Jesse Bering update

As I said I would, I am posting an update to my post about Jesse Bering, psychologist. Bering wrote about circumcision a few weeks ago and linked back to me:

One can either listen to outspoken atheist bloggers who can’t seem to understand that this is no longer a religious or cultural issue, the overwrought intactivists attempting to intimidate new parents through strong rhetoric and graphic images of botched circumcisions, the endless stream of nosy polemical parents who are happy to share their judgmental attitudes, or one can take the advice of those who, you know, actually know what the hell they’re talking about.

There was some confusion over this for at least two reasons. First, Bering did not do his research to find out that “outspoken atheist blogger” is exactly what I am. His reference was intended for the subject of my post, PZ Myers, but that was far from clear given his writing style and lack of fact gathering. It would be as if he wrote about another psychologist and I linked to his post saying, “Well, you can listen to this dumb psychologist or you can…” No one would have any idea which psychologist I meant. He did the equivalent of introducing a pronoun without first telling us what the noun was.

Second, my post did not even come remotely close to supporting Bering’s contention about PZ. We both think PZ is wrong to deny the science behind the efficacy of circumcision, but Bering also believes that PZ can’t get beyond the issue being one of religion and culture. At no point did my post say anything about PZ’s views on those two things. I solely talked about his denial of the science. If Bering wishes to make his independent conclusion, he needs to find another source. (Linking straight to something PZ has written might be one crazy place to start.)

At any rate, on multiple occasions I have asked Bering to either change the wording of his link to reflect who he was actually referencing or to simply not link to me. I would prefer the second option since my post doesn’t even support his contention – he really is not a careful reader. Unfortunately, he appears to be a rather stubborn man, so I have taken the only action I can and added this to the beginning of the post to which he links:

Update: This post has received a pingback from Jesse Bering. It does not support the contention he makes, nor does he make it clear which “outspoken atheist blogger” he means (me or PZ). I have asked him to correct his obvious error, but he refuses.

You know, I would have given some thought to reading what Bering has to say on circumcision in the books he has written, but he has made it abundantly clear that honest, clear writing isn’t his concern.


Fun fact of the day

About 50 million years ago, the area that is now known as Egypt was covered with an ancient sea. At the bottom of this sea were nummulites, a genus of small seashells made of calcium and carbon. Over millions of years, these creatures would die and stack up on the ocean floor, eventually creating limestone. Fast forward to human civilization and we see this:

This image comes from a limestone quarry near Cairo – the same sort of quarry that the ancient Egyptians used to build the pyramids and other structures of that great civilization. In other words, there is a homogenous mix of fossils that can be found all throughout one of the 7 Great Wonders of the World; the Egyptians owe much of their incredible accomplishments to deposits laid down by dying marine creatures over 50 million years ago.