Talk:Circumcision/Archive 2

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3 Archive 4 Archive 5

Biases?

I wrote: RK's removal of massive slabs of text (see the page history) is an intolerable violation of the Wikipedia NPOV policy. RK wrote: Your claims are simply not true; I have not done this!

Well, how do you explain the evidence of the page history? How do you explain your removal of this: One important point made by circumcision opponents is that part of the infant's body is being unnecessarily and permanently removed without the subject's consent. Or your removal of this: Approximately 85 percent of human males in the world have not been circumcised and the percentage that have is falling.

As you can see, I deleted two sentences here! That is not massive slabs of text! RK
RK is the resident Jewish thought cop of Wikipedia. His Judeo-centric edits have been getting on everyone's nerves. Best to just ignore him and revert. -- Anon.

Now that the server is working tolerably well, I withdraw part of my statement: it was not "massive slabs", simply "selected key items". Nevertheless, that remains a serious violation of NPOV policy. Tannin

How is this a violation of NPOV? I don't understand your point. Nonetheless, if you want to re-insert these sentences, by all means please do so. I have no objections. RK


Before I do major rewrites, I'd also like to point out that

Based on decades of medical studies, most medical doctors accept that routine circumcision has a number of proven health benefits.

is a classical example of POV phrasing. Medical doctors accept that suggests a previous strong resistance from medical doctors to this now securely established "fact". The few who do not "accept" this "fact" are obviously pariahs who should be ostracized.

I am sad to see you public slandering the majority of medical doctors, simply because their reading of modern day scientific research contradicts your beliefs. Again, I note that your emotional response to this issue is over-the-top, and is presenting you from discussing the issue rationally. You have now made it clear that (a) most doctors are "pariahs" who should be "ostracized", and you have made it clar that religious Jews and Muslims should be thrown in jail after laws get passed to ban circumcision. Your extremists agenda and emotional tirade makes it very difficult to discuss the issue with you. Frankly, you are beginning to scare the shit out of me. RK

See my comments to RK above regarding this "fact" of medical benefits. "Most medical doctors" is of course also highly questionable -- has there been a survey? Among whom? US doctors? German doctors? Phrases like "proven" and "decades of medical studies" are also common rhetorical instruments of reassurance. A pro-circumcision parent who reads this sentence will very likely react with "See, Wikipedia says that circumcision has proven health benefits." It's an excellent propaganda sentence because it subtly inserts a pro-circumcision POV into a supposedly balanced article. --Eloquence 03:07 Apr 24, 2003 (UTC)

Lets look at the facts, shall we?

  • The Canadian Paediatric Society, does not support recommending circumcision as a routine procedure for newborns. (1996)
  • neonatal male circumcision has no medical indication. It is a traumatic procedure performed without anaesthesia to remove a normal functional and protective prepuce. The Australasian Association of Paediatric Surgeons, 1996
  • The Australian College of Paediatrics should continue to discourage the practice of circumcision in newborns. Australian Medical Association, 1996
  • To circumcise for therapeutic reasons where medical research has shown other techniques to be at least as effective and less invasive would be unethical and inappropriate. British Medical Association, 1996
  • We do not support the removal of a normal part of the body, unless there are definite indications to justify the complications and risks which may arise. In particular, we are opposed to male children being subjected to a procedure, which had they been old enough to consider the advantages and disadvantages, may well have opted to reject the operation and retain their prepuce Australasian Association of Paediatric Surgeons, 1996
  • Existing evidence does not justify recommending routine circumcision. American Academy of Pediatrics, 1999 Tannin 13:56 Apr 24, 2003 (UTC)
I never said anything to the contrary. In fact, I wrote the same thing myself! RK

Elqoence, just because you can find a tiny number of Jews who believe X, doesn't mean that X is a part of Judaism. Would you claim that Protestant Christianity is "a Jewish view of Jesus"? After all, thousands of Jews have left Judaism and converted to Protestant fundamentalist Christianity, through one or more forms of messianic Judaism. Doesn's this prove that Christianity is a part of Judaism? No. All it proves is that a tiny percent of American Jews have left Judaism and instead adopted Christianity. Just because a tiny percent of Jews have attacked circumcision and have adopted a non-Jewish view of circumcision, doesn't mean that this view is now magially a part of Judaism. It would incorrect and misleading to present this as a Jewish point of view. It would be no less misleading and dishonest than the "Jews for Jesus" (a real group) that presents the worship of Jesus as form of Judaism. RK

Please read NPOV again. If Jews for Jesus present the worship of Jesus as a form of Judaism, then we should report this fact. If Jews against Circumcision present the opposition to circumcision as compatible with Judaism, then we should report this fact. What you are trying to do is downplay the existence of a group you don't like by using POV phrases like "a very small number", "a tiny percent" and even "beyond the pale". Without sources, these phrases only make your POV look badly researched and emotional, and make Wikipedia look unprofessional. This is unacceptable. If most Jews think they need to genitally mutilate their children for them to be loved by God, then we should report this. But we need to represent all viewpoints accurately, not just the ones you agree with. This is the litmus test: If Jews against circumcision can read the final paragraph and agree with it, and Jews for circumcision can read it and agree with it, then we have reached an acceptable outcome. --Eloquence 01:57 May 2, 2003 (UTC)
No one denues that a very tiny percent of non-religious Jews, and an even tinier percent of Reform Jews, do hold an anti-circumcision position, and I never claimed otherwise. I only objected to your phrasing of this issue, because you deceptively tried to present this as a Jewish point of view, rather than (more accurately) as an anti-Jewish point of view. You are so hell-bent on pushing your beliefs that you are badly misrepresenting the beliefs of the Jewish community. For shame. RK
These people regard themselves as a part of Judaism. You call it shameful to point out this fact. It's shameful to deny mothers and fathers their cultural and ethnic heritage if they refuse to have their babies mutilated. You call them "anti-Jews" and "non-religious" because their practices do not fit your prejudices. A balanced article will represent these views accurately, and will not quantify them without a proper citation, as you have done. --Eloquence 20:19 May 2, 2003 (UTC)

I'd like to see you two work this out. What I find annoying in the article in the latest "Eloquence" version are the sentences that begin Some Jewish individuals have joined... and Some Reconstructionist and Reform rabbis...' - Look at it from my perspective, that of a non-jewish person who knows just about nothing about jewish views of circumcision. I can't read that paragraph and get any idea if we are talking about 1% or 30%. Is there some way you can agree on a way of phrasing this that indicates how big these factions are? -º¡º

Frankly, I don't know, and I suspect RK doesn't either. If you check out the Brit Shalom page [1], you will note that this alternative is already offered in several US states. Some anti-circumcision Jews may also find other ways to replace or forego the ritual. And many if not most Jews who oppose circumcision are probably not organized in any way. The only way to get realistic data would be a survey in different countries, with different answers available (e.g. oppose it and do not practice it, oppose it but practice it out of conformity, do not care about it, endorse it and practice it, strongly endorse it and practice it). I think it is safe to say the number is small, but anything beyond that is just POV without a citation. I won't accept RK's biased opinion as authoritative here. --Eloquence 12:28 May 2, 2003 (UTC)
Eloquence might not know, but I do have a rough idea. The percent of religious Jews (Jews who actually practice Judaism as religion, even if they are not Orthodox) who support the anti-circumcision point of view would probably be about 1%. No Conservative Jews hold this way; No Orthodox or Hasidic Jews hold this way. Very few Reform or Reconstructionist Jews hold this way. The problem is that Eloquence is so hell-bent on outlawing circumcision, he has allowed wishful thinking to override facts. That is why I rephrased the paragraph he wrote on this issue. Also, I strongly question much of the other material he recently added. It is very biased, and he is presenting a minority medical view as the majority. Most American doctors are not anti-circumcision, as he implies. They simply are not for it, which is a very different position. RK
Provide a citation of a survey among Jews, preferably in several countries, and we can talk about quantification. As for bias, where does the article state that a majority of US doctors is opposed to circumcision? The article states that "current US medical opinion about circumcision is highly controversial". It discusses in detail arguments for circumcision that have been made, usually by ardent circumcision advocates who regard the foreskin as "a mistake of nature" (Wiswell, who came up with the first UTI claims). You accuse me of bias? What I have done: I have invested several hours to add a summary of recent research and history to this article. What you have done: You have rewritten the paragraphs which do not fit your proconceived notions, removed large portions of text without explanation (where did Maimonides go, hm?) and added POV phrases like "beyond the pale" and "a tiny percent" without even a token attempt at actual research. You're not interested in neutrality -- you have always wanted this article to present a warm, fuzzy picture of circumcision that hides certain facts you do not like. This isn't going to happen. --Eloquence 20:38 May 2, 2003 (UTC)


Man, that is one of the most angry diatribes I have seen against me. I am disappointed by the way that you make up facts about subjects you admit you know nothing about (the beliefs and practices of the Jewish community) yet demand that others provide proof that you are wrong. It doesn't work that way. If you insist on making bizarre claims (ie. that the anti-Jewish anti-circumcision position is now a "Jewish position") then it is up to you to back your claims up. Further, no on here is hiding the viewpoint of Maimonides. I just rewrote that section because you dishontesly presented his view on this issue as the mainstream Jewish view. It isn't, and it never was. On this issue most Jews disagree. Finally, your anger at me is clearly a form of projection. I have no problem with your actions, yet you have made it clear that you consider me, and my entire people (the Jews) to be child-mutilating criminals obsessed with sex whose actions should be outlawed. That speaks volumes about your own lack of POV, if not self-control. It also is borderline anti-Jewish polemics. As long as you keep falsely claiming that we are are obsessed with sex and are mutilating our children, it will be hard to have a friendly conversation. Please calm down. RK
You're the one making up facts -- if you claim that "a tiny percent" of Jews are opposed to circumcision, it is up to you to provide sources for such statements. If you claim that Jews regard Goldman's book as "beyond the pale", it is up to you to provide a citation. As for your "rewrite", this diff shows quite clearly that you have simply removed views you do not like and added lots of unqualified polemic. So far, you have failed to support your views with evidence, and you are masking your failure in rhetoric. I'm not interested in rhetoric -- you have a long history of accusing everyone who disagrees with you of anti-Jewish or anti-Semitic views. I'm interested in facts. Put up or shut up. --Eloquence 21:27 May 2, 2003 (UTC)


Could any of the usages of "some" be replaced with "a small fraction" or "a vocal minority" or something like that while retaining NPOV? -º¡º
"A small fraction" sounds like a very sensible suggestion to me. (Though I hasten to add that I know nothing about Judaism and only a little about the US.) In the end, we can't hope to know every proportion down to the last decimal point, and we have to accept a carefully worded vagueness instead. Tannin

RK, there is no call for that sort of personal attack. Do try not to froth at the mouth so. Tannin

He clearly is calling me a child-mutilation proponent who is attacking children's genitalia because of some sex-based obsession. Why shouldn't I be offended at his tantrums? He is the one frothing at the mouth abou children's penises. He needs some prozac. RK
I have never accused you of any "sex-based obsession", but you have demonstrated a clear bias in your treatment of this subject. Unless you work to control that bias, we can hardly work together on the article. Someone who uses the phrase "for shame" in dozens of posts and accuses others of anti-Jewish views whenever possible should be careful about recommending medication to others. Do a search for exclamation marks on this page and note which comments they belong to. --Eloquence 21:27 May 2, 2003 (UTC)
I think that both of you are reacting very personally. Although I suggested something like "small fraction", I agree that "beyond the pale" is going too far. -º¡º
I think we should snip the personal attacks
(pun intended)
 ;-) Martin

People are misreading the paragraph! I did not have the article say that the anti-circumcision position is "beyond the pale". Rather, I pointed out that most religious Jews view the anti-circumcision movement as beyond the pale of Jewish religious behaviour. Why is this a problem? RK

What does "beyond the pale" mean to you? To me, it means something akin to "outside of acceptable behavior&". If you write "most religious jews consider anti-circumcision to be beyond the pale", I read "most religious jews consider anti-circumcision to be outside of acceptable behavior". To my eyes, it reads as a strong condemnation of anti-circumcision on behalf of most jews, and is a statement that I'd prefer to either see toned down or put in the context of quoting some specific jewish leader or organization. Perhaps "beyond the pale" means something weaker to you, and you hadn't considered how strong the meaning of it is to some people. Literally speaking, sometimes those who are "beyond the pale" to be outside the protection of the law, free to be attacked with impunity. -º¡º
Uh, you are really not understanding the statement. Jews consider the anti-circumcision movement beyond the pale of Judaism. They don't have a probelm with Christians, atheists or Muslims refusing to circumcise their children. Similarly, they consider the worship of Jesus to be beyond the pale of Jewish theology. They don't care whether or not gentiles worship Jesus. And even if Jews did have strong feelings about the anti-circumcision movement, so what? Should we lie about this, and refuse to state that? Mentioning the beliefs of a group is what Wikipedia articles do. Sadly, however, Eloquence's hateful rage at me in particular and Jews in general is causing him to engage on a flamewar that now is becoming openly anti-Semitic. RK
You are the one engaging in a flamewar, RK. You have personalized this discussion from the start, in an apparent attempt to distract from your inability to produce sources for your statements. Now you're crying "anti-Semitism" again, one of your favorite discussion tactics. This is getting boring and I don't have time for it. --Eloquence 22:49 May 3, 2003 (UTC)
Why do you criticise me for a position I do not hold? It is only Eloquence who is claiming that Jews are barbaric savages who mutilate their children; it is only Eloquence who believes that they they should be outside the protection of the law, as he says that their religious ritual should be made into a punishable criminal offense. It is only Eloquence who is attacking people with impunity. I, on the other hand, don't care at all whether or not he wants to circumcise his children. I couldn't care less. How can you twist this around to attack me? I honestly don't understand. RK
Of course I have never said the things you say I have said. Your deliberate distortions of other people's statements are really getting annoying, and are in clear violation of Wikiquette. Outside the protection of the law -- what a nice phrase for you to use to bring any opposition to circumcision into the context of religious persecution. No, circumcision opponents do not want Jews to be "outside the protection of the law", but some of them do want anti-circumcision laws to apply to everyone equally, Jew, Muslim or misguided US doctor. Others want compulsive counselling for parents who want to genitally mutilate their baby. Most want some kind of protection of children from genital mutilation, for whatever reason it is performed. --Eloquence 22:49 May 3, 2003 (UTC)
I think it's quite barbaric of them too. I'd certainly vote to have it banned if it ever came to that. And I agree with (erm... can't type the name) -- "beyond the pale" is a very strong statement. -- Tarquin 14:33 May 3, 2003 (UTC)
No-one is saying that the Jews (or anyone else either) are barbaric people. It is the mutilation that is said to be barbaric. Psychologists have a term for this error, RK. It's called (and I'm going to link it because if there is not a 'pedia entry on it already then there should be), the Fundamental attribution error. It is defined as attributing a bad act to the other person ("he forgot my birthday, therefore he is a bad man") rather than to the person's circumstances. Applied to oneself, it works in reverse. We tend to attribute our own bad acts to the the particular circumstances, not to our personalities: (I forgot your birthday, but I'm not a forgetful person, it was just that it was Monday and I was busy at the office and I had a headache"). It's been demonstrated over and over again that people make this error in a very consistent way. I'm way too rusty on my psych to be able to quote figures or cite authorities, but it's very standard, uncontroversial stuff. You'd find it on Google in no time at all. The point, of course, is that flinging these wild and ungentlemanly accusations at Montrealis is to fall victim to this error. He is not a bad person, he is merely saying what (by your lights) is a bad thing: that circumcision of unconsenting humans is a fundamental breech of human rights. Play the ball and stop playing the man. Tannin
So murderers are not bad people? They are good people who merely have done a bad act? Rapists are not bad people? They merely have done a bad act? And child-mutilating Jews aren't bad people, and we are merely doing a bad act? This doesn't make me feel any better. Is it really that hard for you to understand why Jews (and Muslims, and many others) don't want a tiny handful of extreme leftist gentiles to pass anti-circumcision laws which would throw us in jail as child-mutilators for following our faith?! Especially so for a procedure that the vast majority of American doctors do not have a problem with! And let us reall the facts: The vast majority of American medical doctors do not see circumcision as barbaric or mutilation; there merely view it as unnecessary. RK
it's no more than a tradition. learn to let go, RK. :-) The UK is passing anti-smacking laws. The only reason they don't pass anti-cicumcision is policitcal: they daren't offend minorities, which is a great pity. It is hardly extremist. -- Tarquin 13:27 May 4, 2003 (UTC)
I have no desire to throw accusations around. I fully recognise that many people mutilate their children in all good faith and good will: in the United States, in Australia, in sub-Saharan Africa (where, all too often, they chop off part of the pleasure organ of both sexes, not just boys). It's not intentionally evil. Let's face it, there is no reasonable prospect of passing child mutilation laws in the USA (or in Oz) in your lifetime or mine. The actual process of abolition (at least in my estimation) is more likely to follow a two-fold path: (a) public education (as has already happened, to a great degree), and (b) civil legal measures for assualt (which, once they hit, will hit big-time - if I was running a medical insurance company, I'd be writing an exclusion clause into our standard policies right now). Actual criminal penalties are a long, long way off, and may in fact never happen. The more likely thing is that mutilation of an unconsenting person's genitals will simply be treated under the existing laws of assualt. Already we are seeing this happen with female circumcision, and, sooner or later, the existing anti-sex discrimination laws will make sure that it applies equally to all. It's just a matter of time. Tannin
Could people please remember to use this page to talk about the article, not about the subject? As I recall, the debate over circumcision has gone on for many years, and we're unlikely to resolve the issue here. Wikipedia is not usenet, after all... ;-) Martin

Unless you are willing to add data for circumcision in predominantly Muslim or Jewish nations, moving SK into the table is a bad idea. The table belongs into the context of "routine neonatal circumcisions for non-religious reasons", where the statement is made that the US is the only nation that practices circ. on a majority of infants. Adding SK would be misleading in that context, unless we are willing to provide data for all countries that circumcise. Eloquence 15:23 May 4, 2003 (UTC)

Fair enough - I'll go look for stats some time. I think a table showing circumcision practices generally will be more informative than one showing only non-religious and neonatal circumcisions. After all, this entry is meant to be about circumcision generally, right? Martin
Yes and no -- having more data is, of course, always good, but a nation where the population predominantly follows a religion that practices circumcision can be expected to have a respectively high circ. rate -- unless one of those religions started to denounce the practice, which, AFAICT, is not happening yet. Routine neonatal circumcision for non-religious reasons, OTOH, is a special phenomenon, with rates changing drastically over time. What would be very interesting is a graph showing circ. rates for different contries from 1800 to 2000. I would imagine that in one of the hundreds of papers and books about circ, such a graph or table could be found (there are usually hospital records for circ.), but so far I have only seen single datapoints. --Eloquence 15:51 May 4, 2003 (UTC)
[2] has a graphs on US prevalence over time, which is interesting. Martin

Martin, please stop buggering about with other people's comments on talk pages. Tannin

Does that request apply to the archive as well, or just this page?

What does "religiously necessary" mean? -- Tarquin 22:28 May 4, 2003 (UTC)

I have rewritten this sentence in the main article to try and explain it more clearly. RK

If the Biblical stuff only applies to Jews, should it only be put in Brit milah? Martin

You misunderstand. Jews believe that the rules in the Hebrew Bible apply only to them, and that gentiles are not obligated to follow the rules. (Though they may certainly convert to Judaism if they wish) This does not mean that the Bible is of no concern to gentiles; The story, meaning, purpose, history and influence of the Bible is of great general concern, and it is a necessary component of the history of circumcision. In terms of a discussion of what Jews believe a person should follow, that is indeed discussed in a separate entry, Halakha. RK



Having looked at the previous talk, I might be venturing into the lion's den. Just two questions


There is an assumption that circumcision is desensitising. Whilst this seems plausible, presumably the only evidence for this would be from men circumcised as adults. Does this happen?
In the US, is there any ethnic difference. Do Hispanics, with a non-English background remain uncut? What about black Americans? jimfbleak 19:00 9 Jun 2003 (UTC)
I don't have any hard facts, but my impression is that Latinos tend to be uncircumcised while African-American males tend to be circumcised. SCCarlson 03:39 11 Jun 2003 (UTC)

If there's an "anti-circumcision movement" -- or if Goldman is trying to start one -- then information about the movement and/or Goldman should be in the article. Phrases like:

  • many individuals oppose, or
  • some individuals oppose

are far too vague for an article on a controvesial subject.

If we can't find some hard numbers, it would be better simply to say that Goldman opposes circumcision and also that Goldman has been trying to drum up support, etc. --Uncle Ed 14:04, 29 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Also, the article really ought to explain the motive for circumcision.

  • Is it merely a religious ritual?
    • Do we do it because we've always done it?
  • Is it for hygiene/health reasons?
  • Do non-Jews and/or non-Muslims do it?


The Unification Church considers circumcision to be an indemnity condition to atone for the fall of man, which had a sexual aspect. This echoes the words of Maimonides, who wrote:

The bodily pain caused to that member is the real purpose of circumcision. None of the activities necessary for the preservation of the individual is harmed thereby, nor is procreation rendered impossible, but violent concupiscence and lust that goes beyond what is needed are diminished.

--Uncle Ed 14:14, 29 Aug 2003 (UTC)

motivation? Is there one beyond "some old book told us to"? (and if it said "jump off a cliff" presumably some would). It is completely POV to start off with PAGES AND PAGES about where and how it is done. I want something LOUD AND CLEAR at the top that says "x percent of worldwide circumcisions are done for no good reason" -- Tarquin 18:34, 29 Aug 2003 (UTC)
I think the motivation section is reasonably clear, in spite of repeated attempts by an anonymous user to obscure it. The Maimonides quotation above currently resides at Brit milah and is only briefly summarized here.—Eloquence 18:39, Aug 29, 2003 (UTC)

Interesting additions, Anon, but not really appropriate to this topic, I suggest. Three thousand year-old folk tales about circumcision are not relevant to a top-level article like this one. (There is only room for so much detail.) However, this is not to say that the information you are adding would not be both interesting and useful if it were to be entered in a more appropriate place, such as, say, circumcision in biblical times or (better yet) circumcision and religion. Tannin 13:54, 17 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Prevalence of Circumcision in Lebanon

I would question the statement that claims that "most" men in Lebanon are circumcised. Lebanon has large communities of Christians, Muslims and Druse. The Christians, who form a large and very influential minority of the Lebanese, do not practise circumcision while the Muslims, of course, do. Therefore, though it might be accurate to say that a majority of Lebanese circumcise, I do not believe that it would be accurate to say that most do, because the Christian minority is so large.

12.24 responds

Tanin's rewrite was pure POV spin. Why does he censor the fact that some circumcision opposition groups are homosexual fetishists and anti-Semitic and anti-Islamic extremists? Is he ashamed? Is he homophobic? Is he worried that people may see the movement as suspect because of these associations? Too bad; sometimes the facts and the truth don't point in the direction you want to mould society. Why does he continue to put the Paige quote -- which is pure propaganda -- she has no basis for her quote except to support *her* message of anti-circumcision? Also, NPOV is violated by Tanin's and Eloquence's routing twisting of "Some", "Most", "A small number", and "A Few". If you cannot provide numbers, at least provide sources for your characterizations. And as for statements such as "conclusively prove" and "all"; first and foremost these statements without source support are not credible. Rarely is anything "conclusively proven" and rarely does "all" of anything apply. These statements without sources are toned down to more defensible positions or removed as POV hyperbole.

I am also researching the connection between the anti-circumcision movement and the abortion movement. If anyone can give me a push in the right direction, it would be appreciated.

I have explained this to you before, 12.24 -- the claim that there are links between groups opposing routine infant circumcision and homosexual groups is not only of little relevance, it requires substantial evidence beyond the anecdotal claims you have made here. And if we include such claims, then I will gladly include evidence that the pro-circumcision movement itself has highly fetishized the circumcised penis -- circumcision groups circulate tons of pictures in their discussion groups, and female circumcision is often downplayed or even idealized. If you go to a page like Circlist, you'll find plenty of high resolution photos of circumcised penises which seem to serve no educational purpose whatsoever. Instead, text like "A circumcision High and tight, Feels real good And looks so right!" is added to photos which seem to be lifted straight from gay magazines. Compare sites like Cirp and Circumstitions -- when they show photos it is to educate and to explain the nature of the foreskin. Yet I refuse to add these facts to the article because they add nothing to it and are a mere attempt to smear the pro-circumcision movement by linking it to another one which is still outside the social norm in many countries.
She has no basis for her quote except to support *her* message of anti-circumcision? Nonsense. Paige provides references for her statements, and the fact that masturbation phobia dominated medical thinking in the late 19th century and to a large degree contributed to the widespread application of circumcision is well known. Virtually every medical authority now denounces this as pseudoscience. Of course, if a 19th century doctor claimed that circumcision prevented epilepsy and syphillis, you are immediately ready to believe that -- while at the same time you completely ignore all negative effects of circumcision from disease and injury to death. All your attempts to edit this article have only had one goal -- to turn it into a pro-circumcision propaganda piece that reflects your emotional attachment to the lack of a foreskin.
If you cannot provide numbers, at least provide sources for your characterizations. Funny you should say that, since you changed these characterizations to be closer to your point of view without any data whatsoever. I have asked you before to quote a single major medical group in the US which advocates routine neonatal circumcision. All you can point to are propaganda websites like the one by Edgar Schoen. Furthermore, as for the Jewish anti-circ groups and individuals, "a few" is clearly more specific than "some" -- again, you have failed to provide any data to justify that change.
I am also researching the connection between the anti-circumcision movement and the abortion movement. And we all know what kind of results you expect to find. You're so boring and predictable.—Eloquence 18:25, Sep 19, 2003 (UTC)

Eloquence: you may be eloquent, but you are factually empty. Let's see, if one opposes your viewpoint -- which you admit is viewpoint, not neutral -- they are a propagandist -- you also deny to support any of your statements. What should my research find: if people think that bodily integrity is paramount and for that reason oppose circumcision, then they would logically oppose abortion for the same reason....god forbid if some woman aborted her fetus' foreskin; right? Or should we expect to find that individual choice regardless is paramount and that abortion rights and anti-circumcisionists are in league? tell me, eloquence.

1) Your calling me factually empty seems to be nothing but a preemptive strike to conceal your own lack of any response whatsoever to my arguments above while you continue to engage in an edit war in violation of Wikipedia policy. It is of utmost importance for working together to debate individual positions, you have demonstrated a complete incapability to do so.


2) Of course I have a viewpoint. So do you. So does everyone who has knowledge about a subject. Wikipedia articles can and must be written from a neutral perspective. That does not mean that controversial and undesirable facts are hidden, as you repeatedly attempt to do with the history of circumcision. The idea that circumcision arose because it was seen as a way to control children's sexuality is unacceptable to you -- so you simply remove it. Your actions are the actions of an ideologue and not of an honest researcher.
3) NPOV does not mean either that irrelevant or anecdotal claims need to be included, as you repeatedly have tried to do with your ridiculous list of "famous circumcised persons" (completely ignoring again my counter argument that such lists can and have been made for intact status and well, and with 84% of the present world population being intact, would be considerably more impressive, but utterly pointless regardless). What does abortion have to do with opposition to circumcision? The only reason why one would correlate the two is to discredit one, depending on one's own perspective on abortion and the expected reader perspective. That is what you are trying to do, just like you are trying to discredit opposition to circumcision by propagating bullshit about its alleged relationship to homosexual orientation.
If you fail to comply with Wikipedia policy and continue to engage in an edit war instead of trying to resolve any conflicts about the content of this article in sincere and honest discourse, you will be banned from editing Wikipedia.—Eloquence 20:23, Sep 19, 2003 (UTC)

You engage in Wikipedia terrorism, Eloquence. You threaten to "ban me" If Wikipedia bans people with which it or YOU disagree, then that practice speaks for itself. Use of profanity as you do only shows how inept your point is. The fact that a person can link circumcision with all sorts of things like masturbation etc., means that no one can link those who are trying to criminalize it with those who are trying to criminalize abortion (or perhaps those who are trying to criminalize the prevention of abortion).

Wikipedia is not a foundation for propagation of your viewpoints. Go ahead with your list of famous uncircumcised men...given that your view is that list should be 84/16ths as long and illustrious. You know it won't be. And in the U.S., you expect that the list should be only 45/55 as long and illustrious...good luck unless you stock it full of lies.

Your ability to ignore all arguments is impressive.—Eloquence 21:19, Sep 19, 2003 (UTC)


I am impressed with the vehemence with which 12.24 and Eloquence exchange views. Certainly this demonstrates the controvesiality of the subject. However, both have some valid points once one cuts through the mud that's been slung.

I think a full re-write is probably in order; even the small edits I have added to the article do not fully bring it into NPOV. Perhaps a chat among the recent editors of the article is in order?

Other than POV, I have misgivings about the use of "Some", "Few", "Small number", "Many", and other words. How many is many? and how few are few? Given the prior edits, and using the English words "Many" to be greater than "Some" which is greater than "Few" than "a small number", I am given to the impression that there exist more Jews who oppose circumcision than there are people who are circumcised. While I suppose that *could* be true, I would bet big money that it isn't. So let's clean up the language with percentages, citing to authority.

I am also somewhat concerned that the article quotes from websites that have a strong pro- or con- agenda for FACTS, rather than as evidence of the existence of the controversy. Editors wanting a chat, please email me at carlossuarez46 at hotmail dot com and we can arrange it.

Carlos, please don't rewrite the page if you do not understand the subject.

1) Phimosis. You will find numbers on medical analysis of circumcision. Phimosis is grossly overestimated and in fact very rare.

2) "In addition, where not strictly ‘necessary’, circumcision may be advisable." What is that supposed to mean? Removed.

3) The masturbation control history behind circumcision is well known and documented. There is no need to weaken it with a "Some claim" statement if nobody can factually refute it.

4) The masturbation method claims are correct. See masturbation for sources.

5) The usage "this data" is entirely acceptable and in fact more common than "these data". See [3].

6) It is perfectly neutral to describe Harvey Kellog's views as pseudoscientific if nobody in the scientific community disputes that description.

7) You claim that you want "FACTS" and yet you add the unsupported claim that "Some of these groups are founded by and/or regularly recruit members of the homosexual community." Please support this claim with evidence and explain how it is relevant to the article.

8) As for "some", "a few", if you check a dictionary you will find that "a few" is a much more specific enumeration, meaning "a small number", whereas "some" means "an unspecified number". If you substitute "some" with "a few", I expect that you supply data to back up this claim, you haven't done so, so I have restored "some" and "several".

—Eloquence 02:12, Sep 21, 2003 (UTC)

Now I see why 12.24 and others violently clash with you, Eloquence. You have no subtlety and no tact. First, your comments about changing to NPOV is wrong.

1. Phimosis according to the article you edited on medical analysis of circumcision shows phimosis of about 6%, now we have quantified your version of "very rare".

Wrong. "This problem, the only absolute indication for circumcision, affects some 0.6% of boys." Yes, I would describe this as "rare".—Eloquence

2. "Necessary" is a quite extreme situation. "Advisable" is less so; more often than not medically-based circumcisions performed are of the "advised" by a doctor sort rather than the strictly "necessary" sort. Dr.'s often use the "you ought to..." rather than "you must..." in this litigious age.

Actually, in the United States, circumcisions are often recommended when they are not medically necessary, and phimosis is often misdiagnosed even in countries where circumcision is not routinely practiced. Again, see medical analysis of circumcision.—Eloquence

3. You cite really weak authority for your sweeping view that masturbation prevention was the reason for circumcision in the U.S. in the 19th Century. Don't you have some stronger authority or is this but one viewpoint that is better shown as "some contend" that you deleted?

Nonsense argument.—Eloquence

4. No one fixates on masturbation in an article on circumcision any more than those who would or wouldn't fixate on a who is circumcised or not list that was rightly deleted. Give it a rest and merely cross-reference the other article that you edited.

Nonsense argument.—Eloquence

5. I was always told that the word "data" was plural, but have it your way.

6. Pseudo scientific is certainly not NPOV, regardless of how much of a crackpot you think someone is. I am sure that anyone espousing something that has not borne out by proof -- which include some of the world's greatest scientists and theologians -- is practicing pseudoscience.

Wrong. NPOV is not about controversial terms, it is about controversial opinions. If someone disputes that the early claims that circumcision prevents epilepsy and various behavioral problems were pseudoscience, do cite them.—Eloquence

7. Some of the groups are founded by and recruit members from gay groups. You know that. I know that. 12.24 put in citations to that in one of his/her edits that you undid. We should be proud of that fact, not hide it. Or are you ashamed to be gay? I, for one, am not. Nor am I ashamed of being uncut and happily so. But I resent self-hating gay uncle tom types who want to downplay gay importance so that some other agenda can be advanced stealthily. Get over it, honey.

No, I don't know that and I am not gay. You have not provided evidence.—Eloquence

8. What support do you provide for your choice of "some" vs. "few" or any other choice. Like I said, we need a re-write, with citations, with real numbers. I have known many men who were cut as babies, the percentage of those who are unhappy is small, the number whose unhappiness runs to being resentful is less still. Most of us are happy with our status regardless. And as for how many Jews are uncut, I've yet to sleep with one even though I spent 3 weeks in Israel for work and slept with lots of Jews. Is your experience so different?

See above.—Eloquence

9. Have you shown any versions of this article to anyone else? What are their opinions of the NPOV. I showed several to my (cut) roommate, who thought that your version both less accurate and more anti-circ than mine, which he also thought was anti-circ. He actually thought a few earlier versions were more NPOV. But circumcision is I guess impossible to get to NPOV, maybe the Wikipedians should just keep editing and unediting forever.

This article has been reviewed by a large number of participants, see the page history.—Eloquence


Uncle Ed rushes in

As the rabbi says in Fiddler on the Roof, I think we should all sit down.

I understand that there is a lot of anger on this subject. Some contributors apparently are also partisans, and I know from working on the global warming articles that it's supremely difficult to maintain NPOV and keep calm about a hot topic (pun intended).

Mutilation of the genitals is horrible, Eloquence. You have my heartfelt agreement there. The so-called "female circumsion" practiced in Africa and/or the Islamic world is highly distressing.

On the other hand, many Jewish people believe that removal of the FORESKIN of the penis isn't a case of mutilation but a Biblical commandment.

I'm not going to say that one side is right or wrong. And neither should the article. I hope we can cut out (pun intended) all these sharp-worded attacks on one another.

I have the deepest respect for both RK and Eloquence. I've intervened many times in RK's favor (often behind the scenes, in private). He knows a lot about Judaism, which is one of the most important topics here at Wikipedia. I also have tremendous respect for Eloquence's scientific knowledge. He keeps me honest, when I confuse "objectivity" and "really being right" with NPOV. Besides, it's a rough burden to wear the mantle of a Developer-rank sysop, no matter how much we try to downplay it ("we're all equal here, editorially").

Please, everyone, try to see the value in one another: who we are as people, most of all; but also what we each bring to this Great Project of Wikipedia. --Uncle Ed 19:53, 23 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Thanks for the moral guidance. Quite frankly, however, if you look at the revision history for the circumcision-related articles, you will find that anonymous users have been trying to insert obvious circumcision propaganda into these articles for weeks. From trying to link the genital integrity movement to homosexuality to listing "famous circumcised people" as evidence that circucmision is somehow related to success, wealth and creativity; from copying long paragraphs verbatim from pro-circumcision websites without even citing the source to removing large slabs of text about the history of circumcision, this is the type of edits I have had to deal with on these pages with little outside support. Yes, I am opposed to routine circumcision (although not nearly as emotionally devoted to the subject as you might be led to believe, given that it is not even much of an issue where I live, nor have I been subjected to this ritual). No, I have never made an attempt to turn this into an anti-circumcision article -- the facts speak for themselves.
On the Medical analysis of circumcision page I am still working on cleaning up the POV mess that a single user has created by citing exclusively material from mostly biased pro-circumcision sources, among them such scientific authorities as Edgar Schoen, who has written poetry ridiculing both the intact penis and the genital integrity movement (speaking of which, the anons who have been editing this page even refuse to accept that the majority of the movement does not oppose adults choosing circumcision, a fact which should be blatantly obvious to anyone with even the most remote understanding of the matter). In all this I am trying to be ludicrously fair, judging each individual edit and using whatever can be used instead of simply reverting. Yet, anon number 12.24 has not answered a single one of my responses to his edits (even though he has given general replies of the type "You are wrong and are trying to monopolize this article", indicating that he is clearly aware of the function of talk pages). If you read the discussion above, you will note that the level of argument is "My friend is circumcised. He didn't like the article. Oh, and your sources are not credible."
I'd much rather deal with RK, who expresses legitimate concerns (because the question where religious fredom ends is always a difficult one to answer), than with the kind of agenda-driven single-page anons who have been trying to turn this article into a propaganda piece they can print and hand out in their circumcision communities. "Look, Wikipedia says circumcision is a mark of the elite, and the uncircumcised people are all filthy homosexuals who support abortion." That kind of thing.
Given all this, I would much prefer it if you would devote your energy and knowledge to educating newbies about neutrality. I believe that NPOV violations are the biggest problem Wikipedia faces today. Would you like to join me in writing an NPOV tutorial for newbies? And if we can get that done, perhaps you would be the more suitable person than I to kindly point those new editors to that tutorial who seem to have problems grasping the finer points of what I have always deemed an idiotically simple policy.—Eloquence 21:43, Sep 23, 2003 (UTC)

Wow, great minds think alike. I had just finished writing Wikipedia:Ownership of articles before reading your proposal above.

We do need an NPOV tutorial for newbies. Not just a formal statement defining policy -- I think we have one of those already. But a "how to" guide for the perplexed. Instead of something like Sun's formal language definition for Java -- written on the grad-school level for computer scientists -- rather, something more like The Java Tutorial. I will create an article called Wikipedia:NPOV tutorial, and we can get right to work, eh? --Uncle Ed 18:36, 24 Sep 2003 (UTC)


In 1753 in London there was a proposal for Jewish emancipation. It was furiously opposed by the pamphleteers of the time, who spread the fear that Jewish emancipation meant universal circumcision!
Their prediction was quite accurate.


With the amount of venom in this discussion, I'm almost hesitant to speak, but I do believe myself to be a relatively neutral observer, and there seem to be very few of those weighing in. For what it is worth, since it seems possibly relevant, I am a quite secular person, but ethnically Jewish.

I would say that the article as it stands is not NPOV. It reads less like an encyclopedia article about circumcision than a tempered, but nonetheless persistent, argument against the practice. I'm not saying it shows bad faith or is deliberately POV, but a polemic really does come through.

I would suggest that it would be very useful for someone with no axe to grind (so to speak) to go through the article with the specific goal of trying to address this. I stumbled upon the article almost randomly, and I don't want to take this on myself - not at all - but I look at this and say that if NPOV is a goal (which it ought to be), it would be worth recruiting someone neutral to spend a day or so with this article just as an editor. Jmabel 07:53, 28 Nov 2003 (UTC)

This article is the result of a very, very long compromise process among both pro- and anti-circumcision individuals. It is not the result of one person writing an anti-circ. diatribe. Most of the pro-circ. arguments are included, but there aren't exactly a whole lot of them. A pro-circ. activist tried to add a long section about all the great individuals in history who were circumcised, for example. This kind of crap is of course entirely unacceptable.
The problem with a "relatively neutral" attitude is that such an attitude is difficult to uphold when the weight of most of the arguments is clearly on one side. To give you a comparison, female circumcision is almost universally condemned in "western" cultures, but the article about it should not so much reflect the level of condemnation, but the arguments against it, which are very similar to the ones against male circumcision. In the case of FC, most people here would accept, because of their personal biases, that it is logical for the article's argumentative weight to be on the side of opposition. Yet, in the case of male circumcision, there seems to be a natural assumption that the other side must have some undiscovered great arguments, because why else would they still be doing it?
The truth is that male circumcision is a ritual as much born out of ignorance and fear as female circumcision, and both the historical record and the procedure's effects reveal this clearly. Wikipedia should never relativize the truth to accommodate strongly held emotional beliefs, if these beliefs cannot be argumentatively justified.
In other words, if you have something meaningful to add, do it. If there is some argument by pro-circumcision groups that both the pro- and anti-people working on this article have overlooked, I'd like to hear it. But when I look at the very few pro-circumcision websites, all I'm seeing are the tired, same old arguments, most of them soundly refuted in scientific circles. There is some recent AIDS research which is controversial, but that is covered in the medical split-off article.—Eloquence 08:20, Nov 28, 2003 (UTC)

That's quite interesting because when I stumbled onto it, I had the impression that it's unduly in favor of circumcision. Might be because I'm from a country where it's not routinely performed except for religious reasons or in the rare cases where there's a medical need to intervene to facilitate such things as urination or intercourse. I was quite surprised when I learnt how common it still was in places like the US, which generally has fairly good standards of medical ethics, in spite of odd exceptions like this one. Jamesday 10:50, 2 Dec 2003 (UTC)