Not every Rubinstein is the father of Dorit Rubinstein Reiss

This is not the father of Dorit Rubinstein Reiss

The anti-vaccine crowd generally runs out of scientific evidence after 4 or 5 seconds. That means they move on to bigoted hate attacks next. And after that, they move onto heady questions like who is the father of Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, a frequent contributor to this website.

Public relations people will advise their clients to never comment on internet gossip, because it just continues the conversation, before it dies out. But this is so funny, I can’t help myself, because the Skeptical Raptor is one snarky dinosaur, and he thrives on feasts of snarkiness.

And there’s nothing that deserves more snark than lunatic anti-vaccination conspiracy theorists pushing that Professor Reiss’ family contains the swine flu vaccine inventor. Or a demon banker.

Zut alors. Maybe she’s related to a random lawyer named Rubinstein.

Continue reading “Not every Rubinstein is the father of Dorit Rubinstein Reiss”

Circumcision–separating science from opinion

Circumcision is one topic that certainly brings up more emotion than just about any medical procedure. In fact, the same level of rhetoric is used for and against circumcision that one hears with regards to vaccines, or even abortion. Recently, the city of San Francisco attempted to ban the practice, but a judge ruled that only the state could regulate medical procedures. During the summer, a German court banned circumcision for religious purposes, though a German court banning a Jewish practice must have blown up irony meters across the world.

In any discussion about circumcision, there is general consensus that female circumcision, or female genital mutilation, is an abhorrent non-medical procedure that is simply an anti-female procedure in many male-dominated societies. We’re not talking about that, and any comparison between male and female circumcision is a strawman argument. It is also clear that part of the anti-circumcision argument centers around secularism and atheism, because male circumcision is integral to both the practice ofJudaism and Islam. That is a valid argument, and there could even be a concern that unskilled individuals performing ritual circumcisions could cause serious complications. I personally could care less about religious rituals as long as they don’t harm anyone, so this is where we need to determine what the evidence tell us.  Continue reading “Circumcision–separating science from opinion”