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Author Topic: Should circumcision be banned?  (Read 6279 times)
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« Reply #25 on: May 03, 2011, 10:35:58 pm »
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Anyone with five minutes, an Internet connection and an Excel spreadsheet can figure out why this it's stupid as a health policy.

I'm ambivalent about actually illegalizing it -- I don't like the idea of prosecuting benevolent people for bad decisions -- but it's an unjustified preemption of consent and should go away.
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« Reply #26 on: May 03, 2011, 11:16:31 pm »
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No, there is no evident research saying it is bad to get rid of it. I get the whole consent opinion. However, I do not think it affects the child in such a dramtic way that it even matters.
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« Reply #27 on: May 07, 2011, 03:38:21 pm »
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After hearing about how my grandfather had to have it done when he was about 40 because of an infection and was bedridden in pain for about a week afterwards, I'm not too bothered by it or having had it done.
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« Reply #28 on: May 07, 2011, 06:32:59 pm »
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Female circumsion, yes. Male circumision, no.
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« Reply #29 on: May 07, 2011, 10:23:08 pm »
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I should note that I find the religious reasons for it to be nonsense and am not sympathetic to them in the slightest. I'm just not bothered by the fact that it was done on me when I can't remember it.
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« Reply #30 on: May 07, 2011, 10:44:25 pm »
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No, there is no evident research saying it is bad to get rid of it. I get the whole consent opinion. However, I do not think it affects the child in such a dramtic way that it even matters.

If most people decided that surgically removing portions of your nipples was good for 'hygiene' or because of some 2,000 year old book they happened to believe in would that be okay? What about some other body part? See how ridiculous this is? And it's not even like circumcision is the norm anymore for babies since in 2009 only 32.5% of parents actually got their kids 'cut.' Unless something radically changes in 20 years people are going to wonder what's wrong with all these white people with weird looking genitals, not the other way around.
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That has got to be one of the most retarded proposals I have read on this forum.

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« Reply #31 on: May 08, 2011, 04:35:38 am »
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So...everyone who thinks circumcision is the only "non-reversible" parental decision concerning a child, please raise a hand.
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« Reply #32 on: May 08, 2011, 12:12:30 pm »
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I see it as much like someone getting their kid's appendix or tonsils removed before any infection or issue to prevent that from being necessary later. Not something I'd do but I'm not too bothered by it. Nor would I be bothered if it was done to me (I still have appendix and tonsils, but don't care.)
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« Reply #33 on: May 08, 2011, 06:56:38 pm »
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So...everyone who thinks circumcision is the only "non-reversible" parental decision concerning a child, please raise a hand.

I always find it slightly irritating when someone attacks the worst argument in a thread, especially when it's actually the worst argument they presume was made in the thread.

I checked:  The closest anyone's come to "non-reversible is inherently bad" is "unnecessary, non-reversible is bad."  Considering that no one has bothered to ask what these posters meant by "necessary" (probably not just "required to avoid instant death"), it's hard to take this as anything but a strawman or shadowboxing.

I see it as much like someone getting their kid's appendix or tonsils removed before any infection or issue to prevent that from being necessary later. Not something I'd do but I'm not too bothered by it. Nor would I be bothered if it was done to me (I still have appendix and tonsils, but don't care.)

We don't routinely remove the appendix or tonsils prophylactically, even though they serve no real functional purpose; that's because prophylactic removal doesn't make any sense as health policy.  I think you can see how little sense it makes to practice routine circumcision to prevent health problems that will eventually require circumcision:  You take your affected population, who are subjected to surgical risk, from 1-2% (liberally) to 100%.  Does that make any sense?  The fact that a policy may turn out well for some people does not make it rational, if it increases risk to many more people.

Besides their stupidity as health policy, the ideas of routine appendectomy and tonsillectomy are probably non-trivial to much fewer people than circumcision is.  I'm not saying it should be non-trivial to you; I'm glad it's trivial to you.  But I generally err against telling people that my opinion of their body takes precedence over theirs.  Because that's batsh**t.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2011, 07:05:50 pm by Alcon »Logged

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« Reply #34 on: May 08, 2011, 09:59:38 pm »
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No, there is no evident research saying it is bad to get rid of it. I get the whole consent opinion. However, I do not think it affects the child in such a dramtic way that it even matters.

If most people decided that surgically removing portions of your nipples was good for 'hygiene' or because of some 2,000 year old book they happened to believe in would that be okay? What about some other body part? See how ridiculous this is? And it's not even like circumcision is the norm anymore for babies since in 2009 only 32.5% of parents actually got their kids 'cut.' Unless something radically changes in 20 years people are going to wonder what's wrong with all these white people with weird looking genitals, not the other way around.
but you see the nipple would be bad seeing as it is to breast feed. However a little excess skin does not change if they can produce semen or not.
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« Reply #35 on: May 09, 2011, 07:39:29 am »
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No, there is no evident research saying it is bad to get rid of it. I get the whole consent opinion. However, I do not think it affects the child in such a dramtic way that it even matters.

If most people decided that surgically removing portions of your nipples was good for 'hygiene' or because of some 2,000 year old book they happened to believe in would that be okay? What about some other body part? See how ridiculous this is? And it's not even like circumcision is the norm anymore for babies since in 2009 only 32.5% of parents actually got their kids 'cut.' Unless something radically changes in 20 years people are going to wonder what's wrong with all these white people with weird looking genitals, not the other way around.
but you see the nipple would be bad seeing as it is to breast feed. However a little excess skin does change if they can produce semen or not.

For future reference, males do not breast feed and circumcision does not affect the production of semen. Semen also isn't produced via the nipple, at least.. directly..
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« Reply #36 on: May 09, 2011, 08:30:46 am »
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No, there is no evident research saying it is bad to get rid of it. I get the whole consent opinion. However, I do not think it affects the child in such a dramtic way that it even matters.

If most people decided that surgically removing portions of your nipples was good for 'hygiene' or because of some 2,000 year old book they happened to believe in would that be okay? What about some other body part? See how ridiculous this is? And it's not even like circumcision is the norm anymore for babies since in 2009 only 32.5% of parents actually got their kids 'cut.' Unless something radically changes in 20 years people are going to wonder what's wrong with all these white people with weird looking genitals, not the other way around.
but you see the nipple would be bad seeing as it is to breast feed. However a little excess skin does change if they can produce semen or not.

For future reference, males do not breast feed and circumcision does not affect the production of semen. Semen also isn't produced via the nipple, at least.. directly..
yes, i know. But apparently you assume that if all the sudden cutting part of the nipple off was hygentic that it would just be for men. I was including women in that. See how breast feeding got in there? And i was merely taking about how it did not affect the semen production. but my typo changed the whole thing. Tongue
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« Reply #37 on: May 09, 2011, 09:15:31 am »
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In regards to the original question: no.
If somebody wants to get a circumcision FOR THEMSELVES then it should entirely be their prerogative to get one.  That is the key point of the whole circumcision debate: choice.  While it is argued (and will be argued by me later in this post) that an eight day old boy can not willingly agree to having their "head helmet" cut off, it is entirely rational to expect a 20 year old male to consent to such a procedure.

In regards to whether parents should willy nilly circumcise their boys after birth?  No, that shouldn't be allowed.  I mean yeah sure I don't miss my foreskin that much, but that doesn't mean that I don't see the ethical conflict that arises when someone makes such an important decision without the consent of the person it affects.  When a boy is 8 days old or whatever they can't really audibly say "yes" or "no" to such an idea.  Yeah yeah, it is less painful when you were 8 days old and you don't remember it blah blah blah blah it's still something you never had a say in.

The real problem becomes when are boys mature enough to make a decision like that?

The real question shouldn't be whether or not circumcision should be banned, but rather should guardian enforced circumcision (ie your parent doing it for you, your grandparent, your uncle, whoever has legal custody over you) be banned.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2011, 10:50:16 am by Jake the Snake Roberts »Logged



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« Reply #38 on: May 09, 2011, 07:03:11 pm »
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Of course it shouldn't be banned. But to everyone that believes circumcision is the best option... it's not very hard to teach a child how to wash himself down there, and to pull the skin back while peeing. In a first world country during the twenty-first century, if someone has a medical problem with their foreskin, you can't say that circumcision would've been the best way to avoid it. The person was just irresponsible in regards to hygiene.

The whole circumcised vs. uncircumcised debate is a pretty pointless one though, imo. Circumcised people just don't really know how it feels to be uncut, and the perks that come with it. If I were cut as a baby, I would probably advocate for circumcision too, so it's hard to have an objective debate.
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« Reply #39 on: May 10, 2011, 11:58:37 pm »
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Here's one thing I know for sure: If I wasn't already cut but had to be now for medical reasons, I'd only allow a female doctor to do it.
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« Reply #40 on: May 11, 2011, 07:41:12 pm »
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So...everyone who thinks circumcision is the only "non-reversible" parental decision concerning a child, please raise a hand.

I always find it slightly irritating when someone attacks the worst argument in a thread, especially when it's actually the worst argument they presume was made in the thread.

I checked:  The closest anyone's come to "non-reversible is inherently bad" is "unnecessary, non-reversible is bad."  Considering that no one has bothered to ask what these posters meant by "necessary" (probably not just "required to avoid instant death"), it's hard to take this as anything but a strawman or shadowboxing.

I see it as much like someone getting their kid's appendix or tonsils removed before any infection or issue to prevent that from being necessary later. Not something I'd do but I'm not too bothered by it. Nor would I be bothered if it was done to me (I still have appendix and tonsils, but don't care.)

We don't routinely remove the appendix or tonsils prophylactically, even though they serve no real functional purpose; that's because prophylactic removal doesn't make any sense as health policy.  I think you can see how little sense it makes to practice routine circumcision to prevent health problems that will eventually require circumcision:  You take your affected population, who are subjected to surgical risk, from 1-2% (liberally) to 100%.  Does that make any sense?  The fact that a policy may turn out well for some people does not make it rational, if it increases risk to many more people.

Besides their stupidity as health policy, the ideas of routine appendectomy and tonsillectomy are probably non-trivial to much fewer people than circumcision is.  I'm not saying it should be non-trivial to you; I'm glad it's trivial to you.  But I generally err against telling people that my opinion of their body takes precedence over theirs.  Because that's batsh**t.

I actually thought that was the best argument. What argument do you think is better?

I mean, we allow parents to do all sorts of stuff to their kids. Why not this?
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« Reply #41 on: May 12, 2011, 04:34:12 am »
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Alcon, I don't get your argument.

Below is a compilation of every post I could find where someone speaks in favour of banning it. They all say that it should be ok for adults but that the problem is infants can't consent.

The only argument given (by three people, not one - Dibble, Mikado and Wormguy) for why the consent is an issue is that the decision is irreversible. I mean, infants can't consent to anything and we typically don't ban everything that one can could do to an infant.

So, while perhaps not the best argument it's the only one given.

No.  Studies have shown that transmission of HIV was reduced by half among men that were circumcised... and medical officials in Africa are now recommending circumcision as a good way to reduce the spread of HIV, especially in areas where there is pressure not to use condoms.

Though I wouldn't mind making it legal only for those who choose to do it once they are old enough to consent.

Nobody should be allowed to force a painful and irreversible medical procedure on an unconsenting other.

Circumcision of infants is a vile practice that shouldn't be permitted, much like you shouldn't tattoo an infant.  I am daily reminded of this symbol of a covenant of Abraham that I reject and want no part of literally cut out of my flesh.  If circumcision is to be practised, let it be done among understanding adults like Abraham and Ishmael, not infants.

A matter of religious freedom, Napoleon?  A matter of freedom that I am forced to carry the mark of a religion that I regard with distaste and resentment?  Circumcision is the ultimate act of religious coercion, not freedom.  An infant is not a Jew, a Christian, a Muslim, an atheist, until mature enough to know what that term means and believe or disbelieve from his/her own intellect.  I'm stuck with a "property of the Abrahamic Covenant" symbol etched into my skin that I regard with something bordering on loathing every time I enter a shower.  If Uncle Sam had prevented this wicked and barbaric superstition, I would have been eternally grateful.

Edit:  sorry for the rant, but you've hit one of my very, very few issues that still provokes an emotional response.

People can stop eating meat, but they can't stop being circumcised.

There's increasing evidence that the medical benefits of circumcision are VASTLY overstated. Plus nothing in the developed world that can't be prevented by showering, and the foreskin is most certainly not useless.

^^^

Even disregarding that, there's no compelling medical reason for it the vast majority of cases. Of course some people may wind up needing it removed or decide to do it for religious reasons later in life but barring that I don't see how you can justify it. We're not talking about childhood vaccination or anything like that here.

No. But it should not be performed on anyone who is not capable of giving consent; no exceptions.

I'm against forcing unnecessary medical procedures whose effects can't be reversed on infants that can't consent.

People can stop eating meat, but they can't stop being circumcised.

That doesn't excuse being force fed meat. We have to accept that parents need to make certain decisions for their children at young ages, particularly decisions that don't have significant negative consequences.

Most of those decisions are not irreversible. Also, unless you're literally shoving the food down the child's throat I don't know if it can be considered force feeding. (not to mention that it's highly unlikely a very young child would be a vegetarian unless their parents are also vegetarians)

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« Reply #42 on: May 12, 2011, 05:01:44 am »
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Gustaf, you just quoted a bunch of posts that were arguing that irreversibility is a bad thing -- not that it was necessarily the lone criteria involved here. Tongue Only Wormguy's earlier post pushes that line (the "painful" one.)  There is the difference between a problem and the problem.  Indeed, the lack of consent may be what triggers it to be a problem, but that does not mean that a lack of consent is intrinsically bad.

I assume, since Dibble, Mikado, Andrew, et al., are not idiots, that they weren't saying that irreversible+unconsenting makes it intrinsically wrong to do something to a child; but rather that, if you're going to make an irreversible change to someone's body by preempting their consent, there is a moral responsibility for it to be justified/"necessary."  (People haven't really gotten into detail on what justification is yet, because the thread hasn't been that detailed.)

I think it's bizarre that you extended that argument so reflexively, when it seems so inconsistent with the intellects of the people posting here; but yet you're not even touching the "I don't care so it's fine" argument, which doesn't require any extension to be insanely problematic.
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« Reply #43 on: May 12, 2011, 05:12:20 am »
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Gustaf, you just quoted a bunch of posts that were arguing that irreversibility is a bad thing -- not that it was necessarily the lone criteria involved here. Tongue Only Wormguy's earlier post pushes that line (the "painful" one.)  There is the difference between a problem and the problem.  Indeed, the lack of consent may be what triggers it to be a problem, but that does not mean that a lack of consent is intrinsically bad.

I assume, since Dibble, Mikado, Andrew, et al., are not idiots, that they weren't saying that irreversible+unconsenting makes it intrinsically wrong to do something to a child; but rather that, if you're going to make an irreversible change to someone's body by preempting their consent, there is a moral responsibility for it to be justified/"necessary."  (People haven't really gotten into detail on what justification is yet, because the thread hasn't been that detailed.)

I think it's bizarre that you extended that argument so reflexively, when it seems so inconsistent with the intellects of the people posting here; but yet you're not even touching the "I don't care so it's fine" argument, which doesn't require any extension to be insanely problematic.

I usually don't take issue with dumb arguments from people who never bring anything else to the table (i.e. BRTD). I left that to you.

I also tend to leave it to people to flesh out their thoughts themselves and avoid assuming things about their position. If someone says "circumcision should be banned, I mean, it's irreversible for crying out loud" I'm not going to assume anything about what they mean. I'll ask whether they think circumcision is the only irreversible thing done to kids.

I'll admit that I could have been more polite in asking - I might have been coloured by thinking mostly about Wormguy in that response who isn't particularly deserving of politeness.

Besides, philosophically, people might think irreversible things shouldn't be allowed.

Anyway, my contention is basically that in order to ban something I think you have the burden of evidence. Most things done to kids are in some sense irreversible (which was the point I was making, which I suspect you didn't fully appreciate) and may have negative consequences. Yet we hardly ban anything concerning children (in fact we typically allow things to be done to children that we wouldn't allow for unconsenting adults - mandatory school, grounding, (in some countries) spanking and so on.
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« Reply #44 on: May 12, 2011, 05:23:39 am »
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Besides, philosophically, people might think irreversible things shouldn't be allowed.

There are dichotomy choices that happen whenever you're interacting with people.  I'm going to assume, again, that no one you quoted believes that.  You could probably have asked any one of them to explicate.

I also think there were certainly other posts early on (including mine) that presented more of an argument than the one you're claiming was the only one presented; mine at least included enough caveats so that it couldn't be extrapolated to what you're claiming has been the only argument presented.

Anyway, my contention is basically that in order to ban something I think you have the burden of evidence. Most things done to kids are in some sense irreversible (which was the point I was making, which I suspect you didn't fully appreciate) and may have negative consequences. Yet we hardly ban anything concerning children (in fact we typically allow things to be done to children that we wouldn't allow for unconsenting adults - mandatory school, grounding, (in some countries) spanking and so on.

Yes, which I think is why most of the people posting earlier were making moral appeals more than legal appeals.  It's a tough and nuanced thing to get the government involved in.  But what exactly is "the burden of evidence" -- is doing something that is, in aggregate, harmful, that's fine, until it is severely harmful?  I'm not sure we've ever nailed this down in U.S. law.  Other countries draw this hazy line elsewhere (apparently circumcision is illegal before 16 in South Africa -- who knew.)

Honestly, I think that debate has more to do with philosophy of our laws than the morality of circumcision, and I assume people aren't going into great detail over that because it would make the topic a lot broader than the original material.
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« Reply #45 on: May 12, 2011, 06:17:14 am »
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Besides, philosophically, people might think irreversible things shouldn't be allowed.

There are dichotomy choices that happen whenever you're interacting with people.  I'm going to assume, again, that no one you quoted believes that.  You could probably have asked any one of them to explicate.

I also think there were certainly other posts early on (including mine) that presented more of an argument than the one you're claiming was the only one presented; mine at least included enough caveats so that it couldn't be extrapolated to what you're claiming has been the only argument presented.

Anyway, my contention is basically that in order to ban something I think you have the burden of evidence. Most things done to kids are in some sense irreversible (which was the point I was making, which I suspect you didn't fully appreciate) and may have negative consequences. Yet we hardly ban anything concerning children (in fact we typically allow things to be done to children that we wouldn't allow for unconsenting adults - mandatory school, grounding, (in some countries) spanking and so on.

Yes, which I think is why most of the people posting earlier were making moral appeals more than legal appeals.  It's a tough and nuanced thing to get the government involved in.  But what exactly is "the burden of evidence" -- is doing something that is, in aggregate, harmful, that's fine, until it is severely harmful?  I'm not sure we've ever nailed this down in U.S. law.  Other countries draw this hazy line elsewhere (apparently circumcision is illegal before 16 in South Africa -- who knew.)

Honestly, I think that debate has more to do with philosophy of our laws than the morality of circumcision, and I assume people aren't going into great detail over that because it would make the topic a lot broader than the original material.

It seems like you don't want to discuss this. Sad

Part of the debate in this thread was about whether circumcision was good or not, but the title is "Should circumcision be banned". No one has said it should be banned for consenting adults so it seems to come down to what one views as prerequisites for banning things for non-consenting children (or children who cannot give consent).

Several people seem to think irreversibility was an important aspect in that discussion. I was arguing that this was exaggerated. I'd be interested in hearing the counterpoint there, since you seem to have one.

(and I don't have much of a horse in this topic - I'm not circumcised myself and I don't care that much one way or another)
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« Reply #46 on: May 12, 2011, 06:57:07 am »
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I'm sorry.  It's not that I don't want to present my whole argument, it's that it's 4:30 AM here and I've had six hours of sleep in the last three days.  Insomnia is kind of ruining my life.  Tongue  The fact that I can string together sentences at this point surprises me.

I'll get there (same with the Religion Discussions topic.)
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« Reply #47 on: May 12, 2011, 06:25:41 pm »
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So let's compare circumcision to other permanent irreversible things.  Vaccination not only has the health benefits circumcision wishes it did, but (modern vaccination) leaves no permanent disfiguring mark.  Unless you're one of the whackjobs that thinks vaccination causes autism, then it has a very limited downside (some people get sick from vaccines, but it's a tiny number).

I think circumcision is less like vaccination and more like tattooing.  Should it be legal?  For adults, of course.  Should you do it to 6 day olds?  Probably not. 
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« Reply #48 on: May 12, 2011, 10:00:56 pm »
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So let's compare circumcision to other permanent irreversible things.  Vaccination not only has the health benefits circumcision wishes it did, but (modern vaccination) leaves no permanent disfiguring mark.  Unless you're one of the whackjobs that thinks vaccination causes autism, then it has a very limited downside (some people get sick from vaccines, but it's a tiny number).

I think circumcision is less like vaccination and more like tattooing.  Should it be legal?  For adults, of course.  Should you do it to 6 day olds?  Probably not. 

See the thing is, I did have it done when I was 6 days old, and I simply can't muster being bothered or caring at all about it.
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« Reply #49 on: May 13, 2011, 06:10:26 am »
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So let's compare circumcision to other permanent irreversible things.  Vaccination not only has the health benefits circumcision wishes it did, but (modern vaccination) leaves no permanent disfiguring mark.  Unless you're one of the whackjobs that thinks vaccination causes autism, then it has a very limited downside (some people get sick from vaccines, but it's a tiny number).

I think circumcision is less like vaccination and more like tattooing.  Should it be legal?  For adults, of course.  Should you do it to 6 day olds?  Probably not. 

I appreciate that. What I'm saying is rather that everything that happens to you is in some sense irreversible. Most kids are ed up by their parents, one way or another, and I'm not convinced this is that much worse.
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