The Instigator
bluesteel
Pro (for)
Losing
24 Points
The Contender
Danielle
Con (against)
Winning
63 Points

The practice of circumcising babies should be discontinued

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/6/2010 Category: Health
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 5,465 times Debate No: 13579
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (76)
Votes (22)

 

bluesteel

Pro

The lack of specificity of an agent in the resolution implies that people should all collectively discontinue the practice of circumcising small children; the resolution does not imply a state-mandated ban on the practice of circumcision.

My opponent should offer a brief introduction in round 1. Argumentation will begin in round 2.

==Definitions==

According to Princeton's Wordnet:

Circumcision means "surgical removal of the foreskin of males." [1]

Practice means "a customary way of operation." [2]

Discontinue means "put an end to . . . an activity." [3]

Baby means "a very young child (birth to 1 year)." [4]

==Citations==
[1] http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...
[2] http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...
[3] http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...
[4] http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...
Danielle

Con

Thanks for the debate, bluesteel.

While most people probably agree with my opponent, I took this debate as a challenge both for myself, and to see if Pro could really fulfill his burden of convincing the audience that people should no longer seek circumcisions for babies. As Sieben rightly pointed out in the comments section, it's pretty undeniable that circumcision has vast medical, aesthetic and physical benefits, and that waiting to get a circumcision later in life can be more dangerous, and it's certainly more uncomfortable, inconvenient and painful. Therefore, Pro's argument will essentially be that despite those realities, it's morally preferable to give the individual the choice later on in regard to his own body. However throughout this debate I will demonstrate that parents have both the right and responsibility to make choices for their small children that will undoubtedly impact them, and that circumcision is merely one of these many choices.

Thanks and good luck; I look forward to an interesting discussion!
Debate Round No. 1
bluesteel

Pro

I thank theLwerd for accepting; I'm excited to have such an esteemed opponent.

"The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist."

Circumcision has pulled a similar trick, with us failing to really interrogate the wisdom and logic behind what should rightfully be termed "male genital mutilation;" we all simply accept the conventional wisdom that circumcisions' effects are totally benign and it is a necessary practice.

I think my opponent has made a grave mistake by accepting the unsubstantiated "conventional wisdom" in the U.S. that "it's pretty undeniable that circumcision has vast medical, aesthetic and physical benefits." (theLwerd) I ask her to present all her evidence for this in R2, so I have a chance to refute it at length.

In fact, the evidence in favor of circumcision is extremely sparse. The U.S. is the only country in the world that circumcises the majority of its male infants for non-religious reasons. [1] "From a global perspective, most of the world rejects circumcision: over 80 percent of the world's males are intact (not circumcised)." [2]

Before I begin my case, I want to address one thing theLwerd said – that she will argue circumcision is a parental right. I agree it is a right, but the resolution is not whether people CAN make that decision for their children, but whether parents SHOULD make that decision for them. I made it clear that this debate would not assume a government-mandated ban on circumcision.

==My case==

1. Supposed health benefits

According to Ronald Goldman, Ph.D., "The American Academy of Pediatricians, the country's largest organization of physicians who care for infants, has not found any proven medical benefit from circumcision. In fact, no national medical organization in the world recommends routine circumcision for male infants." [3]

2. Infant pain

Imagine being plucked from your loving mother's arms by a group of strangers, forcibly strapped to a table, stripped naked, having your foreskin painfully stretched and clamped, and then having the most sensitive part of your body slowly cut away, in what would seem like an eternity to an infant. This "procedure" lasts 15 minutes, and is usually administered in the United States WITHOUT ANESTHETICS because anesthetics can cause severe side-effects in babies. [4] Frederick Leboyer, obstetrician, observes that "the torture is experienced in a state of total helplessness which makes it even more frightening and unbearable." [5] Ronald Goldman, Ph.D., explains that "the latest research studies all support the conclusion that circumcision is overwhelmingly painful for infants." [6]

Most of our "conventional wisdom" about circumcision comes from the mistaken premise in the medical community, originating in the late 1800's, that infants were "little more intelligent than a vegetable" (U.Penn. 1895) and thus could not feel pain or form memories. [7] This view has been widely debunked by modern research.

Memory

According to Ronald Goldman, Ph.D., studies have found that after birth, infants can remember stimuli played to them while in utero; infants can remember objects they are shown, and 4-week old infants can identify a picture of their own pacifier, even when the pacifier is not present. [8]

Pain

A definitive meta-study of infant pain done by researchers at the Children's Hospital of Boston, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that infants' responses to pain are "similar to but greater than those observed in adult subjects." [9] Infants experience pain in a greater way than adults because infants "function on . . . a very deep feeling-experiential body level . . . No intellectual abilities are required." [10] Infants experience pain only on a sensory level – they are incapable of rationalizing it away, unlike adults.

Post-op studies

Studies of male infants, following their circumcisions, show significant changes in behavior. According to Ronald Goldman, Ph.D., studies have shown that post-circumcision, babies have trouble sleeping, are more irritable, show an unwillingness to interact with their mothers, and are less capable of comforting themselves or being comforted by others. [11] In the most definitive study done to date, "the behavior of nearly 90 percent of circumcised infants SIGNIFICANTLY changed after the circumcision." [12]

To believe that the extreme trauma from circumcision does not affect babies' development is absurd. Babies who undergo circumcision immediately begin showing anti-social tendencies and a lack of trust towards others.

3. Complications

According to Ronald Goldman, Ph.D., up to 38% of circumcised babies experience some form of medical complication, such as infection, during their first year. [13] In addition, the Journal of Urology reports that 1.5% of circumcisions are botched, often resulting in the need for a complete penile amputation. [14] The documentary "It's a Boy" estimates that one in 50 circumcisions results in serious complications, such as permanent disfigurement, penile amputation, or death. [15]

4. Cleanliness

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, "The uncircumcised penis is easy to keep clean; no special care is required. Normal bathing is sufficient." [16]

5. Supposedly "useless flap of skin"

The foreskin is not useless – it actually performs many functions. According to various urological experts, the foreskin contains 50% of the penile skin, making the penis appear and feel larger; foreskin contains 20,000 erogenous nerve endings specialized in sensing slight motion and subtle gradations in texture; the foreskin can easily slide back and forth over the glans (the tip of the penis), obviating the need for lubrication; females often find intercourse with circumcised males painful because "without this gliding action, the corona of the circumcised penis can function as a one-way valve, dragging vaginal lubricants out into the drying air and making artificial lubricants essential for non-painful intercourse;" lastly, the foreskin secretes plasma cells that keep the glans skin moist and antibodies that protect intact males from STD's. [17] Without the foreskin, the glans skin, which is normally a moist membrane, completely dries out and hardens. [18]

Only men circumcised as adults can experience intercourse both with and without foreskin and thus compare the experiences. According to a study of such men in the Journal of Sex Research, "men circumcised as adults regret the change." [19]

6. Improper framing

"Un"-circumcised implies that circumcision should be the norm. [20] The proper nomenclature should be "male genital mutilation," much as Westerns have decided to call "female circumcision" "female genital mutilation." [21]

7. Choice

You can't "undo" a circumcision and re-attach the foreskin later in life, so parents should allow their children to make the decision for themselves, as adults. According to a survey, 35 percent of circumcised adults wish they were intact; most of them cited, as a reason, that they had learned that foreskin serves important functions. [22] The other 65% may very well be oblivious to what they have lost.

There are net benefits to doing the procedure as an adult: adults can rationalize the procedure, making it less traumatic, and can use anesthetics to eliminate the pain. Adults also have no one to blame for the decision but themselves.

8. Long term effects

According to Ronald Goldman, Ph.D., circumcision trauma can cause PTSD, impotence, and avoidance of intimacy. [23]

[1] Ronald Goldman, Ph.D., Circumcision: The Hidden Trauma, p. 3
[2] Ibid, p. 2
[3] Ibid
[4] Ibid, p. 24
[5] Ibid, p. 28
[6] Ibid, p. 27
[7] Ibid, p. 7
[8] Ibid, p. 18
[9] Ibid, p. 19
[10] Ibid p. 9
[11] Ibid, p. 24-25
[12] Ibid, p. 25
[13] Ibid, p. 30
[14] http://www.fathermag.com...
[15] Ibid
[16] Goldman, p. 31
[17] htt
Danielle

Con

Thanks, Pro.

Pro begins by mentioning that the U.S. is the only country that circumcises mostly for non-religious reasons. In accepting this debate one of my intended defenses would be upholding one's right to religious freedom. Because circumcision is overall considered a safe procedure [1], I would argue that parents should continue to seek circumcisions to exercise their first amendment rights. Indeed religious male circumcision is considered a commandment from God in Judaism [2]. Therefore, to a believer that is every reason to not only have this option as a right but to exercise that right.

== Rebuttal ==

1. Health Benefits

Pro says there are no real medical benefits to circumcision. On the contrary, it has been proven that circumcision protects against wide variety of infections, adverse medical conditions and potentially fatal diseases, as well as protects the partner of the circumcised individual [3]. Examples include protection against UTIs, HIV, HPV, herpes, chancroid, syphilis, penile cancer, etc. It's also been suggested to protect against prostate cancer, phimosis, paraphimosis, thrush, and inflammatory skin conditions such as balanitis and balanoposthitis. In women circumcision of the male partner provides substantial protection from cervical cancer, herpes, bacterial vaginosis, Chlamydia (that can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and ectopic pregnancy) and other infections [4]. Other benefits include:

- Decrease in physical problems involving a tight foreskin [6]

- Lower incidence of inflammation of the head of the penis [7]

- Dr. Tom Wiswell looked at the complication rates of having or not having circumcision performed in a study of 136,000 boys born in US army hospitals between 1980 and 1985. 100,000 were circumcised and 193 (0.19%) had complications, mostly minor, with no deaths, but of the 36,000 who were not circumcised the problems were more than ten-times higher and there were 2 deaths [8].

- Problems involving the penis are encountered relatively frequently in pediatric practice. A retrospective study of boys aged 4 months to 12 years found uncircumcised boys exhibited significantly greater frequency of penile problems (14% vs 6%; P < 0.001) and medical visits for penile problems (10% vs 5%; P < 0.05) compared with those who were circumcised [9].

Etc.

2A. Infant Pain

Sometimes we endure pain to get the benefits if it's worth it on a cost-benefit analysis. For instance sometimes limbs must be amputated in order to save lives. A more mild example is getting a vaccine shot which might hurt temporarily but in the end overall protect you from something deadly. In short, temporary pain for a lot of potential benefits is not enough to dissuade some parents from making the choice of circumcision.

2B. Memory

Pro tries to establish that infants may remember the pain from their circumcision for a short time (though obviously most children and adults do not remember this procedure from infancy, making this somewhat irrelevant). Extend my second rebuttal and see other stats below...

2C. Post-Op Studies

Pro's single source for his anti-circumcision propaganda says that babies are known to have a traumatic reaction to the process because they "have trouble sleeping, are more irritable, are less capable of being comforted," etc. However this has hardly been proven to be because of the circumcision. Babies in general tend to cry a lot and are prone to be fussy. Meanwhile, a longitudinal study in the UK involving over 5,000 individuals followed from birth to age 27 found no difference in developmental and behavioral tendencies between circumcised and uncircumcised males [13]. No adverse psychological aftermath has been demonstrated [14]. Long-term psychological, emotional, and sexual impediments from circumcision are anecdotal and can be discounted [15].

3. Complications

Complications are exceptionally low if circumcisions are performed carefully, using strict aseptic technique; it is performed by a trained, experienced practitioner; and only on a healthy, sterile infant. Can Pro prove that the figure of 38% complications occurred under these conditions? If not, then this number is entirely irrelevant. In fact Pro's very own source proves this to be true; for instance the documentary he refers to depicts many problems with circumcisions being performed by rabbis - not doctors. Therefore this statistic is heavily biased and skewed, not taking into consideration only procedures that are done by trained professionals and not just religious figureheads.

Moreover the figures I've come across have been significantly lower, with 10% being the highest [5]. A study by others found that of the 11,000 circumcisions performed at New York's Sloane Hospital in 1989, only 6 led to complications, none of which were fatal [10]. Finally, an early survey saw only one death amongst 566,483 baby boys circumcised in New York between 1939 and 1951 [11]. In other words Pro's figure seems grossly exaggerated.

4. Cleanliness

Foreskin increases smegma, which is bacteria that rapidly multiplies and causes foul odor. Additionally a survey in London of 150 uncircumcised and 75 circumcised men found 4% of circumcised compared with 26% of uncircumcised men had inferior genital hygiene behavior and did not always wash the entire penis [16]. I'm running out of character space, but I can give more examples in the next round.

5. Useless Foreskin?

The foreskin has no role after birth. There is no good evidence of any adverse effect of lack of a foreskin. In fact, the foreskin poses a risk to the male from various diseases and adverse conditions over his lifetime [17].

6. Improper Framing

It's absolutely silly to think that the prefix "un" in uncircumcised implies circumcision should be the norm. That's like saying the word unsatisfied implies satisfied should be the norm, instead of neutral. I won't waste character space on this frivolous argument but I will expand if need-be.

7. Choice

The only benefit Pro cited to waiting was choice (though parents don't give children choices in many regards if it's for their well-being) and that there might be less trauma. However there are significant dangers to waiting until adulthood as well; I'll link to save space for now [15].

8. Long-Term Effects

Can Pro please give another source besides Goldman that proves these alleged long-term effects? I only ask because I don't have the book to review this one man's methods of research, and I've already provided sources indicating no significant long-term damage -- certainly not the likes of PTSD. Indeed the whole idea that one right remember this pain "subconsciously" or avoid intimacy in the future because of circumcision is remnant of some eyebrow raising Freudian theories which are known to consist of little to no legitimate evidence.

== Conclusion ==

It has been concluded that 6 UTIs could be prevented for every circumcision complication, and 2 complications can be expected for every penile cancer prevented [12]. So long as there are proven benefits and no significant long-term damage, parents should consider making this choice - especially because it's been proven that there is merit to having this procedure done in infancy, and parents make these kinds of choices on a daily basis. Also extend my cultural and religious arguments. Thank you.

[1] http://tinyurl.com...
[2] http://tinyurl.com...
[3] http://tinyurl.com...
[4] http://tinyurl.com...
[5] http://tinyurl.com...
[6] Ohjimi et al., 1995
[7] Escala & Rickwood, 1989; Fakjian et al., 1990; Edwards, 1996
[8] Wiswell & Hachey, 1993
[9] http://tinyurl.com...
[10] Russell, 1993
[11] National, 2003
[12] Christakis et al., 2000
[13] Calnan et al., 1978
[14] Schlosberger et al., 1992
[15] http://tinyurl.com...
[16] http://tinyurl.com...
[17] Schoen, 2007; Diebert, 1
Debate Round No. 2
bluesteel

Pro

TheLwerd doesn't answer any of my studies and drops all my evidence from urological experts on the functions that the foreskin has. Don't let her make new responses in her last round. She chose to offer a bunch of bogus studies instead of refuting my case properly – don't punish me for it, since I can't respond to anything she says in her last round.

TheLwerd seems to cite a lot of sources in the previous round but they all link back in some way to one pro-circumcision propagandist – Brian Morris. She essentially cites every pro-circumcision study on his site, then says "etc" as if there are thousands more (which there aren't). Seriously, go to his site: http://www.circinfo.net.... He has a bunch of cheesy flyers on circumcision that he wants people to hand out; a real scientist wouldn't want to appear so biased because everyone knows the dangers in the scientific method of drawing foregone conclusions (leading people to cherry pick their data and ignore other explanations for their data sets). This is the reason Morris has to publish his paper online, instead of in a peer-reviewed journal, where it would be torn apart.

==Rebuttal==

Freedom of religion

My opponent is trying to make this debate about something that I clearly didn't want it to be about, since parents are not forced to do anything. This is bad conduct since I made it clear in both R1 and R2 that I didn't want to argue freedom of religion. But if I must respond:

1. People selectively choose what practices to follow. Jews no longer own slaves, for example, even though this is in the Bible. [1]

2. It should still be the child's choice. If a cult required you to cut off your right hand to join, I think we'd all agree that parents shouldn't make this decision for children at birth. Foreskin has just as many valid functions as a hand. People should also get to choose their religion – not be forced irreparably into one.

3. This contradicts one of my opponent's later arguments – that circumcisions should always be performed by a licensed professional, not a rabbi. The Jewish religion requires circumcisions be performed by a rabbi (a mohel), who often has questionable surgical skills. [2]

Positive health benefits

The first study theLwerd cites on UTI's and STD's, done by Morris, foonotes a paper written by Wiswell. It uses the same data as the Wiswell study, which I'll refute later.

General refutation to all the STD studies

1. Whether someone gets an STD is heavily dependent on how much sex someone has. Inclusion of large numbers of religious Muslims and Jews in the data set for circumcisions skews all the results, since these groups are much more likely to abstain from pre-marital sex, and thus have zero chance of contracting an STD.

2. The same invalidates all the studies about women, whose partners are more likely to wait until marriage, and who are more likely to wait themselves (Muslims usually marry other Muslims).

3. The herpes statistics prove how illegitimate these studies are. Herpes is usually transferred from skin-to-skin contact of the thighs. There's no valid reason why foreskin would increase its transmission rate, but there are valid reasons why people who have less sex would be less likely to contract herpes.

4. There's no valid explanation for why foreskin increases STD risk by a large magnitude. There is, however, an explanation for why it decreases the risk. The source I already cited (from urological experts) explains that the foreskin secretes antibodies and lysozymes that kill bacteria and viruses. The source says that Howe (1999), Laumann (1997), Nicoll (1997), Smith (1987), Cook (1993), and Tanne (1998) all find that intact men are less likely to contract STD's than circumcised men.

5. This also relates to the cervical cancer rate, since cervical cancer is often caused by STD's, such as HPV.

General refutation to UTI

Around the world, UTI's in women are more common than in men and are treated non-surgically. [3] Basic medical doctrine is to treat infections with the least invasive option (antibiotics).

Foreskin hardening, cancer of the foreskin, etc

The medical need for foreskin removal in intact males is 6 in 100,000. [4] Such a rarity hardly necessitates circumcising everyone as infants. Breast cancer rates are much higher – should all girls get mastectomies at birth?

Response to all medical justifications

If the medical benefits are so clear, why doesn't a single national pediatrics organization recommend routine infant circumcision?

Wiswell study

1. The American Academy of Pediatrics looked at his study and concluded that it was "methodologically flawed." [5]

2. The study looks at U.S. Army hospitals around the world. It was routine practice in these hospitals to circumcise all babies, unless they were pre-mature and had to be catheterized or unless they showed urinary tract deformities. [6] Only sickly babies were left intact, skewing the results.

Lwerd footnote 9

The study looks at boys born in the 1980's, before doctors knew much about foreskin. The foreskin was often forcibly retracted by doctors, which can cause serious complications. We now know that you're not supposed to forcibly retract the foreskin.

2A.

My sources clearly prove that circumcision is far more painful and traumatic than vaccination. TheLwerd drops the Goldman evidence that most circumcisions in the U.S. are administered without anesthetics, which is barbaric. We treat animals better.

2C. Post-op studies
TheLwerd's footnote 13

This evidence is fabricated – maybe Morris mis-cites Calnan and theLwerd is not guilty of this. The real Calnan (1978) study noted a decrease in circumcision and tonsillectomy rates over time because doctors no longer believed in the medical necessity of either procedure. [7] Extend the study that 90% of babies show significant changes in behavior post-circumcision – exhibiting anti-social behavior and lack of trust in others. Goldman's research proves that many of these changes last into adulthood (my #8).

3. Complications

One of L's studies is Wiswell, and the other cherry picks its data from one NY hospital. She drops my Journal of Urology evidence that the national rate of botched circumcision is 1.5%. The hospitals L cites all have experienced doctors perform the circumcisions; most hospitals have inexperienced interns perform circumcisions because it is seen as an "easy" procedure. [8]

4. Cleanliness

This study refutes itself. The intact men admitted to bathing less often and less thoroughly. Note also, that you get bad breath if you don't regularly clean your tongue. Should we cut off all babies' tongues?

5. Useless foreskin?

TheLwerd drops ALL my arguments here. Extend the evidence from urologists that the foreskin heightens sexual pleasure, protects against infection, and causes women less discomfort during sex than a circumcised penis. Extend my evidence from the Journal of Sex Research that "men circumcised as adults regret the change."

6. Female genital mutilation

The point is that destroying an intact female is as bad as destroying an intact male.

7. Choice

There are no risks to adults of circumcision that are greater than for babies. One of the "risks" Morris cites in L's source is that adults cannot easily be persuaded by the "evidence," so we should force kids to get circumcised. All the other risks assume the Morris/Wiswell studies are correct.

Extend the evidence that 35% of circumcised adults wish they had been left intact. Parents can make a major decision, like vaccination, if there is overwhelming medical evidence in its favor. The evidence for circumcision is mixed at best, and strongly against the practice, at worst.

The International Convention on the Rights of the Child establishes it as a basic human right to make major decisions that affect your own body.

Vote Pro.

Citations: see comments section
Danielle

Con

-- Introduction --

Ironically, Pro has the audacity to criticize referring to one particular person's research, yet the vast majority of his information comes from ONE source and ONE book: Ronald Goldman's 'The Hidden Trauma.' Here's a perfect example of the pot calling the kettle black. The difference is that Pro has given us merely one source of information that I cannot check or review (I don't own the book), whereas I've named the specific studies Brian Morris used for my opponent to look up and verify online. Meanwhile, we have absolutely NO idea how or where Goldman derived his data. Additionally, it is entirely false that Morris has only published online and not presented peer reviewed academic research! His data was published by Wiley Periodicals Inc., which absolutely does scientific peer review [A]. This is a blatantly failed attempt by my opponent to discredit my sources.

-- Rebuttal --

Like Sieben, I had assumed that Pro wouldn't be arguing against the health benefits of circumcision, but rather the parent's moral (not legal) right to make the choice - hence my religious argument. This was an honest mistake on my part, though nevertheless I've demonstrated that there are indeed various health benefits, and no significant damage as a result enough to sway a parent to NOT make this decision. My position has been that it is fine one way or another to choose circumcision, thus negating the resolution.

1. Health Benefits

Looking back on R2, the only thing Pro said was that Goldman allegedly found no health benefits to circumcision. As you can see, there was nothing for me to respond to as he simply sourced a page from Goldman's book that supposedly says this. To refute, I presented dozens of benefits with sources and scientific studies naming the various benefits they've found, as well as cited the scholarly references noting how this information was gathered. Moreover, it becomes readily apparent that my opponent did not bother reading these sources, as his defense is completely shattered within them. For instance Pro alleges biased results; he says the studies do not consider the number of sex partners one has in determining the validity of circumcision's effect on preventing STDs.

On the contrary, my source [4] from the last round explained, "Since HIV risk is lower in circumcised men who have more frequent, as opposed to less frequent, sexual exposure, it has been suggested that repeated contact may induce additional protection via an immune response to subinfectious inoculums. This may involve the small area of exposed urethral mucosa, or more likely the meatus, which unlike the urethra does contain a small number of HIV receptors." In other words, this source already debunked my opponents claim; it specifically takes into consideration the number of sexual partners one's had, and makes a case for why the FORESKIN ITSELF and not culture or promiscuity affects the rate one could easily spread or catch an STD. In other words, Pro's rebuttal completely fails.

Another example - Pro claims that "there's no valid reason why foreskin would increase [STD] transmission rate." Again my presented sources have already eradicated this defense. Source [4] explains, "The warm moist environment under the prepuce favours bacterial replication. The delicate inner lining's mucosal nature and risk of tearing it and the frenulum during intercourse are other factors. Chancroid is more likely to present on the inner and outer prepuce, whereas syphilis and HSV-2 tend to infect the genitalia more widely." This seems to significantly discredit Pro's assertion that "There's no valid explanation for why foreskin increases STD risk by a large magnitude" considering I just presented many valid explanations.

Once again there is blatant evidence explaining why the FORESKIN SPECIFICALLY negatively impacts one's protection against various STDs, STIs, etc. As such, we have absolutely no reason to accept Pro's accusation that there is no proof of the circumcision itself being responsible for protection, as various sources I've presented describe completely contrary. I have presented indisputable data (including photos) - not refuted by Pro - that circumcisions are inherently medically beneficial.

2A. Infant Pain

I've explained that sometimes we endure pain for overall benefits; Pro has done nothing to combat this except say not using anesthetics is "barbaric," despite his own note that often using anesthetics on infants can be dangerous (thus it's safer to not risk using them).

2B. Memory - Pro drops this argument.

2C. Post-Op Studies

I said that Goldman hasn't given one shred of evidence that the infant's fussiness was due to circumcision; Pro never responded. In other words my contention remains unrefuted, so we have no reason to accept Pro's statistic. While Pro says that his "Goldman source" (which again was merely a page number that neither myself nor the audience can refer to for analysis - significantly hindering the extent of my rebuttal) proves that circumcision IS traumatic. This is a reference and not an argument. Meanwhile, in the last round I presented 3 various facts/sources to combat this notion [13, 14, 15] which Pro simply says are mistaken. I think it's obvious here that there is no conflicting information, and just a my source vs. your source contention. However the difference is that I gave THREE studies for everyone to check and verify my claims, whereas Pro has given us one reference we can't check.

3. Complications

Pro says my statistics proving virtually NO complications from this procedure come from hospitals that use trained doctors for it. Of course this was the exact point I was trying to make! Circumcision is generally completely harmless if done under safe conditions by trained experts. Just because sometimes non-experts perform these things currently doesn't mean it SHOULD be that way; rather I was noting that there is nothing wrong with a parent opting for this choice under the experience of a professional. Additionally, just because a rabbi must perform the ritual according to Jewish tradition does NOT mean the rabbi cannot become professionally trained, negating Pro's notion that I have presented a contradiction here in any way whatsoever.

4. Hygiene

Pro says this study refutes itself; while one figure might be misleading at first glance, indeed the study proves that circumcised men typically have overall better penile hygiene [B].

5. Useless Foreskin?

Admittedly I did not respond to Pro's specific arguments here; character limits had me rely on posting sources instead of arguments that discredited his claims. However the only thing he really said was that foreskin MAY increase sexual pleasure or the illusion of having a bigger penis. This does not provide any significant medical advantage - certainly not compared to the proven medical benefits of circumcision.

6. Improper Framing

Pro makes the random claim that female clitoral mutilation is equivalent to male circumcision. Not only do I completely disagree, but I don't have to argue this as it is impermissible, as Pro pointed out, to make any new arguments in the final round. This is not what he originally said regarding the prefix "un," which I have already negated and Pro ignored.

7. Choice

Pro says adults who have chosen circumcision later on in life regret it. This has no bearing on the opinion of those who haven't endured the process later on in life. Also, extend my arguments regarding parents making significant life choices for their children in many other ways.

8. Long-Term Effects

I asked Pro to give ONE other source besides Goldman that proved long-term negative effects, and Pro completely dropped the argument, meaning no additional evidence was able to be presented in his favor.

***

Thanks for the debate!

[A] http://tinyurl.com...
[B] http://tinyurl.com...
Debate Round No. 3
76 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Mr.Infidel 2 years ago
Mr.Infidel
Sorry for voting on a long past debate, but I want to give some feedback on it.

CONDUCT: pro gets the conduct point as con tried to argued a freedom of religion, which pro clearly didn't want to argue. +1 for pro.

ARGUMENTS: This was tough to decide, but con gets the arguments. Pro attempts to show that there are negative effects, which con counters by showing more positive than negative. Moreover, none (or hardly none) of Pro's arguments were medical-benefit related. Indeed, had pro shown successfully that circumcision has more negative effects than negatives, pro would have won hands down.
Posted by 01010110 3 years ago
01010110
@m93samman
because it has no health benefits that proper education doesn't.
it is purely aesthetic, and cosmetic surgery should not be forced upon anybody.
also, the basic female equivalent is illegal in the U.S. so circumcision should be as well.
Posted by bluesteel 3 years ago
bluesteel
gavin

What do you intend to argue if religious arguments are allowed?
Posted by gavin.ogden 3 years ago
gavin.ogden
Unfortunately, I can not leave the religious implications out. If the practice is only allowed for religious beliefs, there would be total outrage. It is simply not practical, and I believe is very similar in nature to cropping a dog's tale. The tale is sensitive, and the procedure is quite painful, but the dog forgets, and is not really affected in the long run. Both procedures might appear to be appauling to some, but the majority does not shun either practice. If I truly believed circumcision to be inhumane, I wouldn't care about religious implications.
Posted by bluesteel 3 years ago
bluesteel
gavin

I don't have time right now, but I'll challenge you sometime within the next week.

I assume you would be okay with "Parents ought not circumcise babies for non-religious reasons" since I don't want to debate the religious aspects of the practice, but just the morality of parents making that decision for their children.
Posted by gavin.ogden 3 years ago
gavin.ogden
I think there is a debate somewhere in all this mess. You say you believe the decision should be left to the child, but I say the decision does and should remain on the parents.
Posted by bluesteel 3 years ago
bluesteel
@gavin

Read my previous comment - I don't think that the resolution you just offered is defensible on the con side, and it wasn't my point in bringing up FGM.

My previous challenge still stands - Resolved: the foreskin is a useless flap of skin. I know you now acknowledge that the con side of this resolution is not utterly ridiculous, but if you believe the evidence is still conflicting, then it is clearly something that is debatable with equal ground and arguments on both sides.

Supposedly a good resolution offers both sides an equal chance of winning. You may alter the wording if you like.
Posted by gavin.ogden 3 years ago
gavin.ogden
I must apologize for my previous comment. After further study, The conclusion from medical science is still inconclusive, but it is clear that the foreskin and the glans are the two most sensitive parts of the penis. I just saw how old many of the sources were, and that they came from anti circumcision propagndists. There was inherent bias in much of that research. I can more clearly see your side now, however, I would have no problem with a debate titled, "Female circumcision is worse than male circumcision." I would be pro. We may start right away if you wish.
Posted by bluesteel 3 years ago
bluesteel
I agree with you, L, female circumcision is f-ing scary, especially when the incisions don't heal properly. It is very different. I've been focusing mostly on how societies norm the practices of circumcision in both males and females. The norming practices are very similar; the procedures themselves are not.

Some of the original rationales for male circumcision were also quite oppressive. Many Jewish biblical scholars believed the practice was good because it stopped sexual depravities like masturbation (remember, lack of lubrication makes this much more difficult). This was at a time when masturbation myths were quite prevalent (like it leading to psychoses and blindness).

lol, you're right that being with someone with foreskin would be worth talking about the next day (in the U.S.), as would a guy getting with a girl with a thicket of pubic hair. Although guys are much less likely to discuss the details of their sexual encounters. Usually a day-after interaction would end at "smell my finger."

I can't imagine, though, that a girl hooking up with an intact guy could be as bad (even if his junk smells bad) as a guy starting to hook up with a girl who neglects to mention that she's "on the rag."
Posted by Danielle 3 years ago
Danielle
"She's not going to freak out that you're intact and run away..." Hehe just wanted to say that I actually know quite a few girls who are very grossed out by it.... They might not run away, but best believe the next day they're telling me about it in explicit detail gagging and poking fun. I mean, obviously this can't be said about ALL girls, but it's the cultural norm like you pointed out. This is similar to women with pubic hair, amirite? It's natural and some people (especially everyone prior to this generation) and perfectly fine with it, but it's cultural now for a woman to pretty much be completely shaven. Meh, anyway, I've already said that I'd reconsider this process simply because I don't see any substantial benefits, but I also think it's silly when you try to compare this with female circumcision. It's not the same thing at all. For instance cutting the clit is removing the most sensitive and important part of a woman's sexual experience. The same can not be said about male circumcision. Additionally the primary reasons for this practice are oppressive, i.e. to keep women proper for marriage, decrease her libido (to ensure celibacy), to keep girls "modest," etc. Also, female circumcision is not only far more painful but also far more dangerous with many cases of girls bleeding to death, going into shock, getting serious infections, and other long-term repercussions that cause severe damage like cysts, problems with UTIs, child birth, scarring, etc. The repercussions and negative impacts for guys are nowhere near that severe or frequent.
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