parental discretion, not on me to say why we shouldn't.

First there's no evidence that it doesn't cause harm.

There's no conclusive evidence one way or the other.

You are asking "why should we override parental discretion?" My answer is : why should it be a parental decision in the first place ?

I made this argument a page or two back. You can read it.

lalop wrote:Circumcision does verifiable harm, just not verified harm. Like the previous example where a person was kicked five years ago: the harm was not verified (indeed, could not be verified now), but it was verifiable at the time and you'd clarified that that's all that matters.

But you don't have conclusive evidence that harm has been done. Thus we cannot say honestly that circumcision is harmful: you need proof. Gather conclusive proof, then you get to tell me it's harmful.

That's the issue: are we going to say that only verified harm ever happened

Yes. Otherwise we cannot know if the harm happened. If you are going to make claims that unverified things happened, you have to prove it. And that, by definition is impossible. You're trying to override parental discretion by saying that harm is done without evidence.

lalop wrote: Neither did, however, the study on the person kicked, and yet that verification-that-did-not-happen was sufficient to demonstrate harm to you. Why not this one?

I'm confused. In that hypothetical situation, there was harm even if it wasn't verified. In your hypothetical study, there was harm even though it wasn't verified. But we're talking about what circumcision is in reality, not what it could hypothetically be.

are you trying to make the argument of "What if circumcision is harmful? we should ban it."? If so, you can replace circumcision with any phenomenon at all anywhere and arrive at the conclusion that we should ban everything.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby yurell » Mon Dec 19, 2011 1:19 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
yurell wrote:But for those who do have issue with circumcision and have it inflicted upon them, it is literally as life-destroying as rape.
That is a revolting statement. Please just drop this entire analogy. There are far better, far more accurate, and far less disgusting ones.


If you object to the statement, provide arguments as to why it's wrong.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Dec 19, 2011 1:19 pm UTC

yurell wrote:
The Great Hippo wrote:
yurell wrote:But for those who do have issue with circumcision and have it inflicted upon them, it is literally as life-destroying as rape.
That is a revolting statement. Please just drop this entire analogy. There are far better, far more accurate, and far less disgusting ones.


If you object to the statement, provide arguments as to why it's wrong.


You've mixed up burden of proof again. If you don't back it up, it's a cheap emotional ploy. You have to back it up. And I hope you realize the magnitude of what you're saying: that some billions of parents have made a decision whose outcome can reasonably considered as bad as rape. That billions of parents, therefore, are morally rapists.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby lalop » Mon Dec 19, 2011 1:21 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Because, in the end, circumcision is indistinguishable from the thousand other forms of cosmetic surgeries we perform on infants every fucking day. Webbed toes. Removal of birthmarks. Correcting cleft lips. Take your pick; we already strap our children down and mutilate them according to a variety of aesthetic principles.


There is one distinguishing factor. This particular cosmetic surgery is aimed at a part of the body the general public will never see (indeed, this was earlier used to argue for it, observing that it won't negatively influence things like your job chances). This effectively bumps it down in necessity (for the child to have a normal life, say).

Does this bump make enough of a difference to downgrade from allowed to disallowed? That's up to the debate. But there is a distinguishing factor, and it's not just that we're "unable to look beyond genitalia".

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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Dec 19, 2011 1:23 pm UTC

lalop wrote:Does this bump make enough of a difference to downgrade from allowed to disallowed?

No, unless you can show significant risk of harm. If you want to override parental discretion (I need to hotkey those three words), then prove why you should be allowed to in this case. Note that "it's theoretically possible it could be harmful" does not constitute a proof.
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby Deep_Thought » Mon Dec 19, 2011 1:27 pm UTC

Dear Lord, 5 pages already? And then NINJA'D by 6 posts. I thought we'd done this to death already.

I pretty much exhausted myself in the previous thread on this topic. Sourmilk in particular - I'd suggest you look for the papers I posted in that thread, because there's more evidence that circumcision ain't all it's cracked up to be than you seem to think there is (particularly the paper from South Korea where over a third of men who underwent circumcision as an adult regretted it).

The Great Hippo wrote:because, in the end, circumcision is indistinguishable from the thousand other forms of cosmetic surgeries we perform on infants every fucking day. Webbed toes. Removal of birthmarks. Correcting cleft lips. Take your pick; we already strap our children down and mutilate them according to a variety of aesthetic principles. The only real difference here? This particular mutilation is aimed at our genitals--and your intense obsession with genitalia is so overpowering that you can't look beyond it and realize just how institutionalized infant mutilation really is.

No, it's really not the same as cosmetic surgery. I don't know anyone who was circumcised as a child for cosmetic reasons. One was circumcised for a medical reason. The others were circumcised because their daddies were circumcised, as were their grand-daddies, etc. But I'm in the UK where us godless heathens are far more likely to have our genitalia intact.

Oh, I also still have my birthmark. Wouldn't dream of removing it. My brother has a small skin tag in front of one ear that my parents decided it was up to him to remove or not when he was older. So perhaps there are actually some of us who actually think you should leave it up to the child to decide, once they are old enough to properly understand what the hell it is that a doctor is about to do them. I'll leave teeth out of this discussion because, well, new-born infants don't have any.

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sourmìlk
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Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Dec 19, 2011 1:30 pm UTC

Deep_Thought wrote:I pretty much exhausted myself in the previous thread on this topic. Sourmilk in particular - I'd suggest you look for the papers I posted in that thread, because there's more evidence that circumcision ain't all it's cracked up to be than you seem to think there is (particularly the paper from South Korea where over a third of men who underwent circumcision as an adult regretted it).

Then considering the cultural notions attached, it would be immoral to do it in South Korea on adults. But we're generally not talking about South Korean adults, but Western infants.

So perhaps there are actually some of us who actually think you should leave it up to the child to decide

I have stated my argument as to why this should not be the case.
Last edited by sourmìlk on Mon Dec 19, 2011 1:31 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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