Saturday, April 18, 2009

Anti Circumcision Fanatics Are Getting Hysterical

Have you noticed how the anti-circumcision crowd is getting more and more hysterical, as the prophylactic value of circumcision grows with each new medical study?

What is it with these people? Science is science, and to name-call those whose medical evidence reaches a conclusion you don't like is Luddite medicine at its worse. You remember the Luddites, don't you? Decent enough people, I suppose, who during the Industrial Revolution didn't like the marvelous new inventions of the era took it upon themselves to destroy the good that modern science was delivering.

Today's anti circ crowd is just like that. They cling to the foreskin like it was some Holy Grail, denouncing every new study that shows circumcision to reduce the incidence of HIV, HPV, STDs, and a host of other ailments. These socalled "intactivists" use trash talk and hyperbole to disparage those of us who want to follow medical science to its logical conclusion -- a foreskin-free society where all males are circumcised, not only for their own good health, but also for those of their partners and society as a whole.

Even on this page, the anti circ fanatics try to turn my logical and reasonable call for mandatory circumcision into a Nazi-like dragging of adult males into some hospital room. I have never ever suggested that. Universal circumcision will be achieved by custom, law, and the good sense of people, heeding the doctors and scientists of the 21st Century. It will happen over time, as every young boy is circumcised before school age, just as we innoculate children today. But such is the hysteria of the anti circ crowd that, rather than debate the science, they trash the scientists and those who follow the science to its logical conclusion.

The only good news about the growing anti circumcision hysteria is that it's a sure sign that they are losing!


  1. Funny how a blog such as this attracts so much anti-circumcision commentary. Also funny how a blog such as this has failed to garner even a single comment supporting your suggestion that circumcision be universally implemented. Ironically, your observation that anti circumcision sentiment (hysterical or otherwise) is growing seems to contradict your assertion that they are "losing."

    Is there in fact any support of any kind for mandatory and/or universal from any source that you can cite? Or are you alone in your opinion? I look forward to your response!

  2. mandatory /"mand{schwa}t({schwa})ri/ a. & n.L15. [Late L mandatorius (adj.), f. as MANDATE v.: see -ORY2. As n. f. med.L: see -ORY1.]A adj.

    1 Of the nature of, pertaining to, or conveying a command or mandate. L15.

    2 Of an action: obligatory in consequence of a command, compulsory. (Foll. by upon.) E19.

    3 Hist. Designating a power or State in receipt of a mandate from the League of Nations, or the system of rule by mandate. E20.B n. 1 A person to whom a mandate is given; = MANDATARY. M17.2 Hist. A power or State in receipt of a mandate from the League of Nations to administer and develop a territory. E20.
    - the Shorter Oxford Dictionary

    I assumed by mandatory you meant sense 2: obligatory in consequence of a command, compulsory. If not, what do you mean? If you don't mean mandatory (sense 2) why do you keep saying "mandatory"?

  3. You say you want to require by law that all males be circumcised before they are allowed to go to school. (Even if their parents object, presumably. And their grandparents. And their brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles.) If you think posters here are hysterical, try getting your sick, authoritarian, dictatorial law proposed in some state or national legislature. THEN you'll see hysterical. If we passed a law that you had to be castrated and lobotomized because of the dangerous and insane ideas you are spreading in society, on your way to the operating table I think you would find out something about what real hysteria is. You are one sick puppy, that's all I can say.

  4. You say "Universal circumcision will be achieved by ... law ...". So will this law of yours override the wish of parents to leave their sons intact? Will this law of yours override the wish of men to remain intact? If not, what will this law of yours enact, exactly?

    "Science is science", not divinely revealed truth. There is good science and bad science, and some of the science being used to promote circumcision is bad science, or science badly used.

    For example, in a study of 26,400 African-American men in Baltimore, only 385 were "at known risk" of HIV. (In the rest, 98.5%, circumcision had NO significant effect, though 2.6% of them did contract HIV.) Of the 385, only 50 were not circumcised, and of those, ELEVEN MEN contracted HIV, where - other things being equal - five might have, if all had been circumcised. But with such a small number it is unlikely that other things were equal. Never mind, this study generated headlines worldwide about circumcision preventing HIV.

    Different studies, different faults: two merged data from different countries with very different circumcision rates and then tried to pretend they were dealing with a homogeneous population. Three had drop-out rates several times higher than the infection rate, with infection and circumcision very likely helping to determine who dropped out. (What this means is that regardless of the published results, circumcision may have had no effect at all.)

    And so it goes.

    When all the chips are down, it may indeed turn out that circumcision is not completely without effect on the incidence of this or that disease. But it is a big leap from that to the proposition that anybody should be circumcised in order to prevent that disease, let alone that everybody should.

    Over-arching all this is the strong and irrational determination (mainly by circumcised men) to circumcise at all costs, of which this blog is only the latest evidence.

    Circumcision is a human rights issue.

  5. Good debate, although I wish whoever is posting Anonymous would feel comfortable in using at least a pseudonym. I can't tell if this is just one Anonymouse or several.

    Let's be clear. The goal is a foreskin-free society where all males are circumcised to protect themselves from the growing scourge of HIV, HPV, STDs, and other ailments to which the foreskin contributes -- and to protect their partners, mostly females (but sometimes male), from similar life-threatening diseases. This is a goal most Americans share, along with the World Health Organization and (as we shall see in 2010) more health groups.

    How we reach this goal of universal circumcision is the issue. While I use the word "mandatory" to provoke debate, I have no intention of the police knocking down a door and dragging some hapless uncircumcised dude with a filthy foreskin to the chopping block! Rather, I would follow the example of the school vaccination requirement or even the marriage license testing rule. While "law" requires all children to be vaccinated and all couples to undergo certain HIV-STD tests before marriage, exceptions are built into the system.

    I also think the power of public persuasian works as well. Look at the Phillipines where 97% of males are circumcised because both women and men demand it.

    Finally, as a (mostly) rational people, the words of doctors (who in growing numbers favor circumcision) and health organizations are very powerful. Soon, pediatricians will once again recommend neonatal circumcision of all newborn boys, and parents will respond as good parents.

    Time -- and good science -- are on the side of universal circumcision, and that's the real reason anti-circ folks are becoming so shrill.

  6. Hi, I'm one of the anonymous and all my comments have been to the same point: I have yet to see a single comment in support of your proposition, apart from your own. To me, that speaks for itself, namely that there is little, if any, support out there for your proposition.

    I'll ask again: can you refer us to any source apart from this blog that recommends universal and/or mandatory circumcision?

  7. Jason ~

    I'm wholly with you when it comes to the benefits of circumcision and I too would like it to become the universal cultural norm.

    In the 1950s my mother was an early-day 'intactivist' and I missed out in consequence. This was to my annoyance even at the time. I was hospitalised for other genital surgery - orchidopexy - at age 11 and it would have been so easy to have combined the two procedures.

    I try to keep an open mind on the "RIC -v- Pre-puberty" choice but lean somewhat towards the pre-puberty option. This is for the simple reason that the surgeon then can (given the bigger 'target') remove a greater proportion of Langerhans Cells by accurately removing both the frenulum and the whole of the inner foreskin. Never forget that the degree of retroviral protection conferred is a function of the circumcision style.

    Your choice of "mandatorycircumcision" as the title for your blog does seem to have ruffled some feathers, though. Would it not be more accurate an expression of your own position, as well as being less inflammatory, if you called it "universalcircumcision" or something like that? Provoking debate is one thing, inviting vitriol is rather different!

    History contains many lessons concerning ways of getting the mass of the people to agree to this or that government policy. Let's start a list...

    ¦ Education (= reasoned persuasion)
    ¦ Propaganda (= unreasoned persuasion)
    ¦ Bribery (= financial or other 'carrot')
    ¦ Coercion (= financial or other 'stick')
    ¦ Domination (= psychological intervention)
    ¦ Force (= physical intervention)

    (Any more, anyone?)

    I've arranged the above list in what I deem to be "Order of Preference". How far down the list would YOU (the reader) be prepared to go?

    Two committed proponents of male circumcision can differ wildly when it comes to drawing a line between what is an acceptable and what is an unacceptable way for government to manage the implied the social policy. Any disputes between us regarding implementation should not diminish our support for the fundamental concept.

  8. Chris wrote: " mother was an early-day 'intactivist' and I missed out in consequence. This was to my annoyance even at the time."

    Spat the dummy, did you?

  9. Chris, thanks for some very thoughtful comments. You're right that the title of this blog is deliberately provocative. Of course, the position I take is slightly less than the word "mandatory" would imply. I do believe we are moving towards universal male circumcision, but I think the Surgeon General, the Public Health Service, and the U.S. government (like many governments in Africa) should take a much more active stance in promoting universal circumcision.

    You raise an interesting point that I had not considered. Is it more effective to remove the foreskin pre-puberty (say, ages 8 to 11) than at birth? I have not seen studies on this, but, logically, it makes sense that you can remove more of the foreskin so susceptible to Langerhan cells when the child is older than at birth. Of course, routine infant circumcision is better than not doing it all.

    Thanks for the constructive comments, Chris.

  10. Thank you for being so pro circumcision. It makes people who are anti circumcision realize how screwed up in the head you really are.

    Sad how some people are still so hellbent on depriving another generation of greater sexual satisfaction just because they were victimized too. More lawsuits are coming out and being won by boys who are now old enough to sue their mutilators. This shows that guys are NOT happy with having their foreskins lopped off. Even more guys are RESTORING their lost foreskins (as much as they can, anyway..they will never get back their frenulum, sadly, which is the equivalent of the female's clitoris which is rich in sensory nerve endings).

    Circ was introduced by Dr Harvey Kellogg during the Victorian era, first to 'punish' older boys for whacking off (the Victorians thought that masturbation was a sin and caused insanity). He then started claiming other 'cures' that circumcision did, like curing insanity, epilepsy, elphantitis, etc. The medical community fell for that one (as usual) and that started the mass circ movement. Stupidly, most doctors don't even use their brains to figure out that NATURE knows a hell of a lot more than they do, and that all mammals are born with a foreskin for a reason. Most countries in the world do not circumcise with no problems.

    Only ignorant, stupid and or sick people circumcise. Third world countries that still circumcise girls also say that female genital mutilation cures STDs as well. Lies, to further their mentality that since they don't have a foreskin or labia, then neither should anyone else. A selfish way to be.

    I chose to stop the abuse and more people are doing this too.

    Maybe this is why Jews and Muslims are so violent, because they are mutilated as children. Violence begets violence. And circumcision is the worst violence of all.

  11. Interesting, isn't it, how PD (and his one friend, whose entire case for circumcision is based on one anecdote, his own) can ignore all the reasoned points we make, such as

    * human rights
    * the erogenous value of the foreskin
    * the shonky nature of the science used to promote circumcision
    * its inadequacy as a case for universal (or mandatory or whatever you want to call it) circumcision, even if it were not shonky

    - and then calls us "hysterical".

    Chris says one thing that is both interesting and true: "Two committed proponents of male circumcision can differ wildly". Yes, they may have nothing in common at all except their commitment to circumcision: they may be completely at odds about why, when and how they think it should be done. In other words, there is something about circumcision itself that makes people commit to it. I don't know what it is, but it deserves closer examination, by some kind of anthopological psychiatrist.

  12. Orgasms are toe curling (full body) while circ. reduces it to local sensation. Intact
    men frequently describe feeling in terms of exquisite, circ'd men never do. Circumcision decreases sensation by breadth and depth. No two circ's are the same and there are different styles. Typically removes 65% to 85% of the sexual receptors (85% when the frenulum (the males nexus) is removed) this leaves 15% receptors at the glans corona all of which then has a great sensation loss by callousing and by late 40's this will have the thickness of 1 1/2 -2 condoms. Truly this is the biggest mistake of my life and all I can do now is naturally restore through stretching thereby growing new skin and some scant nerves to cover. this will reverse the callousing and make more natural connections (gliding response) to orgasms. And to educate! For intact males the dartos muscle upon erection tenses thereby making a solid skin tube where any action on it is transferred to the ridged band and so this action is transferred to the frenulum thereby all
    eliciting an orgasmic response. These mechanisms are destroyed by circ. and so the male then seeks direct action solely on the frenulum remnant and/or corona. (see foremost doctor and researcher on the foreskin Dr. Taylor "The Prepuce" the frenulum delta and its loss to circumcision") The study of Sorrells et al. shows (what every intact man knows) that circumcision cuts off the most sensitive part of the penis. The foreskin protects the glans but more importantly it protects itself, the mucosa. The mucosa like all mucosa of the body is the immune system's first line of defense against disease. Containing Langerhans that secrete Langerin which kill HIV. (see HEALTHDAY, Monday, March 5, 2007. "Scientists Discover 'Natural Barrier' to HIV" and and ) BTW- the tonsils have more Langerhan cells than the foreskin, but tonsillectomies are not recommended.

  13. The Ludites did have one thing going for them, they were trying to protect something very important - their jobs and hence their livelihoods. In retrospect, however, we see that mechanisation allowed folk more free time and created new jobs in areas that originally didn't exist.

    The anti-circ fanatics are trying to protect something very UNimportant, the foreskin. Sure the foreskin has a function - it enables the penis, and especially the sexually sensitive glans, to develop properly in utero. Its function is complete well before birth although it may have had a further use when we all ran about naked in an uncultivated landscape - which we don't do now.

    Animals don't have a foreskin although many have a penis sheath. What is the purpose of that? Twofold - firstly of course because they do roam naked through rough countryside but mainly because they need to impregnate as many females as possible in as short a time as possible to ensure that it is their genes that make the next generation and to finish the sexual act very quickly to avoid becoming prey to predators. Any 'feelings' the females may have are totally irrelevant and no attempt is made to give them any sort of sexual satisfaction.

    We humans should be thinking about love and the needs of the female partner when we have sex. We don't need, and should never aim for, a quick 'in, out and away' type of sex which many in the anti-circ camp would seem to think is desirable.

    Circumcision does not remove sexual sensitivity, but it allows it to be better controlled by our thoughts and to be a more gentle, loving, prolonged activity giving enhanced pleasure to both parties. That is not to say that a 'quickie' cannot be achieved if both parties want it, just that circumcised men have a greater capacity to slow things down and ensure that their partners also achieve an orgasm (or two!)

    There is also, of course, the question of disease resistance which in enhanced for circumcised men as proven by many very well conducted experiments and studies (phoo, phooed of course by the non-scientists who make up the bulk of the anti-circ folk)

  14. First off, circumcision was introduced by the jewish faith (& other religions) because it made males less prone to masturbation and having sex for pleasure... Or was it a commitment to God? lol

    The whole argument that uncircumcised men spread disease is false. Look at the studies done... In studies conducted in Europe & America there is little to no increase of STD transmission between uncircumcised men and circumcised men and their partners. While the studies in Africa may show otherwise, that is indicative of the fact that more HIV, STD carriers reside in Africa vs. Europe, America.

    Think about it.... The foreskin acts as an eyelid for the head of the penis... What were to happen if you cut off peoples eyelids? The eye would dry up and be easily irritated. The foreskin has a purpose just like every part of the human body (sans the appendix, which could also be argued).I am uncircumcised and I laugh when circumcised friends tell me they get a rash whenever they masturbate, engage in intercouse etc etc. I have never had to use lubrication during sex or otherwise because my foreskin acts as a protective yet sensitive area over the head of my penis.

    That being said there are still instances when circumcision is medically necessary... If the foreskin can't be pulled back all the way then cleaning is difficult and infection can easily occur. Luckily for me this is not the case, my brother on the hand had the operation at 8 years old because he could not pull it back and clean it properly.

    Your idea of universal circumcision is laughable and easily refutable. Circumcision should only be performed if the health of the males penis is in jeopardy. Otherwise the foreskin has an intended purpose and anyone who argues differently probably doesn't have it. To make one last point look at studies done on women who shave/wax their entire vaginal area... disease is actually more common for those who have no hair on the labia and surrounding areas...just like hair the foreskin acts as a protective barrier for the male. Similar to the removal of hair the removal of foreskin is seen by Americans as more physically attractive, which you do not even mention in your argument...

    1. Is hereditary phimosis a medical reason for preemptive circumcision of infants?

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