October 22, 2011

The case against circumcision

PZ Myers makes the strong argument that this practice is nothing but ritualized child abuse.

It is quite amazing how we accept as normal long-standing practices that, if they were not covered by the protective umbrella of old religions, we would reject with horror otherwise as the actions of cults or barbarians.

The Daily Show has more on the bizarre things that religious people believe and do.


Trackback URL for this entry is:


I used to be completely anti male circumcision for the same reason I'm anti female circumcision - mutilating a child's genitals for religious reasons is in fact child abuse. However, my stance changed a bit when I read just how much male circumcision lowers the chances of getting AIDS in Africa. So I guess I'm not 100% against it, and I'm certainly still 100% against forcing any silly religious ritual on a helpless child.

Posted by Matt on October 23, 2011 07:10 AM

@Matt : so if female circumcision could lower the chances of getting HIV, would you support it also ?
And don't forget that these studies in Africa are very debatable. And if at the end of the day you still need to wear condoms, circumcision is pointless. Anyway babies don't have sex so there's no emmergency to cut newborns. This decision can be made by the man himself whe he's old enough to do so.

Posted by Peter on October 23, 2011 08:02 AM


Good points. I guess I'm guilty of thinking about circumcision as a common medical preventative measure, along the same lines as giving girls the HPV vaccine or something like that. Obviously it's not...if a stranger from a strange land who hasn't had circumcision thrown at him as such a common cultural thing heard about the practice, he'd probably say, "you do what?!?! You cut where?!?!?"

Posted by Matt on October 23, 2011 08:58 AM

Matt should try reading something instead of speaking from ignorance.

What is called "female circumcusion" isn't, it's genital mutilation and torture. The equivalent for a male would be removing the head and leaving only the shaft, not just the foreskin. It's barbaric and unnecessary.

Male circumcision is also unnecessary. The day it is "needed" is the day a foreskin doesn't occur naturally on the male body. And as for the myths about HIV/AIDS and other codswallop, they're myths. Sex education is a better way to stop STDs - it's more effective and doesn't require brutality.


Posted by P Smith on October 23, 2011 11:11 AM

P Smith,

I clearly did not make my point well. I at no point ever said female circumcision is anything but barbaric child abuse, and I certainly don't think it is anything but that. I was making the point that I was erroneously thinking of male circumcision as an STD prevention method along the same lines as women getting the HPV vaccine. Female circumcision is of course not anything close to an STD prevention method any more than cutting off a man's penis is an STD prevention method.

Anyway, I at first brought up why I strayed from my original opinion that (male) circumcision is 100% wrong (that given the terrible AIDS epidemic in parts of Africa, its ability to reduce the AIDS rate may make it worth it). Peter made come counter points that were convincing and I said so. I'm not sure why you felt the need to chime in and tell me what to read ("something"), but thanks for the input.

Posted by Matt on October 23, 2011 08:37 PM