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Filmmaker accuses opponents of lying - lies himself

September 17, 2019

Yesterday the producer of the anti-circumcision movie American Circumcision published a blog post titled, " The Three Layers of Circumcision Lies". To make his point, Brendon Marotta cited what he called a "common pro-circumcision argument":

"Circumcision prevents HIV."

That is a lie. Literally no medical organization or pro circumcision group claims that circumcision prevents the transmission of HIV. [1] Studies have shown that circumcision reduces the risk of HIV transmission. Consequently circumcision has been adopted as part of an overall program for HIV prevention.

Brendon Marotta committed the straw man logical fallacy. He misrepresented an opponent's argument to make it easier to defeat. In trying to show that circumcision proponents and PPCs lie, Marotta himself lied.

In Monday's post Marotta argued that HIV studies from Africa had methodological flaws. He suggested that circumcision proponents assume that if circumcision prevents HIV, then "infant circumcision is good". [2] In the next sentence he dismissed that assumption because "infants are not at risk for HIV, because they are not sexually active". [3] He claimed that "many circumcision proponents are afraid to debate values". [4] But in the post Marotta didn't actually appear to identify a lie.

To the best of our knowledge, Marotta - who claimed that he was a neutral filmmaker - has failed to document any of the lies spread by the intactivist movement. We have documented several of them.

The producer quoted Doctors Opposing Circumcision extensively in his blog post yesterday. But he has never reported on any of DOC's lies about circumcision. Why not?

He recently blocked Circumcision Choice from commenting on his public figure Facebook page. Apparently he's upset that we corrected his false and misleading statements about California law earlier this year.

[1] Statements by select medical authorities about circumcision and HIV:

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Benefits include significant reductions ... in the risk of heterosexual acquisition of HIV..."

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Male circumcision reduces, but does not eliminate, the risk of acquiring HIV and some STIs during penile-vaginal sex."

Canadian Paediatric Society: "Circumcision in adult men can reduce the risk of ... HIV."

World Health Organization: "Benefits of male circumcision: Decreased risk of HIV infection"

Mayo Clinic: "Circumcised men might have a lower risk of certain sexually transmitted infections, including HIV."

[2] Major medical organizations aren't pro circumcision, and they don't say that circumcision is good. Rather, they are pro parents choice. That is why they cite protection against HIV as one of the medical benefits that parents should consider when making the decision.

[3] Opponents claim that circumcision harms sexual performance and reduces sexual pleasure. By Marotta's logic, such claims are not relevant, since infants don't engage in sexual activities. Intactivists cannot have it both ways. If protection from STDs cannot be considered, then neither can sexual performance and pleasure. Moreover, while infants may not be at risk for HIV, the CDC reported that more than 40% of boys have sex - placing themselves at risk for contracting HIV and other STDs - prior to the minimum age that intactivists would allow for circumcision.

[4] According to Marotta, proponents dismiss values as "just feelings" and value data more than feelings. By the same token, many circumcision opponents consider feelings more important than data. Marotta went on to say that "A worldview that values will of authorities important than individual freedom is known as totalitarianism." That is an essential aspect of parenthood: making judgments for others that may limit their freedom. Parents make such decisions all the time.

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