Circumcision study from the Carrier show on morality

kellym78
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Circumcision study from the Carrier show on morality

I looked up the study mentioned by Richard Carrier in the show on morality. Sombody had posed a question on the morality of circumcision and Richard responded that a study has shown that circumcision reduces the risk of AIDS transmission. So, I did some research and this is what I found.
There have been many studies on circumcision as it relates to HIV infection. There are 29 published articles dealing with this issue. Nevertheless, the data is inconclusive. There are lower rates of AIDS among circumcised African men, but there are other factors that can be used to explain this.
First of all, none of these studies have been experimental. Obviously, there may be an ethical dilemma involved in circumcising some men and not circumcising others, following them for twenty years and seeing whether or not they contract HIV. I don't have an answer to that problem, but since a randomized, controlled experiment is the gold standard, I feel that has to be mentioned.
Many of these studies were geographical analysis--meaning that the researchers gathered data on circumcision rates and AIDS rates in different regions of Africa. This is a problem because, first of all, you can't prove that the correlation isn't PURELY regional and that the same population in a different region wouldn't have the same AIDS rate. Also, most circumcised African men are Muslim, and although they may have multiple wives, they tend to not have extramarital sexual partners.
All the studies were retrospective and relied mostly on personal reports of sexual activity and circumcision status. Some of the studies were done on patients at STD clinics where they were infected with multiple STD's, often presenting with genital lesions which significantly increase the risk of AIDS transmission.
There are studies that have shown the opposite effect--that circumcision increases the risk of AIDS transmission. This may be because circumcision is sometimes used as a coming of age ritual, commonly followed by sexual intercourse. Obviously, an open wound will increase the risk of transmission, so that may or may not be relevant.
If one considers the data worldwide, the AIDS rates among uncircumcised men are actually lower. Again, much of this may be geographical, but it also corroborates the possibility that the correlation in Africa is also either geographical or due to cultural differences.
Here are two links - one to a meta-analysis done on the 29 published studies with available data and another that discusses the actual study mentioned by Richard Carrier on the show. (The latter is a subscription journal article, so if it doesn't work, let me know and I'll C&P it here. It is long, though.)

Circumcised men are at greater risk of HIV infection
In Sub-Saharan Africa, Circumcised Men Are Less Likely Than Uncircumcised Men To Become Infected With HIV

Hope that was informative. Laughing out loud

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Yellow_Number_Five
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Circumcision study from the Carrier show on morality

Excellent points, kelly, and I think we did bring this up during the show (I sort of forget, it was in the 15th or so hour of recording). The typical problem with these studies is that it is near impossible to distinguish causal effects from single variables.

In the end though, I think the logic is simply flawed. Saying circumcision can be justified at birth, before the boy is sexualy active and exposed to potential infection, because cicumcision could lower his risk of infection later in life is almost akin to saying we ought to remove a girl's cervix at birth to reduce her chances of cervical cancer.

I didn't disagree with Richard often on the topics we were discussing, but this was one such instance.

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Circumcision study from the Carrier show on morality

Great work Kelly!

Yellow_Number_Five wrote:

I didn't disagree with Richard often on the topics we were discussing, but this was one such instance.

How do we feel about the "our religion is philosophy" line of reasoning. I'm still a bit put off by it. Are you?

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Circumcision study from the Carrier show on morality

I am, but I understand what Richard is saying. He's not using religion in the same sense that you or I would, he's just suggesting that where religion would normally fill his life with answers or questions, philosophy does instead. He uses philosophy was a way to question, and gain perspective in place of religion. So in a sense, from a perspective, that is his religion. He states that in the shows a bit.

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Circumcision study from the Carrier show on morality

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
I am, but I understand what Richard is saying. He's not using religion in the same sense that you or I would, he's just suggesting that where religion would normally fill his life with answers or questions, philosophy does instead. He uses philosophy was a way to question, and gain perspective in place of religion. So in a sense, from a perspective, that is his religion. He states that in the shows a bit.

Well right, and I understood it as well. The question isn't if philosophy is our religion, as clearly in the sense that Carrier uses it, philosophy is our religion. The question is, do we have a problem using the term in that way to describe us? Does it open us up to hypocrisy? Or does it open theists up to the notion that without God belief you can still replace "religion" with other principles to guide you? Does it do both, and one more than the other? Does it hurt us more than it helps us?

Should we make a whole show on this? Is it not worthy of a show? Is my incessant question asking, proof that philosophy is my religion? Eye-wink

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Circumcision study from the Carrier show on morality

I wouldn't go around saying it, because theists would definitely misinterpret it (accidentally or on purpose.) On the other hand, even Robert Ingersoll used the word "religion" fairly frequently (Humanity is my religion, I believe in the religion of the real, etc.)

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Circumcision study from the Carrier show on morality

I don't see a problem with saying that if you're comfortable with it, but I wouldn't. Too often the charge is levied that we have replaced one religion with another--ie christianity for science. I would like to show that religion is completely unnecessary. I don't have a hole inside of me that needs to be filled (Wait, let me think about that. Maybe I do, but not that one. Laughing out loud ) by god or religion or any other thing. I find that I enjoy the study of philosophy and science merely because they are edifying to me personally. It's not a replacement for god because the absence of god is not creating a penury of anything inside of me except for guilt, disgust, and fear.


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Circumcision study from the Carrier show on morality

I just wanted to add that I completely agree with YN5 that the premise behind infant circumcision is faulty, but that opens up a whole other can of worms concerning infant medical care. For example, the Hepatitis B vaccine is routinely given at birth. Hep B is one of the more problematic vaccines and has the least amount of data supporting its safety. Since Hep B is a blood-borne pathogen, there is no risk of infection to a newborn unless its mother is positive. If a vaccine for AIDS came along, would it be ethical to give it to children regardless of the potential risks? Clearly vaccination carries less risks than a surgical procedure, but it isn't without risk. They do these things to infants before they leave the hospital because they are essentially captive at that point. After that, there is no guarantee that they would come back for the vaccination or the procedure even if there was a demonstrable benefit. So...just some food for thought.


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Circumcision study from the Carrier show on morality

Sapient wrote:
Great work Kelly!

Yellow_Number_Five wrote:

I didn't disagree with Richard often on the topics we were discussing, but this was one such instance.

How do we feel about the "our religion is philosophy" line of reasoning. I'm still a bit put off by it. Are you?

I wasn't really put off by it, I actually found it amusing. I get what he's doing - short-circuiting the argument.

Theist: "Oh, well, science or philosphy is your religion, you're religious too"

Richard: "Damn right philosphy is my religion in a metaphorical sense, and my religion is infinitely more moral and valuable and worthwhile than yours."

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

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Circumcision study from the Carrier show on morality

kellym78 wrote:
I just wanted to add that I completely agree with YN5 that the premise behind infant circumcision is faulty, but that opens up a whole other can of worms concerning infant medical care. For example, the Hepatitis B vaccine is routinely given at birth. Hep B is one of the more problematic vaccines and has the least amount of data supporting its safety. Since Hep B is a blood-borne pathogen, there is no risk of infection to a newborn unless its mother is positive. If a vaccine for AIDS came along, would it be ethical to give it to children regardless of the potential risks? Clearly vaccination carries less risks than a surgical procedure, but it isn't without risk. They do these things to infants before they leave the hospital because they are essentially captive at that point. After that, there is no guarantee that they would come back for the vaccination or the procedure even if there was a demonstrable benefit. So...just some food for thought.

Good points. Vaccination does have proven medical benefits, unlike circumcision where the benefits are questionable at best. Still there is a risk. Still, vaccination isn't surgery either - ostensibly within a few weeks of the injection no lasting physical effects remain.

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Circumcision study from the Carrier show on morality

Religion can be an ideology, but not all ideologies are religions.
Religious 'values' can be a philosophy, but not all philosophies are religious values.

Applying the word 'religion' as a description of our philosophy was incorrect.

Let's try: Our ideology is philosophy.

To define at length:
Our doctrine is the critical analysis of fundamental assumptions or beliefs.

No mention of a god or worship there.

Topic:
Does it really matter whether they are cut or uncut when they're wearing a fucking condom???!!! Do a study concerning AIDS-related maladies between wrapped rascals and bareback rascals in Africa. Oh yeah. I forgot. Condom use and availability isn't as widespread as it is here. So they say.

How do you say, "No condom. No Nookie." in Nyukyusa or Kiswahili? As soon as you know then tell the young African girls forced to 'perform' tricks without a net by their religious societal initiations. Better yet, if they can be told what a condom is before their first menstruation then the dude can be informed as well.

In my oh so humble opinion, it is unethical to spend all of this money 'studying' the HIV 'rate' when the money should be used to combat the HIV problem with education and prophylactics.

Meanwhile, we sit around debating 'cut' or 'un-cut' like THAT'S what would make a difference.

Man, I love forums. I can vent and sometimes bring clarity to my own thoughts.

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kellym78
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Circumcision study from the Carrier show on morality

I totally agree Darth Josh. Instead of trying to figure out other ways to prevent AIDS, we should be educating people and providing them with the means to prevent it in ways that are already known to be effective.

BTW - do you guys know how I know you're gay?


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Circumcision study from the Carrier show on morality

kellym78 wrote:
I totally agree Darth Josh. Instead of trying to figure out other ways to prevent AIDS, we should be educating people and providing them with the means to prevent it in ways that are already known to be effective.

Tell that to the Vatican.

Quote:
BTW - do you guys know how I know you're gay?

Laughing out loud I'm wondering how much of those conversations will make it into the out-take reel.

BTW, kelly, do you know how I know you're gay?

Well, I don't know, I just want to see two hot chicks making out.

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

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kellym78
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Circumcision study from the Carrier show on morality

Well, here's my proof. I make a comment like this:

Quote:
I don't have a hole inside of me that needs to be filled (Wait, let me think about that. Maybe I do, but not that one. Laughing out loud ) by god or religion or any other thing.
and nobody even notices. You know, it is possible to have your head in the clouds and your mind in the gutter. Laughing out loud


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Circumcision study from the Carrier show on morality

Yellow_Number_Five wrote:
kellym78 wrote:

BTW - do you guys know how I know you're gay?

Laughing out loud I'm wondering how much of those conversations will make it into the out-take reel.

Now I feel shitty for deleting Carriers (likely) only "Do you know how I know you're gay" comment. I should compile them all together.

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Circumcision study from the Carrier show on morality

Damn. Kelly is a hot babe. Haven't seen her here before! Laughing out loud


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Circumcision study from the Carrier show on morality

MattShizzle wrote:
Damn. Kelly is a hot babe. Haven't seen her here before! :D

She's gorgeous and very intelligent. Expect to see her around often. She's our newest core squad member, has full mod privileges on the board, and will likely be on all of the shows from now on.

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