The Instigator
Dennybug
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
tbhidc
Con (against)
Winning
9 Points

Circumcision should not be performed on Babies.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
tbhidc
Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/20/2014 Category: Health
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,665 times Debate No: 54498
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (78)
Votes (2)

 

Dennybug

Pro

Welcome and thank you for taking time to read this.

This debate will be about circumcision. I will be arguing exclusively for Males in the US

I believe that in most cases, it is wrong for parents to have their child circumcised before it is able to give consent.


Debate will be structured as follows

Round One: Acceptance only.

Round Two: Opening arguments.

Round Three: Rebuttals and more arguments(If any)

Round Four: Rebuttals and Conclusion. (NO MORE ARGUMENTS)


I have made this debate nearly impossible to accept. Anyone interested or wants more clarification, please let me know in the comments.
tbhidc

Con

Well I guess I didn't see that last line to ask in the comments until now. My apologies.

If my opponent still wants to go on with the debate, I accept and await his arguments.
Debate Round No. 1
Dennybug

Pro

I'd first off like to thank my opponent for accepting, I was a little worried at first about him being a fresh member but judging from his previous debate I think he'll do fine. I look forward to a good debate and wish him luck in his future rounds.

That being said, lets jump right into it.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Resolution: In most cases, circumcision should not be performed on male babies(USA) before they are able to consent.

*I will be arguing for males in the US as I stated in the first round.

Circumcision: Male circumcision (from Latin circumcidere, meaning "to cut around")[1] is the surgical removal of the foreskin(prepuce) from the human penis.




Bodily Integrity


I'd like to state that I am not against circumcision. I support males who desire to have their foreskin removed for whatever reasons they like. Be it aesthetic, religious, smegmaphobia or medical reasons such a phimosis. However, I do not support the violation of an infants bodily integrity.

*it doesn't matter if we think the foreskin is essential or inessential, just as it doesn't matter if we think a particular woman should be able to carry her fetus to term. What matters is "a human being's ownership of his own body" (or, in the case of abortion, her own). It makes sense that a man — and not his parents — should decide what happens with his penis*

There are men who feel that their circumcision was a violation of their body and through a quick google search you can read whole forums dedicated to men who were circumcised as babies by will of their parents for religious, aesthetic or supposed "hygenic" reasons. They had no choice in the matter and seek to restore their foreskin. foreskinrestorations.net is a great example of such a forum. with over 19,000 users they have threads ranging anywhere from circumcision rates, restoration methods, celebrity intactivists to dealing with partners.


http://www.foreskin-restoration.net...





foreskin


Circumcision on infant males in most cases is a violation of bodily integrity and is an unethical infringement.

Conclusion:

I've started off with only one argument, and will provide more later. In this round I have primarily argued for bodily integrity, that violation of someone else's body is unethical and wrong. I look forward to my opponents response and thank him again for accepting this debate.

arguments made:

Circumcision is a violation of bodily integrity.



Sources:

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org...

(2)
http://jezebel.com...

(3) http://en.wikipedia.org...





tbhidc

Con

Thank you.

My opponent has argued that it is wrong to violate bodily inregrity, and since circumcision does so, circumcision should not be performed.

We can summarize his argument:

P1: Nobody should violate another person's body without their permission
P2: Circumcision violates another person's body without his permission
C: Circumcision should not be performed

If this is incorrect, I ask my opponent to please clarify, since I don't want to be straw-manning his argument.

This is a logically valid argument. If the premises are true, then the conclusion follows necessarily.

Now, my opponent hasn't given any reasons to believe premise 1. Many people would disagree. I don't happen to be an ethical anti-realist, and in my opinion this would sortof be a low blow.

So I'll attack the second premise.

Violate means,

"to abuse or show disrespect for something usually by damaging it" [1]

To begin with, let's ask ourselves: What reasons have we been given to believe circumcision violates another person's body?

My opponent's argument seems to be mainly...

"There are men who feel that their circumcision was a violation of their body and through a quick google search you can read whole forums dedicated to men who were circumcised as babies by will of their parents for religious, aesthetic or supposed "hygenic" reasons. They had no choice in the matter and seek to restore their foreskin. foreskinrestorations.net is a great example of such a forum. with over 19,000 users they have threads ranging anywhere from circumcision rates, restoration methods, celebrity intactivists to dealing with partners."

But this is fallacious.

First, it's an appeal to emotion.

Secondly, it's an appeal to large amounts of people.

During the time of slavery, many people thought that it was acceptable to have slaves. They were emotional about it too, considering they went to war over it.

So by my opponent's reasoning, when a large amount of people feel very strongly about something, does that mean it's true?

Not at all.

I'm sure there are many many people who feel strongly about circumcision being a good thing. Does this mean it's true?

Not at all.

It simply doesn't prove anything.

A lie is still a lie, even if everyone believes it. The truth is still the truth even if no one believes it.

So my opponent has not shown the second premise to be true at all.

But there are good reasons to believe it is false.

Remember the definition of violate? It says to violate is "to abuse or show disrespect for something usually by damaging it".

However, circumcision isn't an abuse or disrespect for a baby's body.

Rather it is medically beneficial.

"After adjustment for confounding factors in the population-based studies, the relative risk for HIV infection was 44% lower in circumcised men. The strongest association was seen in men at high risk, such as patients at STD clinics, for whom the adjusted relative risk was 71% lower for circumcised men. " [2]

"The one large prospective cohort study in this group showed a significant protective effect: The odds of infection were 42% lower for circumcised men. The remaining 19 studies were conducted in populations at high risk. These studies found a consistent, substantial protective effect, which increased with adjustment for confounding. Each of the four cohort studies included in the review demonstrated a protective effect, and two were statistically significant." [3]

"In these studies, men who had been randomly assigned to the circumcision group had a 60% (South Africa), 53% (Kenya), and 51% (Uganda) lower incidence of HIV infection compared with men assigned to the wait-list group to be circumcised at the end of the study." [4][5][6]

So we've seen absolutely no good reasons to believe that circumcision is a violation of a person's body, and we've seen many good reasons to believe it isn't. It's actually beneficial to the person.

Of course though, sometimes children grow up and don't like the fact that their parents helped them. Maybe they don't like the fact that their parents sent them to a certain school against their permission.

But that doesn't mean it's a violation of their mind or body.

Thank you

==Sources==
[1]http://www.merriam-webster.com...
[2]Weiss HA, Quigley MA, Hayes RJ. Male circumcision and risk of HIV infection in sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review and meta-analysis. AIDS. 2000 Oct 20;14(15):2361-70.
[3]Gray RH, Kiwanuka N, Quinn TC, et al. Male circumcision and HIV acquisition and transmission: cohort studies in Rakai, Uganda. AIDS. 2000 Oct 20;14(15):2371-81.
[4]Auvert B, Taljaard D, Lagarde E, Sobngwi-Tambekou J, Sitta R, Puren A. Randomized, controlled intervention trial of male circumcision for reduction of HIV infection risk: the ANRS 1265 Trial. PLoS Med. 2005 Nov;2(11):e298. Erratum in: PLoS Med. 2006 May;3(5):e298.
[5]Bailey RC, Moses S, Parker CB, et al. Male circumcision for HIV prevention in young men in Kisumu, Kenya: a randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 2007 Feb 24;369(9562):643-56.
[6]Gray RH, Kigozi G, Serwadda D, et al. Male circumcision for HIV prevention in men in Rakai, Uganda: a randomised trial. Lancet 2007;369:657-666
Debate Round No. 2
Dennybug

Pro

Thanks Con, some interesting points you've made. I apologize for the late response.


I have argued the following

P1 - It is wrong to violate another person's body without their permission.
P2 - Circumcision is an unethical violation of self integrity rights.
C: Circumcision should not be performed before one can consent.



Alright, so let's review whats been argued by my opponent.

-Circumcision is not a violation by definition
-Pro is appealing to emotion and majority
-Circumcision is medically beneficial there for not a violation.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Let me start off by saying that my opponent has completely argued around the topic. This is about circumcising babies/newborns/anyone unable to consent to it.

I've also made it clear that I will be arguing only for young Males in the US.

Definition of violate[1]: to take away, interfere with, or ignore (something, such as a person's rights or privacy) in an unfair or illegal way

Definition of damage[2]: physical harm caused to something in such a way as to impair its value, usefulness, or normal function.

I believe everyone has the right to choose what happens to his/her own body, Including newborn children. Circumcision is permanantly altering male genitals in a bad way. (I will come back to this later as benefits from circumcision are controversial and I am not disregarding my opponents argument for HIV reduction)

Some adverse effects of circumcision include the following:[3]

-Circumcision Decreases Penile Sensitivity
-Circumcision is Associated with Adult Difficulty in Identifying and Expressing Feelings
-Circumcision Associated with Sexual Difficulties in Men and Women
-Circumcision is Associated with Premature Ejaculation
-Circumcision is Not Cost Effective
-Circumcision Decreases Sexual Pleasure
-Circumcision Removes the Most Sensitive Parts of the Penis
-Pain, Trauma, Sexual, and Psychological Effects of Circumcision Investigated
-Survey of Men Circumcised as Adults Shows Mixed Results


I have listed a source which explains more about each effect (and many others) All provided with legitimate sources. So by definition, yes this is impairing natural function of the human penis. Which is by definition causing damage to it.

I'm not arguing that circumcision is wrong or that it should be outlawed. I'm simply saying that circumcising a child against its will is wrong.

My opponent has provided a study which was taken in rural parts of Africa. I have clarified in the first round that I would only be arguing against circumcising children in the US and only Males. Not only is this study taken in a completely different part of the world with different circumstances.

But also the study took a large group of men aged 18-35 testing negative for HIV/AIDS, and had half circumcised. Then tested them after a long period of time, and it did in fact show that the circumcised control group was less likely to contract the disease.

This has nothing to do with circumcising young children, unless my opponent is arguing that because of these results it should be mandatory or at the very least be considered an admissable reason FOR circumcision.

Newborn children who are unable to give consent to circumcision are also not going to be sexually active. Since sexual activity only begins after puberty, What am I trying to say with this? Someone should still be able to choose whether or not they want the foreskin on their penis removed because it will decrease the risk of contracting HIV. Which according to Wikipedia[4] is 0.6%. Someone should be able to choose for themselves if they want to permanantly alter their penis for a risk of 0.6%


------------------------------

I would like to ask my opponent to reiterate his point about slavery and how people who have been circumcised and resent it are just appealing to emotion.

I have stated that I am not against circumcision, And support anyone who wants to willingly get a circumcision. Since foreskin does not caus HIV/AIDS it should be up to the person to decide.


---------------------------------

Thank you




[1] http://www.merriam-webster.com...
[2] http://www.merriam-webster.com...
[3] http://www.circumcision.org...;
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org...;
tbhidc

Con

Thanks, Pro.

You will see that my opponent is the one making the statement. This means that the burden of proof is on him. If I go around and claim something is true, I am the one who should defend that statement.

So keep that in mind. Let's get to it...

My opponent's argument
My opponent has now provided negative effects of circumcision. He says that since circumcision causes these negative effects, it should not be performed upon someone before they can consent.

However, as I have pointed out, there are positive affects of circumcision. Namely that it reduces HIV by 40-50% and reduces chance of infection by 42%. In addition to this, I would like to point out that when someone is circumcised, the chances of getting penile cancer are literally next to nothing [1]. Furthermore, when foreskin is present, the cancer of the cervix called the Human Papilloma Virus can hide under the foreskin. This can then be transferred to women. The British Medical Journal in April 2002 estimated that if all men were circumcised, at least 20% of cervix cancer would be avoided.

My opponent cites wikipedia to show that there is only a 0.6% decreased chance of HIV. I'm not so sure about this. While the studies I cited were from Africa, which may be a different situation, it does go to show that it is much easier to avoid HIV and infections in general when one is circumcised.

Circumcision makes it just easier to keep one's penis clean.

Infants and circumcision
Now the topic for debate is that babies shouldn't be circumcised. However, if I can show that circumcision is plausibly more beneficial than not, I believe this would go to show that circumcision is justified on babies.

You'll also notice that while my opponent lists negative affects of circumcision, he doesn't provide what the chances of these affects are. Yes, circumcision decreases penile sensitivity. However, decreasing the sensitivity of the penis isn't necessarily a harm. Why? Because the penis can still function as it should. There's two basic functions of the penis... 1. To pee. 2. To get semen into the right place.

Does circumcision necesarily hinder these? Not at all. Sure, it's possible it could, but my opponent has not shown the chances that this will happen. I expect the chances this will happen are very very low.

Pros and cons...
Since circumcision seems to have pros and cons, it goes to show that it's not necessarily a black and white issue of it being a violation.

Could circumcision cause more negative affects than good affects? Sure, maybe.

Could it cause more positive affects than negative affects? This seems just as plausible.

So what my opponent *must* do, is show that the overall effects of circumcision are negative. He must show that there is a considerable danger from circumcision that the penis will not be able to function correctly. He needs to show that this is clear. Until then, he has not met his burden.

If an action causes harms but also benefits someone, is it a violation of their rights? Well if it also benefits them, then isn't it just as much a help to them?

So my opponent *must* show that the negative effects of circumcision are substantially higher than the positive effects.

But all he's done is show that it's possible circumcision could cause negative effects, and shown that it causes minor negative effects. The possibility of negative effects and minor negative effects seems doesn't seem like much, when compared to the benefits of circumcision.

Why not circumcise later?
Well there's a point to make. Since we've established that circumcision is overall beneficial, why not just let the person choose to circumcise later? Well there's nothing wrong with that. But there's also nothing wrong if one chooses to circumcise one's children.

Our parents have to look over us and make choices for us when we are babies all the time. So if there's something that's overall beneficial, there's nothing wrong with them choosing it for us.

In addition to this, circumcision is possible to reverse with foreskin restoration processes. [3] There's operations and also other methods.

"That was close to ten years ago now, and since that time I consider it to be the best decision I have made. Hygiene is no longer an issue, the lack of foreskin keeps the penis clean at all times. Nor have I noticed ANY loss of sensation. On the contrary, I find intercourse improved 10 fold since the circumcision. The few microns the skin that the glans may have thickened makes no difference at all to sexual receptiveness and I find it in some ways it is more sensitive." [2]

What about the men who have to go through the bother of circumcision later in life and wish that their parents had chose to have it done on them earlier?

A parrallel to spanish
I'm going to parrallel circumcision with spanish. While there might be negative effects from knowing two languages, it's also highly beneficial in other areas.

So would it be wrong for your parents to teach you both spanish and english as you grow up? No. Because it's overall beneficial.

So, since I have proven that circumcision is overall more beneficial than not, it's perfectly acceptable to circumcise infants.

Remember, my opponent has the burden. He must show that circumcision should never be performed on infants.

He hasn't proven this, so the resolution remains negated.

Thank you!

[1]http://www.circinfo.com...
[2]http://www.circinfo.net...
[3]http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 3
Dennybug

Pro

Thank You- As this is the last round, I'll jump right into it.




Since circumcision seems to have pros and cons, it goes to show that it's not necessarily a black and white issue of it being a violation.

My opponent seems to forget that this debate is not about whether circumcision is a violation. It's about whether or not we should perform it on babies. Violation was only one of my arguments. You are violating a babies right by strapping him to a bed and cutting off its foreskin regardless or not if it can be beneficial to fighting HIV/AIDS

Not everyone wants to have their penis altered when they get older in life.


"That was close to ten years ago now, and since that time I consider it to be the best decision I have made. Hygiene is no longer an issue, the lack of foreskin keeps the penis clean at all times. Nor have I noticed ANY loss of sensation. On the contrary, I find intercourse improved 10 fold since the circumcision. The few microns the skin that the glans may have thickened makes no difference at all to sexual receptiveness and I find it in some ways it is more sensitive." [2]

This is an anecdotal fallacy, Con is using a personal testimony for a basis of his argument. Not everyone feels exactly like this one case in millions. As I have established there are many men who resent their parents for circumcising them as children. A man can always have a circumcision later in life if he wishes to do so.


Well there's a point to make. Since we've established that circumcision is overall beneficial, why not just let the person choose to circumcise later? Well there's nothing wrong with that. But there's also nothing wrong if one chooses to circumcise one's children.

Con has agreed with me that circumcision can lead to decreased penile sensitivity, and that the reason to continue is because it's beneficial. Well the reason for circumcising later is you are able to consent to it. As I have proven in the second round, not everyone wants to have had a circumcision. Men have a right over their own bodies. Circumcision physically hurts your child and changes their penis forever. The reason to circumcise later is so people have the will to choose for themselves.





Rebuttal for comparison to circumcision and bilingualism


This is a weak argument. And the "false cause"/"texas sharpshooter" Fallacy

My opponent has compared circumcision to learning multiple languages. Not only is this completely ridiculous It's totally irrelevant to the topic at hand. Learning a language does not harbor any negative effects as far as I'm aware of. Not to mention is in a completely different ball park from Circumcision. Learning a new language is something that requires effort and concentration from teacher and student. It does not involve medically strapping down an infant and cutting off their foreskin. Learning a second language does not involve surgically removing a part of the male penis and possibly causing complications(I'll talk about this more in other rounds)



Conclusion

In this debate i've concluded that men always have the option to circumcise later, and that it is immoral and wrong to circumcise a baby against it's will. I've provided evidence to adverse effects from circumcision. And displayed that AIDS/HIV is not a serious threat to males with foreskin intact. Since we all have a right over our own bodies. It shouldn't be legal to perform a circumcision on babies against their will.

tbhidc

Con

Thanks.

First off, my opponent has dropped my point that non-circumcised penises can harbor cervix cancer. This has been ignored.

My opponent is correct in pointing out that this debate is not about whether or not circumcision is a violate. However, he has argued that circumcision should not be performed because it is a violation. So when I argue that circumcision is not a violation, it is indeed relevant.

I've outlined medical benefits of circumcision. Thus, it doesn't seem that circumcision should necessarily be considered a violation of someone's rights. Remember though, I don't have to show that circumcision is definitively not a violation of bodily rights. All I have to do is debunk my opponent's arguments. And I've done that by pointing out that circumcision also has good consequences, which very well might outweigh the bad.

Now, if circumcision is overall beneficial to someone's health, and it is not severely destroying someone's body part, then it is perfectly acceptable for a parent to have this done to their child. A penis is for intercourse, and urinary functions. A circumcised penis can easily achieve these ends, and sometimes even better.

My opponent claims that I am commiting an anecdotal fallacy. However, it seems that this is essentially the same thing he was doing earlier. So this seems like double standards. Well you can't have it both ways. If it's valid to bring up the thousands of people who are upset by their parents having them circumcised, then it's also valid to bring up thousands of people who are not upset by their parents having them circumcised. You can't have it both ways. Either both are valid points, or neither are.

In either case, they refute my opponent's arguments.

I've essentially argued...

P1: It is permissable for parents to do/give something to their children which is overall beneficial for them
P2: Circumcision is overall beneficial for the baby
C: It is permissible for parents to have their children circumcised.

My opponent also claims that there isn't anything negative about learning another language. But most of the time there's nothing negative with circumcision either. Sure, it might decrease the penis' sensitivity. But just because it does so, this doesn't mean it's a violation.

Perhaps a better comparison would be to shots. Shots can sometimes have negative effects on children, but usually are overall highly beneficial to the child, and to wiping out viruses. Is it wrong to give children shots? It seems obviously not, since it is for their good. The same with circumcision.

In conclusion, my opponent has not met his burden. I've shown many medical benefits of circumcision, and as such, these medical benefits outweigh the decreased penile sensitivity, or any other minor possible negative effects of circumcision.
Debate Round No. 4
78 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Dennybug 3 years ago
Dennybug
@lifemeansgodisgood

you sound like an insecure virgin who's afraid to talk about bodies. If you think talking about circumcision is disturbing or shameful then you've clearly been sheltered your whole life. Nobody whines about it, they just wish it was their choice.

Not everyone is raised with your mind set.
Posted by lifemeansevolutionisgood 3 years ago
lifemeansevolutionisgood
"you mind your babies and let other parents mind their babies and everybody mind their own business and please"

If you think this is a true statement you should never have taken the position you did in this debate that goes completely against this statement: http://www.debate.org...
Posted by LifeMeansGodIsGood 3 years ago
LifeMeansGodIsGood
this is really funny......pitiful men take it seriously when they cry over the terrible loss they had before they even knew they had anything to lose........Big cry babies......for crying out loud, must we hear grown men whine about something so small?
Posted by LifeMeansGodIsGood 3 years ago
LifeMeansGodIsGood
you mind your babies and let other parents mind their babies and everybody mind their own business and please.....I don't want to hear men cry about what they lost in circumcision. Quit being a whimp.
Posted by LifeMeansGodIsGood 3 years ago
LifeMeansGodIsGood
if you are a putz (uncircumsized), I really don't want to know about it. If you are circumsized, I really don't want to know about it. If I am a putz or if I am circumcised is none of your business. Whatevr I found myself to be when I got old enough to figure it out is good enough, leave it alone.

Men who cry about being circumcized when they were babies are just being big cry babies and I don't want to hear about it. The parents meant well by having the baby circumsized. It's been going on for millenia and I don't think it's stopped men from enjoying making babies.
Posted by LifeMeansGodIsGood 3 years ago
LifeMeansGodIsGood
somebody is spending way too much time thinking about and talking about their private parts.
Posted by LifeMeansGodIsGood 3 years ago
LifeMeansGodIsGood
men who want to restore their foreskin were supposed to qut crying one day after the procedure was over, and not cry about it for the rest of their lives. for crying out loud, be a man.
Posted by LifeMeansGodIsGood 3 years ago
LifeMeansGodIsGood
it's the parent's decision......performed on the eight day after birth as the Bible said is best
Posted by ThoughtsandThoughts 3 years ago
ThoughtsandThoughts
Interesting debate. I was on the fence about the issue myself, and I now find myself leaning toward pro's side. Thanks for informing me, both pro and con! =)
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by medv4380 3 years ago
medv4380
DennybugtbhidcTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro made the claim that circumcision shouldn't be done if someone is unable to consent even if it's for medical reasons. There are several life threatening reasons to have a circumcision. If someone has Balanitis, or any number of those infections or conditions that could kill them should we just let them die because they're not old enough to say save me, or are incapacitated? That's what parents, care takers, and spouses are for - giving consent when you are unable to consent. This is a heavy burden to prove, and pro failed to explain why in the face of medical necessity why it shouldn't be done. Con's position that it can be medically beneficial was acceptable in countering pro's claim that it shouldn't be done. Con's citation of actual medical data trumps pro's wiki, and anti circumcision sites. I'm actually aware of scientific studies that have been done that would have helped to support some of pro's argument, and they would have been far better than what was used.
Vote Placed by Defro 3 years ago
Defro
DennybugtbhidcTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro has not met his burden of proof, and many of his rebuttals were weak. For example, in his round 4 rebuttal, he said: "Not everyone wants to have their penis altered when they get older in life." This statement supports Con's side more than Pro's because people who want to be circumcised wish they got it when they were babies. Con's arguments were strong and concrete. He provided valid reasons as to why it is acceptable for parents to allow their babies to be circumcised. In total, Pro committed more serious fallacies than Con and tried to call out Con on an "anecdotal fallacy" when he himself has provided an anecdote. Actually, giving anecdotes aren't even fallacious and are completely valid.