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Wednesday, June 27, 2012



James W. Prescott, Ph.D.
Institute of Humanistic Science San Diego, CA

Published in The Truth Seeker, July/August 1989, pp. 14-21.

Male circumcision is not primarily a medical issue but rather has its roots in deeply held religious beliefs and social customs that defy rational and humane understanding.
Genital mutilations of both males and females have been a common practice in many cultures and have existed from the earliest days of recorded history. These excruciating painful procedures have been inflicted upon newborns and adolescents for a variety of reasons. Religious beliefs and social-cultural customs, particularly "rites of passage ceremonies" have been historically the primary reasons for both male and female genital mutilations. Only recently has one form of genital mutilation, male circumcision, come under a different rubric of justification, i.e. modern medicine.
It is a major thesis of this presentation that male circumcision is not primarily a medical issue but rather has its roots in deeply held religious beliefs and social customs that defy rational and humane understanding. The devastating practices and consequences of female genital mutilation that have been so well documented by Fran Hosken (see page 22 in this conference report) provides a context for understanding the forces of toleration and support for male genital mutilations, i.e. circumcision. Why is it that certain elements of the medical profession can offer support for male genital mutilation (circumcision) but not female genital mutilation that is so widespread in other cultures of the world?
And why have the medical professions, until very recently, ignored and denied the extraordinary and excruciating pain that the newborn experiences when part of its skin (the foreskin) is shredded and cut from the rest of its body?
This indifference to human pain and suffering of the circumcised newborn is not confined to the medical profession but is widespread throughout many cultures, particularly where other forms of male and female genital mutilations are practiced. In this psychologist's opinion, all forms of genital mutilation that are inflicted upon unconsenting children are de facto acts of torture and mutilation which are in violation of Article 5 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that "NO ONE SHALL BE SUBJECTED TO TORTURE OR TO CRUEL, INHUMAN OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT".
This position statement has been unanimously approved as a resolution by the General Assembly of this Conference (see page 53).
It is my conviction that the acts of newborn and adolescent torture and mutilation which occurs in ritual male and female genital mutilations must be understood within the broader context of human torture, mutilation and violence against the human body which are pandemic throughout the world. The key to understanding this pain and violence is to be found in understanding its converse, i.e. pleasure and peace where physical pleasures of the body, particularly sexual pleasures, are considered inherently immoral by many fundamentalist/orthodox religious traditions which they believe threatens the salvation of the soul and society.

The key to understanding this pain and violence is to be found in understanding its converse, i.e. pleasure and peace . . .
This understanding of the reciprocal relationship between pain and pleasure; our tolerance and support for the torture and mutilation of the human body and intolerance for the physical pleasures of the body involves profound issues of moral philosophy of good and evil; of the moral theology of pain and pleasure; and how these moral value systems become encoded in the developing human brain and thus, behaviors which includes the social-moral values and ideologies of human culture. In brief, it is my contention that the ultimate resolution of the circumcision issue and other forms of male/female genital mutilations will involve primarily the ethical, moral and neuropsychological issues involved in torture and mutilation and less in the presumptive medical and social benefits of genital mutilations.
Before proceeding with a summary of the religious, philosophical and scientific data in support of this thesis, I would like, to comment very briefly on two medical studies that purport to provide statistical medical evidence for the practice of circumcision and which raises serious ethical/moral issues when findings from presumptive pathological groups are generalized to healthy groups to justify surgical procedures on healthy groups in the guise of "preventive medicine".
First, is the study of Dr. William Cameron of the University of Manitoba where it was reported in a sample of 292 men who had patronized prostitutes in Nairobi, Kenya that 20% of uncircumcised men became infected with the AIDS virus, whereas, only 3% of circumcised men became infected with the AIDS virus. It was reported that 85% of the prostitutes were infected with the AIDS virus. It was concluded that circumcision offered a degree of prevention against the AIDS virus.
Assuming that circumcision vs. non-circumcision, and not other variables, can account for this difference, how can the grossly negligent and irresponsible sexual behaviors and poor personal hygiene practices of OTHERS be used to justify the genital and sexual mutilation of the INNOCENT? Another example of the misuse of statistical inference from medical data is provided by the studies of Dr. Thomas Wiswell.
In one of Dr. Wiswell's studies where he evaluated the incidence of Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) in 422,238 boys born to Army families he found a ten-fold increase in UTIs in uncircumcised vs. circumcised boys. The incidence was 1.1% vs .11%, respectively, where one third of the l.1% later developed serious medical complications. This finding of 1.1% and/or the .034% serious medical complications in uncircumcised newborns is now being used to justify the routine genital mutilations of 99% of healthy male newborns who do not develop UTIs. Since female infants were found to have a 0.57% incidence of UTIs which is 50% of the uncircumcised males (1.1%) it is clear that there are other variables unrelated

p. 15, July/August 1989, The Truth Seekerto circumcision that contribute to UTIs. I will leave to other investigators the exploration of these other uncontrolled variables that contribute to UTIs.
There is a well established body of scientific data that documents the role of sensory stimulation and deprivation upon brain development and emotional-social, psychological and mental development. From the perspective of the developmental neuropsychological sciences there can be little question that the extraordinary pain experienced by newborns, children and adolescents who are subjected to ritual genital mutilations has a profound influence upon the brain and later behaviors. It is this writer's conviction that the extraordinary pain and trauma experienced through genital mutilations -- an organ and brain system that is designed for the experience of sexual pleasure and the expression of sexual love -- has permanently altered normative brain development for the normal expression of sexual pleasure and love. It is proposed that this genital pain has long-term developmental consequences for the ability of such individuals to differentiate pain from pleasure in love relationships and to develop intimate sexual relationships.
It is not without psychobiological consequence that the brain system which is designed for the experience of pleasure and the expression of sexual love is first encoded with extraordinary and excruciating pain. In such individuals, all subsequent acts or experiences of genital pleasure are experienced upon a background of genital pain that is now deeply buried in the subconscious/unconscious brain.
It is this developmental neuropsychologist's conviction that these early experiences of genital pain contribute to the encoding of the brain that begins the neurobiolgical foundation for sado-masochistic behaviors. The brain system that has been designed for pleasure has first and foremost become saturated or encoded with pain that now limits and qualifies all subsequent experiences of pleasure. When these early experiences of genital pain are followed by a developmental deprivation of physical affectional pleasure in the maternal-infant relationship and in the adolescent sexual relationship, then violent destructive behaviors are the inevitable outcome.
Equally significant is the prediction that the cumulative consequences of these developmental experiences of genital pain and affectional deprivation precludes the possibility of realizing the spiritual dimensions of human sexuality.These relationships have been discussed elsewhere and need not be repeated here. Suffice it to note that it has been possible to predict with 100% accuracy the torture, mutilation and killing of enemy captured in warfare in 49 primitive cultures from the two variables of deprivation of physical affection in the maternal-infant relationship and in the adolescent sexual relationship; and that brain dysfunction underlies those violent behaviors induced by Somatosensory Affectional Deprivation (Prescott, 1975, 1979, 1989; Heath, 1975). (See March/April issue of The Truth Seeker)
Tables I and II summarize the social-behavioral characteristics of primitive cultures that engage in male and female genital mutilations. Tables III and IV provide a similar summary for those cultures that punish pre-marital sex and extra-marital sex. Similarly, for Table V which characterizes cultures that have high gods. In general these cultures are patrilineal, subordinate women to men, have low nurturance of children, are sexually repressive, punish abortion, are violent and have a high god that supports human morality.
In summary, the confounding of pain and pleasure in the developing brain provides the neuropsychological foundation for individuals who must experience pain to experience pleasure, or who derive pleasure from the experience of pain.
One of the most recent studies that is particularly germane to this thesis was reported by Jacobson, et. al in Acta psychiatr. scand. (2987:76-364-371), entitled Perinatal Origin of Adult Self-Destructive Behavior. The summary of this study is provided by the abstract which reads as follows:

The study was undertaken to test whether obstetric procedures are of importance for eventual adult behavior of the newborn, as ecological data from the United States seem to indicate. Birth record data were gathered for 412 forensic victims comprising suicides, alcoholics and drug addicts born in Stockholm after 1940, and who died there in 1978-1984. The births of the victims were unevenly distributed among six hospitals. Comparison with 2,901 controls, and mutual comparison of categories, showed that suicides involving asphyxiation were closely associated with asphyxia at birth, suicides by violent mechanical means were associated with mechanical birth trauma and drug addiction was associated with opiate and/or barbiturate administration to mothers during labor. Irrespective of the mechanism transferring the birth trauma to adulthood -- which might be analogous to imprinting -- the results show that obstetric procedures should be carefully evaluated and possibly modified to prevent eventual self-destructive behavior.
Specifically, the authors reported that a perinatal event of Asphyxia (a lack of oxygen) carried a risk factor for suicides from hanging, strangulation, drowning and gas poisoning that was five times greater than for controls; for perinatal mechanical trauma, e.g. breech presentations, forceps delivery and multiple nuchal loops, the risk factor for suicides from hanging and other mechanical injuries was twice as great as controls; for perinatal events of opiate/barbituate use the risk factor for drug addiction was approximately three times greater than the controls.
In an earlier study of 52 adolescent suicides, Salk., et. al., (1985) reported three prenatal/perinatal risk factors that significantly discriminated the suicide group from the two matched non-suicide control groups. These were: 1) respiratory distress for more than one hour at birth; 2) no antenatal care before 20 weeks of pregnancy; and 3) chronic disease of the mother during pregnancy which were found in 81% of the suicide cases. These authors were quite uncertain as to the mechanisms by which prenatal/perinatal birth trauma were linked to suicidal behaviors.
David Levy in a 1945 study on the "Psychic Trauma of Operations In Children" reported on three cases of male circumcision at ages 12 months (2 cases) and at 6½ years. Psychological trauma included the development of night terrors, temper tantrums and rage. In the 6½ year old suicidal impulses developed. Levy reports:

"... a circumcision at the age of 6 years 7 months, was preceded by a struggle of the patient with his father and the anesthetist before they overpowered him. Immediately after the anesthesia wore off, he said over and over, "They cut my penis. I wish I were dead." The rest of the day the patient never left his mother's side. Thereafter his previous temper tantrums [continued on page 17]

p. 16, July/August 1989, The Truth Seeker


The % column reflects the percentage of cultures that share in common the behaviors listed; the P column states the probability level of statistical significance, e.g. a value of .003 means that the probability that the behavioral relationships being compared could occur by chance is 3 times out of a thousand; and the N column indicates the number of primitive cultures involved in the comparision of the paired behaviors.



Social-Behavioral CharacteristicsPercent

Castes are present78.0000304
Weaving by males78.0000100
Games of strategy75.0000168
Metal working is present71.0000238
Exclusively patrilineal69.0000325
Slavery is present65.0000314
High bride price56.0000322
Husbandry is present51.0002325
High god supports human morality64.000786
High god is present54.0009257
Class stratification is present56.003316
Leather working by males65.005081
Polygamous rather than monogamous60.004321
High exhibitionistic dancing57.0382
Totemism is present65.0426
Early infant child satisfaction is low69.0635
Longer post-partum sex taboo67.06124
High oral socialization anxiety63.0648
Exclusive mother-son sleeping -- 1 year67.0742
High incidence of theft66.0635
Patrilineal cultures58.06137
High narcissism58.0886
High god active55.08155
Wife lending and exchange71.0928
Infanticide is present63.0930
TIME OF CIRCUMCISION: A) 1st & 2nd months: 4 cultures; B) 2 months to 2 years: 4 cultures; C) 2 to 5 years: 7 cultures; D) 6 to 10 years: 23 cultures; E) 11 to 15 years: 21 cultures; F) 16-25 years: 7 cultures.




Social-Behavioral CharacteristicsPercent

Male genital mutilation is present83.00636
High bride price61.0138
Cultures are exclusively patrilineal79.0238
Segregation of adolescent boys75.0228
Youth sex expression restricted80.0320
High mother-child households78.0427
High child anxiety over nurturant behavior91.0511
Torture, mutilation & killing of enemy70.0720
Incidence of theft is high85.0813
Low infant protection from environment75.0813
NOTE: Initiation rites mandatory for all girls between 8th & 20th years. Does not include betrothal or marriage customs. From: R. B. Textor. A Cross-Cultural Summary. (1967) HRAF PRESS: New Haven.




Social-Behavioral CharacteristicsPercent

Community size is larger73.000380
Societal complexity is high87.0115
Class stratification is present60.01111
Slavery is present59.005176
Low female income71.0924
Personal crime is high (392)71.0528
Incidence of theft is high (392)68.0731
Kin group exclusively patrilineal62.04114
Kin groups patrilineal or double descent rather than matrilineal64.00262
Small extended family70.00863
Wives are purchased54.02114
Women have property rights100.0089
Longer post-partum sex taboo62.0350
Extramarital sex is punished71.00558
Sex disability is present83.00423
Castration anxiety is high65.00937
Bellicosity is extreme68.0437
Killing, torturing and mutilating the enemy is high69.0735
High god in human morality81.0127
Narcissism is high66.0438
Exhibitionistic dancing65.0466




Social-Behavioral CharacteristicsPercent

Slavery is present67.00283
Personal crime is high80.0220
Theft is high81.00821
Abortion is highly punished76.0517
Premarital sex is strongly punished71.00558
Castration anxiety is high87.000130
Military glory is emphasized62.00253
Bellicosity is extreme77.00243
High killing, torture, mutilation78.00242
Aggressive supernaturals79.0219




Social-Behavioral CharacteristicsPercent

Caste system is present52.0004244
Slavery is present60.0002251
Patrilineal rather than matrilineal68.0006167
Wives are purchased65.0015258
High aggression socialization anxiety71.0145
High infant pain by caretaker63.0857
Early independence training69.0629
Male genital mutilation present54.0009257
Premarital sex strongly punished59.05149

p. 17, July/August 1989, The Truth Seeker
developed into destructive rages. During the treatment he played numerous killing games, in which his father was the principal victim. The operation represented a castration by his father." (p. 10).
Questions must be raised as to the extent to which rage and suicidal behaviors are engendered by the assaults of circumcision whether conducted during the newborn or child/pre-pubertal periods. (There are approximately a third more suicides than homicides in the U.S.). Is there a link between circumcision and the willingness to kill oneself or others for one's religious/national beliefs, particularly when circumcision occurs at the age of puberty, as it does in the Muslim cultures? The willingness of many Muslim men to die or kill for their religious beliefs is well known, e.g. the cases of Salman Rushdie and Sirhan Sirhan may be representative here.
Jacobsen, et al. (1987) noted in their study that hypoxia during birth might cause minimal brain damage that could result in destructive behaviors. However, these authors questioned whether neurological injuries due to hypoxia could be the main factor, "since altogether rather few victims suffered from asphyxia during birth. None of the 86 suicides from poisoning by solid or liquid substance and none of the 53 alcoholics were reported to have been asphyxial."

There is a delayed "time bomb" of brain damage that occurs long after the initial injury or insult.
There are several points to be made concerning these two studies. First, Faro and Windle (1969) in their experimental asphxial studies in monkeys documented both immediate and delayed brain damage by as much as 10 years in these monkeys. In short, there is a delayed "time bomb" of brain damage that occurs long after the initial injury or insult. It would appear that later stages of brain development are dependent upon earlier stages of brain development which must be normal if later stages of development are to be normal. Secondly, there are a variety of traumas/injuries that can simulate or mimic asphyxial effects.
For example, sensory deprivation (like asphyxia) can damage the sensory receptors and sensory pathways of the brain. This neuronal damage from sensory deprivation prevents normal sensory stimulation of the brain which is essential for normal brain development and function. This is why the experiencing of sensory pleasure -- physical affection and sexual pleasure -- is essential for normative brain development, function and behavior.
The effects of sensory deprivation or altered and abnormal sensory environments upon brain development and behavior are well documented. This is the mechanism which I will now focus upon since it is my conviction that a variety of early traumatic events of pain, deprivation and stress, including asphyxia, damage the affectional neuronal systems of the brain. It is this damage that compromises or prevents the development of affectional bonds of pleasure since these brain systems for pleasure have been damaged by these early insults and injuries. This thesis constitutes the neuropsychological foundation of my SAD (Somatosensory Affectional Deprivation) theory of alienation, depression, addictive and violent behaviors.
It is for these reasons that SAD is proposed to be the process or mechanism which can account for the linkage between prenatal/perinatal trauma and suicides that have been reported by Salk, et al., and by Jacobson, et al.
Specifically, Somatosenory Affectional Deprivation (SAD) theory is based on the nature of brain processes where it has been well established that activation of the pleasure circuits of the brain inhibit the activity of the violence circuits of the brain. This normative reciprocal relationship ceases to function when the neuronal circuits of the brain that mediate pleasure are insufficiently developed -- a form of brain dysfunction/damage -- due to sensory deprivation of physical affectional pleasure, specifically, somesthetic (touch) and vestibular (movement) sensory stimulation. Gentle touch and rocking of the infant are powerful sensory stimuli for pleasure, comfort and a sense of "basic trust" for the infant/child. When these sensory stimuli are absent and, in addition, are replaced by painful sensory stimulation, then the neurobiological foundations for depressive, addictive and violent behaviors are established.
In brief, the emotional pain of affectional deprivation (the failure of love in the maternal-infant and parent-child relationships and in our sexual relationships) seeks relieve through drugs, alcohol and violence -- in the rage of our physical assaults against others; beatings, rape, homicide or assaults against our own bodies where the final solution is suicide -- one of the leading mental health problems of our children and youth. Why should our children and youth be committing suicide in such great numbers -- a 112% increase from 1980 to 1985 for children aged 10 to 14 years? Does genital mutilation in combination with SAD facilitate suicidal and assaultive behaviors?

It is for these reasons that the pain of genital mutilation is tolerated and supported and why the pleasure of genital stimulation is forbidden -- with all the developmental neuropsychological and moral consequences that such events have upon the individual and culture.
A further correlate to the above relationships and why certain postnatal traumas are tolerated (genital mutilations) is to be found in our cultural mores that places a high moral value on pain, suffering, deprivation; and immorality upon the physical pleasures of the body, particularly the sexual pleasures of the body. It is for these reasons that the pain of genital mutilations are tolerated and supported and why the pleasure of genital stimulation is forbidden -- with all the developmental neuropsycholgical and moral consequences that such events have upon the individual and culture.
I will now review the real reasons for circumcision as given by certain moral traditions and the anti-pleasure ethic that is endemic to many religious traditions that supports the pain-pleasure reciprocity principal and provides the linkage to violent behaviors.
It is well recognized that circumcision in the Jewish religious tradition represents a covenant with God (see Gerald Larue's article in this issue). It is less well recognized that the

p. 18, July/August 1989, The Truth Seeker
The body is prior in order of generation to the soul, so the irrational is prior to the rational. The proof is that anger and wishing and desire are implanted in children from their very birth, but reason and understanding are developed as they grow older. Wherefore, the care of the body ought to precede that of the soul, and the training of the appetitive part should follow; none the less our care of it must be for the sake of the reason, and our care of the body for the sake of the soul.

Aristotle, Politica (384-322 B.C.E.)

p. 19, July/August 1989, The Truth Seekerdiminution of sexual pleasure is another major reason for circumcision in the Jewish religious tradition. This reason is clearly stated by Moses Maimonides in the Guide of The Perplexed (1190) which merits its full reproduction:

"As regards circumcision, I think that one of its objects is to limit sexual intercourse, and to weaken the organ of generation as far as possible, and thus cause man to be moderate. Some people believe that circumcision is to remove a defect in man's formation; but every one can easily reply: How can products of nature be deficient so as to require external completion, especially as the use of the foreskin to that organ is evident. This commandment has not been enjoined as a compliment to a deficient physical creation, but as a means for perfecting man's moral shortcomings. The bodily injury caused to that organ is exactly that which is desired; it does not interrupt any vital function, nor does it destroy the power of generation. Circumcision simply counteracts excessive lust; for there is no doubt that circumcision weakens the power of sexual excitement, and sometimes lessens the natural enjoyment; the organ necessarily becomes weak when it loses blood and is deprived of its cover from the beginning. Our Sages say distinctly: It is hard for a woman, with whom an uncircumcised had sexual intercourse, to separate from him. This is, as I believe, the best reason for the commandment concerning circumcision."

(Part III, Chapter 49, emphasis added)
Elsewhere in the Jewish religious tradition clear warnings are given concerning the dangers of sexual pleasure. The following quotations are taken from the Code of Jewish Law:

Chapter 150
The Sin of Discharging Semen in Vain
1: It is forbidden to discharge semen in vain. This is a graver sin than any other mentioned in the Torah. Those who practice masturbation and cause the issue of semen in vain, not only do they commit a grave sin, but they are under a ban, concerning whom it is said (Isaiah 1:15) "Your hands are full of blood," and it is equivalent to killing a person. See what Rashi wrote concerning Er and Onan in the Sidrah of Vayeshev (Genesis 37), that both Er and Onan died for the commission of this sin. Occasionally, as a punishment for this sin, children die when young, God forbid, or grow up to be delinquent, while the sinner himself is reduced to poverty."

Chapter 151
Laws of Chastity
17. Semen is the vitality of man's body and the light of his eyes, and when it issues in abundance, the body weakens and life is shortened. He who indulges in having intercourse, ages quickly, his strength ebbs, his eyes grow dim, his breath becomes foul, the hair of his head, eyelashes and brows fall out, the hair of his beard, armpits and feet increase, his teeth fall out, and many other aches besides these befall him. Great physicians said that one out of a thousand dies from other diseases, while nine hundred and ninety-nine die from sexual indulgence. Therefore, a man should exercise self-restraint.
The Roman Catholic Church is equally affirmative on the moral dangers of masturbation whose only purpose is sexual pleasure. In the Vatican's "Declaration on Sexual Ethics", published by the Sacred Congregation For The Doctrine Of The Faith (December 29, 1975), formerly the Holy Office of The Inquisition, the following is stated:

On Masturbation
9. The traditional Catholic doctrine that masturbation constitutes a grave moral disorder is often called into doubt or expressly denied today. It is said that psychology and sociology show that it is a normal phenomenon of sexual development, especially among the young.... This opinion is contradictory to the teaching and pastoral practice of the Catholic Church. Whatever the force of certain arguments of a biological and philosophical nature, which have sometimes been used by theologians, in fact both the Magisterium of the Church -- in the course of a constant tradition -- and the moral sense of the faithful have declared without hesitation that masturbation is an intrinsically and seriously disordered act.
Elsewhere, the Roman Catholic Church affirms the moral value of pain and suffering in The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola (the founder of the Society of Jesus):

"The third kind of penance is to chastise the body, that is to inflict sensible pain on it. This is done by wearing hair shirts, cords, or iron chains on the body, or by scourging or wounding oneself, and by other kinds of austerities" (1541).
Many other examples could be cited, the most significant of which is the Crucifixion itself. God the Father's Divine Plan of Incarnation for his Son: "So the Word was made flesh;" (John 1:14); and "I did not come of my own will; It was He who sent me" (John 8:42) was a plan for the mutilation, torture and murder of His only-begotten Son on the cross (euphemistically called "sacrificed") -- for the ulterior motive of human salvation! The ultimate psychopathology of this event is equating this mutilation, torture and murder with LOVE! Clearly, Christian Love is as much an expression of pain and suffering as pleasure. It is this fusion of pain and suffering with love that forms one of the roots of sado-masochism which is so prevalent in monotheistic and patristic cultures.
Given the violence that this Father inflicted upon the Son He loved (and others), is it so surprising to find so much violence of other Fathers inflicted upon their sons (and daughters)? If "Man"is made "Unto the Image and Likeness of God", then the violence of "Man" becomes more understandable. Remember, it is this same God the Father that demanded the torture of helpless male newborns through the ritual mutilating of their genitals, called circumcision -- a practice that continues today in many monotheistic cultures.
Why was pain and violence and not pleasure and peace selected as the primary path for establishing the "bond" between God and Man and for human salvation? In all His Wisdom, Power and "Love" could He not have found a different solution to the enigma of human "salvation"? The answers to these questions lie elsewhere.
It should be recognized that the roots of the morality of pain and suffering and the immorality of physical sensual/sexual pleasure antedate the Crucifixion and the rise of monotheism. These basic concepts existed in parallel civilizations where, for example, the ancient Greek philosophers provided a clear metaphysical theory of good and evil that was directly related to a moral theology of pain and pleasure.
Greek Metaphysical Dualism provided the following equations:
MATTER=Body , Evil, Wickedness, Darkness, Chaos=FEMALE;
FORM=Soul, Goodness, Godlike, Lightness, Order=MALE.

p. 20, July/August 1989, The Truth Seeker

MATTER=Body , Evil, Wickedness, Darkness, Chaos=FEMALE;
FORM=Soul, Goodness, Godlike, Lightness, Order=MALE.

It was Pythagoras (c.582-c.507 B.C.) who provided the sex gender equivalents of maleness with goodness; and femaleness with evil:

There is a good principle which has created order, light and man; and a bad principle which has created chaos, darkness and woman.
[Quoted in Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex (1953).]
Given this formulation is it so surprising to find the following in Ecclesiasticus (25:33): "From the woman came the beginning of sin, and by her we all die." And in Paul, 1 Corinthians (7:1): "Now concerning the things whereof you wrote me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman." Many other examples could be mentioned that are too numerous to cite which reflect this absurd and most erroneous dualistic moral theory of human nature, gender and behavior.
Moses Maimonides has perhaps provided the clearest exposition of these metaphysical/moral/gender relationships in The Guide Of The Perplexed (When the word "matter" occurs think "female," when the word "form" occurs think "male"):

All bodies subject to generation and corruption are attained by corruption only because of their matter; with regard to form and with respect to the latter's essence, they are not attained by corruption, but are permanent . . . Similarly every living being dies and becomes ill solely because of its matter and not because of its form. All man's act of disobedience and sin are consequent upon his matter and not upon his form, whereas all his virtues are consequent upon his form . . . consequently it was necessary that man's very noble form, which as we have explained, is the image of God and His likeness, should be bound to earthy, turbid and dark matter, which calls down upon man every imperfection and corruption. He granted it -- I mean the human form -- power, dominion, rule, and control over matter, in order that it subjugate it, quell its impulses, and bring it back to the best and most harmonious state that is possible.
(Part III, Chapter 8, pp. 430-432)

Ecclesiasticus (25:33): "From the woman came the beginning of sin, and by her we all die." ... in Paul, 1 Corinthians (7:1): "Now concerning the things whereof you wrote me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman."

Perhaps it is now more clear how philosophical and theological moral dualism has conspired against the human body, particularly the female body and the sensual/sexual pleasures that they represent. This moral dualism of Western Civilization is one of the great roots of violence against the human body and the female body in particular. And these moral traditions are not confined to the cultures of Western Civilization which subordinate female to male; assures the continuing inequality of woman to man and the violence of man against woman and her children. (Reich 1971).
This fundamentalist/orthodox morality of Western Civilization requires that the sensual/sexual pleasures of the body must be extremely limited if not destroyed to achieve "salvation of the soul" (re, the "virtues" of celibacy, virginity and chastity). What better place to begin than with the mutilation and destruction of the genitals which are designed to experience

p. 21, July/August 1989, The Truth Seekersensual pleasure and share sexual love?
It is not without reason that the monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) have carried their religions on the edge of the sword -- the same sword that cuts the genitals of children (male and female); and which mutilates their souls.
It is clear to this writer that before genital mutilations of our children can cease; before male violence against woman can end; and before human violence can be eliminated that a moral revolution must take place. Pain must be declared immoral and pleasure must be declared morally necessary if we are to become moral persons. In the words of Walt Whitman:

In summary, the dualistic/theistic moral foundations of Western Civilization must be transformed if human equality, compassion, justice and love are to be realized; and if the human species is to survive.

Anand, K.J.S. and Hickey, P.R. (1987): Pain and its Effects in the Human Neonate and Fetus. The New England Journal of Medicine, (Nov. 19). V 317 No. 21.
Bullough, V. (1976): Sexual Variance In Society and History. Wiley: Interscience. New York.
Bullough, V. and Bullough, B. (1987): Women and Prostitution. Prometheus Books. Buffalo.
Faro, M.D. and Windle, W.V. (1969): Transneuronal degeneration in brains of monkeys asphyxiated at birth. Experimental Neurology, 24, 38-53.
Ganzfried, S. (1963): Code of Jewish Law (Holdin, H.E., Translator). Hebrew Publishing Company Brooklyn.
Heath, R. G. (1975): Maternal-social deprivation and abnormal brain development: Disorders of emotional and social behavior. In Brain Function and Malnutrition: Neuropsychological Methods of Assessment (Prescott, J.W., Read, M.S., & Coursin, D.B., Eds). John Wiley, New York.
Hosken, F. P. (1979): Female Sexual Mutilations: The Facts and Proposals For Action. Women's International Network News. Lexington, MA.
Ignatius of Loyola (1556): The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola.
Jacobson, B., Eklund, G., Hamberger, L., Linnarsson, D., Sedvall, G., and Valverius, M. (1987): Perinatal origin of adult self-destructive behavior. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavia, 76, 364-371.
Levy, D. M. (1945): Psychic Trauma Of Operations In Children. American Journal of Diseases Of Children (January) 69, (1), 7-25.
Lewis, J. (1949): In The Name Of Humanity. Freethought Press, San Diego.
Maimonides, Moses (1963): The Guide of The Perplexed. (Shlomo Pines, Trans.) Vols I & II. University of Chicago Press. Chicago.
Porter, F.L., Miller, R.H. and Marshall, R.E. (1986): Neonatal Pain Cries: Effect of Circumcision on Acoustic Features and Perceived Urgency. Child Development 57, 790-802.
Prescott, J.W. (1975): Body Pleasure and The Origins of Violence. The Futurist, April 1975. Reprinted in The Bulletin of The Atomic Scientists, November 1975.
Prescott, J.W. (1979): Deprivation of physical affection as a primary process in the development of physical violence. In: Child Abuse and Violence (Gil, D. G., Ed). AMS Press New York pp. 66-137.
Prescott, J.W. (1989): Affectional bonding for the prevention of violent behaviors: Neurobiological, Psychological and Religious/Spiritual Determinants. In: Violent Behavior Vol. I: Assessment and Intervention. (L.J. Hertzberg, et. al., Eds). PMA Publishing New York pp. 110-142.
Reich, W. (1971): The Mass Psychology of Fascism. Farrar/Straus/Giroux New York.
Salk, L., Lipsitt, L.P., Sturner, W.Q., Reilly, B.M., & Levat, R.H. (1985): Relationship of maternal and perinatal conditions to eventual adolescent suicide. The Lancet March 15, 1985.
Textor, R.B. (1967): A Cross-Cultural Summary. Human Relations Area Files (HRAF) Press. New Haven.
Vatican, The. (1975): Declaration on Sexual Ethics. Sacred Congregation For The Doctrine of The Faith. (December 29, 1975). United States Catholic Conference. Washington, D.C.
Wiswell, T.E. and Roscelli, J.D. (1986): Corroborative evidence for the decreased incidence of urinary tract infections in circumcised male infants. Pediatrics. V. 78. No. 1. July 1986.

Infant Circumcision: "What I Wish I Had Known"

Infant Circumcision: "What I Wish I Had Known"
by Marilyn Fayre Milos
Published in The Truth Seeker, "Crimes of Genital Mutilation." (July/August) 1989; 1(3):3
I didn't know what circumcision was when I consented to have my three sons circumcised. My doctor had told me the surgery was a necessary health measure, that it didn't hurt, and that it only took a moment to perform... like cutting the umbilical cord, I thought. I certainly wasn't prepared when, in nursing school several years later, I saw the surgery for the first time.
We students filed into the newborn nursery to find a baby strapped spread-eagle to a plastic board on a counter top across the room. He was struggling against his restraints - tugging, whimpering, and then crying helplessly. No one was tending the infant, but when I asked my instructor if I could comfort him she said "Wait till the doctor gets here." I wondered how a teacher of the healing arts could watch someone suffer and not offer assistance. I wondered about the doctor's power which could intimidate others from following protective instincts. When he did arrive, I immediately asked the doctor it I could help the baby. He told me to put my finger into the baby's mouth; I did, and the baby sucked. I stroked his little head and spoke softly to him. He began to relax and was momentarily quiet.
The silence was soon broken by a piercing scream - the baby's reaction to having his foreskin pinched and crushed as the doctor attached the clamp to his penis. The shriek intensified when the doctor inserted an instrument between the foreskin and the glans (head of the penis), tearing the two structures apart. (They are normally attached to each other during infancy so the foreskin can protect the sensitive glans from urine and feces.) The baby started shaking his head back and forth - the only part of his body free to move - as the doctor used another clamp to crush the foreskin lengthwise, which he then cut. This made the opening of the foreskin large enough to insert a circumcision instrument, the device used to protect the glans from being severed during the surgery.
The baby began to gasp and choke, breathless from his shrill continuous screams. How could anyone say circumcision is painless when the suffering is so obvious? My bottom lip began to quiver, tears filled my eyes and spilled over. I found my own sobs difficult to contain. How much longer could this go on?
During the next stage of the surgery, the doctor crushed the foreskin against the circumcision instrument and then, finally, amputated it. The baby was limp, exhausted, spent.
I had not been prepared, nothing could have prepared me, for this experience. To see a part of this baby's penis being cut off - without an anesthetic - was devastating. But even more shocking was the doctor's comment, barely audible several octaves below the piercing screams of the baby, "There's no medical reason for doing this." I couldn't believe my ears, my knees became weak, and I felt sick to my stomach. I couldn't believe that medical professionals, dedicated to helping and healing, could inflict such pain and anguish on innocent babies unnecessarily.
What had I allowed my own babies to endure? and why?
The course of my life was changed on that day in 1979. I have now dedicated my life to bringing an end to this horrendous practice.
—Walt Whitman
The Children of Adam

Circumcision Fight: Profit, Pleasure, or Population Control?

Circumcision Fight: Profit, Pleasure, or Population Control?
By Kuumba Chi Nia
If the experiment fails, Africans are likely to feel abused and exploited by scientists who recommended the circumcision policy
“It is important that, while circumcision interventions are being planned, several points must be considered carefully. If the experiment fails, Africans are likely to feel abused and exploited by scientists who recommended the circumcision policy. In a region highly sensitive to previous colonial exploitation and suspicious of the biological warfare origin of the virus, failure of circumcision is likely to be a big issue. Those recommending it should know how to handle the political implications.” - James P.M. Ntozi.
Using circumcision to prevent HIV infection in sub-Saharan Africa

African people worldwide know about experimentation in the name of scientific advancement.  However, often-vital information goes without mention and the outcome devastates the victim as in the case with the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment  in Alabama, USA.  This is precisely why suspicion remains around HIV\AIDS reduction experiments, but with little investigative attention by the corporate media groups.

The good scientists would have us to believe that their efforts are to reduce HIV in the most vulnerable areas in the world.   

Africa is the death basket of HIV, but my hypothesis is that the current misuse of science is driven more so by profit and population control.  More than 1.2 million babies are circumcised in the U.S. per year at the cost range for $150 million to $270 million. The procedure is optional, but it is strongly suggested by medical doctors.  What happens to foreskin?  Foreskin removal represents a bio material waste management issue, but what scientist would simply discard of the all this skin?  They would not discard it so easily as long as it can be sold and used for beautifying women.

Alternet posted a story February 9, 2007 Foreskin Face Cream and Future Beauty Products, which illustrates the profitability of foreskin as follows:
“The Coriell Institute is only one of dozens of websites that offer foreskin fibroblast for sale." Foreskin flakes cost $85.00 -- plus shipping and handling. Foreskin fibroblasts are big business. A fibroblast is a piece of human skin that is used as a culture to grow other skin or cells -- like human yogurt kits.
According to the Alternet article Foreskin Face Cream and Future Beauty Products, “human foreskin fibroblast is used in all kinds of medical procedures.” For example, foreskin is used for burn victims and for eyelid replacement and for those with diabetic ulcers (who need replacement skin to cover ulcers that won't heal), to making creams and collagens in the cosmetics industry (yes, the product that is injected into puffy movie-starlet lips).

One foreskin can be used for decades to produce miles of skin and generate as much as $100,000 -- that's not the fee from a one-time sale, but the fees from the fibroblasts that are created from those original skin cells.

One of the most publicized examples of the foreskin-for-sale trend involves a skin cream that has been promoted by none other than Oprah Winfrey, according to the article. SkinMedica, a face cream, costs more than $100 for a 0.63-oz. bottle, used by many high-profile celebrities (such as Winfrey and Barbara Walters) as an alternative to cosmetic surgery. Winfrey has promoted the SkinMedica product several times on her show, and her website, which raves about "a new product that boosts collagen production and can rejuvenate skin called TNS Recovery Complex. TNS is comprised from six natural human growth factors found in normal healthy skin ... the factors are engineered from human foreskin!"

On Winfrey’s show, the doctor promoting SkinMedica cream warned that some people may have ethical questions regarding using a product that is made from the derivative of foreskins (to which Winfrey made no response). Why is an ethical question? The foreskins come from circumcisions, and male circumcision is now a controversial topic. In a discussion on Mothering.com, the question raised, "If the cream was made from the bi-product of baby Afro-American clitoral skin, would Oprah still be promoting it?" There's no answer to that question on Mothering or Winfrey's site, and Winfrey declined a request for an interview for this article.”  The next question is what is the science of circumcision?

“WebMD Medical News,” June 9, 2000 article “The Foreskin:  An Open Door for HIV” pointed out the “The foreskin of the uncircumcised penis is a welcome mat for HIV,” at the time of a study.  “The finding [at the time] strengthens a growing consensus among public health experts that both infant and adolescent circumcision programs ought to be a major tool in the fight to stop AIDS, especially in countries where HIV is rampant.”

Roger V. Short, ScD, professor of obstetrics/gynecology at the University of Melbourne Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, and Robert Szabo, “analyzed penis tissues from autopsies of 13 men age 60 to 96 years, seven of whom had been circumcised.”  Among their findings was that the inner side foreskin is rich in a type of cell that carries HIV to T cells.  The T cell is the cell where the virus replicates itself.

Africa became the logical experimental lab namely Uganda.  On July 10, 2000, more questions surfaced in light of the experiment.  “WebMD Medical News,” printed the article, “Male Circumcision as the Answer to the African AIDS Epidemic?”  However, the push was still for removing the foreskin.  The article read that “About 25 million Africans [had] AIDS or are infected with the HIV virus . . . many of [them lived] . . . where circumcision” was not a regular practice.  In Gauteng province of Azania\South Africa the Orange Farm experiment took in 3000 or better African males from a town’s population of 350,000.  Circumcision is supposed to reduce the disease by millions yearly.  In Gauteng the estimated HIV prevalence among antenatal clinical attendees in the year 2000 was 29.4 percent and increased to 32.4% in 2005.  The Orange Farm snip happy pappy proved wrong, with the notable increase of HIV and AIDS statistics for South Africa.

More than 20-years passed since the initial claim surfaced that there is a correlation between a lack of circumcised African men and HIV versus circumcised African men. The French and U.S. are leading the way with World Health Organizationsupport. 

The “San Francisco Chronicle” reported on July 6, 2005, “Medical anthropologists began noticing as early as 1989 that the highest rates of HIV infection in Africa were occurring in regions of the continent where the predominant tribal or religious cultures did not practice circumcision.” 

The lead medical scientists are Dr. Betran Auvert of the University of Paris and Adrian Puren of South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases and Ronald Gray a Johns Hopkins University epidemiologist Ronald Gray are conducting an experiment in Uganda of 5,000 men in the Rakai district.  The same experiment occurred in Kenya with more than 2,700 men being snipped. The experiments termination date is in 2007. The findings are generalizations that are neither conclusive nor exhaustive and therefore represent a problem in male circumcision and the role in HIV prevention?

In the tradition of bogus science, the data that was presented by advocates of circumcision remained inconclusive and dangerous as pointed out by  De Vincenzi and Mertens (1994) with “the salient point that most of the quoted studies were not designed to test a hypothesis about circumcision and did not report their methodological details for evaluation.”

Furthermore, “there is no evidence that enough statistical rigors (sic) were applied to the data.”  That is inconclusive information.  Meanwhile, “where, in small-scale studies, this was done by controlling for several variables like age, number of partners, [and] contact with prostitutes, ethnic origin and findings that did not fit into the conventional thinking of the hypothesis were rejected by the journals as not interesting, or the researchers did not submit them for publication for fear of rejection.”

The good doctors know that there is nothing conclusive about their work as admitted by Dr. Auvert:  Circumcision "prevented six to seven out of 10 potential HIV infections," said Auvert.   He said the study did not analyze the effect of circumcision on male-to-female transmission or if circumcision provides effective protection over the long term. At least three more studies are under way to confirm the effectiveness of circumcision.  Dr. Auvert and company said the study was cause for guarded optimism.
These experiments continue but do not work.  An experiment like this should have never been practiced and funded, and represents bad science.   It is more likely to   isolate the African masses from medical scientist, and treatments that touted as lifesavers, while they fall short of reducing HIV/AIDS in Africa.

“It is important that, while circumcision interventions are being planned, several points must be considered carefully. If the experiment fails, Africans are likely to feel abused and exploited by scientists who recommended the circumcision policy. In a region highly sensitive to previous colonial exploitation and suspicious of the biological warfare origin of the virus, failure of circumcision is likely to be a big issue. Those recommending it should know how to handle the political implications.” - James P.M. Ntozi

A Short History of Circumcision in the U.S.

A Short History of Circumcision in the U.S.

1860: 0.001% of the U.S. male population circumcised 
"In cases of masturbation we must, I believe, break the habit by inducing such a condition of the parts as will cause too much local suffering to allow of the practice being continued. For this purpose, if the prepuce is long, we may circumcise the male patient with present and probably with future advantage; the operation, too, should not be performed under chloroform, so that the pain experienced may be associated with the habit we wish to eradicate." Athol A. W. Johnson, On An Injurious Habit Occasionally Met with in Infancy and Early Childhood, The Lancet, vol. 1 (7 April 1860): pp. 344-345.

1871: 1% of the U.S. male population circumcised 
"I refer to masturbation as one of the effects of a long prepuce; not that this vice is entirely absent in those who have undergone circumcision, though I never saw an instance in a Jewish child of very tender years, except as the result of association with children whose covered glans have naturally impelled them to the habit." M. J. Moses, The Value of Circumcision as a Hygienic and Therapeutic Measure, NY Medical Journal, vol. 14 (1871): pp. 368-374.
1887: 10% of the U.S. male population circumcised
"Hip trouble is from falling down, an accident that children with tight foreskins are especially liable to owing to the weakening of the muscles produced by the condition of the genitals." Lewis L. Sayer, Circumcision For the Cure of Enuresis, Journal of the American Medical Association, vol. 7 (1887): pp. 631-633.
"There can be no doubt of [masturbation's] injurious effect, and of the proneness to practice it on the part of children with defective brains. Circumcision should always be practiced. It may be necessary to make the genitals so sore by blistering fluids that pain results from attempts to rub the parts." Angel Money, Treatment of Disease in Children. Philadelphia: P. Blakiston. 1887, p. 421.

1888: 15% of the U.S. male population circumcised 
"A remedy [for masturbation] which is almost always successful in small boys is circumcision. The operation should be performed by a surgeon without administering an anesthetic, as the pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind, especially if it be connected with the idea of punishment." John Harvey Kellogg [the breakfast cereal tycoon], Treatment for Self-Abuse and Its Effects, Plain Facts for Old and Young, Burlington, Iowa: P. Segner & Co. 1888, p. 295.
"In consequence of circumcision the epithelial covering of the glans becomes dry, hard, less liable to excoriation and inflammation, and less pervious to venereal viruses. The sensitivity of the glans is diminished, but not sufficiently to interfere with the copulative function of the organ or to constitute an objection ... It is well authenticated that the foreskin ... is a fruitful cause of the habit of masturbation in children ... I conclude that the foreskin is detrimental to health, and that circumcision is a wise measure of hygiene." Jefferson C. Crossland, The Hygiene of Circumcision, NY Medical Journal, vol. 53 (1891): pp. 484-485.
"Measures more radical than circumcision would, if public opinion permitted their adoption, be a true kindness to many patients of both sexes." Jonathan Hutchinson, On Circumcision as Preventive of Masturbation, Archives of Surgery, vol. 2 (1891): pp. 267-268.
"In all cases in which male children are suffering nerve tension, confirmed derangement of the digestive organs, restlessness, irritability, and other disturbances of the nervous system, even to chorea, convulsions, and paralysis, or where through nerve waste the nutritive facilities of the general system are below par and structural diseases are occurring, circumcision should be considered as among the lines of treatment to be pursued." Charles E. Fisher, Circumcision, in A Hand-Book On the Diseases of Children and Their Homeopathic Treatment. Chicago: Medical Century Co., 1895. p. 875.

1895: 15% of the U.S. male population circumcised 
"In all cases of masturbation circumcision is undoubtedly the physicians' closest friend and ally ... To obtain the best results one must cut away enough skin and mucous membrane to rather put it on the stretch when erections come later. There must be no play in the skin after the wound has thoroughly healed, but it must fit tightly over the penis, for should there be any play the patient will be found to readily resume his practice, not begrudging the time and extra energy required to produce the orgasm. It is true, however, that the longer it takes to have an orgasm, the less frequently it will be attempted, consequently the greater the benefit gained ... The younger the patient operated upon the more pronounced the benefit, though occasionally we find patients who were circumcised before puberty that require a resection of the skin, as it has grown loose and pliant after that epoch." E. J. Spratling, Masturbation in the Adult, Medical Record, vol. 24 (1895): pp. 442-443.
"Local indications for circumcision: Hygienic, phimosis, paraphimosis, redundancy (where the prepuce more than covers the glans), adhesions, papillomata, eczema (acute and chronic), oedema, chancre, chancroid, cicatrices, inflammatory thickening, elephantiasis, naevus, epithelioma, gangrene, tuberculosis, preputial calculi, hip-joint disease, hernia. Systemic indications: Onanism [masturbation], seminal emissions, enuresis, dysuria, retention, general nervousness, impotence, convulsions, hystero-epilepsy." Editor, Medical Record, Circumscisus, Medical Record, vol. 49 (1896): p. 430.
"The prepuce is an important factor in the production of phthisis [tuberculosis]. This can be proven by the immunity of the Jewish race from tubercular affections." S. G. A. Brown, A Plea for Circumcision, Medical World, vol. 15 (1897): pp. 124-125.
"Clarence B. was addicted to the secret vise practiced among boys. I performed an orificial operation, consisting of circumcision ... He needed the rightful punishment of cutting pains after his illicit pleasures." N. Bergman, Report of a Few Cases of Circumcision, Journal of Orificial Surgery, vol. 7 (1898): pp. 249-251.
"Not infrequently marital unhappiness would be better relieved by circumcising the husband than by suing for divorce." A. W. Taylor, Circumcision - Its Moral and Physical Necessities and Advantages, Medical Record, vol. 56 (1899): p. 174.

1900: 25% of the U.S. male population circumcised
"Finally, circumcision probably tends to increase the power of sexual control. The only physiological advantages which the prepuce can be supposed to confer is that of maintaining the penis in a condition susceptible to more acute sensation than would otherwise exist. It may increase the pleasure of coition and the impulse to it: but these are advantages which in the present state of society can well be spared. If in their loss, increase in sexual control should result, one should be thankful."Editor, Medical News. (A Plea for Circumcision) Medical News, vol. 77 (1900): pp. 707-708.
"It has been urged as an argument against the universal adoption of circumcision that the removal of the protective covering of the glans tends to dull the sensitivity of that exquisitely sensitive structure and thereby diminishes sexual appetite and the pleasurable effects of coitus. Granted that this be true, my answer is that, whatever may have been the case in days gone by, sensuality in our time needs neither whip nor spur, but would be all the better for a little more judicious use of curb and bearing-rein." E. Harding Freeland, Circumcision as a Preventive of Syphilis and Other Disorders, The Lancet, vol. 2 (29 Dec. 1900): pp. 1869-1871.
"Another advantage of circumcision ... is the lessened liability to masturbation. A long foreskin is irritating per se, as it necessitates more manipulation of the parts in bathing ... This leads the child to handle the parts, and as a rule, pleasurable sensations are elicited from the extremely sensitive mucous membrane, with resultant manipulation and masturbation. The exposure of the glans penis following circumcision ... lessens the sensitiveness of the organ ... It therefore lies with the physician, the family adviser in affairs hygienic and medical, to urge its acceptance." Ernest G. Mark, Circumcision, American Practitioner and News, vol. 31 (1901): pp. 121-126.
"Frequent micturition [urination], loss of flesh, convulsions, phosphatic calculus, hernia, nervous exhaustion, dyspepsia, diarrhea, prolapse of rectum, balanitis, acute phimosis and masturbation are all conditions induced by the constricted long prepuce, and all to be rapidly remedied by the simple operation of circumcision." H. G. H. Naylor, A Plea for Early Circumcision, Pediatrics, vol. 12 (1901): p. 231.
"I have repeatedly seen such cases as convulsions, constant crying in infants, simulated hip joint diseases, backwardness in studies, enuresis, marasmus, muscular inco-ordination, paralysis, masturbation, neurasthenia, and even epilepsy, cured or greatly benefited by the proper performance of circumcision." W. G. Steele, Importance of Circumcision, Medical World, vol. 20 (1902): pp. 518-519.

1912: 35% of the U.S. male population circumcised 
"The little sufferer lay in his mother's lap. The dropsy ... had taken the form of hydrocephalus ... I then circumcised the child ... The head diminished in size and in two weeks the condition of hydrocephalus had disappeared and the child was once more dismissed as cured." E. H. Pratt, Circumcision, Orificial Surgery: Its Philosophy, Application and Technique. Edited by B. E. Dawson. Newark: Physicians Drug News Co. 1912. pp. 396-398.
"Circumcision promotes cleanliness, prevents disease, and by reducing oversensitiveness of the parts tends to relieve sexual irritability, thus correcting any tendency which may exist to improper manipulations of the genital organs and the consequent acquirement of evil sexual habits, such as masturbation." Lydston G. Frank, Sex Hygiene for the Male. Chicago: Riverton Press, 1912.
"It is generally accepted that irritation derived from a tight prepuce may be followed by nervous phenomena, among these being convulsions and epilepsy. It is therefore not at all improbable that in many infants who die in convulsions the real cause of death is a long or tight prepuce. The foreskin is a frequent factor in the causation of masturbation ... Circumcision offers a diminished tendency to masturbation, nocturnal pollutions, convulsions and other nervous results of local irritation. It is the moral duty of every physician to encourage circumcision in the young." Abraham L. Wolbarst, Universal Circumcision, Journal of the American Medical Association, vol. 62 (1914): pp. 92-97.
"Circumcision not only reduces the irritability of the child's penis, but also the so-called passion of which so many married men are so extremely proud, to the detriment of their wives and their married life. Many youthful rapes could be prevented, many separations, and divorces also, and many an unhappy marriage improved if this unnatural passion was cut down by a timely circumcision." L. W. Wuesthoff, Benefits of Circumcision, Medical World, vol. 33 (1915): p. 434.
"The prepuce is one of the great factors in causing masturbation in boys. Here is the dilemma we are in: If we do not teach the growing boy to pull the prepuce back and cleanse the glans there is the danger of smegma collecting and of adhesions and ulcerations forming, which in their turn will cause irritation likely to lead to masturbation. If we do teach the boy to pull the prepuce back and cleanse his glans, that handling alone is sufficient gradually and almost without the boy's knowledge to initiate him into the habit of masturbation ... Therefore, off with the prepuce!" William J. Robinson, Circumcision and Masturbation, Medical World, vol. 33 (1915): p. 390.

1920: 50% of the U.S. male population circumcised 
"Circumcision is an excellent thing to do; it helps to prevent hernia due to straining, and later it helps in preventing masturbation. The ordinary schoolboy is not taught to keep himself clean, and if he is taught he thinks too much about the matter."I. Solomons, For and Against Circumcision, British Medical Journal, 5 June 1920, p. 768.
"Phimosis may be a predisposing cause of masturbation in some cases ... Hemorrhage following circumcision at birth cannot be considered seriously as a contraindication. Meatal ulcer due to ammoniacal diapers in the circumcised is not a contraindication ... Routine circumcision at birth is warranted." Editor, Routine Circumcision at Birth?, Journal of the American Medical Association, vol. 91 (1928): p. 201.

1935: 55% of the U.S. male population circumcised 
"I suggest that all male children should be circumcised. This is 'against nature', but that is exactly the reason why it should be done. Nature intends that the adolescent male shall copulate as often and as promiscuously as possible, and to that end covers the sensitive glans so that it shall be ever ready to receive stimuli. Civilization, on the contrary, requires chastity, and the glans of the circumcised rapidly assumes a leathery texture less sensitive than skin. Thus the adolescent has his attention drawn to his penis much less often. I am convinced that masturbation is much less common in the circumcised. With these considerations in view it does not seem apt to argue that 'God knows best how to make little boys.'" R. W. Cockshut, Circumcision, British Medical Journal, vol. 2 (1935): 764.
"[Routine Circumcision] does not necessitate handling of the penis by the child himself and therefore does not focus the male's attention on his own genitals. Masturbation is considered less likely." Alan F. Guttmacher, Should the Baby Be Circumcised?, Parents Magazine, vol. 16 (1941): pp. 26, 76-78.

1971: 90% of the U.S. male population circumcised 
"There are no valid medical indications for circumcision in the neonatal period." Committee On Fetus and Newborn. Standards and Recommendations for Hospital Care of Newborn Infants, 5th edition. Evanston, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics. 1971. p. 110.

1994: 60% of newborn males in the U.S. circumcised 
"Circumcision causes pain, trauma, and a permanent loss of protective and erogenous tissue ... Removing normal, healthy, functioning tissue for no medical reason has ethical implications: circumcision violates the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 5) and the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of the Child (Article 13)." Leo Sorger, To ACOG [American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology]: Stop Circumcisions, Ob Gyn News, 1 Nov. 1994, p. 8.
"Circumcision is not a medical decision. Preventing an improbable future infection is a spurious indication. The standard of care is antibiotics, not amputation." Eileen Marie Wayne, MD, Letters (Nothing to debate on circumcision), American Medical News, 27 July 1998, p. 27.
"As editor of a newspaper dedicated to infectious diseases, you know that antibiotics are the standard of care for infection and that surgery is a last resort for body parts for which there is no other cure. Perpetrating sexual surgery on healthy non-consenting minors, under the legal age of informed consent or refusal, to purportedly prevent an unlikely and curable future infection, is unacceptable. Intentionally amputating healthy erogenous genital tissue from tethered, protesting infants is a surgical act of sexual sadism.
      "Kaiser Foundation's Edgar Schoen ignores the erogenous benefits of the foreskin and a man's birthright to the sexual fulfillment he was born to experience. He would do well to stop promoting and perpetrating sexual surgery. He withholds from parents, who have no ethical right to consent to unnecessary sexually disendowing surgery on their children, the fact that the foreskin has sexual and erogenous functions. He contends that circumcision protects against sexually transmitted disease!
      "Dr. Schoen's failed attempt to justify surgical genital abuse is a willful act of misrepresentation. It is a disgrace and discredit to the medical profession and Infectious Diseases in Children. It is imperative that you also remove this tainted material to minimize liability to this publication from harmed patients, especially circumcised victims who developed AIDS in spite of being circumcised. Beyond patient harm, beyond medical ethics, publishing misinformation is a licensing and disciplinary issue of grave import to all involved."
      Eileen Marie Wayne, MD, Letters (Circumcision -- sexual sadism?), Infectious Diseases in Children, Vol. 11, No. 2, February 1998.


By John M. Foley, M.D.
FACT Magazine, July-August 1966
Ralph Ginzburg, Publisher
"An antidote to the timidity and
corruption of the American press"
Copyright O.U.C.H. 1993. Reprinted with permission.
A West Virginia physician asserts that circumcision, in addition to crippling and killing many infants, may cause increased homosexuality and antisemitism, and reduced sexual pleasure.
On July 20, 1964, the Medical Tribune published a letter from a Baltimore physician who called for the compulsory circumcision of all men seeking to get married. Indeed, he went on to demand Federal legislation requiring the circumcision of "every" male infant within the first 8 days of life.
Now, just why anyone would want circumcision made compulsory may seem puzzling. After all, circumcision is already a routine operation in this country. What need for legislation when 98% of all newborn boys, before leaving hospitals, are circumcised? When Sexology Magazine can maintain that circumcision has become a "status symbol," and when a physician can lament that "one has to lop it off along with the Joneses"? When just about everyone, including physicians who should know better, has bought the myth that circumcision in some mysterious way prevents certain forms of cancer?
One answer, of course, is that if circumcision were made compulsory, the circumciser would be protected whenever he happens to cripple or kill the little boy he operates on — "complication" that is not so very uncommon. Another answer, I think, must be sought in the darker regions of the human mind, because circumcision is simply an unmitigated fraud. It is nothing but wanton and unnecessary mutilation. The annual 2 million assembly-line circumcisions in this country are a monument to the gullibility and stupidity of the American public.
For 60 years, a powerful and articulate minority in our profession has tried to enforce a tabu against any objective discussion of the merits or demerits of circumcision. Over in Great Britain the climate of opinion is decidedly against routine circumcision, but here the operation has become a sacrament: To question its value has become all but unthinkable. The medical literature is virtually closed except to those who drool over the operation's alleged advantages.
Still, once in a while dissident voices manage to be heard. William Keith C. Morgan, M.D., of the University of Maryland School of Medicine has written in the Journal of the American Medical Association that "98 times out of 100 there is no valid indication for this mutilation other than religion. . . . Why is the operation of circumcision practiced? One might as well attempt to explain the rites of voodoo!" Peter Van Zante, M.D., of Iowa writes in the Medical Tribune: "Circumcision of a helpless child is a crime." Elsewhere he has said: "Circumcision is cruel and mutilating and actually should be outlawed." In 1920, a British physician named G. S. Thompson, who had once circumcised himself, later concluded that circumcision was nothing more nor less than "a barbarous and unnecessary mutilation" (British Medical Journal, 1920).
At this point, the reader may do well to examine his own conscience. If he has been circumcised, either ritually or surgically, and is chagrined that anyone would dare question the advisability of circumcising every single male infant, let him read no further. He has about as much chance of being objective as he has of growing himself a new foreskin.
* * *
Efforts to justify circumcision have been made since the very beginnings of history. The desire to mutilate came first; the "reasons" came later, and run the gamut from spiritual through cultural, esthetic, and finally medical.
This process of rationalization has culminated in the supposed relationship between the husband's foreskin and cancer of the genitals — one of the greatest hoaxes in the history of medicine. The theory is that the uncircumcised penis, because it may generate a waxy substance called smegma, can produce cancer of the penis and cancer of the cervix (neck of the womb).
The only widespread evidence in support of this theory is that Jewish men and Jewish women rarely get cancer of their sexual organs.
But granting that genital cancer is rare among Jews, circumcision is almost certainly not the reason. As Dr. Van Zante has observed, Jews in general seem to be more resistant to certain diseases than gentiles and to have a greater longevity: Genetic and cultural factors are probably at work. Thus, Paul Sherlock, M.D., of the Cornell University Medical College, is convinced that ulcerative colitis and regional enteritis are *more* common among Jews because these diseases have a genetic basis (Medical Tribune, 3/9/66).
That the lower incidence of penile and cervical cancer in Jews is genetic or cultural seems perfectly clear when one examines the incidence of genital cancer in other ethnic groups.
In Finland, fewer than one man in a thousand is circumcised, yet the incidence of penile cancer in Finnish men is less than in Americans. Finnish women also have less cancer of the cervix than American women.
In Java, the Moslems are ritually circumcised, yet Java has one of the highest incidences of cancer of the penis in the world.
In Ethiopia, Coptic women have a high incidence of cervical cancer, although 90% of Coptic men are circumcised in infancy.
In India, the Parsees are not circumcised. Yet the Parsees have one of the lowest incidences of penile and cervical cancer in the world.
Further evidence that circumcision is not linked with cancer comes from tests of human smegma. In 1942, the National Cancer Institute conducted careful experiments and found that smegma had no carcinogenic effect whatsoever. This test was duplicated in 1953 on a more extensive scale by Dr. D. G. Reddy and others, with the same conclusions. Negative results have also been obtained in a number of other experiments ("Circumcision in Infancy," Charles Weiss, M.D., Clinical Pediatrics, 1964). In addition, if smegma *were* carcinogenic, the use of a contraceptive sheath would lower the incidence of cervical cancer in women. Studies have shown that it doesn't (Journal of the American Medical Women's Association, 1962).
Finally, control groups of circumcised and uncircumcised gentiles have been studied, and cervical cancer has not been correlated with the presence of absence of the foreskin in male sexual partners (American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 1958).
Yet even if circumcision and penile cancer were connected, this might not be justification enough to warrant circumcision. As Dr. Morgan points out, "this is an uncommon form of cancer and generally has a fairly good prognosis. Appendicitis causes many more deaths every year in the United States than does cancer of the penis, but nobody yet recommends routine appendectomy." Dr. Van Zante gives a more graphic analogy: "Why not amputate all female breasts to avoid mammary cancer?"
Well, does circumcision at least prevent venereal disease? Thirty years ago, routine circumcision was being urged for just this reason. Today, our circumcised teen-agers have the highest V.D. rates in history. Dr. Morgan adds: "Any U.S. or British physician with experience in North America or the Levant [where circumcision is common] knows that the Middle East has a venereal disease rate which is second to none."
Does circumcision prevent phimosis, the constriction of the foreskin? The answer is yes, but the fact is that true phimosis, as every physician knows, is extremely rare.
Does circumcision lead to a more hygienic penis? The answer, again, is yes. Except that the ears also collect dirt. Should they also be lopped off? "Soap and water," writes Dr. Morgan, "work wonders with the body's other orifices and appendages, and there would seem to be no reason to doubt their efficacy with respect to the foreskin." And while it is true that genital cancer may someday be linked with lack of cleanliness, Dr. Van Zante points out: "The male should be taught cleanliness, and if he follows this, I doubt that the uncircumcised male will contribute any greater percentage of penile and cervical cancer than the circumcised male."
Dr. Morgan's conclusion is the only conclusion possible: "There are a variety of reasons advanced in favor of circumcision, most of which are unconvincing when critically examined."
* * *
Since circumcision has practically nothing to recommend it, an important question is: Why has it become a routine operation? A few physicians go so far as to suggest that money may have something to do it. Dr. Van Zante asks rhetorically: "Don't you think that the doctor delivering the baby thinks more about the $10 or $15 surgical fee he'll get than the possible after-effects?"
My own view is: Circumcision provides a convenient and socially acceptable outlet for the perverted component of the circumciser's libido. I have had person experience with the psychopathology that underlies the wish to circumcise. The pitiful wails of the suffering infant are all too often the background for lewd and obscene commentary by the obstetrician to his audience of nurses. Several years ago I saw an infant born with multiple deformities. He could not live more than a few months at most, but to add to his miseries, this unfortunate bit of humanity had to undergo a thorough circumcision.
I have seen two medical students fight over the privilege of doing circumcision on the newborn, although these same students showed neither interest nor aptitude for opening boils or doing other surgical tasks.
In 1951, I witnessed an autopsy on an infant who had died from an infected circumcision — a death rendered even more tragic because the mother had tried to persuade the obstetrician to spare her infant this ordeal.
Dr. Alexander Schaffer, a noted pediatrician, tells with horror the case in which an infant was being delivered as a frank breech (buttocks first). Before delivering the baby, and just as the penis came into view, the obstetrician seized it and circumcised it. That obstetrician, I would say, may be capable. He may be an all-round fine fellow. But sexually I say he is a monster. And I say that one of the reasons why circumcision is so common in this country stems from the sadism of the crypto-pervert.
My viewpoint is not very novel, though, for psychiatrists have long agreed that circumcision is basically a punitive act. According to Dr. Menninger, for instance, the original and basic purpose of circumcision was to serve as a symbol of castration, and the practice was initiated by fathers — to punish their sons for whatever incestuous feelings they might have for their mothers.
Another explanation for the prevalence of circumcision: latent female antagonism toward the penis. To quote Dr. Morgan: "Perhaps not the least of the reasons why American mothers seem to endorse the operation with such enthusiasm is the fact that it is one way an intensely matriarchal society can permanently influence the physical characteristics of its males." I myself do not doubt that among the biggest boosters of circumcision are neurotic females, whose unhappy sex lives prompt them to injure a man where he feels it the most.
One could go further and consider the obstetrician: Perhaps the same stimulus that drove him into the traditionally feminine role of midwife is also responsible for his attack upon the penis. However, in all fairness, it should be pointed out that these male midwives know very little about the penis and, of all physicians, are surely the least competent to decide about circumcision. Besides, the obstetricians rarely sees the hemorrhage, the infection, and the deformities that sometimes result from his handiwork — these are the lot of the emergency-room staff, the pediatrician, the urologist, and the plastic surgeon.
Others who can be counted on the side of the circumcisers are:
A. Certain Christian clergymen, who are quick to point out that Jesus Christ submitted to circumcision. (They are not so quick to point out that Jesus also submitted to crucifixion.) The Roman Catholic Church solemnly celebrates the Feast of the Circumcision on January 1.
B. Homosexuals, who — according to psychiatrists — are in dire fear of being castrated. No doubt it pleases them when others, instead of themselves, submit to an operation that is similar.
C. Anti-Semitic Jews, ashamed of their mark and eager to make it universal.
D. All men, including physicians, who have already been circumcised. To paraphrase an expression, they suffer from "foreskin envy." Cut off a man's tonsils and it does not affect his feelings toward his neighbor's tonsils, but cut off his foreskin and his neighbor's foreskin becomes an object of envy and hatred. The circumcised have always behaved as if their circumcision were a stigma of inferiority. Jew, Moor, and Turk forced circumcision on servants, slaves, and whole nations of conquered people.
Because the motivations of the foreskin-phobes are so irrational, these people are hard to combat. The introduction of routine circumcision as a "medical" measure at the turn of the century aroused vigorous opposition within the profession. Dr. Warren Stone Bickham, an eminent surgeon, declared that circumcision was a disgrace and a discredit to the surgeon responsible. Nonetheless by 1930 the opposition had dwindled, and the fanatical circumcisers were in possession of the field. The opponents of circumcision failed because they did not understand the motives of the circumcisers and therefore could not grapple with them.
* * *
So far I have considered the "medical benefits" of circumcision and explored the possible motives of those who favor circumcision. Now I want to consider the harmful consequences of the operation.
The circumcision of a newborn boy is a spectacle so appalling and revolting in its cruelty that, on their first encounter with the ordeal, many robust medical students faint. The infant is tied down securely to a circumcision board, with his genitals exposed. Next, the entire foreskin and much of the penile skin is pulled through a clamp, and as the clamp's screw is tightened, the skin is crushed off. As much as 80% of the total penile skin is removed. In this country anesthetics are rarely used. The infant struggles and screams, and often vomits and defecates, before lapsing into unconsciousness.
As a result of circumcision, some infants die. Countless others are doomed to become sexual cripples. In 1958 a 4-year- old boy underwent surgery for an undescended testicle. The surgeon, noticing that the child still had his foreskin, just couldn't pass up this tidbit. The circumcision failed to heal, and 5 days later the penis sloughed off. The parents sued for $150,000 and settled for $80,000. In a similar case last year, the parents asked for $4,500,000. These are two cases that have come to public attention because of lawsuits. In England and Wales, however, it is known that an average of 16 children died annually from 1942 to 1947 as a direct result of circumcision.
Dr. Van Zante has this to say: "Proponents of circumcision do not mention any of the ill-effects of circumcision. Duf and Ware state, 'Major losses of penile skin are fairly common as a complication of circumcision.' The child may get a meatal ulcer. The sensitive, exposed glans [the head of the penis] sometimes becomes infected with diaper rash. . . . Occasionally a babe, especially of hemophiliac parents, bleeds to death."
Dr. Weiss mentions these other possible complications: sepsis, eczema of the glans and meatus, meatal stenosis, surgical adhesions, interference with nutrition, edema of local tissue, seepage of blood with resulting anemia, and injuries of the glans or scrotal skin.
Dr. John Van Duyn of Georgia, a plastic surgeon, has complained that often circumcisions are performed by young interns, and after they perform a few circumcisions, they are left unsupervised. "Unless the operator is competent and care is exercised," he writes, "there is always the possibility of damage from poor technique."
Dr. Van Duyn goes on: "A short time ago, I was called upon to split-graft the penis of a newborn where too much skin had been inadvertently removed, and in reporting this case found that this error had occurred in a number of other instances. "In another case, involving incorrect use of a circumcision clamp in an infant, the glans was found gangrenous on removal of the clamp and was subsequently lost."
"There is also the danger from hemorrhage, especially if the baby is placed in a prone position and supervision is minimal, In a near fatality from this cause, of which I have firsthand knowledge . . . a growing puddle of blood beneath the baby was not discovered for a considerable time.
* * *
Another hazard of circumcision is the possible diminution of sexual pleasure. Only the circumcised refer to the foreskin as a "useless appendage." The intact penis is an instrument admirably suited for its natural purpose — which is *not* simply to serve as a waterspout.
During a boy's growth, the foreskin protects the sensitive glans. Normally the surface of the glans is composed of a smooth, glistening membrane only a few cells in thickness. The surface cells are alive, and naked nerve-endings are distributed among these cells. After circumcision, this membrane becomes 10 times thicker, and the free nerve-endings disappear. The surface becomes covered with an adherent layer of dead cells, rough, dry, and insensitive.
For the mature man, the foreskin provides a covering during erection, and the organ increases in bulk from six to eight times. In coitus, it rolls back to expose the sensitive glans. And especially when the vagina is snug, this elastic covering promotes sexual satisfaction: It enables the penis to penetrate smoothly and without friction.
A number of students have confirmed that the uncircumcised man has a sexual advantage over the circumcised. For instance, Martin L. Edwards Sr., M.D., a Texas physician, writes: "I have counselled with many married men who are circumcised, and this alone has been a great drawback between man and wife."
On the other hand, Dr. William H. Masters and Virginia E. Johnson, in their recent book Human Sexual Response, call it a "phallic fallacy" to believe that the man who is circumcised is at a sexual disadvantage. But a close reading of their book makes their conclusion seem erroneous.
To begin with, they maintain that it is a widespread belief that the uncircumcised man has better ejaculatory control than the man who is circumcised — because his glans is *less* sensitive than the circumcised man's. Medical opinion, actually, is the opposite: The man with his original foreskin has a glans that is *particularly* sensitive.
In their book they also state: "A limited number of the male study-subject population was exposed to a brief clinical experiment designed to prove the false premise of excessive sensitivity of the circumcised glans." Experiments on 35 men in each category demonstrated no "clinically significant difference" in sensitivity of the glans.
Let me suggest that when an experiment "is designed to prove the false premise" of some belief or other, even if it uses a "limited" number of subject in a "brief" experiment, its outcome is really not in doubt.
Aside from its lack of objectivity, the basic fault of the experiment Dr. Masters and Mrs. Johnson describe is that no mention is made of when the circumcised men were circumcised. The fact is that if circumcision is delayed until adult life, degenerative changes are minimal. The glans does not suffer such a profound loss of sensitivity, and the penis gets a "tailored fit." But even if there is no sexual advantage to having one's original foreskin, and even were complications not so numerous, there would still be other dangers attendant upon circumcision — psychological dangers.
The reason that anesthetics are rarely used on infants undergoing circumcision is that — in addition to the possible danger — it has been taken for granted that infants are not sensitive to pain. Recent experiments, and contemporary opinion, however, flatly contradict this.
Charles Weiss, M.D., of the Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, states: "Experimental psychologists and psychologists who employed the techniques of pin-pricking or applied medical electric shock to different part of the body have demonstrated that sensitivity in neonates increases sharply within the first four days of life."
A Leipzig pediatrician, Prof. A Peiper, states: "I have not the slightest doubt that a newborn infant is definitely sensitive to pain."
A London physician, A. W. Wilkinson, M.D., states: "I do not think there is any doubt that infants in the first week of life are sensitive to pain because, when inadequately anesthetized, they respond very sharply to incision with a knife."
Since infants apparently do feel the pain of circumcision, no wonder that a number of psychiatrists — including Freud — have held that circumcision must leave scars on the personality. Recently, Dr. Rene A. Spitz observed: "I find it difficult to believe that circumcision, as practiced in our hospitals, would not represent stress and shock of some kind. Nobody who has witnessed the way these infants are operated on without anesthesia, the infant screaming in manifest pain, can reasonably deny that such treatment is likely to leave traces of some kind on the personality. This is one of the cruelties the medical profession thoughtlessly inflicts on infants, just because these cannot tell what they suffer."
One possible result of circumcision is impotence: Impotence seems to be frequent in circumcised men, but rare among the uncircumcised. Problem-masturbation is also as common among the circumcised as it is rare among the uncircumcised — the exposed glans explains it.
Then too, homosexuality also seems to be related to circumcision. First to report this was Melitta Schmideberg (Psychoanalytic Review, 1948), who treated two patients, homosexuals, who had been circumcised. In one of them, "The resentment and fear of his mother associated with circumcision was an important factor in the development of his homosexuality." More recently, a study was made of admissions to a large Naval hospital. Of all admissions, 32% had been circumcised. Of all admission with the diagnosis of "overt homosexuality," 100% had been circumcised. Before he died, Dr. Alfred Kinsey intended to investigate the relationship between circumcision and homosexuality.
Unfortunately, one cannot be sure about all the possible psychological illnesses that can be traced back to circumcision. As Dr. Spitz has observed, "Characteristically, no research seems ever to have been done on developmental and personality differences between a group of circumcised and one of uncircumcised infants."
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Finally, in addition to the physical and psychological harm done by circumcision, there is the social harm.
It is a truism in psychoanalytic literature that circumcision is a major cause of anti-Semitism.
Circumcision, in the unconscious, is confused with castration. Thus, in Man Against Himself, Dr. Menninger writes: "I could cite many illustrations from psychiatric practice to show how, in the unconscious, circumcision and castration are equated. Because the fear of cutting in connection with the genitals is so widespread, and apparently so basic in the formation of character, any surgery in connection with the genitals is apt to be associated with strong emotional feeling which psychoanalysts, on the basis of their daily experiences with the language of the unconscious, ascribe to the 'castration threat,' i.e., the fear that the genitals are to be irremediably injured."
How do the Jews fit in? To impressionable Christian children, circumcision is considered mutilation of the genitals — and Jews are identified with the practice. Freud himself thought that the castration complex was "the deepest unconscious root of anti-Semitism; for even in the nursery little boys hear that a Jew has something cut off his penis."
Not surprisingly, in-depth interviews with antisemites have revealed that many of them have a deep fear of being castrated. Some 100 anti-Semitic students studied by Else Frenkel-Brunswik and R. Nevitt (Anti-Semitism: A Social Disease, 1946) betrayed "unconscious inferiority feelings centering mainly about the castration complex." To them,, the Jews, the symbol of the circumciser-castrator, automatically became an object of hate and fear. Dr. Nathan W. Ackerman, and Anti-Semitism and Emotional Disorder (1950), cites a patient who told him: "I can't understand why so many gentiles are circumcised. That's what the Jews did to America. Their mission is to circumcise every single Christian in the country." Asked by a Fact staffer if he had been circumcised, Nazi leader George Lincoln Rockwell became upset: "I won't answer any such degrading question as that." Rockwell evinced his ready confusion of circumcision and castration by adding: "As far as the Jews are concerned, it isn't thorough enough. They should cut about 5 inches more off."
Many psychiatrists, Jews among them, are therefore eager that Jews give up the practice of circumcision. C.G. Schoenfeld, writing in Psychoanalytic Review (1966), acknowledges that because circumcision is a "fundamental tenet of Judaism . . . Jews can hardly be expected to renounce circumcision readily — or indeed at all." But he goes on:
Nevertheless, the tenets of religion do change (consider, for example, the results of the recent Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church). Hence, it is conceivable that knowing that circumcision helps engender anti-Semitism will have an effect upon Jews, and as a result, upon Judaism — especially if Jews also familiarize themselves with certain anthropological and psychoanalytic studies and discoveries regarding circumcision.
For one thing, Jews ought to be aware that circumcision, far from being a uniquely Jewish custom, was once a common practice in ancient Egypt . . . and, in addition, that circumcision is to this very day a common practice among many of the world's primitive peoples.
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To recapitulate: Circumcision has few if any medical benefits. Any link between circumcision and the prevention of genital cancer is at best unproved. Circumcision is not only unnecessary but barbaric. It can cripple children, both physically and mentally, for their whole lives. And as for the motives behind circumcision, psychiatrists are agreed that they are irrational and punitive.
What can be done?
One possible course is to wait until the physicians in this country become well-informed on the subject. However, a fascinating survey conducted a few years ago (American Journal of Diseases in Children, 1963) and 126 physicians in Ohio revealed that 69% favored routine circumcision, 20% opposed it, and 11% were of the opinion that circumcision was not a "medical" decision and should rest with the parents.
The men who conducted the survey — Robert A. Shaw and W. O. Robertson, M.D. — were quick to point out that none of the reasons given were firmly established, and many were imaginary. "The results," they concluded, "cast reasonable doubt on the belief that the decision — 'pro' or 'con' — is reached in any scientific manner."
The authors also were skeptical that the medical men will, in the near future, make themselves better informed on the subject. "One would hope," they write, "the situation might change in the next century — but do not bet on it!"
Another survey the authors conducted was of parents who let their children be circumcised. What were their reasons? I quote a few: "Thought it was a mandatory hospital procedure"; "Because it 'looks better'"; "Thought all males were circumcised"; "Everyone in our family is circumcised"; "I thought it was a law"; and "The doctor just did it."
Still, at the present time I think that it is parents who are our best hope. It is they who can campaign for a more open discussion of the problem. It is they who can prevent their sons from being circumcised. And it is, therefore, to parents that I appeal:
Let us be honest and fair enough to let our sons grow up to decide for themselves if they want to exchange their foreskins for the very dubious advantages of circumcision.
And I would like to remind parents of that perceptive remark of the great historian Henry Thomas Buckle: "Every great reform which has been effected has consisted, not in doing something new, but in undoing something old."