Episode 177 – 8th March 2013

Writing genes like writing code, what caused the Bradford Earthquake, how the NHS reforms are having an impact on the ground and much more!



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Bordering On The Ridiculous (1:40) by Matt Flaherty
Religious Antivaxers (12:50) by Salim Fadhley (ft Steve Novella)
Circ Debate (21:29) by Marianne Baker
Bradford Earthquake (32:08) by Cory Hazlehurst
Synthetic Biology (43:46) by Jonny Serfaty
NHS Reforms (49:45) by Max Davie
Atheist Photobook Update (55:44) by Liz Lutgendorff (ft Chris Johnson)
The sketch at the end is by David Lovesy, Brian Two and Sean McDermott

3 thoughts on “Episode 177 – 8th March 2013

  1. I was very interested by your piece about circumcision. However, I wish you would have explained it in a slightly different way. I am a circumcised man and was quite shocked a disappointed to discover the negative sexual effects attributed to circumcision. This was followed by you saying “I am sure you are all glad that no one removed the most sensitive part when you were a baby” or words to that effect. I am all in favour of trying to prevent this from happening in the future, but I think you should be aware that there are many of us for whom it is too late. You could have let me down a little more gently is all I’m saying.

    1. Relax mate. I was “done” as an adult. Certainly for me, and others I know in the same situation, the alleged negative effects never materialised. Studies in Africa, in conjunction with the investigation into the foreskins/HIV link, find no detrimental effect either. These are large studies, of sexually experienced men, who can compare before and after. In the Ugandan study there was no difference in satisfaction between cut & uncut groups. In the Kenyan study 64% of cut men actually reported an improvement in sensitivity! There are also studies based on nerve stimulation and thermal imaging, that find no adverse effect. I’m not trying to promote routinely snipping babies. That’s a matter for a medical cost-benefit analysis to settle, and right now there is furious debate about it in the medical literature. But it really annoys me when I see intactivists trying to make circumcised guys like you and me feel miserable. It is false, and it is mean. I love my cut dick!

  2. Unfortunately Marianne Baker’s circumcision piece is misleading. Men circumcised in adulthood (like me) can tell her that the foreskin does NOT convey “the majority of their sexual pleasure” and it is NOT the “most erogenous body part”. The studies cited in the recording have all been heavily criticised – just look at the spats that follow in subsequent issues of the journals. There is evidence that the latest one, the 2013 Belgian study, for example, may be skewed by participant bias. There are also studies finding no adverse effect, or even some improvement. Whatever the rights or wrongs of circumcision, it really irritates me to see claims being made grossly overstating the alleged harm to sexual performance (if indeed there is any harm), and hereby making circumcised boys and men feel needlessly miserable. So, to all you guys out there who were circumcised young, relax – you are not missing much. It suits intactivists to exaggerate. It makes people angry and so draws them in to the movement. I also say to skeptics, take a closer look at intactivism. You may be disturbed by what you find. Logical fallacies and emotional rhetoric abound, along with selective literature citing, dangerous ideas about HIV in Africa, and bad company – anti-vacs, AIDS deniers, anti-Semites and NAMBLA.

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