Tag Archives: Brian Morris

Morris and Cox playing around again – so who are they again?

Sexual Medicine is publishing an article by Brian Morris, Guy Cox and John Krieger, titled “Histological Correlates of Penile Sexual Sensation: Does Circumcision Make a Difference?“.  2 years ago Morris and Krieger had published “Does male circumcision affect sexual function, sensitivity or satisfaction”, in which they said they would soon review the histological studies, so this must be their follow up.

(Please note, in this particular post we evaluate the “no conflict of interest” disclosure of the paper – we will soon take the time to actually respond to the paper).

The appearance of Guy Cox as coauthor is most interesting for us, and particularly its timing.  Almost one year ago we posted an expose of Guy Cox, a former coworker of Brian Morris at University of Sydney, and who used the pen-name of James Badger to publish papers about circumcision, to interact in circlist, to write fiction about circumcision, to review his own articles and fiction in a non-credited website, etc.

Guy Cox, University of Sydney honorary associate professor and circumcision advocate

Guy Cox/James Badger

On March 17th of this year, we received a comment on our article from someone identified as James Badger, accusing us of publishing “a lot of hot air”, acknowledging his identity as Guy Cox, and failing to dispute any of the issues we exposed. You can see the comment – and our response- in the expose.

We responded reiterating some of our questions. One important question was about a very peculiar site that promoted a chastity undergarment for teenagers to prevent masturbation -except with parental permission. This site, boyguard.com, had a contact address which matches lemonred, the hosting company (owned by Guy Cox’s son, Cassian). James Badger had presented this website to circlist as something he found out about. The site also promoted high and tight circumcisions as a way of making masturbation more difficult for the teenagers.

We shared the news that James Badger had commented on our post, and waited to see if he would respond. He didn’t.

Well, when we saw this new paper by Morris, and realized that Guy Cox (James Badger) was one of the coauthors, we were certainly intrigued. And just a couple of nights ago as we were talking with friends about this mess, we went to check the boyguard site and found it down!

Of course this deserved attention, so the first thing we did was check ownership of the domain. One year ago, the registrar for boyguard was private, but the DNS records showed that it was hosted by lemonred (Cassian Cox, Guy’s son). Well, today, the registrar is “SYNERGY WHOLESALE PTY LTD” but the DNS records are still managed by lemonred. The DNS records are simply not pointing to an active website right now.

Boyguard domain resell

Boyguard domain resell

So who is Synergy Wholesale? It’s a company who resells domains. In other words, Guy Cox/James Badger is trying to get rid of the boyguard domain. Of course, after ignoring our questions regarding this website.

synergy

So, now, back to this new paper. It says:

Conflict of Interest: The authors report no conflicts of interest.”

Really? No conflict of interest whatsoever?

How about Brian Morris’ book, “In favour of circumcision”?

How about Brian Morris’ website, circinfo.net?

How about the interesting details in Brian Morris’ website, such as his link #16 (to a password protected circumfetish fiction website)? Or his links to fictitious doctors’ websites (James Badger, Pierre Lacock)?

How about “James Badger”‘s website, aboutcirc.info, linked by Brian Morris and credited to a pen-name?

How about “James Badger”‘s constant interaction in circlist?

How about “James Badger”‘s erotic fiction including the topic of circumcision, such as his “Airport Encounter” book?

How about Brian Morris and Guy Cox’s cooperation on text for “The surgical guide to circumcision”? – Especially considering that neither Brian Morris nor Guy Cox are licensed physicians or have ever performed a circumcision?

How about Guy Cox’s article, “De Virginibus Puerisque: The Function of the Human Foreskin Considered from an Evolutionary Perspective” – where he hypothesizes that the function of the human foreskin is to “form an obstacle to early coitus”?

How about the constant promotion of circumcision by the authors?

Are we sure there is no conflict of interest? None whatsoever?

I simply don’t understand how anyone in the medical community can give any credibility to these individuals.

 

The Skeptic – Does science support infant circumcision?

We often criticize Brian Morris’ methods and advocacy of circumcision, particularly his underestimating of risks and complications, his denial of the harm, his overestimation of benefits, and his recurrent self-referencing.

It’s good to read others who share our concern. This is a great article by Brian D. Earp and Robert Darby, published on The Skeptic: http://www.skeptic.org.uk/magazine/onlinearticles/articlelist/711-infant-circumcision

It calls attention to an interesting contradiction. Morris argues for circumcision to avoid having to treat urinary tract infections with paracetamol (pain medication) in light of new studies that associate early exposure to paracetamol with an increase in the risk of autism… yet fails to correlate the fact that paracetamol is used after newborn circumcisions.

Anyway, great read. It’s sad that people are still being fooled by Brian Morris’ air of respectability and the scientific community continues playing his game and not exposing his pseudoscientific arguments. Really sad.

Another fictitious doctor, friend of Brian Morris

Just a few weeks ago, we wrote a post exposing the antics of Brian Morris and his friend Guy Cox, AKA James Badger. Now, we bring you yet another fictitious circumcision promoter, who also happens to be a friend of Brian Morris.

Browsing through the links listed on the links and resources page on Brian Morris’ website, one will run across circumcisioninformation.com (the sixth link on the list), a website attributed to one Dr. Pierre LaCock, based in the U.S.A.

Brian Morris' links and resources highlighting Pierre LaCock's website.

Brian Morris’ links and resources highlighting Pierre LaCock’s website.

This website was also listed in an early version of a brochure written by Morris titled “Sex and male circumcision: what every woman should know.” For whatever reason, however, the link does not appear in the most recent version of the brochure.

Old version of Morris' brochure for women, highlighting LaCock's website. Source: circleaks

Old version of Morris’ brochure for women, highlighting LaCock’s website. Source: circleaks

This Dr. Pierre LaCock picked the interests of our investigators, because trying research to see who this Dr. Pierre LaCock was lead to a peculiar problem; you can’t actually find a Dr. Pierre LaCock. In fact, entering “Dr Pierre LaCock” on Google yields exactly two results: Morris’ website, and a PDF of Morris’ website archived a few years ago, found on our old wiki database, circleaks.

Google search for "Dr Pierre LaCock"

Google search for “Dr Pierre LaCock”

Internet records for circumcisioninformation.com show that the site is registered to one Pierre Lacock with an address in Germany.

Who Is info for circumcisioninformation.org

Who Is info for circumcisioninformation.com

The website itself does not provide any more help. There is no “about us” section or attribution, other than an email address.

LaCock's website displaying the only available contact information

LaCock’s website displaying the only available contact information

But herein lie the details;  the circumcisioninformation.com website has what appears to be a mistake in the headline. The headline reads “circumcisioninfo.com.” Now, the term “information,” and its abbreviated form, “info,” are interchangeable in written and spoken English, but not in a url. So our investigators decided to check this lead, and typed circumcisioninfo.com on the browser.

CircumcisionInformation.com's main clue

CircumcisionInformation.com’s main clue

Entering “circumcisioninfo.com” in a browser takes the user to a website titled “circumcision information center: all you need to know about circumcision”. At the bottom of the page, one can read “objective information – physician verified”. However the word circumcision is often misspelled as “circimcision” throughout the website.

Circumcisioninfo.com

Circumcisioninfo.com

Again, there appears to be no attribution, no “about us” page, and no contact information.

Thanks to the Wayback Machine, we can observe the evolution of circumcisioninfo.com. In September of 2013 it was just an empty WordPress website.

Snapshot of circumcisioninfo.com on September 2013

Snapshot of circumcisioninfo.com on September 2013

Before that, all the way until February of 2011, the website was a mere title.

Snapshot of circumcisioninfo.com on Feb. 2011

Snapshot of circumcisioninfo.com on Feb. 2011

But, BINGO! Until February of 2009, circumcisioninfo.com had all the information that is currently found on circumcisioninformation.com!

Snapshot of circumcisioninfo.com on Feb. of 2009 - the same content and layout as circumcisioninformation.com has now.

Snapshot of circumcisioninfo.com on Feb. of 2009 – the same content and layout as circumcisioninformation.com has now.

What does this finding mean?

It means that that the information was originally on circumcisioninfo.com, and it was later transferred to circumcisioninformation.com (LaCock’s website), most likely with intentions of redesigning circumcisioninfo.com, only the web designers forgot to update the head title.

Internet records reveal that circumcisioninfo.com belongs to Alex Shteynshlyuger, from Acclaim Urology, with an address in Brooklyn.

Who.Is circumcisioninfo.com

Who.Is circumcisioninfo.com

Acclaim Urology has a website, http://www.acclaimurology.com, which uses the same template as circumcisioninfo.com, with only slightly different colors. One of the links on the left side navigation of Acclaim Urology is: Alex Shteynshlyuger MD, and yet, mysteriously, this leads to a blank page.

Acclaim Urology

Acclaim Urology

Acclaim Urology’s website shows a list of urologists with their addresses (but no Alex Shteynshlyuger besides that blank page). The about us page is also blank. There is a password protected “Affiliate Area” – registration closed, and the contact us page has no information other than a contact form. The domain was privately registered.

Alex Shteynshlyuger MD - Board Certified Urologist in NYC

Alex Shteynshlyuger MD – Board Certified Urologist in NYC

Finally, Google searches for Alex Shteynshlyuger MD lead to http://www.dralexurology.com/, which is also a WordPress website with a similar, yet more elaborate template.

Dr. Alex Shteynshlyuger's website

Dr. Alex Shteynshlyuger’s website

The website shows that Dr. Shteynshlyuger is located at:

New York Urology Specialists
330 W. 58th St. #401
New York, N.Y. 10019
Phone: (646) 663-5544

This address is also visible on his Google+ profile.

Dr. Alex Shteynshlyuger's Google+ Profile

Dr. Alex Shteynshlyuger’s Google+ Profile

There is almost no mention of circumcision on this website, other than it being listed as one of the procedures performed by Dr. Shteynshlyuger.

The domain was registered by one Roman Shteynshlyuger with an address in Hollywood, Florida.

Who.Is Dr. Alex

Who.Is Dr. Alex

Our conclusion is that Pierre LaCock is most likely an alias for Dr. Alex Shteynshlyuger, with the specific purpose of promoting circumcision. The main evidence is the similitude in the two domains (circumcisioninformation vs. circumcisioninfo), the fact that the content from circumcisioninfo was transferred to circumcisioninformation in order to redesign circumcisioninfo, the strikingly similar templates used on the  circumcisioninfo, acclaimurology and dralexurology websites, and the domain circumcisioninfo being registered to Dr. Shteynshlyuger since at least 2009.

It seems, however, a little pointless to create a website to promote a surgical procedure under a pretend name, particularly when his own line of work (urology) is consistent with the practice of that procedure. Could it be that the purpose is to provide information beyond what he can, as a licensed doctor, legally and ethically, say?

Additionally, one has to wonder why Brian Morris promotes websites written by fictitious personas (aboutcirc, circumcisioninfo), as well as circumfetish websites.

But… who is Mike Cormier from Moncton, New Brunswick?

Mike who?

As we were capturing the screenshots, the who.is page for circumcisioninfo.com offered us another name. The website info tab identified the owner of the site as one Mike Cormier from Moncton, NB. The registrant was still Dr. Alex Shteynshlyuger. Hmm, the plot thickens.

Mike Cormier, owner of circumcisioninfo.com?

Mike Cormier, owner of circumcisioninfo.com?

The previously listed brochure by Brian Morris still had more information for us! The list of authors who endorsed the content did include Mike Cormier from New Brunswick, Canada. The 8th link listed on the brochure (right after LaCock’s website) was a Geocities website attributed to Mike Cormier.

See Mike Cormier listed both as an author endorsing the content, and link #7

See Mike Cormier listed both as an author endorsing the content, and link #8

Geocities used to be a free hosting service for personal websites, very popular during the 1990s, later purchased by Yahoo, and finally closed. So, the problem is that most Geocities websites are no longer active (some are), and this was not the exception. However, the wayback machine proved to be useful once again in locating snapshots of Cormier’s site.

Snapshot of Mike Cormier's site from 1999

Snapshot of Mike Cormier’s site from 1999

Now, there was something familiar in this website. The text: “If you’ve been surfing the internet to find information on the topic of infant or male circumcision you have probably come across many anti-circumcision web pages and very few that tell the other side of the story.

Compare to circumcisioninformation.com (LaCock’s website):

Pierre LaCock's website in 2014 has the same text from Mike Cormier's site in 1999

Pierre LaCock’s website in 2014 has the same text from Mike Cormier’s site in 1999

LaCock’s site has the exact same text in 2014, that Cormier’s Geocities site had 15 years ago!

And as we have already seen, circumcisioninfo.com (Shteynshlyuger’s site) content from 5 years ago is the exact same content from circumcisioninformation.com (LaCock’s site) today. So, just to verify, we used wayback machine just once more to check LaCock’s site. Another match!

Alex Shteynshlyuger's site in 2009, same content as LaCock today and Cormier in 1999

Alex Shteynshlyuger’s site in 2009, same content as LaCock today and Cormier in 1999

So now we have two names for Pierre LaCock: Alex Shteynshlyuger, an urologist in New York, and Mike Cormier in Moncton, New Brunswick. Could we find more information about this Mike Cormier?

This is where the track became fuzzy. The address listed on the who.is corresponded to a trailer park, nor a medical center, an office building or anything else. We found at least two Mike Cormiers in Moncton, one a veterinary, and one a producer, writer and actor of a puppet TV show called “Cowboy Who?” which aired in Canada between 1990 and 1994.

Could Cormier be one of those two characters? Or, as we have learned to believe, could it just be a convenient name, another fake “doctor” created in those late 20th century’s and early 21st century webrings to increase the presence of circumcision-related websites?

Maybe we will ask Alex Shteynshlyuger about this. Or the veterinarian. Or the TV producer.

 

CIRCUMCISION: Lies and Fetishism at the University of Sydney

It is generally well-accepted that a researcher or expert that seeks to convince by a claim of authority or by personal observation needs to be objective, impartial and dispassionate; an audience can only evaluate information from such a source if they know about conflicts of interest that may affect its objectivity and credibility. Thus, before  an audience evaluates information from a source, conflicts of interest need to be declared or identified. The personal background and affiliations of researchers can reveal hidden biases and prejudices.

Having eccentric associates does not make one an eccentric, but sometimes friends, coworkers, etc., mutually enable each other by serving as echo chambers to each other. Let’s take a look at Brian Morris, and let’s see how he relates to some friends and fellow researchers, Guy Cox and James Badger. How do they relate?

The characters

Brian Morris

Brian Morris

The University of Sydney staff directory presents Guy Cox as an Honorary Associate Professor, botanist and microscopist, and no mention is made of his interest in circumcision or the role of the foreskin. However some of his interest has managed to creep onto servers at the University of Sydney; one of his papers on circumcision and the foreskin is actually stored in these servers, as will be shown in the next paragraphs.

Guy Cox, University of Sydney honorary associate professor and circumcision advocate

Guy Cox

Brian Morris and Guy Cox are co-authors of chapters 19 and 21 of the book “Surgical Guide to Circumcision” by By David A. Bolnick, Martin Koyle, Assaf Yosha

Text co-authored by Brian Morris and Guy Cox

Text co-authored by Brian Morris and Guy Cox

Guy Cox published an article on Medical Hypothesis called: “De Virginibus Puerisque: The Function of the Human Foreskin Considered from an Evolutionary Perspective” in which he refers to a survey performed by James Badger and thanks Badger for making his data available. A copy of the pdf file is stored on the servers of University of Sydney (url: http://www-personal.usyd.edu.au/~cox/pdfs/dvp.pdf). Is the University of Sydney aware of the existence of this article by Guy Cox stored on their server, outside his particular career path?

Guy Cox's paper

Guy Cox’s paper

Guy Cox thanks James Badger

Guy Cox thanks James Badger

James Badger published a two part circumcision survey on Australian Forum magazine, 1989. Australian Forum is not a peer-reviewed scientific or medical publication.

Badger's survey on circlist

Badger’s survey on circlist

Brian Morris’ website identifies James Badger as a “University of Sydney biomedical scientist” who “used to regard himself as neutral on the issue of circumcision, but would now appear swayed by the evidence into adopting a ‘pro’ stance”.

Morris cites Badger

Morris cites Badger

Circlist (a website and discussion group for men who sexually fantasize about performing and receiving circumcisions) identifies James Badger as one of its members and has 6 surveys by Badger on different aspects of circumcision, such as masturbation, urination, emotions, attitudes, etc.

Circlist identifies Badger as a member

Circlist identifies Badger as a member

A PowerPoint presentation by Brian Morris on the topic of circumcision, which can still be found on the server of University of Sydney, makes reference to the “first ever survey by a USyd academic in 1989″ (slide 35) – the survey by James Badger.

Slide 35 of Brian Morris' PowerPoint presentation

Slide 35 of Brian Morris’ PowerPoint presentation

A curious fact, slide 6 of the same PowerPoint file shows a picture of Morris with a small group of Sub-Saharan boys during the preparation for their circumcisions, with emphasis on the close up of an old razor hanging from the necklace of one of the boys, a razor that will be used to remove his foreskin. Traditional circumcisions in Africa account for many yearly deaths, mutilations (loss of the penis), life threatening infections and other complications, as denounced on the Ulwaluko website.

Slide 6

Slide 6 – Notice the razor

But the existence of James Badger poses a new mystery.

James Badger

James Badger

Morris’ book “In Favour of Circumcision” reveals that James Badger is a pen-name for the purposes of the Forum survey and debate in general. See note 168 on page 93.

Morris identifies Badger as a pen-name

Morris identifies Badger as a pen-name

Searches on the University of Sydney’s staff directory for James Badger return empty. Further searches for a Sydney scientist named James Badger also return empty.

So now that we know something about our characters, let’s develop the story.

Lies and fetishism

Brian Morris’ original website was hosted on the servers of the University of Sydney, where he and Guy Cox were professors. The old url, now inactive, was http://www-personal.usyd.edu.au/~bmorris/circumcision.shtml (archive)

Old Morris site on the server of University of Sydney

Old Morris site on the server of University of Sydney

Brian Morris’ website has a page of links and resources. On 2007, the second link listed was aboutcirc.org, and, as revealed on the Wayback Machine  (a tool that saves snapshots of websites at different times), between parenthesis it used to read “Dr. Guy Cox, Australia” (see archive).

In 2007 Morris identified aboutcirc as authored by Guy Cox

In 2007 Morris identified aboutcirc as authored by Guy Cox

On December of 2011, the University of Sydney asked Morris to remove his website from their servers.

Message from Chris Coffey announcing the decision to have Brian Morris remove his website from the University of Sydney servers

Message from Chris Coffey announcing the decision to have Brian Morris remove his website from the University of Sydney servers

Morris found a new hosting service, a company called Lemonred, and moved his website there. (Before Lemonred, Morris’ site moved temporarily to Trinidad and Tobago).

Currently, the first link on the page of links and resources remains aboutcirc.org. However the parenthesis now read “James Badger, Australia”.

Currently Morris attributes aboutcirc to James Badger

Currently Morris attributes aboutcirc to James Badger

According to Robert Darby, historian interested on the topic of circumcision, James Badger is really Guy Cox. This seems to be supported by Morris’ diverging attribution of the author of the aboutcirc.org website. It seems ironic then, that Guy Cox, on his paper about the function of the foreskin, would quote James Badger’s survey and thank him for authorizing the use of his data. If they are really the same person, this would be disrespectful of the general public.

Robert Darby discusses James Badger

Robert Darby discusses James Badger

Brian Morris is known for self-referencing openly in third person: “researchers have demonstrated”, “experts criticized”, etc. A good example of this is his recent article, coauthored with Tomas Wiswell and Stefan Bailis and published by Mayo Clinic Proceedings, which is said to be a literature review: out of 80 references, 12 are articles and studies co-authored by Brian Morris himself.

Self-referencing Morris

Self-referencing Morris

So now let’s go back to the University of Sydney on December of 2011 asking Morris to remove his website, and Morris finding a new hosting service, Lemonred.

Lemonred

Lemonred

Internet records show that Lemonred’s domain is owned by Cassian Cox, who happens to be the son of Guy Cox.

Further investigation reveals that Lemonred also hosts:

  • Guy Cox’s personal website (Guy Cox Software). In a web design section, this site lists two websites as examples of their work: Male Circumcision (aboutcirc.info) and Claude Cox Old and Rare Books (claudecox.co.uk) – notice the last name.
Guy Cox Website

Guy Cox Website

guycoxpage2

Aboutcirc.com has a section for book reviews, and one of the books is called “airport encounter” by James Badger, described as “a light-hearted story about an Australian choirboy and his friends, this books follows the life and loves of a group of boys and girls as they grow from children into teenagers. Circumcision is a major theme as, naturally, is music. It is quite sexually explicit at times“. The contact to buy this book happens to be, surprise! Claude Cox, the British librarian.

Reviews on Aboutcirc

Reviews on Aboutcirc

Would it also be a surprise that James Badger’s website would make a review of one erotic fiction book which includes circumcision, whose author is also James Badger, who is a “University of Sydney biomedical scientist” and “used to regard himself as neutral on the issue of circumcision” but is also “a circumcision pen-name“? (all italics are literal words by Brian Morris)

The other book reviewed is “The surgical guide to circumcision”, which, as we mentioned earlier, includes two chapters written in collaboration by Brian Morris and Guy Cox!

  • There is another website hosted by lemonred (and most likely owned by Guy Cox himself) which deserves particular attention. The website is called boyguard.com and offers a product for boy chastity. The purpose of the website seems to be to promote this product to control children’s sexuality, aided by “high and tight” circumcisions.

    boyguard website

    boyguard website

The site states: “We are strongly in favour of circumcision for all boys. (…) If you are considering circumcision for your boy, make sure it is done properly, with the foreskin completely removed. The glans (knob) should be completely uncovered and there should be no surplus skin on the shaft of the penis. Otherwise the hygiene benefits may not be fully realized. (…) So the skin will stretch to allow for the firmest erection, and this is the desired outcome – the skin should be stretched tight when the penis is erect.

While we do not subscribe to the 19th century notion that circumcision prevents masturbation, there is no doubt that this type of circumcision makes it more difficult, and so if a boy does get access to his penis in an unguarded moment he is less able to succumb to temptation. In particular, if he has seen an uncircumcised or partly-circumcised boy abusing himself, he will be quite unable to mimic what he has seen.

boyguard - in favour of circumcision

boyguard – in favour of circumcision

(The first sentence almost seems as a direct reference to the title of Brian Morris’ book: “In favour of circumcision”).

It is worthy of note that James Badger (AKA Guy Cox)’s survey includes observations about the difference in masturbation techniques between circumcised and uncircumcised males.

It was also “James Badger” who on April of 2013 announced to the inter-circ Yahoo Group to the existence of the Boyguard website, while pretending not to have any relation to it.

Badger announces Boyguard to the inter-circ Yahoo group

Badger announces Boyguard to the inter-circ Yahoo group

Incidentally, the Inter-circ group is, in its own words, “a global male circumcision appreciation group encouraging discussion of the pros and cons of circumcision as an adult. The group is also for those who feel that male circumcision is a perfectly acceptable parental decision resulting from religious, cultural, or medical considerations. WE ARE PRO-RIC.” (RIC = Routine Infant Circumcision)

Inter-Circ Group

Inter-Circ Group

Recapping, the administrator for lemonred is Cassian Cox.

lemonred-whois

lemonred-whois

The admin for circinfo.net is private, but it doesn’t matter because it’s recognized as Brian Morris’ website

The registrant for James Badger’s websites (aboutcirc.info, .org and .com) is Guy Cox, with Cassian (his son) being the administrator.

aboutcirc-whois

aboutcirc-whois

The administrator for claudecox.co.uk is Claude Cox.

The registrant for Guy Cox’s personal website, guycox.com, is Guy Cox, with Cassian Cox as administrator.

guycox-whois

guycox-whois

The registrant for boyguard.com is private, however the contact us page has a P.O. Box which corresponds to the P.O. Box of Guy Cox Software (see previous screenshot).

boyguard-contact info

boyguard-contact info

Conclusions

Considering that James Badger appears to be a fictitious character, identified as a scientist at University of Sydney (but impossible to find through the staff directory), who owns three websites, who really published a survey on an Australian magazine in 1989, who is said to be neutral on the topic of circumcision, who is a member of circlist -a mailing list that accepts circumfetish-, who authored one erotic fiction book that includes the topic of circumcision, who then used his website to publish a review of said book speaking in third person, whose surveys have been used as reference by Brian Morris and Guy Cox, and who comments on internet articles about circumcision… We have to say, quite a talented and busy fictitious character!

If James Badger is a fictitious character, Brian Morris is lying by currently identifying him as the owner/author of aboutcirc.com and a scientist at University of Sydney, and by using his surveys as references; but if James Badger is not fictitious, then Brian Morris lied on his book by identifying him as a pen-name, and by attributing the aboutcirc.com website to Guy Cox back in 2007.

If James Badger is a fictitious character, Guy Cox lies by using his survey as reference and thanking him for allowing him to use the data; particularly if James Badger and Guy Cox are the same person.

If James Badger is a fictitious character, then it is incredibly ironic that Brian Morris, circlist, Guy Cox, and Badger himself behave as if James Badger really existed.

But if James Badger does exist, we would love to see more information on his work: publications, work story, bio, or at least one photo!

Implications

The association between Brian Morris and Lemonred is not as casual as looking for hosting companies in the yellow pages and shopping for prices and hosting packages. The owner of Lemonred, Guy Cox, happened to be a co-worker of Brian Morris at Sydney University, and also happens to be an independent researcher/author on topics of circumcision, outside his career path. Both of them have referenced each other on their papers and publications and coauthored at least one publication. Both have been known to participate on circumcision related mailing lists such as circlist and the Gilgal Society, funded by now convicted pedophile Vernon Quaintance.

Our investigation reveals that Cox also happens to be interested in interference in the sexual lives of children through chastity devices and circumcision . As our readers may remember, the very beginning of “medical” circumcision during the late 19th century was caused by a desire to prevent children from masturbating, and included chastity devices, infibulation of the penis (sewing the foreskin shut with a silver thread), circumcision without anesthesia and other similar barbarities, and included genital mutilation as a way of dealing with female masturbation (clitoridectomy, rubbing carbolic acid on the clitoris, removal of the labia, etc). The dynamic of power involved in controlling children’s sexuality opens the door for potential child abuse.

Both Morris and Cox are now retired professors but continue to participate in the debate over circumcision, with Morris particularly having a very active role in the public eye.

The media in general and particularly medical journals such as Mayo Clinic Proceedings; the University of Sydney, and the general public should be informed that Brian Morris lacks medical credentials to be speaking on the matter of circumcision; he is not a pediatrician, urologist, sexologist or physician in any capacity; Brian Morris is known to interact with individuals who openly practice circumfetishism or identify as “circumsexuals” and his website links to at least one circumfetish website. While he may outwardly portray an interest in child well-being and public health, this conflicts with the perverted interest in the forced circumcision of minors and/or sexual control and chastity of minors.

Acknowledgments

Thanks to all the anonymous individuals who in one way or another collaborated with this investigation from different corners of the world.

On The Stream: To Cut or Not To Cut – Brian Morris, Richard Wamai on circumcision

Spotting contradictions between circumcision promoters on Al Jazeera’s “On The Stream: To Cut or Not To Cut”

If you are outside the U.S., you can watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GitOnW-nzck&sns=fb

If you are in the U.S., this link may work: http://bc19.ajnm.me/864352181001/201404/3132/864352181001_3492775214001_FULL-to-BC-AJE-0421.mp4

Richard Wamai

Richard Wamai

At 8:25 Richard Wamai denies risk compensation

Richard Wamai: There is no evidence out of Sub Saharan Africa where male circumcision is being promoted to prevent millions of men from getting infected with HIV that somehow there is disinformation and that men get circumcised and reduce using condoms or change behavior, we don’t have that evidence, it simply does not exist.

At 20:21, after a YouTube blogger argues that we don’t need to amputate every tissue that becomes infected, and calls for “our bodies, our choice”,  Richard Wamai responds:

Richard Wamai: I totally disagree with that. First off all, if we talk about human rights, adult men can determine whether they want to keep their foreskin or not. If I know the benefits of circumcision, then I have the right to make the decision. For somebody to say that it is amputation, that is not quite accurate at all.

[Richard Wamai is co-author of "A snip in time: what is the best age to circumcise?" where he, along with Brian Morris and other circumcision advocates, argues that infancy presents a "window of opportunity" for circumcision. Infants cannot provide informed consent.]

Richard Wamai

Richard Wamai

At 22:25 approximately:

Moderator: I don’t understand if you are circumcised as a man, you are still putting a condom on. Why don’t you put a condom on in the first place?

Richard Wamai: Well, why, you don’t, because, you know what the rate of condom use is in South Saharan Africa?

Moderator: But you have to use it to have protection

Richard Wamai: You know what it is? Very few people ever use a condom consistently so we need to do something, that’s why we are doing studies, that’s why we are doing studies  to test whether there could be a microbicide, a vaginal stuff, gel that women can use…

Moderator: Because men don’t like to wear condoms?

Richard Wamai: Well, that too, but I mean, we know that condom use is very low…

At 23:22 Brian Morris tries to interrupt, I have not been able to figure out what he says. The show goes to a commercial break. Upon return, John Geisheker from Doctors Opposing Circumcision presents his critique of the African circumcision trials.

Brian Morris and John Geisheker

Brian Morris and John Geisheker

John Geisheker: (…)For one thing, the figure of 60% does not rise to the level of immunization, which must, by standard of bioethics, be in the high nineties. A 60% protection of anything is merely a roll of the dice. All that a person is doing who is circumcised and then not bothering to use the usual protection of ABC [abstinence, be faithful, condoms] is playing bio-roulette, Russian roulette. (Continues explaining the real meaning of the 60% figure)

Brian Morris: John is a lawyer, he is not a scientist, he is not a doctor [never mind that Brian Morris is not a medical doctor either], trials are not about following people for ever and ever, trials follow people until they find a statistical difference and in this case the statistical difference happened so soon that the monitoring body stepped in and stopped the trials because it would be unethical to continue them since the evidence showed such a strong protective effect

Moderator interrupts for a back story. Then Brian Morris continues

Brian Morris: I also completely dispute John’s misunderstanding of immunology and vaccines. Vaccines some are quite effective, but look at one of the more common vaccines, the flu vax, the effectiveness of that in the population is about 80%, which is also about the effectiveness of condoms, and with the long, long term follow up of HIV trials and roll out, the protective effect of circumcision has risen over the years, so it’s now approaching that 80% mark, and in public health we advocate [I keep missing this word, sorry] interventions, not just condoms, not just circumcision, but also a behavioral practice, anything else that we can show does work. We don’t say oh let’s just go this way because we like it. We use all of the effective methods and circumcision is one of THE MOST effective [vocal emphasis], and as Richard pointed out condoms cannot be used but once a man is circumcised he is circumcised for life and that is significant. Condoms have to be put on the penis before any sexual contact…

…..

So, let’s point some issues here. In Richard Wamai’s view, condom use rate cannot be increased significantly, so it seems better to go on a crusade to circumcise millions of men, even though men are not running to take the offer. And while Wamai denies risk compensation, he also denies that condom use rate can be increased (which is a risk compensation behavior on its own). And yet he seems to put hopes on hypothetical future gels for women to use, when men cannot (in his mind) be expected to use condoms.

Brian Morris on his end appears to be doing what he usually does: inflating the benefits and overlooking the risks. In his mind the protective effect has been increasing and is close to the 80% mark.

About this increasing protective effect, I’m reminded of this text by Des Spence (BMJ 2010;341:c6368) (we highlighted some keywords):

Study design—Study populations are biased by design. Only high risk, unrepresentative populations are studied because they are the most likely to show an effect. These data are then extrapolated to low risk populations of people who never benefit—statins are studied in Scotland and prescribed in Surbiton. The inverse care effect also means that people at low risk are more likely to seek treatment and comply with it.

The same article indicates:

Statistical trickery—There is systematic and cynical use of statistics to manipulate results [see following paragraph]. This dishonesty—the dark magic of surrogate and composite end points, “validated” questionnaires, the premature ending of studies, the reporting only of relative risks , and the lack of long term follow-up—is just cheating.

The famous 60% figure is a relative risk, a comparison between two very small percentages, as John explained in the debate until Brian Morris interrupted.

One fact often overlooked about the African trials is that the number of individuals lost to follow up was 3 times more than the total number of sero-converted individuals. This alone casts serious doubts over the “statistical significance” of the results.

Trying to listen to Brian Morris and Richard Wamai, we are reminded of the technique known as Gish Gallop: “The Gish Gallop is the debating technique of drowning the opponent in such a torrent of small arguments that their opponent cannot possibly answer or address each one in real time. More often than not, these myriad arguments are full of half-truthslies, and straw-man arguments - the only condition is that there be many of them, not that they be particularly compelling on their own. They may be escape hatches or “gotcha” arguments that are specifically designed to be brief, but take a long time to unravel.

Another important detail, Richard Wamai argued that to call circumcision amputation is wrong because every adult man has the right to decide over his body. John Geishener made clear that he and his organization (Doctors Opposing Circumcision) agree that every adult man has the right to do anything to his own body, and that their opposition is to forceful circumcision of infants and children, and to using the African trials as rationale to push for infant circumcision in the United States (extrapolation).  Brian Morris and Richard Wamai are, however, coauthors of a paper called “A snip in time: what is the best age to circumcise?” where they argue that infancy presents a “window of opportunity” for circumcision. So how would Richard Wamai defend his argument that circumcision is not amputation, after arguing in writing for circumcision during infancy?

But please dear readers, don’t take our word; watch the video, do your best research, evaluate the evidence, evaluate the advocates one way or another, and formulate your own conclusions.

Related News:

ZIMBABWE: Men are not buying circumcision…

ZIMBABWE: …so they’re doing it to babies

UGANDA: Myths about circumcision help spread HIV

ZIMBABWE: Circumcised men abandoning condoms

Evidence that “simply does not exist” – according to Wamai:

Botswana – There is an upsurge of cases of people who got infected with HIV following circumcision.

Zimbabwe – Circumcised men indulge in risky sexual behaviour

Nyanza – Push for male circumcision in Nyanza fails to reduce infections

Did a Mayo clinic study confirm health benefits on circumcision? Or Brian Morris, and how to manipulate public opinion on circumcision using clever headlines

Recently, circumcision has resurfaced as a hot topic in the media. All last week, numerous articles with misleading titles were published by big name media outlets,  promoting the latest “study,” which supposedly “confirms” the so-called “benefits” of circumcision.

Here are some of the titles:

Infant circumcision is the healthiest choice, new study claims
Researcher says circumcision should be offered like childhood shots
Circumcision should be offered ‘like vaccines’ to parents of boys
Study determines circumcision comparable to vaccination” (Israel and Stuff)
Call for circumcision gets a boost from experts
Circumcision rates declining in US infants, raising health risks later in life
Circumcision should be seen ‘in same light as childhood vaccination’: study
Circumcision benefits far outweigh the risks, finds study IN MAYO CLINIC PROCEEDINGS (elsevier connect)
MAYO ON MILAH – Mayo clinic study confirms health benefits on circumcision” (The Jewish Press)
New Journal argues circumcision should be mandatory
The benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks 100 to 1
To snip or not to snip – academic claims circumcision should be treated like vaccination

But, is it true? Did the Mayo Clinic perform a new study on circumcision? And, was the study published legitimate?

To the casual observer, these headlines appear to say all they need to know. When they approach a conversation about circumcision, they will remember one of these headlines and quote it or paraphrase it without any real knowledge of what it means or what really happened. And this is exactly what some sectors want.

Now, let’s go step by step:

First off, the Mayo Clinic did not perform a study on circumcision.

The study being discussed is not new, original research, but a literature review of select articles.

The article was not written by unbiased researchers. The three authors have been known to promote circumcision for many years.

To call this article a “Mayo Clinic study” is misleading and manipulative. Independent authors submitted the article to the journal of Mayo Clinic, Mayo Clinic Proceedings. The Editorial Board procured peer reviewers, who then approved the article for publication. This is very different from having actual staff researchers or commissioned experts performing a study at the Clinic’s request. The article was not written at Mayo Clinic’s request or by Mayo Clinic personnel.

Related: Problems with Peer Review

Related: Is peer review broken?

This article (or literature review) was written by Australian retired professor and molecular biologist Brian Morris, and co-authored by Dr. Thomas Wiswell  and psychologist Stefan A. Bailis, both of whom had already co-written other publications promoting infant circumcision with Brian Morris.

Some articles referred to Brian Morris as Dr. Morris. While the fact that Brian Morris has a PhD makes this reference technically correct, it is misleading because it makes it sound like he is a qualified medical physician, when he does not hold a medical degree of any kind. Brian Morris is not a physician or a medical doctor in any way, and the public should know that. He is a professor of molecular science, and does not hold a degree in urology, surgery, pediatrics or epidemiology.

In their last Policy Statement on circumcision (2012), the American Academy of Pediatrics tries desperately to push the soundbite that “The benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks.” Be that as it may, the AAP stops short of the recommendation that circumcision advocates like Brian Morris were hoping for.  In this new review, Brian Morris takes a position far more extrem, going as far as comparing circumcision with vaccines; yet, the implied goal of both papers is to get Medicaid and insurance companies to re-establish coverage for neonatal circumcisions in those U.S. states where they no longer cover it.

This review makes claims that are manipulative and hard to prove, for example that the  “benefits exceed risks by at least 100 to 1” and that “over their lifetime, half of uncircumcised males will require treatment for a medical condition associated with retention of the foreskin”.

Because awareness that circumcision of minors violates human rights has been moving from the “anti-circumcision lobby groups” (as Brian Morris refers to pro-genital integrity organizations on his website) to mainstream organizations such as the Royal Dutch Medical Association, the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe, the International NGO Council on Violence against Children and many others, professor Morris now is trying to manipulate the language to suggest that  “not circumcising a baby boy may be unethical because it diminishes his right to good health“, again a claim hard to substantiate.

Morris’ desired conclusion is that “as with vaccination, circumcision of newborn boys should be part of public health policies” particularly on “population subgroups with lower circumcision prevalence“.

Unsurprisingly,  the same authors, in cahoots with some of the promoters of circumcision in Africa, presented a paper called “a snip in time” two years ago, arguing that infancy is the best time to circumcise and that “by making MC (male circumcision) normative in a community, [...] the prospect of [psychological problems] would be largely eliminated“.

As usual, in this new article Morris references his own previous publications numerous times. Out of 80 references, he is author or co-author of at least 12 of them. On the contrary, the American Academy of Pediatrics in their 2012 Policy Statement did not quote a single publication by Brian Morris.

So this is the problem:

In the eyes of the casual observer (and reporter), the fact that this article is being published by Mayo Clinic Proceedings (a publication of the Mayo Clinic) is almost equivalent to saying that the Mayo Clinic performed an original study and/or agrees with it. While this is certainly not true, it is an easy assumption for people to make or believe.

Media headlines are used to manipulate the general opinion by using the more dramatic claims from the abstract to embed them in the collective consciousness. Most people will not read past the headlines, and will reach their conclusions based on this limited information.

Few reporters and authors dare to criticize peer reviewed publications. In this case, one notable exception is Wellington Professor, Dr. Kevin Pringle, who perfectly summarized: “Vaccination is a low-risk intervention to prevent a problem with significant adverse outcomes. Circumcision is an intervention with significant risks (ignored or minimised by the authors of this paper) to prevent problems that will not develop in the vast majority of males; most of which can be simply addressed if and when the need arises.

For those wishing to seriously challenge Brian Morris’ new article, the following is a response from the Editor-in chief of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings journal:

April 4, 2014 at 2:46 am

The article, “Circumcision Rates in the United States: Rising or Falling? What Effect Might the New Affirmative Pediatric Policy Statement Have?” was authored by 3 experts in the subject matter. All 3 have previously authored numerous scientific articles on this topic, and their combined credentials are far more than adequate to allow them to authoritatively address the topic.

Once submitted to Mayo Clinic Proceedings, the aforementioned manuscript was rigorously peer reviewed by other experts in the field, revised, and later accepted for publication. The Journal’s Editorial Board oversaw this process. All of these are typical processes for the review and acceptance of a manuscript. As a result of these processes, the approved manuscript was deemed to provide solid scientific information and appropriate speculative synthesis on the subject matter.

Formal comments regarding this article and other materials published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings should be directed to the journal, in the form of a Letter to the Editor. That communication should be submitted through the journal’s manuscript management portal, http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/mayoclinproc . There, those wishing to comment will find instructions on the allowable content and other guidelines for formulating a Letter to the Editor. The comments within the Letters must be restricted to the scientific matter under investigation, and will be evaluated by a peer-review process to determine their educational and clinical value to the general/internal medicine readership of the Proceedings. In general, only 15% to 20% of all submissions to the journal are eventually accepted for publication. Ad hominem attacks on the authors, the Journal, or its sponsoring institution, Mayo Clinic, will not be permitted in any published Letters. Further, any letters eventually accepted for publication will be accompanied by a published response from the authors.

William L. Lanier, MD
Editor-in-Chief
Mayo Clinic Proceedings

Why does Brian Morris link his site to a circumfetish page?

The casual observer landing on Brian Morris‘ website (circinfo.net) may believe that it is in fact “an evidence-baised appraisal”. However, as one advances through it, one can’t stop but wonder why Brian Morris includes links on his website to a circumfetish page.

A circum… what?

Yes, a circumfetish website. A page to share circumcision-themed erotica, often involving forced circumcisions, sexual acts during circumcisions, often involving minors, and other similar smut.

Could it be an oversight? A site that changed after Professor Morris initially linked to it?

No. In fact the link has existed for years on Morris’ website, and the page itself has existed for years as it is, known by many who are aware of Morris’ darker links.

The page says it was created for the “benefit of the circlist members” and “not aimed at the general public”. One would wonder why.

We will not reveal the “secret password”, but let’s take a look at this dark side.

Links and resources page, on Brian Morris’ website.

morris1

Notice link #16.

morris2

When we click on link #16, a new tab opens:

morris3

We clicked on the last link (images) and entered the password. (We will not reveal the password at this time)

morris4

We clicked on one of the “stories”. Notice this one is about a 15 year old whose dad “needs” to have him circumcised and then goes on to tell the story of dad’s own forced circumcision during adolescence. We don’t need to see it all. We already feel dirty reading this garbage.

morris5

Now, given how meticulous Brian Morris is with his references, can anyone think that it is an accident that his website has included a link to a password protected circumcision fetish website describing forced circumcisions, sexual acts during circumcisions involving minors and similar trash,  for years?

Response to IBT “Brian Morris (author of circumcision study) denies link to Gilgal Society”

Dear Editor,
I see your apology and remarks that Brian Morris denies involvement with the Gilgal Society. I would like to point that the Publications page of the Gilgal Society, url: http://www.gilgalsoc.org/pubs.html
Has a link to the Reference Centre, url: http://www.circinfo.com/index.html which at the bottom specifies “Sponsored by The Gilgal Society“. This page includes a document, “Circumcision, a guide to the parents“, url: http://www.circinfo.com/parents_guide/gfp.html
At the bottom of this document you can clearly see: Copyright © 2006 Brian Morris and The Gilgal Society
I also want to point that Brian Morris website has a page on testimonials, url: http://www.circinfo.net/circumcision_testimonials_from_men.html, at the bottom of this page there is a link to a Next Section: Humor, which currently produces a page not found error. This page, however, can be found in the Internet Archive, at this url:
Points to notice:
  • Photo of a nude infant with a flip phone grasping the tip of his foreskin. Why did Mr. Morris ever consider this worth of publishing on his website, we can only guess.

  • Immediately following, a poem called “Decision“ 

Decision
Some people claim that foreskins are fun
And keep the ‘muzzle’ on the gun.
But many doctors do declare:
‘It’s healthier with the glans laid bare’
So, mum & dad, we say to you,
You must decide what’s best to do,
Your son will benefit throughout his life,
As, incidentally, will his wife;
If you make the choice that’s always wise
and do decide to circumcise.
Written
by Vernon Quantance


This poem is attributed to Vernon Quantance, the founder of the Gilgal Society (currently a convicted pedophile).
In internet comments, Mr. Morris has confirmed having previous contact with Mr. Quantance and having texts published under the Gilgal Society, which fell out of his favor with Quantance’s arrest last year. And while Mr. Morris objects to the Gilgal Society’s religious name, the Gilgal Society does not pretend to be a religious entity, but according to their home page “THE GILGAL SOCIETY is a not-for-profit publisher of medical educational material for the general public.” http://www.gilgalsoc.org/
While it is sad that Mr. Morris would feel offended by your article, truth is he has association to this group and previous cooperation that he has been quick to try to erase in face of Quantance’s misfortune.

hodgekiss

It’s official: Brian Morris is desperate

Back in August, the “Daily Telegraph” in Australia, reported on a new study by Morris and Krieger published on the “Journal of Sexual Medicine” called “Does Male Circumcision Affect Sexual Function, Sensitivity, or Satisfaction?-A Systematic Review.“. Back then, we replied: “No Morris, it doesn’t work that way

Anna Hodgekiss


For some reason, the Daily Mail in England has, just today, published a review of the same study, called: “It’s official: Circumcision DOESN’T affect sexual pleasure, according to biggest ever study of the issue“, authored by Anna Hodgekiss. This is interesting to the vigilant reader, as just in February 15th of this year the same newspaper published another article, this one by Claire Bates, titled: “Circumcision DOES reduce sexual pleasure by making manhood less sensitive

Have the male genitals adapted so much in a few months, that early this year circumcision reduced sexual pleasure, but now by December it doesn’t anymore?

No, of course not. But stay with us reader, so you can see through the words of Emeritus Professor Brian Morris, who -we never get tired of repeating it- is not a medical doctor, a sexologist, an epidemiologist, a pediatrician, an urologist or anything similar, but a molecular biologist and a circumcision enthusiast, one who, apparently, manages to convince naïve or biased reporters every few months.

The one concern I have is, why is a newspaper now in December reporting about a study that was published in August? Is it just that Mrs. Hodgekiss suddenly stumbled upon it and decided to talk about it? Or is Morris trying to get his study to do a second round, perhaps frustrated about recent developments regarding his beloved mutilating surgery?

Brian Morris


Because, unlike what Mr. Morris would like you to believe dear reader, circumcision is a multidimensional problem that can’t be simply resolved with an “evidence based appraisal”.

Circumcision, when performed for non-therapeutic reasons on non-consenting patients, becomes a human rights issue. Morris would like to cover this truth with his finger, but truth outshines him. Even the World Health Organization in its Manual for early infant male circumcision under local anaesthesia“, an extremely pro-circ document related to the intent of circumcising 20 million African males, recognizes that:


A concern about early infant male circumcision is that the child cannot give informed consent for the procedure. Moreover, some of the health benefits, including reducing the risk of HIV infection, will not be realized until many years later when the person becomes sexually active. If circumcision is postponed until an older age the patient can evaluate the risks and benefits and consent to the procedure himself.


More important, just two months ago (October 1st) the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe voted on and approved a resolution that declares that:


Despite the committed legislative and policy measures which have been taken by Council of Europe member States to protect children from physical, sexual and mental violence, they continue to be harmed in many different contexts. One category is particularly worrisome, namely violations of the physical integrity of children which supporters tend to present as beneficial to the children themselves despite evidently negative life-long consequences in many cases: female genital mutilation, the circumcision of young boys for religious reasons, medical interventions during the early childhood of intersex children …


Where this resolution reads “religious reasons” we need to read “non-therapeutic reasons”, in other words, not with the intent of treating a condition or disease. A social or religious surgery.

A few days later, October 10th, the Nordic Association for Clinical Sexology expressed its support to the Council of Europe, and declared that:


The penile foreskin is a natural and integral part of the normal male genitalia. The foreskin has a number of important protective and sexual functions. It protects the penile glans against trauma and contributes to the natural functioning of the penis during sexual activity. Ancient historic accounts and recent scientific evidence leave little doubt that during sexual activity the foreskin is a functional and highly sensitive, erogenous structure, capable of providing pleasure to its owner and his potential partners.

As clinical sexologists, we are concerned about the human rights aspects associated with the practice of non-therapeutic circumcision of young boys. To cut off the penile foreskin in a boy with normal, healthy genitalia deprives him of his right to grow up and make his own informed decision.

Unless there are compelling medical reasons to operate before a boy reaches an age and a level of maturity at which he is capable of providing informed consent, the decision to alter the appearance, sensitivity and functionality of the penis should be left to its owner, thus upholding his fundamental rights to protection and bodily integrity.

Every person’s right to bodily integrity goes hand in hand with his or her sexual autonomy.

This statement involves two aspects: human rights, and bodily integrity. It doesn’t matter if a doctor, a researcher, or even a parent, is convinced that a part of the body of a child, a) has no function, and b) is of no value to the child. While that part is healthy and does not represent an immediate threat to the life or health of the child, it’s the child’s right to discover, explore such part, and make a determination when his mental maturity allows for it.

Overriding this right to bodily integrity and self-ownership, is very problematic. That is why circumcision promoters try to blur this line and dismiss it with statistics of potential benefits.


We mentioned back in August that Morris must have been feeling desperate with the 2011 publication of Frisch’s “Male circumcision and sexual function in men and women: a survey-based, cross-sectional study in Denmark” in 2011 and Bronselaer’s “Male circumcision decreases penile sensitivity as measured in a large cohort” early in 2013, so maybe he decided to play professor (maybe he had not retired yet at the time) and “grade” those previously published studies. Given that his coauthor, Krieger, is the author of one of such studies, it’s not surprise that Krieger’s study was the second highest graded study. We could suspect some bias.

But of course, given the recent developments in Europe, Morris and Krieger’s meta-analysis pretty much lost its momentum, so perhaps Morris found a new reporter, strategically located in Europe, with the hopes of bringing attention back to his paper and try to counter the effect of these European changes.

According to Anna Hodgekiss, the “lead author of the study, Professor Brian Morris of the University of Sydney, told MailOnline: ‘This is a ground-breaking article’“. Of course Morris would say that, given that he wrote it. One thing we know is that Morris loves to toot his own horn.

Hodgekiss writes:

The professors found that the very high quality studies reported circumcision ‘had no overall adverse effect on penile sensitivity, sexual arousal, sexual sensation, erectile function, premature ejaculation, duration of intercourse, orgasm difficulties, sexual satisfaction, pleasure, or pain during penetration.’

In contrast, the studies which find negative effects were poor quality, Dr Morris said.

This begs the question of if the high quality studies did in fact report one way, and poor quality ones reported in a different way, or if the quality was assigned by the professors depending on what the studies reported. Furthermore, the title of “Dr” is not the appropriate one for a molecular biologist.

She continues: “He added: ‘The methodology was impeccable’” (he would say that, of course, the advantages of ranking one’s own work)

Hodgekiss provides as example the discussion of “One high-quality trial of nearly 3,000 sexually experienced men in Kenya” (surprise surprise, Krieger’s study!).

One quick observation of Krieger’s study shows three suspicious elements: 

  • The age range of the participants was 18 to 24 years. At this age, males are very sexually active, and even those circumcised in early infancy have not suffered the long term desensitization. Not only that, but all the participants already wanted to become circumcised, which would be a prejudice factor. This is selection bias
  • The length of the study is of only 24 months. The gradual desensitization of the glans takes much longer, which makes long term follow up almost impossible.
  • One of the most surprising elements is that “For the circumcision and control groups, respectively, rates of any reported sexual dysfunction decreased from 23.6% and 25.9% at baseline to 6.2% and 5.8% at month 24“. In other words, by participating in the study, even if assigned to the control group (no treatment), the final result was a decrease of dysfunction. Exactly how is this possible?
In his study Morris spends considerable space trying to debunk those “poor quality” studies. We might go over them later. Morris also promises to review histological information in a future article, a hint at an upcoming attempt to discredit Taylor’s “The prepuce: specialized mucosa of the penis and its loss to circumcision“. 

As usual, it is amusing to check his references and see Morris’ last name repeated several times. He often refers to his own studies in third person. For example he writes: “In the Danish study that found more frequent orgasm difficulties in circumcised men, a number of flaws have been identified [58]“, and subsequent evaluation of reference 58 reveals Morris BJ,Waskett JH, Gray RH as the authors.

In the end, the authors report no conflicts of interest. Considering that Morris is author of a book called “In favour of circumcision” and a website called “circinfo”, and co-founder of the “Circumcision Foundation Australia” -an entity created to present a Policy Statement when the RACP disowned him, and that Krieger is the author of one of the highest quality studies referred, as ranked by Morris and Krieger, this lack of conflicts does not appear sincere.

Oh Morris, it’s official. You should retire from this debate too. You are getting too repetitive.


Does Male Circumcision Affect Sexual Function, Sensitivity, or Satisfaction?- No Morris, it doesn’t work that way

So, a new day and the news already report a new study. “Sydney researchers find that contrary to perception circumcision actually increases sexual satisfaction“. That Sydney researchers would seem to have nothing else to do but to research circumcision seems strange, until you find the same old name: Same old Professor Brian Morris, author of circinfo.net the most rabid fanatic pro-circumcision site on the web, and who is not a sexologist or a urologist, but a molecular biologist. Oh, also founder of the Circumcision Foundation of Australia and author of the book “In favour of circumcision“. Do we need to point any more bias?

But enough with Morris, let’s cut to the meat and potatoes and take a look at the abstract. The article is being published on the Journal of Sexual Medicine (how he gets publishers is something we can’t really understand).

And what is this “new” research, one would ask? Well, it’s nothing but a recycle of the same old papers. In his own words, “A systematic review of published articles retrieved using keyword searches of the PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane databases was performed.

From this, 2,675 publications are identified (several of them authored by Morris himself, no doubt), and they are “rated” on their quality level, to conclude that “The highest-quality studies suggest that medical male circumcision has no adverse effect on sexual function, sensitivity, sexual sensation, or satisfaction.“. The problem is, what is the criteria for this rating? Which were the “low quality” studies and what did they reveal?

But, at this point we are not even really discussing the meat and potatoes of the subject, are we? Because, how can we evaluate sexual function, sensitivity, sensation and satisfaction, if we don’t start by defining what those are and how to measure them? Guess what, Morris didn’t.

For being a biologist, Morris willingly overlooks the question of what is sexual function, and skips the topic by going to statistics. Do you see anything wrong there?

Histological studies such as those by John R. Taylor (published in the British Journal of Urology) are evidently ignored, and most likely Sorrells’ “Fine-touch pressure thresholds in the adult penis” (also published in BJU) is most likely rated with low quality, given that Morris (and his friend Jake Waskett, a computer programmer) took it upon himself to criticize that paper by distorting, eliminating and reprocessing the data, as pointed out by Hugh Young. In fact in the Daily Telegraph’s article, Morris is quoted saying “There are no legitimate studies which have found a lack of sensitivity”. Sorry Morris, just because you don’t like the findings of Sorrells et al. doesn’t mean that it’s not legitimate. You can’t remove 20,000 soft-touch receptors from an organ and claim that there is no difference in sensitivity.

Circumcision promoters prefer to ignore Sorrells study while paying attention to Payne et al’s “Sensation and sexual arousal in circumcised and uncircumcised men” which was based on a similar methodology with a fatal flaw: Payne didn’t take sensitivity measures for the foreskin, only for the glans, thus ignoring the main difference between the circumcised and the uncircumcised penis in what can only be called “researcher’s bias” or “researcher’s prejudice”.

Anyway, the question of what constitutes sexual function is not even asked by Morris. Of course that would have to get him to explain about frenulum, ridged band, gliding function (described by Lakshman in the Indian Journal of Surgery in 1980), etc, things that he really doesn’t care to talk about… because he doesn’t have them.

So let’s be clear here.

If sexual function means simply being able to sustain an erection and ejaculate, then, in most cases there would be no difference… except perhaps at an older age (40, 50…) as keratinization of the glans progresses.

But if sexual function means that the penis works as it was intended to work:

  • The foreskin glides over the glans and allows the ridged band and the ridge of the corona to stimulate each other,
  • Pre-ejaculate collects in the subpreputial space for additional lubrication instead of falling down on a useless liquid thread,
  • The intact frenulum and ridged band perceive a lot of sensation and produce tingling sensations and help control the orgasmic threshold,
Then there is no doubt that removing the foreskin changes the function.
Some of the “high quality” studies would have been, no doubt, those by Kigozi et al, in Uganda (including circumcision promoter Ronald Gray) where the men that volunteered for circumcision as part of the “randomized trial” for HIV prevention, were followed up at 6, 12 and 24 months. Participants reported on “sexual satisfaction and function”. Of course at 24 months, keratinization wouldn’t have been enough to represent a good difference (some men circumcised during the neonatal stage report the effects of keratinization when they are past their 40 or 50 years – but I’m sure Morris would dismiss them as case-studies in the best case, or as being brainwashed by anticircumcision literature on the internet at worse).

But given that this is nothing but a “systematic review” of existing literature, then comes the question of what’s the relevance of this paper. Why did Morris even bothered looking for all these articles and writing a new paper based on no new research whatsoever?

Circumcision promoters have suffered some backslash in the recent years. In 2011 the International Journal of Epidemiology published Morten Frisch’s “Male circumcision and sexual function in men and women: a survey-based, cross-sectional study in Denmark” which concluded that “Circumcision was associated with frequent orgasm difficulties in Danish men and with a range of frequent sexual difficulties in women, notably orgasm difficulties, dyspareunia and a sense of incomplete sexual needs fulfilment.” In spite of the expected anonymity of reviewers, Morris outed himself as one of the reviewers, as the one reviewer opposing the publication of Frisch’s study, when he asked the members of his mailing list to write letters to the editor protesting the publication of the article. Quite unethical on his part.

In 2013 BJU published Bronselaer’s “Male circumcision decreases penile sensitivity as measured in a large cohort“, a study in Belgium, which concluded that “This study confirms the importance of the foreskin for penile sensitivity, overall sexual satisfaction, and penile functioning. Furthermore, this study shows that a higher percentage of circumcised men experience discomfort or pain and unusual sensations as compared with the uncircumcised population. Before circumcision without medical indication, adult men, and parents considering circumcision of their sons, should be informed of the importance of the foreskin in male sexuality“. Strangely for a study that suggest negative consequences of male circumcision, Reuters covered the study so it reached several global news outlets. In some of the media, particularly in American news sites, a critique by circumcision promoter Aaron Tobian (Johns Hopkins University college of Ronald Gray) was included in an attempt to “balance” the information (or reduce the impact of the study, we could say).

And this would be the reason why circumcision promoters needed some “new” publication to “find” that circumcision “does not affect -or actually increases- sexual satisfaction”, even if it means just recycling all the old articles, even the old and utterly debunked excuse of a “study” by Masters and Johnson from 1966 (here explained and refuted by Hugh Young).

So this is the issue. Awareness of the consequences of male circumcision has been growing. It was already reported in 1997-1999 by Tim Hammond. The past two years have seen two European articles denouncing the reported loss of sensitivity and sexual consequences of circumcision for European males and their partners. 2012 also saw the results of the Global Survey of Circumcision Harm. There is also growing awareness of the possibility of Non-Surgical Foreskin Restoration for men who feel harmed by their circumcision and wish to recover some of the function of their lost foreskin.

So obviously, circumcision promoters are not happy, especially when African men are not rushing to get circumcised as they expected them to. Aaron Tobian prepared the path for the AAP’s new Policy Statement on Circumcision by publishing his “findings” (actually a computer simulation applying premises from African data to the United States) that healthcare cost would increase if circumcision rates continue decreasing. Of course even if this was true, this unethical paper is only putting a price tag on a valuable part of the male genitalia, and most of the public could see through it. More was needed, so Professor Morris did what he knows how to do: review old information to produce new publications, while denying everything that doesn’t fit his model of the world.

Well, Professor Morris, it doesn’t work that way. You can’t deny the changes in function by simply refusing to discuss function. Good try though.

One thing we appreciate of Morris “study”, and it would be pointing us to his coauthor, Krieger JN. Professor John Krieger from the University of Washington. We’ll definitively be learning more about Krieger’s work, such as his previous 2008 study on “Adult Male Circumcision: Effects on Sexual Function and Sexual Satisfaction in Kisumu, Kenya“, which no doubt is one of the studies reviewed in this new publication, it’s not like Morris has been known for self-referencing his own publications, what’s the cost of sharing that trick with his coauthor?

One final thought is, why is it that European males report sexual difficulties related to their circumcision while African males don’t? And why is it that the perception of African males would be more relevant to English speaking countries than the perception of European males?

But let’s listen to Brian Morris for a moment, let his words give you an idea of his character. He would be quite amusing if he didn’t think he was being serious.