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?

Tags: Christianity, God, Judaism, circumcision, clitoral, covenant, genital, mutilation

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residual skin on the penis did not inhibit mating success and therefore survived but the circumstances to lose the foreskin never arose.

It is not "residual" but richly innervated and highly functional. If such a unique structure, with its concentration of specialised nerves* concentrated in a ridged band inside the rim, with a unique rolling action, does not have sexual stimulation as its function, what was Evolution thinking of?+

*Similar to the nerves of the fingertips or lips: a kiss on the hand may be quite Continental, but I'd rather have a kiss on the lips, wouldn't you?

+This is a figure of speech.

Long words do not make one's writing more impressive. (What does it mean to say that circumcision is a "facilitated" medical procedure?) Short words are usually better than long ones.

You are correct in observing the provocative and controversial usage of the term 'genital mutilation' to describe male circumcision. I myself can find the term counter-productive at times. Although I think it can also be very useful in making people think.

'Circumcision' is a euphamism, in my opinion. When barbaric and harmful practices hide behind medical or theological euphamisms then we have a situation to the opposite effect. Calling the destruction of significant brain tissue by applying an ice-pick through the eye-socket and moving it around a "labotomy" is a prime example of this. I'm sure you can think of a host of examples in politics and law where words are manipulated to similar effect.

What I would ask of you is to look beyond the words to the reality of ripping and cutting off healthy functional erogenous tissue from the genitals of newborn male babies. Doing anything of the sort to a female baby is illegal in your country. You wouldn't even consider doing a trial to see if female circumcision had any positive medical benefits. And you seem incapable of addressing the issue that you, along with millions of other males in your country, may have lost a significant part of your penis which has had an effect on your sex life. Additionally, being an adult now, you were probably circumcised without anaesthetic. You must concede that this may have had a traumatic effect on your fragile infant psyche.

Concepts of objectivity and neutrality can be taken too far when a person seems almost robotic and totally cold towards a very human and emotional subject. In such cases I think it is a psychological defense against feeling pain. And that is understandable, but it cannot be passed off as "science". You obviously have a strong intellect and a good command of language, but I think your mind may be getting the better of you in this instance.

Being an scientist (or an atheist, for that matter) does not mean leaving feelings, emotions and passions at the door. It is after all the passion for truth that has fueled some of the greatest scientific discoveries. And many if not most of the great geniuses have given equal credit to intuition as to reason. As Einstein once remarked, "The intellect has big muscles but no personality". There is no legitimate scientific or philosophical principle which says that truth is the sole property of the head, and as humans and earnest seekers of the truth we must give due consideration to the workings and promptings of the heart.

From what I have seen and heard of stories of men who have had their lives destroyed or terribly damaged by this procedure, I find it a very serious subject indeed. From my knowledge of the mechanics of money and power in a consumer society which is epitomised in the USA, I find America's preoccuption with this practice very troubling indeed. And as a gay man who has an appreciation for the male form and who has seen first-hand how disfiguring and debilitating this surgery can be, I find this total lack of respect for the body and the genitals of others to be very disturbing indeed.

I speak from experience when I say that the foreskin is not in any way a vestigial organ, and I would presume to say that its sexual functions are known to many intact men and their partners. Anyone who would suggest otherwise has simply never had the opportunity to know. Now, sex and pleasure can be very personal things and so the foreskin is probably more important to some men and women than to others. But this in no way gives us the right to deprive people of all the parts they were born with. Surely this is plain.

I think it's quite simple: if you want to slit your dick you can but you have to be a grown up, either to do it to yourself or to give anyone else permission to do it. The fact that this even has to be stipulated doesn't speak well of our society.

SOME COMMENTS ON NON-NEUTRALITY AND POTENTIAL BIAS
In the course of this thread it seems that those supporting circumcision for non-medical reasons (i.e. religious, ethnic, cultural, cosmetic) or claiming neutrality were themselves circumcised, and those who were not circumcised were not supportive.

From the AAFM short document of 2007 we find that
“An estimated 1 million circumcisions are performed each year in the United States. . .
In 1960, over 80% of men in the United States were circumcised. However, the percentage is now decreasing, and in 1992 the prevalence of circumcised men was estimated to be 77%. One study found that between 1987 and 1996, 37% of newborn males were circumcised during newborn hospitalization.


This allows us to judge that for the years 1960-1992 approximately 77 to 80% of the American male population were circumcised men.
This further hints that perhaps around 77 to 80% of family physicians were themselves circumcised.

“The AAFP Commission on Science has reviewed the literature regarding neonatal circumcision”.
The authors of this review are not named.
Who were they? Were the men on this commission circumcised or not?
Their circumcision status should, even now, be made clear.
It may be that 8 out of every 10 men on this commission had themselves been circumcised.
This is enough to suggest that there could be unintended, unacceptable, bias in the review.

Moreover, the report ends with
“The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends physicians discuss the potential harms and benefits of circumcision with all parents or legal guardians considering this procedure for their newborn son.”

But if 77-80% of these family physicians are circumcised men, then the advice given would probably not be sincerely neutral.
Imagine how the general advice from physicians to parents and guardians could differ if every single American male physician had never been circumcised.
Because people think it's so normal and the origins of the practice have been all but forgotten. Circumcision was originally introduced in the US to stop boys from masturbating. Circumcision carries little to no benefits and any that it could be said to have is outweighed by the negatives. The US is also considering legalizing female genital mutilation in the US again (it was only banned in 1996). Circumcision increases the risk of infection (contrary to popular belief and propaganda), it removes approximately twenty thousand nerves from the penis in addition to causing the head of the penis to become tougher due to constant exposure making it less sensitive, does not lower the risk of any STI's in the US (in studies done comparing sexually transmitted illnesses to the UK and other first world countries) and, in fact, US men have more STIs. It also lowers female pleasure during sex and causes immense pain when the procedure is done and I encourage everyone to watch a video of one being done- barbaric is a completely appropriate term! It also does not lower the risk of penile cancer (as some doctors will tell you, but the American cancer association has spoken out against this lie) and even if it did that would be akin to cutting off a baby girl's breasts because she might get breast cancer later. Risks range from minor nicks to death.
they say its hygenic to be circumscised when in fact the forskine is needed to have a clean penis the thing is it doese do what it was orignely for in making masturebation difuclite and it pisses me of
I didn't actually know female genital mutilation was a "thing"! That people would do that as a practice! That's horrifying.

My cousin recently had a baby and at her shower I saw a note of date and time for the circumcision on the fridge. Eek. I'm pretty sure they don't even think about it. I guess if everyone does it, you're supposed to do it. And it doesn't hurt to be misinformed, eh?

All my brothers are circumcised (I think, haven't checked obviously), and as each of them ranges from agnostish to atheist, and they're somewhat informed... well, they're not happy about it.
Well the child is male, and he just turned a year old, so it's a bit late. Unfortunately, we're not that close... She's my cousin-in-law technically, and only been in the family a couple of years. At any rate, I'd guess every boy in my extended family is circumcised.

I don't know that I could make a difference, they're pretty deep into it. My tendency is to just hide when I'm around them, which, yeah, is cowardly. Particularly when my grandfather gives the excruciatingly long prayer and my uncle tries to get us to recreate the nativity story. Luckily the latter is only at Xmas.

Oh and I meant that in making a sick decision like that, it doesn't hurt to be misinformed. So misinformation leads to bad decisions. Haha, kind of confusing, sorry.
As well as circumcision in rather bizzare circumstances they would appear to have carried out other barbaric practices at the same time. This is something I am at the moment triyng to talk to the medical establishment about, best thing I can say about that is laborious. It involves damage to the erectile tissue as well as damage to the uretha. So for some males the practices may be more barbaric than you think.
As to circumcision itself, I had heard that in America they had begun to circumcise the male child in the immediate post-natal period without anaesthetic. Which of course is more ritual than medical.
I then wondered if circumcision creates a castration compex within males, it would go a way to explain the incipient violence of the religions for whom it is an absolute necessity. Fruedian I know but I don't think he was wrong about everything.
Obviously other nurturing and cultural elements come into effect then, but if those familial and cultural elements have an extant condition to work on their job's half done.
"One theory about why the circumcision rite was invented was that it made adolescent boy’s genitals bleed, like a girl’s first period (Knight 2001, 337). Today, the Jewish circumcision ritual is not considered complete unless blood is drawn. Circumcision was an emasculation rite, like the castration rite of the eunuch priests. The high religious value of hermaphrodites in ancient imagination explains the rationale behind the circumcision ritual. Castration was a method of turning men into women, like the gender bending Ishtar. Circumcision was a preferential ritual to castration for a king, who was also a high priest. Circumcision left the men with the ability to have erections and procreate. They were still emasculated, bleeding like a pubescent girl. But, it left a male able to be a king who could produce a prince, unlike a eunuch. Circumcision created a hermaphrodite." - Sex Rites: The Origins of Christianity, page 51.

The most ridiculous notion is that circumcision was invented for cleanliness. The risk of infection far outweighed any imagined benefits and babies most certainly died from the operation. The Talmud created an exemption from circumcision for infant males who had two brothers who died, due to complications caused by circumcision. Far from being a healthful benefit, circumcision was a cause of death for boys.

Anti-circumcision advocates will like my recent post: Saint Peter was a bloody cock sucker, Literally.
Male circumcision reduces the risk of HIV AIDS and other STD infections.

Male circumcision vastly reduces the chance of spreading the HPV virus.

The male foreskin is about as useful as an appendix I have had both of mine removed and never noticed the slightest loss.

I think the discussion against male circumcision is one based on fear and male insecurity about their penises nothing else.

A happy healthy circumcised male.

If you had ever seen someone stuck in the jungle with a raging fungal infection under their foreskin due to poor hygiene and the terrible damage that it caused to his penis I doubt you would be so vocal in wanting to keep such a useless and dangerous flap of skin.
Well, I have no intention of ever going to the jungle and I know about contraceptives and personal hygiene. My appendix is still there as well and it never caused any trouble hitherto. But if you're comfortable with disposing of body parts, that's fine by me.

Personally, I do find circumcised penises quite ugly, but that's a matter of opinion. But then again I do not know anyone who is circumcised. It seems a weird thing to do. Yet I daresay with or without it, sex remains equally trite. It's just that I thought, at least in men, masturbation consists of rubbing the foreskin. How does that work with circumcised men, then? A bit of a mystery to me.

Toe amputation, as it happens, greatly reduces the risk of gout. No one really needs toes either.
>> Male circumcision reduces the risk of HIV AIDS and other STD infections.

Not at all proven. Widely refuted. No placebo-controlled double-blinded study ever showed this. There is evidence from Gray (July 2009) that HIV+ circumcised men are 50% MORE likely to transmit HIV to a partner.

>> Male circumcision vastly reduces the chance of spreading the HPV virus.

And there is now a vaccine for HPV. Infant circumcision is 15 times as deadly in the US as the Gardasil vaccine.

>> The male foreskin is about as useful as an appendix I have had both of mine removed and never noticed the slightest loss.

Your opinion about amputating your own healthy normal body parts (defined as Bodily Integrity Identity Disorder by psychiatrists) has no bearing on another person's right to remain intact and make his own choice. MANY, MANY men are dis-satisfied withg having been circumcised. Over 200,000 are non-surgically restoring their foreskins.

>> I think the discussion against male circumcision is one based on fear and male insecurity about their penises nothing else.

So you don't think people have a basic human right to avoid non-therapeutic amputation of body parts?

>> a useless and dangerous flap of skin.

OK, now I don't believe your line that you were an intact adult. No non-retarded person would describe his foreskin as a flap. It is a sleeve. You had me going, liar.

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