The Circumcision Argument.
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21-08-2011, 01:32 PM
RE: The Circumcision Argument.
Hey, Stark.

Well if there's selection occurring, then something's evolving. Buuuuuuuuut……..

The thing is, it’s ALL cultural selection. Whether you mate with a circumcised or uncircumcised man, all men are born with foreskins. So whatever preference a woman might have does not affect the foreskin’s 100% representation in the gene pool. The only way that that would happen would be if we banned circumcision and then over time, women only mated with men with small foreskins and refused to mate with full hoodies (because the only way to see who has the genes for small foreskins is if no one is cutting them off). Over time, if the foreskin became progressively smaller, it could be eliminated from the gene pool. But if the preference is for helmets, why would they mate with men with foreskins (oh right, the ban)? Why would we ban it if the preference is for helmets? And if the preference is for hoods and circumcision was banned, why would we try to eliminate the trait? Also, what are the odds of coordinating that multi-generation effort across 7 billion people and growing? And if we banned circumcision because it’s deemed too dangerous to not have one, then why would we try to eliminate the trait entirely? I mean I don’t wanna stack the deck, but it seems to me that the odds of there being any kind of future foreskin evolution are pretty slim.

So what’s actually evolving is preference for/against and support/opposition of circumcision.

So like I said many moons ago, the genetic argument doesn't exist, the medical jury is still out (although I could see the most viable challenge coming from this avenue), the legal argument is established and no strong legal challenge is forthcoming (the human rights angle is weak weak weak), meaning this is pretty much a cultural issue.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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21-08-2011, 01:41 PM (This post was last modified: 21-08-2011 01:46 PM by Norseman.)
RE: The Circumcision Argument.
We are completely on the same page when it comes to sexual selection. I am also wiling to consider the possibility that in a society where the majority is circumcised, women might be selecting for what is the norm. no argument here.

Your post has many paragraphs. I'm going to try and answer them one by one, and we will see how this goes. might get a little bit unstructured but you'll survive. Damn Ghost, you sure know how to write some loooong posts!

Since we are talking about Darwin here I want to get things as factual as possible, so since my last post I have been skimming through my copy of "on the origin of species". All i can find relating to what you are saying is in chapter six where he writes about the possibility that the function of a trait might shift during its evolutionary history. This seems to fit perfectly whit what I have been saying. Could you give me a reference so that I can see for my self where this titan of biology takes your side so strongly?

Now on what function the foreskin has today, and what kind of a selective factor it is, and how strong is up for discussion. Like we have agreed upon, we are in s very different position now then we where a few thousand, or even a few hundred years ago. And I think that I am willing to let that question stand without a definitive answer for now. I want to do this because it just dawned on me that it doesn't matter. Our goal in life as modern humans is not procreation. Not solely at least. And like you say, any penis form or foreskin size can produce offspring in todays society. Or at least in the west. I'll excuse you for forgetting about the 3rd world since this discussion has mostly focused on circumcision in the west. Our goals today mostly involve realizing our potential, being happy and generally making the most of our lives with all the possibilities life has to offer. This is one of the principal reasons I think circumcision should be not just discouraged, but punishable. It is a procedure which is potentially harmful and it robs a human being of a choice it should have the right to make for itself when it reaches adulthood. It is also completely unnecessary. The advances of society has not only made it easier to produce babies even if you have a crooked wiener. It has also made it easier to clean to avoid infections. It has made infections easy to treat. It has made it easier not to get an STD. The numbers for how much less likely you are to get HIV if you are circumcised do not impress me. They are no where near as effective as condoms.
Show your kid how to use the soap, and by condoms for him when he is to embarrassed to do it himself. Thats how easy it is. And that way you don't have to violate the body, the rights or the dignity of your child.
I hope you realize that this is to a large degree your own argument turned against you. I don't just look for faults in your arguments for the sport of it. I do actually contemplate them.

It's a good thing you mentioned the eyesight, I think I would have brought that up anyway. It's a brilliant example of how wrong you are. It is perfectly true that as long as we have the technology to make glasses the evolutionary pressure to maintain perfect eyesight is gone, and the average quality of our eyes will decline because of it. However, as long as we walk around in daylight, and we don't make hitherto unknown technological advancements in creating artificial eyes, they will never decay completely. There are examples of species where this has happened though. We have found lizards living in dark caves that have lost their eyes completely and the only sign that they ever had them are small vestigial eye sockets. The lesson here is that at one specific point in their evolutionary history the advantage of having an eye was outweighed by the disadvantage posed by the eyes inherent risk of getting infections. This is how it is with us now. the evolutionary pressure to build eyes have not disappeared, it has just weakened. We still need eyes, just not of equally high quality.

I'll give proper time and attention to your hand grenade organ. I will do this because I am now 100% convinced that there is a gap in your understanding. Now I know you probably think of me as some idiot who doesn't know shit about shit and just doesn't get it, but put that aside and pay attention, because I really want to make you understand this.
Imagine that this hand grenade organ, form here on known as the HGO, kills you at age 16. If you reached puberty at 13 you might very well have fathered two children by then. Now what if you where born with a mutated HGO that didn't kill you until you where 18? You might be able to father two more! You being this mutated freak would surely not render your male comrades infertile, but it would not take many generations before your descendants vastly outnumbered theirs. Now imagine that someone was born with a HGO that didn't detonate until they where 20, 22, 30, 40, or 70. Now we have established that how long a man can stay alive after reaching sexual maturity does have an effect on the success rate of his genes. The best example of this however are not men, but women. There is an evolutionary pressure for women not only to stay alive as long as they can, to produce as many children as possible, but even to stay alive after they become infertile. Yes, menopause is an evolutionary advantage! How can this be? At first glance it would seem that infertile family members are nothing but a burden to their kin, consuming precious recourses that would make it more likely for her offspring to produce more offspring if they did not have to share. For all the time it has had, evolution has not yet been able to produce an organism that does not fall into decay as time goes by. This, sadly, is also true about women. As they get older it becomes more and more likely that their next pregnancy will kill them. This has several disadvantages aside from the obvious one. Mainly that the time and energy that they have put into the pregnancy would, considering its disappointing outcome, would have been better spent on caring for her previous children or grandchildren making it more likely for them to live longer and reproduce more. This is where menopause comes in. It makes the women infertile at the approximate time in their life where the the possibility of having another child, the risk of dying and the benefits of living on to make sure your offspring reproduce cancel each other out. Statistics show that women in the west reach menopause later in life then those in other parts of the world. One of the proposed explanations for this is that modern medicine has changed the evolutionary pressure by making women more likely to survive giving birth at a more advanced age. We might be the most highly evolved meme machines this world has ever known, but it's nice to see that natural selection hasn't completely forgotten about us yet.

So, since you asked for my insight concerning the word maladaptive, here it is. In an environment where every member of the species (or at least everyone of your sex) has the HGO timed to the exact same time in life, to organ is not maladaptive. And in this case it does not matter whether this time is at age 16 or 80. But the second an individual is born with a slightly longer fuse on his HGO, all other individuals have a maladaptive HGO.

Edit:
Holy shit that was a lot of text! I did not preview that before I posted it. I guess thats what I had coming for that comment in paragraph two. Tongue

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21-08-2011, 01:42 PM
RE: The Circumcision Argument.
(21-08-2011 01:32 PM)Ghost Wrote:  So what’s actually evolving is preference for/against and support/opposition of circumcision.

That's what I was getting at (you just managed to make sense of it! lol). Sort of a different type of evolution. Instead of genetic, it would be dictated by preference (or cultural evolution) that affects us physically.

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21-08-2011, 05:38 PM
RE: The Circumcision Argument.
Hey, Norseman.

I'm cool like dat Cool

As far as Darwin, it's right there in the quote. Page 98.

In terms of your use of the word maladaptive, I don't make the rules, but it's always been my understanding that there is a range within an adaptive trait that roughly corresponds to whatever allows that trait to have a representation in the gene pool. That's successful transmission. By your rationale, every human alive has a brain that is maladaptive because it's less better good than Albert Einstein's. We all have maladaptive hearts because our resting heart rates are usually around 72 while Lance Armstrong's is 32. Then you get into things like somatotype. Is an endomporph adaptive and a mesomorph maladaptive? Is there a perfect skinny guy and all other ectomorphs are maladaptive?

I've always known maladaptions to be mutations that, when expressed, offer a disadvantage that's outside of that tolerance zone. That is to say, it's so disadvantageous that it will eliminate itself entirely from the gene pool. Something like trisomy, or juvenile diabetes or just being absofuckinglutely hideous are maladaptions the kind of maladaptions that prevent you from mating in the wild. But having a brain that functions reasonably well is adaptive for everyone. It's only after that that we get into allele frequency and such.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but your way doesn't make sense to me.

And don't worry, you've demonstrated that you're no noob to this stuff. In fact, I'm sure I have a lot to learn from you about evolution. Once I weed whack my way through some of your more questionable stuff Cool

Quote:I'll excuse you for forgetting about the 3rd world since this discussion has mostly focused on circumcision in the west.

When did I forget about the third world?

Quote:I hope you realize that this is to a large degree your own argument turned against you.

Uhhhhhhhhhhhhh.... actually I don't.

I mean... being able to wash ourselves? Is that what you're talking about?

As for the violation, let's be specific about that. If this is a human rights issue, then it needs to be taken to the Supreme Court so they can make a ruling. Until then, it's all just opinion. You see it as a rights violation, I do not.

As for eyesight, what the fuck are you talking about lol? For real, dude, you got me scratching my head.

OK. The HGO. You're coming across like you're saying that I'm wrong. I'm not wrong. I'm right. You just got more specific.

I agree. If it kills you in the prime of your reproductive life, then yes, others will procreate more. But this goes back to the use of the word maladaptive.

Something I'd like to point out is that I originally said after you've HAD kids, ie, are done procreating. If it goes off then, you were finished anyway so none of what you're saying applies.

We're both right.

We just need to sort out this maladaptive word.



Hey, Stark.

That's absolutely cultural evolution!

Yay, cultural evolution!!!

I am still shocked and confounded when people tell me they don't believe in cultural evolution. They might as well tell me they don't believe in evolution period. This is the point of Universal Darwinism, that the evolutionary process is a process that governs every single replicator in the universe and isn't just a process exclusive to the genes of carbon based life forms on a backwater edge of a backwater spiral galaxy, one of several billion.

Evolution is an algorithm. It’s just a series of if/then

IF you have a replicator and
IF that replicator replicates and
IF it's subject to mutation and
IF those mutations lead to variation and
IF there is competition pressure and
IF some variations are selected over others because of that competition pressure
THEN you have an evolutionary process

One need look no further than music in the 20th century to see cultural evolution in action. You can draw a direct line from Robert Johnson, to the Beach Boys, to the Ramones, to the Green Day. Or from Robert Johnson, to The Who, to Slayer. Or from Robert Johnson, to The MC5, to Blondie, to The Beastie Boys, to Snoop D, O, double gizzle. That's just off the top of my head. There's way better examples.

Now here's the even better part. There's organic evolution. There's cultural evolution. But genes and memes occupy the same survival machine in the same environment. So they act as selection pressures on each other!

HOW FUCKING COOL IS THAT!!!

For example, the human vocal chords. They are so poorly designed, it just makes you wanna choke to death, which only humans can do because they're so fucking poorly designed. There's no way in hell that a throat that causes people to choke to death would ever be selected for on its own. BUT the cultural value of being able to produce spoken language was so high, (it allows for syntax, which allows for syntactical memes, which are vastly more complex than grunted memes, which is why the technological warp speed jump modern humans made coincides with the development of syntactical language about 100 000 years ago give or take a few 10 000 years because scientists only seem capable of ball parking things, sigh) that complex vocal chords were selected for even though they kill us. AINT IT COOL!!!

Or bras! Human men are attracted to butt cleavage. We’re all like, what what! But then woman stood up and faced us and we were all like, awwwww. Then we started getting attracted to the women that had boob cleavage that looked like butt cleavage and we were all like, awwww yeah. Then some genius invented a bra for women to wear so their boobs didn't get all silly string saggy over time and so they'd be all pushed up to look like butt cleavage so we'd be all like, say whaaaaaaat.

They compete with each other, they co-evolve, they walk down stairs, alone or in pairs.

I LOVE THIS STUFF!!!

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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22-08-2011, 11:07 AM
RE: The Circumcision Argument.
(21-08-2011 05:38 PM)Ghost Wrote:  In terms of your use of the word maladaptive, I don't make the rules, but it's always been my understanding that there is a range within an adaptive trait that roughly corresponds to whatever allows that trait to have a representation in the gene pool. That's successful transmission.
100% correct

(21-08-2011 05:38 PM)Ghost Wrote:  By your rationale, every human alive has a brain that is maladaptive because it's less better good than Albert Einstein's. We all have maladaptive hearts because our resting heart rates are usually around 72 while Lance Armstrong's is 32.

If the genes for a ridiculously strong heart increases reproduction rates then this might in some sense be true. But remember that a strong heart is also resource consuming. The best adapted heart is not the strongest one, but the one that is the best compromise between performance and resource management.

(21-08-2011 05:38 PM)Ghost Wrote:  I've always known maladaptions to be mutations that, when expressed, offer a disadvantage that's outside of that tolerance zone. That is to say, it's so disadvantageous that it will eliminate itself entirely from the gene pool. Something like trisomy, or juvenile diabetes or just being absofuckinglutely hideous are maladaptions the kind of maladaptions that prevent you from mating in the wild. But having a brain that functions reasonably well is adaptive for everyone. It's only after that that we get into allele frequency and such.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but your way doesn't make sense to me.

Sure. There's not much to correct though, you've almost got it. I'll try to build a small scenario to explain this.
Imagine a fictive universe where the evolutionary pressure never changes. Availability of resources is always the same, temperature is always the same, number of predators is aways the same and so on. A ridiculous thought I know but stay with me, there is a point to this.
In this ideal world a mutation occurs in on of your genes. The change it causes is small, but ever so slightly adaptive. Given the infinite time our never changing imaginary world gives this mutation to take effect it will, at one point eliminate its alleles from the gene pool. The genes alleles must therefore deserve to be called maladaptive in an environment which contains the mutated gene.

Returning to the real world, things change a bit, but in one important way they stay the same. At any given time a gene can only be either adaptive to its environment, or maladaptive, and this can change from one to the other several times during the lifespan of an organism.

What you need to do is adjust your "tolerance zone" to accommodate a timescale of evolutionary significance. If a gene (or mutation) is on average a disadvantage over millions of years it is eliminated from the gene pool. This fits with your current definition of maladaptive does it not?
I think it would benefit your understanding if you shift your focus from the individual to the gene.

(21-08-2011 05:38 PM)Ghost Wrote:  When did I forget about the third world?

You might not have. It was the first thought that struck me when you wrote about glasses. Not everyone is as fortunate as us.

(21-08-2011 05:38 PM)Ghost Wrote:  
Quote:I hope you realize that this is to a large degree your own argument turned against you.

Uhhhhhhhhhhhhh.... actually I don't.

I mean... being able to wash ourselves? Is that what you're talking about?

Having a foreskin has, at least historically been an evolutionary advantage. It is the reason we have one. The way I read what you are writing you argue that technological advances in the resent past has changed the evolutionary pressure so that the foreskin might not be an advantage anymore. I have agreed that this is a possibility. My way of turning the argument against you is to say that our technological advances can also give us the same advantages that removing the foreskin can.
was that clearer now?

(21-08-2011 05:38 PM)Ghost Wrote:  As for the violation, let's be specific about that. If this is a human rights issue, then it needs to be taken to the Supreme Court so they can make a ruling. Until then, it's all just opinion. You see it as a rights violation, I do not.

I don't need a court to decide on what is morally right. My arguments for this are reasonable and sound. See previous post.

(21-08-2011 05:38 PM)Ghost Wrote:  As for eyesight, what the fuck are you talking about lol? For real, dude, you got me scratching my head.

You brought up visual impairment. It was an answer to that part of your post.

(21-08-2011 05:38 PM)Ghost Wrote:  OK. The HGO. You're coming across like you're saying that I'm wrong. I'm not wrong. I'm right. You just got more specific.

I agree. If it kills you in the prime of your reproductive life, then yes, others will procreate more. But this goes back to the use of the word maladaptive.

Something I'd like to point out is that I originally said after you've HAD kids, ie, are done procreating. If it goes off then, you were finished anyway so none of what you're saying applies.

We're both right.

We just need to sort out this maladaptive word.

Did I sort it?

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23-08-2011, 07:28 AM
RE: The Circumcision Argument.
Hey, Norseman.

Quote:100% correct

Sweet. Thought so.

Quote:If the genes for a ridiculously strong heart increases reproduction rates then this might in some sense be true. But remember that a strong heart is also resource consuming. The best adapted heart is not the strongest one, but the one that is the best compromise between performance and resource management.

Just for the record, a stronger heart is less resource consuming because a stronger heart is a more efficient heart. Q=SVxHR, or cardiac output equals stroke volume multiplied by heart rate. You need to pump X litres of blood per minute. How many litres you pump is your cardiac output. Stroke volume is how much blood your left ventricle can pump out in one heart beat. The higher your stroke volume, the fewer heart beats you need in a minute to satisfy your oxygen demands. The fewer times your heart beats, the less wear it suffers. Stronger hearts last longer than weak hearts and use less energy to accomplish the same job. Also, if you have a stronger heart, you can run faster and longer, meaning you have less chance of being eaten by a predator and more chance of winning the Tour de France seven times lol. Finally, stronger hearts are more resistant to heart disease. So barring defects, a strong heart is simply more efficient and longer lasting than a weak one.

But I agree that fit is not a synonym for better or stronger. Fit just means, works in that environment.

Quote:Sure. There's not much to correct though, you've almost got it. I'll try to build a small scenario to explain this.
Imagine a fictive universe where the evolutionary pressure never changes. Availability of resources is always the same, temperature is always the same, number of predators is aways the same and so on. A ridiculous thought I know but stay with me, there is a point to this.
In this ideal world a mutation occurs in on of your genes. The change it causes is small, but ever so slightly adaptive. Given the infinite time our never changing imaginary world gives this mutation to take effect it will, at one point eliminate its alleles from the gene pool. The genes alleles must therefore deserve to be called maladaptive in an environment which contains the mutated gene.

I think you misspoke there. Do you not mean that an adaptive mutation would eliminate its COMPETING alleles from the gene pool, or something to that effect?

Quote:Returning to the real world, things change a bit, but in one important way they stay the same. At any given time a gene can only be either adaptive to its environment, or maladaptive, and this can change from one to the other several times during the lifespan of an organism.

I'm looking for a why here.

Quote:What you need to do is adjust your "tolerance zone" to accommodate a timescale of evolutionary significance. If a gene (or mutation) is on average a disadvantage over millions of years it is eliminated from the gene pool. This fits with your current definition of maladaptive does it not?
I think it would benefit your understanding if you shift your focus from the individual to the gene.

That's funny, because I feel like you're the one focused on the individual.

I've always looked at it like this. There's a gene that makes some individual moths white, and others black. The city they live in is suddenly industrialised and all of the buildings get covered with soot. The black trait ones now blend in and the white trait ones are now targets for predators. The black trait is now adaptive and the white trait is now maladaptive. The gene for the black trait will now dominate the gene pool because the gene for the white trait is eliminating itself from the gene pool.

It strikes me that you're talking about shades of black being the criteria for adaptive and maladapitve while I'm saying that the general trait is adaptive, maladaptive or exaptive and that the individual phenotypic expressions simply determine mating frequency.

So it's intuitive for me to understand that having a nose is adaptive while not having one is maladaptive.

If one has a really nice nose, I can see how ladies would love it and how it would have a much higher representation in the gene pool than a less desirable nose. But as long as that ugly nose doesn't bring your mating frequency to zero, it will still have a representation in the gene pool. My understanding is that this means that despite its lower allele frequency, it's still adaptive.

This is why species share general characteristics and why species as a whole go extinct. The Neanderthals as a species shared a maladaptive trait that made it impossible to compete when the environment changed, so they went extinct.

Quote:Having a foreskin has, at least historically been an evolutionary advantage. It is the reason we have one. The way I read what you are writing you argue that technological advances in the resent past has changed the evolutionary pressure so that the foreskin might not be an advantage anymore. I have agreed that this is a possibility. My way of turning the argument against you is to say that our technological advances can also give us the same advantages that removing the foreskin can.
was that clearer now?

I agree. The historical advantage is why we have one.

Correct. I was saying that the advantage is less clear today because of technology. I was also saying that even if it is in fact no longer an advantage, we can still say with certainty that having a foreskin is no disadvantage. So if it's neither beneficial nor injurious, then it's exaptive.

That's not turning my argument against me, that IS my argument Cool

Quote:I don't need a court to decide on what is morally right. My arguments for this are reasonable and sound. See previous post.

I'm not saying that people can't have their own morality. Have at it. I think that exploitation is immoral while others think that it is the cornerstone of everything good.

All I'm saying is that if either of us wants to change the status quo, just saying that these things are immoral won't cut it.

We're both saying that these are human rights issues and the only way to create institutional change is to make changes to the rights structure of the state and only the Supreme Court can do that (either independently or by ratifying or challenging proposed legislation).

So we can have all the reasonable and sound arguments in the book, just like an anti-abortionist can have reasonable and sound arguments. But until the three of us get the state to change its stance on rights, we just have opinions.

That being said, nothing is stopping you from refusing to circumcise your kid, or for me to refuse to found a business based on the exploitation model, or for an anti-abortionist to refuse to have an abortion. We just have no legal grounds to deny others those things.

Quote:You brought up visual impairment. It was an answer to that part of your post.

I'm still lost on that one, but hey, c'est la vie Smile

Quote:Did I sort it?

No, but it's clearer.

We both agree that a trait that eliminates itself from the gene pool is maladaptive.

I think that we both agree that there is a tolerance range for what is considered adaptive that roughly corresponds to that which allows a trait to have a representation in the gene pool.

There is still a disconnect in terms of an individual's trait being slightly better than another individual's trait when they share the same trait.

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Matt
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24-08-2011, 03:36 PM
Circumcision in the news
Seems we're not the only ones currently discussing male circumcision:

California's circumcision war

"California lawmakers heard testimony Tuesday on whether local jurisdictions have the right to ban male circumcision or whether the practice should be covered by statewide rules, a debate that evolved from a divisive ballot measure in San Francisco. . . ."

Apparently this is what it takes to bring Jews and Muslims together.

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24-08-2011, 08:35 PM
RE: The Circumcision Argument.
Hey, Cufflink.

Having read that article, I am now firmly against male circumcision bans. It is simply the latest episode in the ongoing series called, "We think we know better than you and so we're going to stop you from doing things."

There's absolutely nothing whatsoever stopping people from refusing to let their child be circumcised or even to promote refusing the procedure. But there is everything wrong with saying, "You can't do it cause I say so."

Maybe the anti-circumcision lobby will be vindicated. Maybe there is a medical case for banning the practice. I'll be more than happy to hear it... Whenever someone figures out what it is. Until then, because there is nothing stopping anti-circumcision advocates from refusing the proceedure, this is a vindictive effort to rob other people of freedoms simply because it's disagreed with.

I'm black. I've known racists. When I was in Kentucky, I met the local Grand Dragon of the KKK. Do I disagree with the KKK with every fiber of my being? Yes. Will I ever support them? Not if you paid me. Do I think they should be silenced? No. Because that's what freedom means.

Do I want to marry a man? Not at all. Do I think that people who don't agree with gay marriage should be able to control the agenda so that their opinion denies gays the right to marry? Hell no.

Do I like abortion? Nope. It's a fucking horrible procedure and I don't know a single woman whose had it that hasn't been scarred emotionally on some level. Do I think it has its place? You bet. Do I think that women should be denied it just because someone thinks it's a human rights violation? No.

When I see people using underhanded tactics like, well a mohel might not actually be a "healing arts practitioner" so maybe we can get them that way, I simply ask, "Why are you trying so hard? What the fuck business is it of yours? Are you trying to save a Jewish child from something he will believe in his adulthood is right and that he will be pissed his parents weren't allowed to do?"

Be pissed at your parents for doing it. Call circumcision a vestige of a superstitious past. Say it's a religious ceremony. Legislate that it should not be mandatory. Don't let a doctor do it to your child. Hold doctors who do it without informed consent responsible for their actions. Leaflet fertility clinics with anti-circumcision literature. But the moment people try to make laws that deny others rights based only on opinion and preference, I call bullshit. I see malice. I see an attempt to control others. I refuse to support it.

I think people need to stop trying to deny other people their rights and start listening to what R. Buckminster Fuller has to say about all of this.

Quote:You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.
-Sir Richard Buckminster Fuller

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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24-08-2011, 09:46 PM
RE: The Circumcision Argument.
Hi Matt,

I'm for freedom too. Much as I'd like to bash their heads in, I'll hold my nose and support the rights of the KKK, or the WBC, or the American Nazi Party to spew their venom, because this is America, and we value freedom of speech above virtually everything else.

But freedom isn't absolute. For example, parents can do what they like with their kids, but only to a point. If daddy wants to chain his little daughter up in the basement, feed her dog food, and rape her every day, he doesn't have the right to do that, because in doing so he's violating her rights as a human being.

For me, a person has the right to the normal body they were born with. Parents don't have the right to make unalterable changes to their children's bodies, because that violates their children's rights. In having me circumcised, my parents certainly held no malice towards me: quite the contrary, they were convinced they were doing the proper thing. They weren't. And it wasn't for them to decide--or rather, it shouldn't have been their option.

We have laws in this country against female genital mutilation, even though it's part of the culture of some of our population. The law says that those parents do not have the freedom to perform that procedure on their daughters, since it violates the girls' rights to their own normal, functioning bodies. I would simply like to see that ban extended to male children as well.

I guess I've shot my load on this one (you should pardon the expression). I think I'm just repeating what I've said before. We understand each other's positions on a controversial issue, so I'll just resort to a cliché and suggest we agree to disagree.

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24-08-2011, 10:25 PM
RE: The Circumcision Argument.
Hey, Cufflink.

You're right. A father cannot chain up their daughter because it is a crime. He is very clearly violating her rights as understood under the law.

I understand your feelings and your beliefs, but the fact is that parents DO have the right to make unalterable changes to their sons, in part because it’s not a violation of his rights as understood under the law.

We have laws against female genital mutilation because it is quite clear that it is a dangerous procedure and, I suspect, because the operation itself is painful almost to the point of being torturous and because it fails to meet even North America’s most basic medical standards. I don't know that it's illegal because it's a violation of a child's human rights though. Regardless, extending the ban to cover men makes no sense either way because the medical risks are not at all the same and in both cases, it has not been established that circumcision is a violation of rights. If it had been established, they'd both be as illegal as chaining a child in the basement.

If you're asking me to accept that you're pissed about it and that you don't support it and that you never want to see another person pissed about it, I'm cool with that. I get it. But if you're asking me to ban others from doing it, I need a better reason than anger to support reclassifying a right as a crime.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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