German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On Boys

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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Jul 02, 2012 6:53 am UTC

BattleMoose wrote:And these issues, 'best interests of the child', 'bodily integrity' and 'bodily autonomy' are all intertwined and cannot be looked at in complete isolation of each other, I don't think. If we are talking about a action which violates the bodily integrity of a child, we are certainly talking about the right of that child to bodily integrity and also that the action needs to be in the best interest of the child. The latter is more important that the former which UNICEF, Convention of the Right of the Child recognizes and is the perhaps the most important aspect of that document. Bodily integrity can be violated for the best interests of the child. With the caveat that you better be damn sure its in the best interest of the child and if you aren't 100% sure, you shouldn't do it, my understanding.
My question is, again-- given your definition of bodily integrity--who cares? It's an example of the naturalistic fallacy. I'm not concerned with the 'physical integrity' of infants; I'm concerned with the happiness of adults, and maximizing their potential for happiness. I see no reason why a question like circumcision can't be easily answered with a simple question that ignores your definition of bodily integrity--i.e., "Which decision maximizes the potential for this adult's future happiness? Which decision carries the least number of potentially costly consequences?".

Bodily autonomy is useful and interesting to me because it's one of those things that seems important toward maximizing the prosperity of humans--i.e., people are happier and more prosperous when they have a right to bodily autonomy. Are they happier and more prosperous when they have a right to bodily integrity? How does 'bodily integrity', as you've defined it, add anything more beyond bodily autonomy? All it seems to do is create a need to provide a large number of exceptions, where we're allowed to violate bodily integrity because it's obviously for your own good. Can you think of any fringe case where bodily integrity would 'catch' a violation--one where bodily autonomy would not?

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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby BattleMoose » Mon Jul 02, 2012 6:57 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:My question is, again-- given your definition of bodily integrity--who cares? It's an example of the naturalistic fallacy.


Because? What may seem obvious to you is perhaps not obvious to others. You have been asked numerous times to justify this assertion.

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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Jul 02, 2012 7:00 am UTC

BattleMoose wrote:You have been asked numerous times to justify this assertion.
I... just did?
Without further clarification, this definition relies on the naturalistic fallacy (the assumption that a body left whole is somehow more preferable to a body with some bits lopped off merely because 'lopping bits off is wrong'--no, lopping bits off without permission is wrong. Or lopping bits off despite knowing this will lead to future anguish is wrong. Your definition includes neither of these distinctions, and therefore implies it's wrong just because 'it's wrong').

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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby BattleMoose » Mon Jul 02, 2012 7:11 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
BattleMoose wrote:You have been asked numerous times to justify this assertion.
I... just did?
Without further clarification, this definition relies on the naturalistic fallacy (the assumption that a body left whole is somehow more preferable to a body with some bits lopped off merely because 'lopping bits off is wrong'--no, lopping bits off without permission is wrong. Or lopping bits off despite knowing this will lead to future anguish is wrong. Your definition includes neither of these distinctions, and therefore implies it's wrong just because 'it's wrong').


If it was impossible to perform surgery on infants unable to consent, in their best interest, you may have a point.

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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Jul 02, 2012 7:21 am UTC

BattleMoose wrote:If it was impossible to perform surgery on infants unable to consent, in their best interest, you may have a point.
...what?

I'm talking about the definition of bodily integrity as you gave it--it doesn't include any connective tissue between the statements 'Whole Bodies' and 'Should Be Kept Whole'. We end up with a situation where we're preserving the integrity of a body not for the sake of the infant, not for the sake of the autonomy of the adult the infant will grow up into--not even because the parents prefer it--but because 'whole bodies' are somehow better than 'not whole bodies'. Why? Who's prosperity is being served here? Why is it better to not alter a body than to alter a body?

Without talking about autonomy--the will of the parents, the will of the adult the infant eventually becomes--you've got nothing but a general 'wrongness' that surrounds the concept of altering someone's body. But there's nothing inherently wrong about altering someone's body (again, naturalistic fallacy). There's only something wrong about altering someone's body without their permission--and when we talk about adults regretting their circumcision, we're also talking about infants who will grow up into adults who will regret their circumcision.

Can you define bodily integrity to mean something more than 'whole bodies should be kept whole'? Do you actually mean something else? Are you having trouble clarifying what that something else is? Do you actually mean 'we should only alter bodies without their owners' permission when its in their owner's best interests'? Because that (probably) falls under bodily autonomy.

EDIT: To better clarify here, my issue is that 'bodily integrity' sounds suspiciously meaningless, and the definition you've supplied here for it doesn't strike me as any more useful than 'bodily autonomy'. I don't see anything a right to bodily integrity does that a right to bodily autonomy can't do better--in fact, with bodily integrity, all I see is a situation where we need to clarify a bunch of exceptions to avoid absurd consequences (like being unable to remove immediately life-threatening cancer from your body while you're in a coma because you have a right to 'bodily integrity'--a flexible right to bodily autonomy allows us to, because even if you can't give us consent, we can reasonably imagine you would give us consent if you were able to do so. No exception necessary; we just need to be willing to assume we can predict what you would want done to your body--in this case, you'd probably want your body to facilitate your continued existence, and unless you've left clues that we should assume otherwise1...).

The ultimate goal here is to produce adults who are happy with their bodies and the decisions made about those bodies when they didn't have the power to make those decisions themselves. Getting to that place means having the right tools. As a tool toward this end, what needs does a right to 'bodily integrity' fulfill that a flexible right to 'bodily autonomy' doesn't?

1 Like family members and friends who can tell us otherwise, or pieces of paper that say 'Don't Operate Even If It's Life-Threatening'.

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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby Ghostbear » Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:13 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:If the reason I wish my parents circumcised me was because I had a hot date who rejected me on the basis of finding uncircumcised guys to be 'gross', then in what way does getting circumcised now 'fix' that?

It doesn't, but you could have chosen, as an adult, to get a circumcision before that date. Or you could choose to get a circumcision afterwards (perhaps even because of that experience). It's a quality that is changeable for you. Flip-side: you get rejected by a hot date because you are circumcised. What can you do for future dates? Nothing, because it is permanent.

The Great Hippo wrote:Yes, I get what you are saying. But when you draw a line between decisions I'm required to live with 'forever' and decisions that I can change myself, I get this itchy feeling in my scalp. Because, well, no: All decisions are irreversible. All decisions represent things you have to live with forever, regardless of what you do in response to them. My parents' decision to cut off a bit of foreskin is as irreversible as my parents' decision to not cut off a bit of foreskin.

All decisions are irreversible in that utterly pedantic sense, yes. If I had originally typed up a snarky, rude, or otherwise uncalled for response to you, but then deleted it and typed up this one*, that would have been a permanent decision in this pedantic sense; I would not be able to go back in time and not have typed it. However, hypothetical me was able to delete it and replace it with a proper response, with no one being any the wiser. Or perhaps a simpler example: growing a beard is a pedantically permanent decision. It is not, however, a decision that anyone would truly consider permanent; should you decide you don't like the beard, you are able to shave it all off. In no way is that beard something you can not remove under any circumstances. The fact that the situation can be changed such that, minus any memories and experiences derived from it, it never happened, makes it, in practice, a non-permanent decision.

It is obvious that memories and experiences are permanent, but the status imparted by a decision is not necessarily permanent. The status of your parents' decision to bring you to church is not permanent: you can choose to stop going to church when you are older, or even your parents can change their mind. The status of the state requiring children to go to school is a mixed case -- it is both non-permanent (you can stop going to school after a certain age or education point), and permanent (the influences on your thinking, knowledge, and opinions will stay with you). The status of your parents' decision to circumcise you is permanent: you can not choose to stop being circumcised. The status of your parents' decision not to circumcise you is non-permanent: you can choose to stop being uncircumcised.

I must admit that I am quite flabbergasted that I have been forced to explain this in further and further detail. There is a huge difference here in the types of permanency being dealt with; the one that people are pointing at is not comparable to the one I am pointing at. Call it a flaw of the English language or of my own communication, but these arguments of pedantic permanence are just that: pedantic.

* Just to be sure that I don't come across as meta-snarky: I didn't do that.

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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Jul 02, 2012 11:03 am UTC

Ghostbear wrote:It doesn't, but you could have chosen, as an adult, to get a circumcision before that date. Or you could choose to get a circumcision afterwards (perhaps even because of that experience). It's a quality that is changeable for you. Flip-side: you get rejected by a hot date because you are circumcised. What can you do for future dates? Nothing, because it is permanent.
Why does this matter? Either way, I've lost a chance for a hot date based on a decision somebody made. Whether that somebody was me or not--in what way does that change anything?

When you describe this quality as 'changeable', I think you're using a dangerous word. It's not changeable--not in the most realistic sense. Every decision we make--whether it's for ourselves or for someone else--represents an unchangeable, irreversible step. I want to make sure that those steps lead people to finding happiness. I've noticed that people are less happy when I dictate those steps for them. So I try to let them find their own way.

Opposing circumcision because it represents an 'irreversible decision' versus a 'reversible decision'--or a 'changeable decision' versus a 'changeable one'--that strikes me as a trap, partly because it assumes there are such things as 'changeable decisions', and partly because it 'fetishizes' bodily autonomy.
Ghostbear wrote:All decisions are irreversible in that utterly pedantic sense, yes.
But this isn't pedantry. This is reality.

I accept the linguistic utility of 'permanence vs impermanence', and if all you're really saying when you describe circumcision as 'permanent' is that it's got a higher risk for unhappiness than non-circumcision (i.e., it's more likely for you to be unable to reconcile your circumcision than it is for you to be unable to reconcile your non-circumcision), then there's no actual disagreement here--we're just playing with words.

But the vibe I got from your previous posts was that you ascribed a deeper sense of permanence to the act of circumcision than to the act of non-circumcision--as if non-circumcision somehow represented a 'reversible' decision. But decisions aren't reversible--time flows in one and only one direction.

Yeah, shaving my beard isn't a 'permanent' decision, but what we actually mean by that word is that it's a low risk decision--i.e., it's unlikely that my decision to shave my beard will carry any significant consequences down the road, since I can just grow it back in time. But all decisions carry consequences, seen and unforeseen. And the reality is I shaved my beard, and nothing I do will ever change it. So in its most precise usage, it is a permanent decision--and if we are to make decisions for others, it's critical that we understand that1.

All the things we're talking about re: circumcision--this is about probability. Figuring out what decision will maximize the probability for future happiness. Reverse the situation a little and maybe you might see what I mean: Assume circumcision was critical in Western culture for any sort of scholastic advancement. You couldn't even get into a proper elementary school without one. Your parents' decision to not give you one suddenly takes on a new dimension--that's a decision that ripples through your life in ways that are clearly irreversible, in all usages of the word! Suddenly, you never attended elementary school! You never had any form of adequate education! Once you were old enough to decide you should have a circumcision, it's too late: You're over a decade behind everyone else, academically!

In that given situation, which strikes you as more important: Your happiness, or your right to bodily autonomy? Which represents the more "irreversible" decision--the one that cuts a bit of skin off your genitalia, or the one that denies you access to a proper education for over ten years?




1 Let's say you shaved my beard off while I was sleeping as a joke. I wake up, and I'm mortified. Horrified. Utterly fucking traumatized. You don't understand, because for you, this represents a 'reversible' decision--I can just grow my beard back. But for me? Maybe the time between 'not-beard' and 'beard' is of critical importance. Maybe I'm never going to win the once-in-a-century beard-off because of you. Or maybe the woman of my dreams will reject me because of my beardlessness. Or maybe I'm just incredibly weird, and this is incredibly important to me. Either way, you parse it as 'reversible', and I parse it as 'irreversible'. Reversibility, in this context, is subjective--after all, you could always undergo surgery to have your circumcision 'undone'. Maybe some people are satisfied with that--for them, circumcision might, in fact, be 'reversible'!

That's my problem with your usage of the word here: It's relative, and I'm not interested in relative terminology here. I want to be clear, and I want to use words that remain true regardless of the context. Hence: Circumcision isn't an irreversible decision--it's a high-risk one (in comparison to non-circumcision). It is more probable that you will be unable to reconcile your circumcision than it is that you will be unable to reconcile your non-circumcision.

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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby Ghostbear » Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:03 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:I accept the linguistic utility of 'permanence vs impermanence', and if all you're really saying when you describe circumcision as 'permanent' is that it's got a higher risk for unhappiness than non-circumcision (i.e., it's more likely for you to be unable to reconcile your circumcision than it is for you to be unable to reconcile your non-circumcision), then there's no actual disagreement here--we're just playing with words.

But the vibe I got from your previous posts was that you ascribed a deeper sense of permanence to the act of circumcision than to the act of non-circumcision--as if non-circumcision somehow represented a 'reversible' decision. But decisions aren't reversible--time flows in one and only one direction.

I do assign more permanence to one decision, but not because one is "reversible" in the sense that you are using. This is why I used state permanency in my post. The physical state of being circumcised is permanent. The physical state of being uncircumcised is not. The memories, experiences, and ripple effects of any and every decision is irreversible, you are correct, but that is why I think mentioning that is being pedantic: because that is true of every decision of every kind ever made by anyone for any reason in all of history. Yet we do not, in non-pedantic conversation, say that every decision is permanent. The secession of the US south was permanent in its effects -- those ripples are still going today, even -- but the state imposed by that event (the south not being part of the US) was not permanent, because the Union won the Civil War and forced the south back in. If I say "I'm eating pizza for dinner tonight" that was a permanent action, but when dinner time comes, I am free to decide to eat spaghetti instead. The memories, experiences, and ripple effects of that statement were permanent -- but the state created by that decision (planning to eat pizza for dinner tonight) is not permanent.

This is not about risk, this is about states, specifically, physical ones. The physical state of being circumcised is completely irreversible. The physical state of being uncircumcised is not, because you can alter that state so that it is no longer the one in place -- you can change it to being circumcised. The memories, experiences, and ripple effects of both of them is permanent, but, again, that's true of every decision, which is not a useful distinction to make here (hence "pedantic"). You are arguing the wrong kind of permanence.

To follow your example of what if it were completely necessary to be a part of western civilization, the state of circumcision is still permanent in a way that not being circumcised is not. Imagine that we start off with your scenario, and you get circumcised... then they very next day, the laws change such that the exact reverse scenario is true: to get anywhere in life, you must be uncircumcised. What can you do to attempt to adapt to that situation positively? Nothing. Now, start off with the reversed situation, and then have that change suddenly. What can you attempt to do to adapt to that situation positively? Everything necessary: you can get circumcised the very same day if you can find a doctor with room in their schedule. One event (circumcision) imposes a permanent status on you, while not performing that action does not impose a permanent status on.

(Still flabbergasted)

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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:54 pm UTC

Ghostbear wrote:I do assign more permanence to one decision, but not because one is "reversible" in the sense that you are using. This is why I used state permanency in my post. The physical state of being circumcised is permanent. The physical state of being uncircumcised is not. The memories, experiences, and ripple effects of any and every decision is irreversible, you are correct, but that is why I think mentioning that is being pedantic: because that is true of every decision of every kind ever made by anyone for any reason in all of history. Yet we do not, in non-pedantic conversation, say that every decision is permanent. The secession of the US south was permanent in its effects -- those ripples are still going today, even -- but the state imposed by that event (the south not being part of the US) was not permanent, because the Union won the Civil War and forced the south back in. If I say "I'm eating pizza for dinner tonight" that was a permanent action, but when dinner time comes, I am free to decide to eat spaghetti instead. The memories, experiences, and ripple effects of that statement were permanent -- but the state created by that decision (planning to eat pizza for dinner tonight) is not permanent.

This is not about risk, this is about states, specifically, physical ones. The physical state of being circumcised is completely irreversible. The physical state of being uncircumcised is not, because you can alter that state so that it is no longer the one in place -- you can change it to being circumcised. The memories, experiences, and ripple effects of both of them is permanent, but, again, that's true of every decision, which is not a useful distinction to make here (hence "pedantic"). You are arguing the wrong kind of permanence.

To follow your example of what if it were completely necessary to be a part of western civilization, the state of circumcision is still permanent in a way that not being circumcised is not. Imagine that we start off with your scenario, and you get circumcised... then they very next day, the laws change such that the exact reverse scenario is true: to get anywhere in life, you must be uncircumcised. What can you do to attempt to adapt to that situation positively? Nothing. Now, start off with the reversed situation, and then have that change suddenly. What can you attempt to do to adapt to that situation positively? Everything necessary: you can get circumcised the very same day if you can find a doctor with room in their schedule. One event (circumcision) imposes a permanent status on you, while not performing that action does not impose a permanent status on.

(Still flabbergasted)
'States' are abstracts; things we use to represent reality. Abstracts leak.

You unraveled my given example by drastically changing context ("Here's a magical world that demonstrates why 'relative reversibility' is not always the best yardstick by which to determine the gravity of a decision" -- "Okay, I'll modify your magical world to make 'relative reversibility' relevant again!"). The point is that reversibility, as you're using it, is subjective--what you consider an irreversible decision ('you changed my body!') others might consider wholly reversible ('that's fine, I'll undergo surgery to have it stitched back on'). Whether or not you decide this represents an irreversible decision is immaterial to those who decide otherwise; they might be in a minority--they might not even exist outside of my head--but I'd prefer our discussion makes room for their existence, because I don't like to erase anyone, even if their existence is somewhat unlikely. Consider my beard example--would I be wrong to feel traumatized by you shaving it? Would I be wrong to consider this an irreversible decision? Were I to do it to you, would you be wrong to consider it a reversible one? Assuming we both defined it that way, which one of us would be 'more right'?

I find that discussing this in terms of probability, rather than this sort of 'context-sensitive' reversibility (again, you only 'disproved' my scenario by drastically altering the context--the point is the context--that 'reversibility' as you're using it is always contextual, and always relative--while probabilities are not), because I think precision is very important here, and because I'm all about validating how people feel about themselves and their bodies, no matter how weird or bizarre those feelings might seem to me. Bringing subjective terminology in here--saying things like 'You can't do X, because I parse X as irreversible'--to me, that's a moral trap. I oppose X because X carries a greater risk of making you feel badly about your body than Y. Whether or not I parse X as more 'reversible' or not is irrelevant--as sane as that belief might sound, it's still a belief, and some (admittedly, strange!) people might actually see circumcision as the reversible option--and non-circumcision as the irreversible one--based on how they feel about their relative costs and consequences.

Probabilities, then, are a tool we can use to make slightly better decisions about what we should and shouldn't do to those around us--because probabilities ignore things like subjective notions of reversibility and focus instead on what types of actions lead to people who are happier with the state of their bodies.

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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby Princess Marzipan » Mon Jul 02, 2012 1:10 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Let's say you my parents had someone shaved my beard cut a bit of my penis off while I was sleeping an infant as a joke religious rite or for "health reasons" which hold no actual water. I wake grow up, and I'm mortified. Horrified. Utterly fucking traumatized. You don't understand, because for you, this represents a 'reversible' decision that increased other adults' happiness -- I can just grow my beard back. They're happy a bit of their penis got sliced off.


Et cetera, et cetera.

I mean yeah, shaving your beard? Dick move. Cutting my dick? DICK MOVE.

The Great Hippo wrote:Hence: Circumcision isn't an irreversible decision--it's a high-risk one (in comparison to non-circumcision). It is more probable that you will be unable to reconcile your circumcision than it is that you will be unable to reconcile your non-circumcision.[/size]
WHAT? Sorry, no, my circumcision is not "reconciled". Nor can it ever be. I really don't understand how you're both arguing against Ghostbear's usages of permanence and related terms while at the same arguing that circumcision isn't permanent.
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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Jul 02, 2012 1:18 pm UTC

Princess Marzipan wrote:
The Great Hippo wrote:Let's say you shaved my beard cut a bit of my pensi off while I was sleeping an infant as a joke religious rite or for "health reasons" which hold no actual water. I wake grow up, and I'm mortified. Horrified. Utterly fucking traumatized. You don't understand, because for you, this represents a 'reversible' decision that increased other adults' happiness -- I can just grow my beard back. They're happy a bit of their penis got sliced off.[/s]


Et cetera, et cetera.
I'm not sure I understand your point? Yes, everything I just said applies equally to circumcision; the only distinction being that more people are likely to be traumatized by their circumcision than they are by having their beards shaved--so it demands less frivolity and more thought.
Princess Marzipan wrote:WHAT? Sorry, no, my circumcision is not "reconciled". Nor can it ever be.
Did I say something that implied otherwise? Are you misreading my posts?

I'm claiming that, all things being equal, someone who is unhappy with their circumcision probably has less recourse than someone who is unhappy with their lack of circumcision.

(I'm arguing that 'irreversible' and 'reversible' are subjective terms and shouldn't be used; when I say circumcision isn't an 'irreversible decision', it's only because I reject the entire notion of 'reversible vs irreversible' decisions--not because I'm singling circumcision out as a special case)

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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Mon Jul 02, 2012 2:19 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Really? Those weren't, like, pretty much self-explanatory from the beginning?

Benefits of being in a bolded section: you are happy with the way you are.

Benefit of being in the italic section: you can change yourself into something with which you are happy.
Cost of being the italic section: you will remember the physical pain of this change better than if it was done to you as an infant.

Cost of being in the underlined section: You're totally fucked, and can never undo what was done to you without your knowledge or consent.

I would include as costs to the italic section that you have to go a while before being properly inducted into your religious community and that you have to live with the fact that a major element of your religion is illegal. And I would not say that being unhappy that you're circumcised (the underlined section) is the same as being "totally fucked." For some, yes. For others, no.

This still doesn't get us very far if people continue to claim that it doesn't matter how likely you are to fall in each group.

Edit: The people making the utilitarian argument, I mean.
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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Jul 02, 2012 2:35 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Whether or not I parse X as more 'reversible' or not is irrelevant--as sane as that belief might sound, it's still a belief, and some (admittedly, strange!) people might actually see circumcision as the reversible option--and non-circumcision as the irreversible one--based on how they feel about their relative costs and consequences.
Please explain how they can possibly believe this without also completely mangling the meaning of "reverse".

In other words, explain to me how that belief, that circumcision is "reversible", is not simply a mistaken one. And if it is simply a mistaken belief, why should we care that some people hold it?
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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby Princess Marzipan » Mon Jul 02, 2012 2:42 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Are you misreading my posts?
Yes...somewhat. I missed some bits due to reading/posting just after waking. Context? What context?

I still disagree, though, that anyone can claim circumcision to be reversible and non-circumcision to be irreversible. The Jewish faith allows for circumcisions later in life for converts; therefore, not being circumcised can in fact be reversed. You claim foreskin can be surgically restored; cosmetically, perhaps, but nerve endings can't be fixed and thus the procedure is *not* reversible.

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:I would include as costs to the italic section that you have to go a while before being properly inducted into your religious community and that you have to live with the fact that a major element of your religion is illegal.
That's because a major element of that religion is the mutilation of infants! Your argument here is just as valid a defense for those religions and cultures which practice female genital mutilation - that is to say, not valid at all. We don't allow FGM, why should we allow MGM?
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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Jul 02, 2012 2:47 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:In other words, explain to me how that belief, that circumcision is "reversible", is not simply a mistaken one. And if it is simply a mistaken belief, why should we care that some people hold it?
There are surgical procedures which can replace removed foreskin; while I doubt this would represent a satisfactory solution for most people who are not happy with their circumcisions, it may represent a satisfactory solution for some percentage of those people--and those people may further go on to state that their circumcision has therefore been 'reversed'. Should that be the case, I don't see much utility in arguing the point with them (in fact, I'd see disagreeing with them over that point as pretty crude and ignorant!).
Princess Marzipan wrote:I still disagree, though, that anyone can claim circumcision to be reversible and non-circumcision to be irreversible. The Jewish faith allows for circumcisions later in life for converts; therefore, not being circumcised can in fact be reversed. You claim foreskin can be surgically restored; cosmetically, perhaps, but nerve endings can't be fixed and thus the procedure is *not* reversible.
Adding the qualifier of 'medical' in front of 'reversible' changes the meaning significantly--'medically reversible' carries a different connotation than just 'reversible' (although the connotation is still vague--reversible in what respect? If I can restore complete functionality--but not the physical appearance--does that qualify as 'medically reversible'?)

Keep in mind, I'm assuming we're using the term 'reversible' more broadly, because I also assume the reasons people are unhappy with their circumcision are broader than medical ones--another reason I don't like the term (reversible in what way? In what dimension? Maybe I'm unhappy because my rights were violated; obviously, that's irreversible--maybe I'm unhappy because I don't like the way it looks--well, that may be reversible).

I feel like when we talk about circumcision this way, we're painting everyone who's not happy with their circumcision with a single brush--there are a lot of reasons we might not be content with our bodies, and I think it's important to make room for all of those reasons.

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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby darkone238 » Mon Jul 02, 2012 8:31 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:In other words, explain to me how that belief, that circumcision is "reversible", is not simply a mistaken one. And if it is simply a mistaken belief, why should we care that some people hold it?
There are surgical procedures which can replace removed foreskin; while I doubt this would represent a satisfactory solution for most people who are not happy with their circumcisions, it may represent a satisfactory solution for some percentage of those people--and those people may further go on to state that their circumcision has therefore been 'reversed'. Should that be the case, I don't see much utility in arguing the point with them (in fact, I'd see disagreeing with them over that point as pretty crude and ignorant!).


Saying that circumcisions are reversible by getting foreskin restoration procedures is equivalent to saying hair loss is reversible by buying a wig. Sure, some people would be satisfied, since that's "good enough," but it would be asinine to say that it's a solution that reverses the problem.

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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Jul 02, 2012 8:39 pm UTC

darkone238 wrote:Saying that circumcisions are reversible by getting foreskin restoration procedures is equivalent to saying hair loss is reversible by buying a wig. Sure, some people would be satisfied, since that's "good enough," but it would be asinine to say that it's a solution that reverses the problem.
But you're not defining the 'problem', you're just saying there's a problem, and this solution doesn't address that problem. But what is the problem?

Is the problem that you prefer to be seen with hair? Then yes, a wig does reverse the problem. Is the problem that you actually want hair? Then no--a wig does not reverse the problem. Is the problem that you prefer the aesthetic of foreskin to no foreskin? Then yes--restorative surgery could reverse that problem. Is the problem that you're distressed over the violation, or you have concerns with deadened nerve tissue? Then no--restorative surgery can't reverse that problem.

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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby darkone238 » Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:27 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
darkone238 wrote:Saying that circumcisions are reversible by getting foreskin restoration procedures is equivalent to saying hair loss is reversible by buying a wig. Sure, some people would be satisfied, since that's "good enough," but it would be asinine to say that it's a solution that reverses the problem.
But you're not defining the 'problem', you're just saying there's a problem, and this solution doesn't address that problem. But what is the problem?

Is the problem that you prefer to be seen with hair? Then yes, a wig does reverse the problem. Is the problem that you actually want hair? Then no--a wig does not reverse the problem. Is the problem that you prefer the aesthetic of foreskin to no foreskin? Then yes--restorative surgery could reverse that problem. Is the problem that you're distressed over the violation, or you have concerns with deadened nerve tissue? Then no--restorative surgery can't reverse that problem.

Problem 1: A part of my body that I used to have is no longer there.
Problem 2: I have a condition that makes me lose hair and now I have no hair.

Foreskin restoration does not solve problem 1, it's a workaround (to use CS-ey words) that doesn't actually fix the underlying problem. Likewise wigs to problem 2; I still have hair loss.

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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby Роберт » Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:41 pm UTC

darkone238 wrote:Problem 1: A part of my body that I used to have is no longer there.


Foreskin restoration does not solve problem 1, it's a workaround (to use CS-ey words) that doesn't actually fix the underlying problem.

How is problem 1 even a problem?

Edit: wisdom teeth, appendix, umbilical cord...
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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby darkone238 » Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:48 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:
darkone238 wrote:Problem 1: A part of my body that I used to have is no longer there.


Foreskin restoration does not solve problem 1, it's a workaround (to use CS-ey words) that doesn't actually fix the underlying problem.

How is problem 1 even a problem?

Edit: wisdom teeth, appendix, umbilical cord...

Shall I use the word "situation" instead of problem?

Wisdom teeth removal is a question of minimizing long-term negative dental effects. Two of my wisdom teeth were removed because they could've caused most of my teeth to fall out. I made the choice to lose two teeth rather than many. I still have my appendix, and when it ruptures I will choose to have it removed so that I can retain life (once again, a lessening of negative effects). I don't really think that the umbilical cord counts as part of my body, since it is simply a connection from another source. Finally, and most importantly, with the arguable exception of wisdom teeth, these are all vestigial and don't actually provide any benefit from being there. Not so with foreskin (and more importantly the nerves that are cut with circumcision).

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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby Роберт » Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:08 pm UTC

darkone238 wrote:
Роберт wrote:
darkone238 wrote:Problem 1: A part of my body that I used to have is no longer there.


Foreskin restoration does not solve problem 1, it's a workaround (to use CS-ey words) that doesn't actually fix the underlying problem.

How is problem 1 even a problem?

Edit: wisdom teeth, appendix, umbilical cord...

Shall I use the word "situation" instead of problem?

Wisdom teeth removal is a question of minimizing long-term negative dental effects. Two of my wisdom teeth were removed because they could've caused most of my teeth to fall out. I made the choice to lose two teeth rather than many. I still have my appendix, and when it ruptures I will choose to have it removed so that I can retain life (once again, a lessening of negative effects). I don't really think that the umbilical cord counts as part of my body, since it is simply a connection from another source. Finally, and most importantly, with the arguable exception of wisdom teeth, these are all vestigial and don't actually provide any benefit from being there. Not so with foreskin (and more importantly the nerves that are cut with circumcision).

See, I don't know why this is so hard for you. The problem is not "I had a body part and don't anymore" it's "I feel like I had some very important nerves cut so I don't have certain nerve endings that I would like to have".
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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby mojo12 » Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:13 pm UTC

darkone238 wrote:
Роберт wrote:
darkone238 wrote:Problem 1: A part of my body that I used to have is no longer there.


Foreskin restoration does not solve problem 1, it's a workaround (to use CS-ey words) that doesn't actually fix the underlying problem.

How is problem 1 even a problem?

Edit: wisdom teeth, appendix, umbilical cord...

Shall I use the word "situation" instead of problem?

Wisdom teeth removal is a question of minimizing long-term negative dental effects. Two of my wisdom teeth were removed because they could've caused most of my teeth to fall out. I made the choice to lose two teeth rather than many. I still have my appendix, and when it ruptures I will choose to have it removed so that I can retain life (once again, a lessening of negative effects). I don't really think that the umbilical cord counts as part of my body, since it is simply a connection from another source. Finally, and most importantly, with the arguable exception of wisdom teeth, these are all vestigial and don't actually provide any benefit from being there. Not so with foreskin (and more importantly the nerves that are cut with circumcision).


Not a real problem, and barely a "situation". I would even take issue with the statement "A part of my body that I used to have is no longer there." Since the topic is circumcision of babies, in practicality it is not a part of my body that I used to have. I have no memory of my foreskin and am unable to miss it. Being circumicised is a deeply ingrained aspect of my personal identity and would be part ones concept of a normal body for most of their early childhood. Only when a boy is old enough to recognize that this is one of many, minor ways he differs from others can it come into question that it may be other than normal.
The discussion of reversal is bordering on absurd. Who is asking for such things? It's right up there with changing belly buttons from innies to outies, or changing earlobes from attached to detached (or vice versa).
Also I question these magical nerve endings that keep getting mentioned. Everything feels okay to me down there.
I was not circumcised for religious reasons. As mentioned in this thread already, it was very common in the US and deemed medically beneficial. I think the analogy to vestigial items is a good one, and would say that I miss my foreskin about as much as my tonsils. Are tonsils still considered vestigial? I don't think they remove them anymore for some reason. Maybe to save those magic nerve endings.

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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby darkone238 » Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:33 pm UTC

Not sure why you two are being so condescending (particularly since I haven't even posted throughout the thread, so I'm not sure how "I don't know why this is so hard for you" is warranted), but regarding "magic nerve endings," http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frenulum_o ... e_of_penis (NSFW for pictures of penis).

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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby morriswalters » Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:43 pm UTC

Can anyone say how much is lost? How do you quantify how I feel versus how you feel. Is there any neurological data?

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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby Princess Marzipan » Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:45 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:There are surgical procedures which can replace removed foreskin; while I doubt this would represent a satisfactory solution for most people who are not happy with their circumcisions, it may represent a satisfactory solution for some percentage of those people--and those people may further go on to state that their circumcision has therefore been 'reversed'. Should that be the case, I don't see much utility in arguing the point with them (in fact, I'd see disagreeing with them over that point as pretty crude and ignorant!).
Then add that lucky percentage of people to the pile we can disregard. The reason this is a problem isn't because some people are happy with whether they were or weren't circumcised or how successful restorative surgery was (and if they are not resentful of having to seek out, pay for, and undergo such surgery). The reason it's a problem is all the other people (HI! *WAVES ARMS AROUND*) who are stuck with mangled and possibly (fucked if I have any way of telling!) deficient genitalia.

The Great Hippo wrote:I feel like when we talk about circumcision this way, we're painting everyone who's not happy with their circumcision with a single brush--there are a lot of reasons we might not be content with our bodies, and I think it's important to make room for all of those reasons.
Not everyone feels similarly violated by circumcision, and that's perfectly fine. See above and below in this post re: piles.

mojo12 wrote:Also I question these magical nerve endings that keep getting mentioned. Everything feels okay to me down there.
So your foreskin feels okay then?
mojo12 wrote:I was not circumcised for religious reasons. As mentioned in this thread already, it was very common in the US and deemed medically beneficial. I think the analogy to vestigial items is a good one, and would say that I miss my foreskin about as much as my tonsils. Are tonsils still considered vestigial? I don't think they remove them anymore for some reason. Maybe to save those magic nerve endings.
In response to the bold, good for you. We'll add YOU as well to the pile of people we can disregard when considering whether the practice should be banned - you don't feel violated, but that does not negate the violation felt by others (and nor does their violation necessitate or demand similar feelings from you).

I'm actually glad you brought up vestigial organs. Do you know what we generally do with vestigial organs? WE LEAVE THEM THE HELL ALONE unless a problem actually develops. Tonsils aren't removed just because, appendixes aren't removed just because, and foreskins should really truly seriously very much not be removed just because. (Or because religion, or because "health reasons" - every problem circumcision 'solves' in the latter respect can also be solved by washing one's dick.)
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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby Ghostbear » Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:22 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:'States' are abstracts; things we use to represent reality. Abstracts leak.

I am not sure what you are trying to say with this, at all. The state of being uncircumcised is a different state than being circumcised. One of those states is capable of being transformed into the other state, while the other is not capable of such. Thus, we consider one of those states to be permanent; you can not go and undo circumcision, such that that, physically, it no longer influences your state.

The Great Hippo wrote:The point is that reversibility, as you're using it, is subjective--what you consider an irreversible decision ('you changed my body!') others might consider wholly reversible ('that's fine, I'll undergo surgery to have it stitched back on').

You can not reverse the nerve damage, so no; one of those states really and truly is irreversible. Are you truly unwilling to see this? If I remove your eyes and give you glass eyeballs, I have not reversed that act -- you are still without vision. Stop looking at it like it's just a cosmetic act.

Stop and think about it for just a moment: if I remove your arm, then even you get a prosthetic arm, you have still permanently lost your fucking arm! There is no way, with modern medical science, to replicate that arm with sufficient precision and quality so that you could consider the process reversible. If I have not removed your arm, you can always decide to remove your arm later. One of those states (arm removal) is permanent, the other (arm retention) is not. "Probability" doesn't factor into that situation at all: one of those is a permanent alteration that we can not undo at all. The other is a decision to avoid alteration, a decision that we can decide to change at a later date if we so choose.

The Great Hippo wrote:[...] that 'reversibility' as you're using it is always contextual, and always relative [...]

No, look above. Sometimes, something truly can not be reversed. Other times, it can.

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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby Steroid » Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:29 am UTC

Ghostbear wrote:
The Great Hippo wrote:'States' are abstracts; things we use to represent reality. Abstracts leak.

I am not sure what you are trying to say with this, at all. The state of being uncircumcised is a different state than being circumcised. One of those states is capable of being transformed into the other state, while the other is not capable of such. Thus, we consider one of those states to be permanent; you can not go and undo circumcision, such that that, physically, it no longer influences your state.

I believe I do understand what Great Hippo is saying here. He's not comparing the state of being circumcised versus the state of being uncircumcised. He's comparing the state of being circumcised at a given time to the state of being uncircumcised at the same time. Exactly one of those states is true for each moment given, and neither can be transformed into the other. It's true that I can get cut next Tuesday, but not uncut next Tuesday; but I can't get cut or uncut last Tuesday.

And if I'm reading him correctly further, he's saying that because of that, we can't automatically discount the unhappy uncircumcised on the grounds that their situation is correctable. They've already experienced unhappiness. Neither can we automatically assume, because of the cultural tradition, that it is valuable. There needs to be a constant evaluation as to which one is worse.

What I have to say about it is that there shouldn't be a one-size-fits-all, societal answer, but should be left up to individual parents.

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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby Princess Marzipan » Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:59 am UTC

Steroid wrote:What I have to say about it is that there shouldn't be a one-size-fits-all, societal answer, but should be left up to individual parents.
Your phrasing is disingenuous. No one's been arguing that every male infant must be circumcised; that is the "one-size-fits-all" opposite of Germany's decree that every male infant must not be circumcised.

Leaving it up to individual parents is *still a problem* for all the reasons already under discussion in this thread that you've just blithely swept aside.
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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Tue Jul 03, 2012 4:03 am UTC

Princess Marzipan wrote:We don't allow FGM, why should we allow MGM?

One of those procedures is a lot more destructive than the other. So, it's possible for one to be obviously harmful while the other is, if nothing else, less obvious.
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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby BattleMoose » Tue Jul 03, 2012 4:17 am UTC

http://epublications.bond.edu.au/cgi/vi ... greg_boyle

An incredibly well written and referenced publication on the topic of forced circumcision.

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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby Princess Marzipan » Tue Jul 03, 2012 4:23 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
Princess Marzipan wrote:We don't allow FGM, why should we allow MGM?

One of those procedures is a lot more destructive than the other. So, it's possible for one to be obviously harmful while the other is, if nothing else, less obvious.
Whether it's obvious or not is entirely irrelevant once we've recognized the problem, and therefore your statement is more an explanation for MGM's continued prevalence rather than a justification.
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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Tue Jul 03, 2012 4:27 am UTC

The point isn't about whether it's obvious.
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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby Princess Marzipan » Tue Jul 03, 2012 4:35 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:The point isn't about whether it's obvious.
TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:One of those procedures is a lot more destructive than the other. So, it's possible for one to be obviously harmful while the other is, if nothing else, less obvious.
Then is your point simply that MGM is not AS destructive as FGM? I won't dispute that, but it is still similarly insufficient as a justification for the practice.

Please clarify if you meant something else; I can see only those two points in your post.
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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby BattleMoose » Tue Jul 03, 2012 4:38 am UTC

Countries that have criminalized only female circumcision fail to provide equal protection for male
minors. Laws only against non-therapeutic female genital cutting violate anti-discrimination
legislation, and contravene principles of equal protection enshrined in human rights law. Such
discriminatory laws, conflict with Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
that, "All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of
the law."133 A human rights violation occurs when females only and not males are afforded
protection from non-therapeutic genital cutting (see Article 2 UDHR, Article 2 CRC, Article 1,
paragraph 3 and Article 55(c) of the UN Charter).

Non-therapeutic circumcision on unconsenting minors amounts to physical and sexual abuse.
There is no basis human rights law that can justify the discriminatory prohibition of only female
circumcision. As Richards stated, "Ritual male circumcision is non-therapeutic and is not
warranted or justified by medical evidence. This form of mutilation should not be legally
distinguished from female circumcision…presently being prohibited throughout Australia and the
Western world. As ritual male circumcision is non-therapeutic, may be against public policy, and
clearly is not in the best interests of the child, a parent's consent may be vitiated, leaving persons
involved in the procedure liable in negligence, notwithstanding parental religious beliefs." 150


Paragraphs copy/pasted from, http://epublications.bond.edu.au/cgi/vi ... greg_boyle and do not follow on together directly in the paper.

See the paper, in the link for context and references.
Last edited by BattleMoose on Tue Jul 03, 2012 4:40 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Tue Jul 03, 2012 4:39 am UTC

That is my point. But I'm not offering it as a justification. I'm offering it as a rebuttal to your implicit claim that, if we ban the one, we have just as much reason to ban the other. It's perfectly possible to draw a line between them based on one being more harmful than the other.
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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby Princess Marzipan » Tue Jul 03, 2012 4:49 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:That is my point. But I'm not offering it as a justification. I'm offering it as a rebuttal to your implicit claim that, if we ban the one, we have just as much reason to ban the other. It's perfectly possible to draw a line between them based on one being more harmful than the other.
I disagree that it's reasonable; you have not made any arguments supporting that case.

FGM is harmful without a health benefit. It is illegal. MGM is harmful without a health benefit. Why should it not be illegal?
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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby Ghostbear » Tue Jul 03, 2012 5:34 am UTC

Steroid wrote:I believe I do understand what Great Hippo is saying here. He's not comparing the state of being circumcised versus the state of being uncircumcised. He's comparing the state of being circumcised at a given time to the state of being uncircumcised at the same time. Exactly one of those states is true for each moment given, and neither can be transformed into the other. It's true that I can get cut next Tuesday, but not uncut next Tuesday; but I can't get cut or uncut last Tuesday.

That is an irrelevant definition of permanent for the point I am making, however. Being blind is a permanent condition, because, barring sudden medical advances, you will not be able to have restored eyesight of comparable quality. Not being blind is not a permanent state: an accident or operation could occur where you would become blind. You can transit from not-blind to blind. You can not transit from blind to not-blind. Different states can have differing levels of permanency, and just because you can't alter the time stream doesn't mean that that those states are equally permanent -- it just means that the prior events of having had those states is permanent.

That the events of the past are immutable is an entirely irrelevant and pedantic observation. Of course the past is not alterable: when we say that a state is permanent then, we say that it is permanent for the future. Otherwise, the word permanent is a word that has been stripped of any and all use when dealing with reality, because there would be no way of describing something as not permanent.

Princess Marzipan wrote:
TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:That is my point. But I'm not offering it as a justification. I'm offering it as a rebuttal to your implicit claim that, if we ban the one, we have just as much reason to ban the other. It's perfectly possible to draw a line between them based on one being more harmful than the other.

I disagree that it's reasonable; you have not made any arguments supporting that case.

FGM is harmful without a health benefit. It is illegal. MGM is harmful without a health benefit. Why should it not be illegal?

+1. If the reasoning is that an action is unacceptable because it is medically unnecessary and harmful, then saying that another action is less harmful (but still harmful) and medically unnecessary does nothing to change that it is unacceptable.

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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Jul 03, 2012 8:25 am UTC

Princess Marzipan wrote:Then add that lucky percentage of people to the pile we can disregard. The reason this is a problem isn't because some people are happy with whether they were or weren't circumcised or how successful restorative surgery was (and if they are not resentful of having to seek out, pay for, and undergo such surgery). The reason it's a problem is all the other people (HI! *WAVES ARMS AROUND*) who are stuck with mangled and possibly (fucked if I have any way of telling!) deficient genitalia.
I'm not interested in disregarding anyone, though. And my point wasn't to illustrate that your concerns are therefore of lesser priority, but merely that if we apply a term like 'irreversible' without thought to context, we're telling people in that situation that they're wrong when they believe their problem is reversible.
Princess Marzipan wrote:Not everyone feels similarly violated by circumcision, and that's perfectly fine. See above and below in this post re: piles.
Then why do we insist on describing everyone who may feel violated by their circumcision as having the exact same problems with their circumcision--with the exact same dimensions? When we describe circumcision as 'irreversible', we're saying that anyone who has a problem with their circumcision can't 'reverse' it--but depending on the personal dimensions of that problem, I can reverse it. If my problem with my circumcision is merely that my parents never asked, maybe I can reverse that problem by talking with them and coming to terms with it. That might not reverse it for you--for you, it might be irreversible!--but we need to acknowledge that different people have different concerns, and will address those concerns with different approaches.
Ghostbear wrote:I am not sure what you are trying to say with this, at all. The state of being uncircumcised is a different state than being circumcised. One of those states is capable of being transformed into the other state, while the other is not capable of such. Thus, we consider one of those states to be permanent; you can not go and undo circumcision, such that that, physically, it no longer influences your state.
When I say I've been circumcised, and I'm not okay with that, what do I mean? Do I mean I'm not okay with the appearance of my circumcision? That's a (potentially) 'reversible state'--medical procedures could change the aesthetics. Do I mean I'm not okay with the violation that circumcision entailed, or the loss of nerve endings? That's probably irreversible--hence an 'irreversible state'. So now we've defined circumcision as having two dimensions--one irreversible, one (potentially) reversible. Your terminology ignores these dimensions, collapsing it all into one.

This is what I mean by states being abstracts; they're attempts to describe reality with a single brush, and when I say they leak, I mean that they often fail to describe fringe cases.
Ghostbear wrote:You can not reverse the nerve damage, so no; one of those states really and truly is irreversible. Are you truly unwilling to see this? If I remove your eyes and give you glass eyeballs, I have not reversed that act -- you are still without vision. Stop looking at it like it's just a cosmetic act.
I'm not reducing the issue to a cosmetic one; I'm saying that there might be people who are only concerned with the cosmetic issue. For them, circumcision only has one dimension--the cosmetic problem. In that dimension, circumcision constitutes a reversible procedure. If we describe circumcision as irreversible, in all dimensions, we're telling them they're wrong to consider their particular issue with circumcision to be reversible--and I'm not comfortable with that.

It's a very minor fringe case--one that may never even come to be!--but I am obsessed with fringe cases and making sure everyone is accounted for in both our language and our morality. I don't like leaving certain types of people with certain types of experiences out in the cold.

EDIT: And the larger point to demonstrating how circumcision can have a subjective reversible dimension is to demonstrate how all decisions can have a subjective irreversible dimension, too. For me, having my beard shaved might be as irreversible as having been circumcised. You might find that comparison offensive--but if I'm sincerely traumatized by this--if this genuinely brings me considerable emotional distress--I think it deserves just as much validity, and describing it as 'irreversible' (because I have no recourse to come to terms with it) on a personal level is, to me, just as legitimate.

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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby BattleMoose » Tue Jul 03, 2012 9:13 am UTC

Okay, I'll bite. Hypothetically speaking (I certainly don't agree with this but am curious and hopeful that this might actually lead somewhere useful), if there are some dimensions of circumcision that may be potentially reversible and for a subset of forced circumcision victims are reversed and said people are content that their issues with their circumcision has been reversed.

How is this at all relevant to addressing those who have feel legitimately violated and for whom there is nothing about circumcision that is reversible?

Then why do we insist on describing everyone who may feel violated by their circumcision as having the exact same problems with their circumcision--with the exact same dimensions?


No one has done this, anywhere in this thread. We have recognized many times that some people are fine with their circumcision and others aren't.


Further.

Hammond surveyed 313 circumcised men who documented long-term physical, sexual, and
psychological harm.69 Harm reported included glans insensitivity, excessive stimulation needed for
ejaculation, prominent scarring/skin tags, insufficient residual penile skin, and dissatisfaction with
circumcised status. When Hammond increased the sample size to 546 circumcised men,70 some
61% of the mostly middle-aged respondents reported progressive sexual sensory deficit, associated
erectile dysfunction, ejaculatory difficulties, and/or anorgasmia. Sexual dysfunction resulting from
the emotional distress of being circumcised was also documented, with 41% of men reporting that
their emotional suffering impeded emotional intimacy. Circumcision-related emotional distress and
intrusive thoughts were associated with feelings of mutilation (60%), low self-esteem/inferiority
(50%), genital dysmorphia (55%), rage (52%), resentment/depression (59%), violation (46%), and
parental betrayal (30%).


See paper for context. http://epublications.bond.edu.au/cgi/vi ... greg_boyle

And if you feel violated about having your beard forcibly removed, you should, because it is a violation and is illegal and your feelings of violation are legitimate. What is being asked from you is to recognise the violation that occurs when infants get parts of their perfectly healthy reproductive organ cut off and recognize that that should also be illegal, not unlike forcibly removing your beard.

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The Great Hippo
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Re: German Court Rules Religious Circumcision An Assault On

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Jul 03, 2012 9:24 am UTC

BattleMoose wrote:Okay, I'll bite. Hypothetically speaking (I certainly don't agree with this but am curious and hopeful that this might actually lead somewhere useful), if there are some dimensions of circumcision that may be potentially reversible and for a subset of forced circumcision victims are reversed and said people are content that their issues with their circumcision has been reversed.

How is this at all relevant to addressing those who have feel legitimately violated and for whom there is nothing about circumcision that is reversible?
I think you're missing the context of the discussion? I'm arguing that the term 'irreversible' glosses over some potential concerns people might have about their circumcision, not that these concerns outweigh or modify how we address the broader problem of circumcision (i.e., the question of whether or not it should be banned).

It isn't relevant, because I'm not talking about the majority cases, I'm talking about the minority cases--and how in addressing all cases, we should take pains not to 'rub out' the minority cases.
BattleMoose wrote:No one has done this, anywhere in this thread. We have recognized many times that some people are fine with their circumcision and others aren't.
That isn't what I said, and it isn't what I'm talking about.
BattleMoose wrote:And if you feel violated about having your beard forcibly removed, you should, because it is a violation and is illegal and your feelings of violation are legitimate. What is being asked from you is to recognise the violation that occurs when infants get parts of their perfectly healthy reproductive organ cut off and recognize that that should also be illegal, not unlike forcibly removing your beard.
This is the second time that I've been accused of failing to recognize the legitimacy of feeling violated by one's circumcision despite never even implying anything to the contrary.
Last edited by The Great Hippo on Tue Jul 03, 2012 9:33 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.


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