The Instigator
Jarhyn
Con (against)
Winning
32 Points
The Contender
RationalMadman
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

Parents have a fundamental right to elective circumcision of their offspring

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
Jarhyn
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/16/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,496 times Debate No: 28154
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (13)
Votes (5)

 

Jarhyn

Con

One of the most insidious and contentious debates alive today is that of whether parents have some fundamental right to irreversibly modify the bodies of their children according to their own desires, however they may be movated. It is often contentious, with deep spikes of animosity arising from contentions over religious freedom, and even deeper ties to the self image of those who do the arguing.

Anyone wishing to argue PRO, but who has reservations or contentions over the resolution, is encouraged to leave comments such that the resoluon and rules may be updated, and contentions resolved before initiating the debate.

This resolution, to further clarify, is about parents modifying their children and not about people modifying themselves. It is further NOT about circumcision in situations of medical emergency.

Rules:
1) First round is acceptance*, second round is argument, third round is rebuttal and additional supporting arguments, fourth round is pure rebuttal and final round is closing.
2) *PRO may go first; if PRO uses his first round for argument, PRO agrees his last round shall be a blank post, and for the purposes of voting, rounds shall be offset by one post
3) Responses shall be directed towards the previous rounds(s) only.
4) No direct "vote pandering". An argument ought stand on its own, without appeals to emotion or ad hominem.
5) No "sneaky ****erism". This is defined as making declarations to win an argument rather than making an attempt to investigate whether a claim is actually valid or supported by reason. The winning argument here is to be determined as that argument which stands up to reason, not which argument/person people subjectively like more. In accepting, PRO agrees that any votes which do not reflect an objective evaluation of the arguments (subjective votes) are invalid and to be ignored during final evaluation, retracted, or negated.
6) No extended arguments, except if mutually agreed upon.
First, let me start by saying that this is a resolution which probably triggers a very strong "yuck factor" with a whole lot of people, and is a likely target for trolls and idiots. As such, I've made this debate proposal/challenge as a way of finding those who would debate the topic in a mature and objective way, and then directly offer the challenge. The proposed rules of the debate are as follows:
7) Shared BoP; all positive claims must be defended, and all arguments must be supported with reasons; this is a philosophical debate, and first principles must be mutually accepted, if used as a basis of argument. Argument from authority, argument from tradition, and the naturalistic fallacy are all accepted as fallacies by CON.
8) Shared participation is encouraged; while there can only be one formal "PRO" and one formal "CON", any independently supported argument may be advanced and picked up by the formal debators.
9) First principles accepted in this debate must include that: "The universe exists"; "knowledge exists"; "all descriptive models have greater value than any non-descriptive model"; and that "equals OUGHT be treated equally".
RationalMadman

Pro

For argument's sake I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
Jarhyn

Con

In the pursuit of a more free society, often it has been asked whether certain specific activities actually constitute freedom, or whether they simply constitute evil. Further, in full knowledge of my opponent's tendency to attempt to troll debates, I will again point out the fifth rule of this debate, which prohibits such behavior.
  1. A basis of ethics.

    1. Ethics from first principles¹

      1. A definition of freedom:
        1. The freedom of a person to be is the extent of all things which do not themselves do insult to another person's freedom to be.
        2. That which does such insult is not a freedom.

      2. A definition of responsibilities:
        1. We have a responsibility to all other persons who claim freedom to defend that freedom from that which would do it insult.
        2. This by its nature includes a responsibility to NOT do that which is NOT a freedom.

      3. A definition of fairness:
        1. That which we claim for ourselves as freedom must be accepted as freedom for others, or denied among the freedoms of self.

    2. Additional support exists in the convergence of world religions, generally accepted philosophies of government, etc. [1][2][3]
      1. Note, it is not the claims that provide support; any one of them alone is simply an argument from authority. Rather, their convergence is the support offered for the above definitions.

  2. An evaluation of the ethics of circumcison specifically

    1. Arbitrarily imposed circumcision reduces the freedom of a person to be.
      1. The future adult upon whom circumcision is imposed no longer retains the ability to be not-circumcised of their own will.
      2. The future adult upon whom circumcision is not imposed retains the ability to be circumcised of their own will.
      3. If such is to BE arbitrary, it cannot be considered a responsibility; responsibilities are obligations, not arbitrary decisions.

    2. The American-established freedom of religion implies the freedom of abstention from religion; else it would be a coercion of religion.
      1. The future adult upon whom a rite is forcibly performed is no longer able to retain the ability to have abstained from that rite of their own will.
      2. The future adult upon whom a rite is not forcibly performed retains the ability to participate in that rite of their own will.

    3. Discussion of medical “benefits” cannot satisfy the resolution for PRO.
      1. This discussion is about the right of a parent to arbitrarily circumcise, hence “elective”, not whether they ought be required to do so.
      2. If society does decide as a whole that the risks of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) in uncircumcised people are a more significant insult to the collected freedoms of society than the loss of freedom of individuals to choose which ways they enjoys sex, then circumcision becomes a matter of responsibility. If Circumcision is an individual responsibility, it is no longer “elective” for the parent, but it is elected by society and therefore considered a responsibility every person in that society to see that the circumcision happens.

    4. Circumcision is not necessary for achieving the hypothetical medical benefits.
      1. There is no such increased risk for those who are sufficiently careful with sexual behavior; for those who use condoms or practice monogamy, the risks of circumcision can far outweigh any marginal decrease in risk of STI.
      2. Rates of STI among circumcised vs. uncircumcised individuals do not become an issue until AFTER the individual has matured to the point where they are capable of making their own informed decisions, particularly how they wish to reduce the risks of their behavior to society.

    5. Circumcision carries risks (or sometimes outright intent) of harm in addition to any possible benefits.
      1. Concrete examples of such botched circumcisions exist[1].
      2. Recent studies indicate that the risk of UTI is significantly higher in circumcised males[2], particularly following infant (parent-elective) circumcision[3].
      3. Imposition of such risks upon a future adult does insult to their freedom to be without those risks,
        AND to choose which of the various risks they will accept.
      4. In the event of an infection for which circumcision is the only effectual course of action, it is no longer elective; The future adult has a full entitlement to freedom to be, and circumcision then provides the greatest freedom to them, as it is the path through which there is the least amount of permanent damage. it becomes a responsibility to save the child’s existing capabilities, but only when it is necessary to that end.

  3. Circumcision vs other religious rites

    1. The difference between circumcision and other physically altering religious rites is primarily one of extent.
      1. Tattoos (obscene or socially stigmatizing tattoos, for example), removal of limbs, etc. are nearly universally recognized as being unacceptable to the infant, as they carry with them a loss of function or permanent and perhaps unwanted alteration of function for the future adult. The only remarkable difference between these and circumcision is the extent of the alteration or loss of function; if these actions are to be prohibited because they impart permanent and irreversible alteration of function or loss of function, circumcision ought be prohibited as it falls within that class of activity.

    2. Female Genital Mutilation for religious purposes is widely recognized as unacceptable, therefore so is Male Genital Mutilation.
      1. BOP rightfully rests on any claimant that there is a meaningful difference of quality between two things.

  4. Conclusions

    1. Logical Framework:
      1. Circumcision does insult in various aspects to the (religious) freedom of the persons whom the child victims will become.
      2. Circumcision does not necessarily increase the freedom of the persons whom the child victims will become.
      3. Circumcision is a clear harm, and thus a it is a clear non-freedom to impose it on any other person.
      4. Circumcision denies the right to of the adult to make informed consent to risks of circumcision.
      5. Even if circumcision is accepted as a societal responsibility, that does not equate into a fundamental right to arbitrary circumcision initiated by a second party.
      6. Circumcision cannot be ethically differentiated from other clearly unethical religious impositions upon children, including what are clearly unacceptable forms of circumcision.
      7. For any one of these reasons, arbitrarily imposed circumcision does insult to the freedom of the adult the child will become.
      8. Therefore the ability to arbitrarily impose circumcision upon an adult is not within the class of “freedoms”
      9. Parent-Elective circumcision is arbitrarily imposing circumcision.

    2. Therefore No parent has a fundamental right to elective circumcision for their offspring.


¹ This claim is considered to be uncontroversial, however I do have supporting arguments/logic for this claim. If contested, it will be directly supported in round 3.

Additional sources for “weak” claims shall be provided upon request.

Bibliography:
[1] 3 Matthew 7:12
[2] Udana-Varga 5,1
[3] The United States Declaration of Independence
[4] http://www.circumstitions.com... CAUTION: GRAPHIC IMAGES; NSFW
[5] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
[6] http://adc.bmj.com...

Copyright (C) 2012 Andrew Kathan

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation A copy of the license is available at http://www.gnu.org......
RationalMadman

Pro

You did not meet your BOP in proving that anyone has any responsibility whatsoever.

I would like you to refute the following prepositions:

Fundamental right: A right that is apparent in even the most basic (fundamental) creatures.

1) Everybody can kill anybody as a fundamental right
2) the only thing in the way of fundamental rights, if we base them on the rights of any species, is that the law assumes humans require more civil behaviour
3) it is any animal's fundamental right to do whatever they think will lead their offspring to get laid, especially if it relates to cutting off unwanted skin (unwanted according to parent) on the genitals
4) humans are animals

Thanks and goodbye
Debate Round No. 2
Jarhyn

Con

First, I would like to point out that fundamental rights, as used in the debate resolution and as argued for previously by myself, is clearly referencing "that which has some ‘rightness’ logically derived from first principles". If CON wishes to argue a different version of fundamental right, he will not be arguing against my arguments nor the intent of the resolution, but rather a straw man of them. This would, arguably, constitute a violation of the "no sneaky ****erism" rule, and if he continues doing such, ought lead to a 7p win for PRO. Finally, CON has asked me to supply the BOP that is rightly his for various claims he has made; I will not do his job for him.

  1. Ethics from first principles: BOP for responsibilty

Con has already accepted that the universe exists. Further, as Descartes put it, "I think therefore I am"; it is not sane nor productive to doubt the existence of self, as it is tautologically true. In accepting the existence of the universe, and of self, it becomes accepted that entities such as "self" may have existence as arrangements of stuff in the universe, such that there are possibly other such arrangements with "selfness".

    1. Freedom from first principles.
      1. If “rightness” equates to “it servers your will”, and “wrongness” similarly means “because it runs counter to your will”, there exists a contradiction in nature and in logic when the interests of two people that presumably exist come into conflict; from this conflict there are two resolutions:
        1. First, one might place rightness above the value of wrongness; that if something is right, it can never be wrong. If such a leap is made, though, one quickly realizes that “benefits me” may in fact be an idea that the two actors in this system are in conflict over, particularly if continuing to live benefits person 1 and killing person 1 benefits person 2; here exists a contradiction, and so such a proposal can be rejected as nonsense.
        2. Alternatively, one might rather put wrongness as the more powerful of these two, and it is here that we see the contradiction disappear: That if something is wrong for either of the actors, it can never be right, and something only becomes not-wrong if “it does not harm anyone else”. It is clear that this is the correct response, as it is the only of the two resolutions which does not contain a contradiction.
      2. As such, it becomes apparent that the second of the above propositions is the basis for what is "freedom", that which is not-wrong, and that which is "harm" which is that which is wrong.
    2. Responsibilities from first principles
      1. Entities seek that which is of value to self, the widest possible interpretation being the unimpeded freedom to act in the enviornment, and to exist by their own will. But, this requires that if it seeks to defend its freedom from that which would do it harm, since equals ought be treated equally, that entity has a responsibility to also defend the freedom of other such entities from harm, and as such have a responsibility to prevent themselves from doing such harm to others.
    3. Fairness from first principles
      1. The easiest of the three moral foundations to achieve is that of fairness; merely that any freedom which the self claims must be granted to all others, else it is a contradiction since equals ought be treated equally.
  1. CON's burden of proof
    1. CON retains a burden of proof that "it is any animal's fundamental right to do whatever they think will lead their offspring to get laid"
    2. CON retains a burden of proof that the law requires "more civil behavior of humans"
    3. CON retains a burden of proof that "Everybody can kill anybody as a fundamental right"
  2. Conclusions
    1. The definitions of responsibilities and freedoms from the basis of first principles has been defended, and all original points in my opening post stand.
RationalMadman

Pro

song wins.
Debate Round No. 3
Jarhyn

Con

CON's response as a video is clearly in violation of rule 5: he is not making any attempt to investigate whether his claim is supported by reason. This is supported as his video has absolutely nothing to do with the ethical acceptability of circumcision, though arguably it provides a good example of why white people shouldn't rap.

CON has thus far failed to provide any of his BOP, nor has CON provided any valid form of rebuttal or counter-rebuttal to my arguments. As per the rules, this round CON may counter-rebut arguments from round 3, though has clearly conceded all points in round 2 by failing to rebut in round 3.
RationalMadman

Pro

I even agree with con to be honest.
Debate Round No. 4
Jarhyn

Con

"I even agree with con to be honest." -RationalMadman

I rest my case.

RationalMadman

Pro

Don't circumcise kids, it recuses sensitivity for sex it's actually really cruel and disgusting.
Debate Round No. 5
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Jarhyn 4 years ago
Jarhyn
My round 2 initial argument is complete; for anyone who wishes to review the argument, please friend/message me and I will send you the link to edit it.
Posted by Jarhyn 4 years ago
Jarhyn
Please forgive my awful English in my response; I would hope you can understand particularly what it is I'm getting at, in any case.
Posted by Jarhyn 4 years ago
Jarhyn
And how is that ETHICALLY different from removing the foreskin of the penis? it arguably also results in unwanted and unchosen alteration of sexual function. If the difference of unwanted and therefore detrimental loss of function is only one of extent, rather than of quality?

In fact, male circumcision and other male genital modification was often done for the specific purpose of preventing them from enjoying certain varieties of sexual stimulation and reducing promiscuity. If someone can elect to mutilate the genitals of a man for such purposes, what makes mutilation of a woman for those purposes less acceptable?
Posted by singingboy2 4 years ago
singingboy2
I think you should specify gender here some places remove the clitoris so the female will never enjoy sex and then are less likely to be promiscuous.
Posted by Jarhyn 4 years ago
Jarhyn
Keep in mind that this is a philosophical debate; it is not about whether this particular government says it's OK, but rather if there is actual justification behind it. Argument from authority or tradition are insufficient, as per the rules. If you have an argument you thinks stands, accept the debate.
Posted by 1Devilsadvocate 4 years ago
1Devilsadvocate
I like this idea:

"8) Shared participation is encouraged; while there can only be one formal "PRO" and one formal "CON", any independently supported argument may be advanced and picked up by the formal debators."
Posted by 1Devilsadvocate 4 years ago
1Devilsadvocate
Does Con have BOP to 1st show that it should be stopped?

cause I can argue that government should not get involved.
Posted by Jarhyn 4 years ago
Jarhyn
As I said before, PRO has a BoP that the arguments against FGM do not associate over to MGM, OR to argue that some class of FGM is acceptable. This is because "it's different for women" is otherwise special pleading, and I will not accept such a claim axiomatically.

By fundamenal right, I mean the ability to provide an "ought" from a discussion of first principles, OR provide a pragmatic "ought".
Posted by TheElderScroll 4 years ago
TheElderScroll
I believe I read some articles months ago talking about the ark of covenant and the Jewish rite of circumcision. I guess one must truly understand Judaism to understand the meaning behind circumcision.
Posted by Ike-Jin-Park 4 years ago
Ike-Jin-Park
shouldn't this motion be limited to male i guess
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Luggs 4 years ago
Luggs
JarhynRationalMadmanTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro conceded.
Vote Placed by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
JarhynRationalMadmanTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I would like to debate someone about whether or not RationalMadman should be censured on this website. I will take the PRO position.
Vote Placed by GorefordMaximillion 4 years ago
GorefordMaximillion
JarhynRationalMadmanTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro conceded. Hope Jarhyn actually gets to debate this
Vote Placed by andrewkletzien 4 years ago
andrewkletzien
JarhynRationalMadmanTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: If anything in this universe can be labeled self-evident, this argument is in that category.
Vote Placed by Microsuck 4 years ago
Microsuck
JarhynRationalMadmanTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro conceded and was an annoying troll the entire debate.