Saturday, May 23, 2015

Dawkins and the foreskin

I had been curious as to the motivations of the father in this bizarre case from America about the mother who had agreed to her son's circumcision, then changed her mind, fled with the child, and eventually went to jail for her obstructionist efforts in which the courts had all sided with the father.

This article in Slate notes that the father believes the operation is needed for phimosis (a too tight, non retracting, foreskin.)  It appears one doctor suggested it, although the report notes:
Later, a urologist questioned that diagnosis, but agreed that Chase would benefit generally from a circumcision.
However, it is also reported elsewhere that the father thought circumcision was "just a normal thing to do", and that would appear to be consistent with his original motivation for getting it into the parenting plan when the kid was only 1 to 2 years old not being particularly medically motivated.  (You can't be sure that there is any problem with phimosis until  a boy is older than that.  I guess it might be put in as a mere precaution, but I would be surprised.) 

Anyway, as I say, all the courts have sided with the father, and the father is claiming medical support for having it done for phimosis at an age when it would start to appear the operation may be warranted.

So I would have thought that should be the end of the matter for smart people to leave the topic well enough alone.

But, I see from Slate that Richard Dawkins has been supporting the nutty, hyperbolic "Chase'sGuardians" group trying to raise money for the mother (and to scare off the judge and doctors with threats, including death threats to the father, at least.)

Here's some detail of the actions of the mother who Dawkins is specifically supporting:
Nebus also asked the court to have Hironimus stop allowing anti-circumcision activists to continue using their son's name and likeness on the internet. She had been ordered to do so in the past but has disobeyed that court order....
Nebus testified that three doctors who were supposed to perform the procedure on the boy had removed themselves from doing so after apparently receiving what he called "threatening letters" from activists calling for the father not to have the boy circumcised. Nebus claimed that he too had received death threats.

During his testimony, Nebus detailed an incident where Hironimus burst into a doctor's office where the child was being examined in order to schedule a procedure. Nebus said she "threw a tantrum" and yelled at the medical staff that she had not given consent for the boy to be examined by the doctor. Nebus said their son, who had witnessed the outburst, was "visibly shaken." He also claimed that the boy had expressed fear over getting a circumcision. Nebus hinted on the stand that this was due to Hironimus' using "scare tactics" on the boy, though he didn't make clear what those tactics might've been.

Nebus also testified that the mother had been allowing the anticircumcision activists to use the child's likeness and name on their websites, as well as on posters and picket signs during protests outside the courthouse as well as at CityPlace.
Seriously, who can doubt that it is the mother, pictured here in court, looking every bit driven close to insanity by her acceptance of the cult-like belief that circumcision is completely evil:

 is the one who is causing the most stress to the boy?

And as for those in the movement:
Supporting the mother's case is a band of so-called "intactivists." They're an army of special interest groups — Doctors Opposing Circumcision; Attorneys for the Rights of the Child; and Intact America. There's also a Facebook page called Chase's Guardians, and a petition with nearly 6,000 signatures at
Amanda Petrillo said she heard about the case and decided to spread the word on social media and through the petition. She's the Broward-based director of Intact Florida, which is separate from Intact America.
"A forced circumcision at this stage will be extremely detrimental to not only the boy's physical well-being, but his mental and psychological well-being as well," Petrillo said.

Shame on Dawkins for getting involved with such a bunch of first world extremists with far too much time on their hands, undoubtedly causing harm to the boy psychologically by their contribution.

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