Talk:Circumcision controversies

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Era Style[edit]

Just to note, I reverted the IP's era style change (i.e., BCE/CE vs. BC/AD) because WP:BCE says not to change what's in place. As I scanned for other occurrences, I realized we'd had a mix of both beforehand, and perhaps the IP was trying to harmonize them, though if so, some were missed. I harmonized them all (I think) to BCE/CE style because it's more in line with scientific study, but I'm not terribly concerned which we use, just as long as we're consistent. RobinHood70 talk 21:01, 15 January 2014 (UTC)

Thanks RobinHood70, agree with your edits. Zad68 21:03, 15 January 2014 (UTC)

Genital mutilation[edit]

What are people's thoughts on the recent addition to the lead? I know many people consider circumcision to be genital mutilation, and we do cover it with that wording later in the article, but the BOLD addition seems rather more like an ACTIVIST addition to me. Nevertheless, the wording is sometimes used, so I didn't want to remove it outright without some kind of discussion. RobinHood70 talk 06:40, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

RobinHood70, agree, the term isn't what's generally used by the sourcing, and certainly using that term unqualified as an equivalent term in the opening words of the lead isn't supported... in fact the addition was unsourced. So, removed. Agree the more appropriate place to discuss the use of the term is in the context of activism in the body of the article. Zad68 14:29, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Brian Morris Study[edit]

I have some concerns about the balance of the recently added Brian Morris study. I tried to present both sides of the debate, but those were reverted. In regards to those specific claims, first, the article provides the caution in regards to circumcision rates, but those underlie the study. Second, the article says nothing directly about what Goldman was commenting on, but certainly makes it seem like it's in regards to the study. It mentions his book in the same paragraph, but doesn't seem to be implying that the statement came from that book. Quite to the contrary, the paragraph just before specifically stated that "Circumcision opponents — known in some circles as “intactivists” — generally dismissed the new study" and then went on to quote Goldman. That implies that the response was specifically directed to the study.

In a broader context than my specific edits, however, I have some real concerns about the quality of this study. Googling the author, it wasn't hard to determine that Brian Morris is a well-known advocate for circumcision. That in itself is concerning, since it casts doubt on the neutrality of the review. Moreover, it wasn't hard to find a number of instances where he has been caught presenting misinformation in regards to circumcision. Yes, Mayo Clinic Proceedings is peer-reviewed and did publish this (for which they are being roundly blasted), but I think we're doing a disservice to the article in presenting this review as though the findings are unquestioned. I'd like to suggest that it be removed based on these concerns, not to mention recentism, until there are more balanced analyses of this new information available. Per WP:REDFLAG, "challenged claims that are supported purely by primary or self-published sources or those with an apparent conflict of interest" require multiple high-quality sources. Claiming a 100-to-1 benefit when previous studies, including even the AAP statement, have found only mild evidence in favour of circumcision would seem to me to be an exceptional claim. RobinHood70 talk 17:35, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

RobinHood70's personal concerns about the study are noted, but if you want to add criticisms of the study, you will have to find a critic that comments on the specific study and not about studies in general. Based on the article in the Jewish Journal, it isn't clear to me that Goldman even read Mayo Clinic Proceedings article. As for the suggestion to censor this material, I must remind RobinHood07 that we don't remove peer-reviewed survey results just because an editor doesn't like it. --GHcool (talk) 18:21, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
This isn't about me not liking it or trying to censor it in any way. I have a moderately balanced opinion on the issue of circumcision. What I have a stronger opinion on is following the Wikipedia guidelines and presenting information that conforms to medical consensus. This study violates two out of the four red flags: making an extraordinary claim and being written by authors with a known bias on the subject. It should not be included until such time as other studies have been published that back it up. Also, contrary to your claim, we do remove peer-reviewed articles under those circumstances. In fact, MEDRS has several mentions of it, namely:
  • "Controversies or areas of uncertainty in medicine should be illustrated with reliable secondary sources describing the varying viewpoints."
    This review advocates only one viewpoint and presents no others.
  • "...the fact that a claim is published in a refereed journal need not make it true. Even a well-designed randomized experiment can (with low probability) produce spurious results. Experiments and studies can produce flawed results or fall victim to deliberate fraud." and "...demand that we present any prevailing medical or scientific consensus".
    As there is no international consensus at this time, we must present both sides of the debate, not present one side like the debate is over.
As for not being clear what Goldman was responding to, re-reading the text, I really don't think it gets much clearer: "Circumcision opponents — known in some circles as “intactivists” — generally dismissed the new study. “It’s very easy for researchers to design their studies and the analysis of their studies to come out with conclusions that they want,” said Ronald Goldman." That's clearly a response to the study itself. Heck, even if you want to say that somehow it's not, the article still states quite clearly that circumcision opponents dismissed the study. Presenting the fact that the new information is challenged is presenting a neutral article describing the controversy. Presenting only one side, with no independent verification of the claims, is not.
If another review is later published by independent authors that confirms this study, I'll be happy to include that information. Until then, I think it should be removed or presented with appropriate cautionary text. RobinHood70 talk 19:28, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
I'll re-edit the article to put Mr. Goldman's criticism into context, but we may not censor this study. If you don't like the study, I encourage you do find a reliable source that criticises the study. However, you may not remove all mention of the study from the article. --GHcool (talk) 19:59, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
On what grounds do you believe it shouldn't be removed? I've pointed out the relevant Wikipedia reasons that it should be removed, but all you've given me in terms of reasons that it should stay is that you think my personal opinions are coming into play. Guidelines clearly state that if it's an exceptional claim, there need to be multiple sources to include it. Right now, we don't have that. RobinHood70 talk 20:09, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
Where's the exceptional claim? Shouldn't a wikipedia article summarize the results of an artcle in a respected peer reviewed journal on the subject? This seems like exactly the sort of thing that should be in this article. --GHcool (talk) 20:13, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
The exceptional claim is that the health benefits outweigh the risks by 100 to 1. That's not supported by any other review that I'm aware of. As I said earlier, the AAP statement has been read by some as being pro-circumcision, and even that states that "health benefits are not great enough to recommend routine circumcision for all newborn males". RobinHood70 talk 20:21, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

() Just a suggestion: should we ask for a third opinion, perhaps? RobinHood70 talk 20:25, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for that last edit. I hadn't clued in that those were one and the same. RobinHood70 talk 20:17, 18 April 2014 (UTC)