I think one of the things that we far too often overlook in this country is that fact that genital mutilation of newborn boys is common practice, if not standard. Why isn't there more of a cry against this? Do the benefits of circumcision (if any, and I don't see any valid argument that there are any) outweigh the cost and mutilation of a boy?

Of course circumcision isn't the only genital mutilation in the world, but it's the only type in practice in the United States. Female genital mutilation is just as barbaric, if not more so. Americans, and Europeans in general, ban female genital mutilation of babies, but why the hypocrisy in not doing the same for males?

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"I think about 90% will disagree with me on this..."

I don't. I think that was a good summary. Intelligence and knowledge would only play a role in the evolution of our species if they provided some advantage for reproduction. As I said in another comment though, very few people are unable to reproduce and the few that are unable are generally restricted by physical or cosmetic attributes (sterile or ugly).
Tom, I suspect that this comment is buried in the long discussion, and as Smiling Eyes noted, is important to remember. Not only in this discussion, but any discussion that equates past evolution with current and future human development.

Certainly, if a risk/benefit and cost/benefit argument could be made for circumcision based on health, wellness, comfort, function, then maybe it would fall under the categort of being a procedure like vaccines - obviously a bit invasive, done to the bodies of infants, but vaccines are not harmful (except rarely) and are very beneficial for individuals and for their "herd immunity". Same for corrective procedures. Who would argue against, say, a procedure to open the eyes of a newborn that could not otherwise do so? I just dont thing circumcision benefits anyone (except exceedingly rare cases of deformation) and that there is risk to many, and harm to some, and wasted expense to an overburdened health care system.

Your comment about evolution would also apply to diet (we were not evolved TO eat our current human diets - we evolved partly AS A RESULT OF prior diets that may not benefit us now), activity (we did not evolve TO sit on our butts at desks and in cars. We evolved from people who hunted/gathered, then farmed, then gathered in cities, formed governments, fought wars). We probably also evolved, in the past 4000 years, as a result of religion. People who did not accept religions were killed off, people who flourished under religion reproduced effectively. Even though religion is false, there may be a human tendency to be religious partly as a result.

I don't want to derail this topic - it should stick to circumcision - but your point would be a valid discussion on its own.
Thanks for the response Daniel. It doesn't sound like we're in disagreement here. Nevertheless, let me clarify what I meant for everyone's sake.

Natural selection favors individuals who possess traits which increase their opportunity to mate. Consequently, their traits are passed on to their descendants and kept in the gene pool.

Modern humans have very little barrier to procreating. Sterility is really the only barrier. Artificial insemination gives even the most challenged couple the option of procreating. Furthermore, Homo sapiens no longer has any natural predator, generally speaking, which means that the obese, mentally challenged, and physically challenged also have high chances to mate. I'm trying to not generalize here. Of course natural selection still plays a small role but it seems insignificant when compared with the rest of the animal kingdom.

In order for circumcision to be considered a barrier to mating you would have to show that it affects copulation in a relevant way. Considering that circumcision has been practiced for at least two-thousand years it seems unlikely that the argument could be made that it affects copulation. As I said before, I'm not trying to argue that it has no affect whatsoever but simply that when it pertains to natural selection it is irrelevant, as are most things.

I am not a biologist so if I have misrepresented natural selection I welcome correction.
My take on evolution is that every specimen is a transitional form between its ancestors and its descendants, even if social selection has reduced the role of natural selection in determining who gets to breed. To be successful, a breeder doesn't just have to mate, his or her offspring need to survive. Socialization traits which give rise to a peaceful society can be conducive to the survival of ones offspring. A gross human rights violation like a systematized involuntary non-therapeutic amputation could play a role in de-stabilizing a peaceful society.

I believe I am following an urge - instilled in me by evolution - to work for peace and harmony for all mankind. Where there is injustice there can be no stable peace. Taking exquisitely pleasure-receptive body parts without informed consent is a gross injustice. I work to end it out of compassion for the victims, but indirectly - and more selfishly - to make the world a more peaceful and habitable place for my offspring.
A gross human rights violation like a systematized involuntary non-therapeutic amputation could play a role in de-stabilizing a peaceful society.

What is your evidence for this? Is there a correlation between circumcision and civil unrest around the world? In the USA?
Hi,
My evidence that a chronic abuse of human rights for a whole class of people causes unrest? I said "could" for a reason, but whenever people are marching through the streets chanting "no justice no peace" - whether regarding gay marriage, separate but equal schools, or whatever - the case is made.

We MGM victims will again take to the streets of DC on March 31st. We're peaceable; for now.
I'm TOTALLY against female genital mutilation. As for Circumcision... I'm conflicted. I think it should be optional... and should be done in infancy if at all... but from what I've heard circumcision promotes good hygeine and "supposedly" prevents some kind of cancer. So IDK...
Males who are cut can and do get penile cancer. Penile cancer affects old men. It is quite treatable. Even if foreskin caused penile cancer 100% of the time, a lifetime to enjoy a foreskin just might be worth dying of penile cancer. Foreskin feels REALLY good.
There is no special hygiene needed for a boy's penis. That was a red herring introduced by some doctors in the 40-60's to keep routine male circumcision alive an well.
Cancer of a man's breast is more lethal and common than penis cancer. Should we circumcise the breasts of males?

Smegma is a lubricant that can be smelly, females produce same. Is that an excuse for female circumcision as well?
The whole hygiene argument was relevant to prudish parents who didn't want to be moving their hands around their sons' penis, especially moving the skin back was too much for those prudes.
As for why I'm COMPLETELY against female genital mutilation is because 1. It's an EXTREMELY painful and unnecessary procedure done to young women as part of an attack on women's rights. [the right to control her own body]. 2. I read a personal account of a teenage girl who was genitally mutilated at the age of 14 and within 2 weeks married to a 42 year old man [against her will... apparently she failed at a suicide attempt the day before the "wedding" or as I would call it "the enslavement ceremony."] She also mentioned that the mutilation made it EXTREMELY painful to urinate or have sex for the rest of her life.
3. I don't know if circumcision has lasting physically and emotionally painful effects, or if it interferes with sexuality, but I do know this... when a boy is circumsized they remove his foreskin, when a girl is mutilated they remove HER ENTIRE cloiterus [which is, biological, the organ that in males would be the penis.... it is smaller and performs a different function in females... primarily, aiding a female's motivation for sex]. Boys, before you say that the process of female genital mutilation is NOT an abomination, consider this... the equivalent of that practice on males, would NOT be circumcision, it would be if they CUT your PENIS OFF!! - Think about that before dismissing this practice as harmless!
Go and watch the three types of routine circumcision at the Stanford U Pediatrics web site.
All there were done with two injections of pain kill, local anesthetics at 2 and 6 o'clock positions of the penis.

The child does not appear to scream, even when separation and dissection are under way.

I do not recommend or endorse male infant circumcision and I do think a parent should become educated of what is involved before they sign permission. I know in Maryland when I worked for DHS, I saw women from central America getting their male kids cut. That's outrageous as its not in their culture. So, its promoted and someone simply says sign here. I also wonder if these women understood English well enough to know what they had agreed to. I was told in Maryland almost 90 percent of newborn males leave with modified genitals.

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