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 Definition Intentionally causing the death of an infant [d] [e]
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 Workgroup categories Anthropology, Sociology and Law [Editors asked to check categories]
 Talk Archive none  English language variant American English
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I no longer edit in Wikipedia. I am starting this article with the many sections, sentences and a hundred references that I added last year in the Wikipedia “Infanticide” article. I omitted the sections and references of the other Wikipedia authors.
Cesar Tort 11:14, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

How can I edit the lead?

Just noticed that the sentence--:

Infant abandonment occurs in modern societies.[1] Abandonments put infants at risk of becoming the indirect victims of infanticide. Abandoned infants are essentially orphans and many receive care through orphanages or adoption.

--belongs to a section way below the article. But I don't know how to edit it from the lead in CZ (to relocate it properly). Cesar Tort 15:51, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

I'll be happy to move this, but I'm not sure where to put it. Given the [1] in it, is it a note?
In the meantime, I'm going to create metadata for you, with some tentative workgroup assignments (Sociology, Law, Health Sciences) that certainly can change. Also, I'll look over the article for purely CZ formatting/text conventions.
By clicking the tabs on the top of the pages, you'll see Related Articles (where I moved "see also") and External Links. Related Articles is just a start, but we find it extremely useful, and something quite different from WP.
I assumed American English, but, since you refer to UK law, did you want the language variant to be British English?
In passing, one thing that annoyed me no end until I found that CZ and WP are different on footnotes. (I'm going to use a convention here to let me display some formatting commands on the talk page)
In WP, you can put in a footnote <ref name=Gomez /> before the full citation with <ref name=Gomez>{{citation | author = M. Gomez}}</ref>. In CZ, the full inline citation must exist before you have any short references to it.
Howard C. Berkowitz 22:01, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
Got it. I think the above sentence should be relocated just below the heading "Present day". --Cesar Tort 12:10, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
First, just mechanically and you may know this: for moving text from any section or the, click on the edit for the whole page, which is at the top right, rather than on a section edit.
Moving it now. I was going to extend the bibliographic citation of http://, but the link is dead; it goes to a domain seller. Howard C. Berkowitz 12:13, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
You can remove both if you like: unsourced statement and dead source. That sentence/source was added in Wikipedia on 11 November 2008: exactly the day I gave up editing there. I shouldn't have added it to this article since I try to add here only the sentences I contributed to the Wikipedia article (as suggested by CZ policies if Ihave understood them correctly). --Cesar Tort 12:25, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
We are more flexible about sourcing here than Wikipedia. If a statement is well accepted by mainstream authority in the field, it doesn't need sourcing; that's a judgment call. More controversial matters do need sourcing, but — this is a style that CZ people develop over time — a degree of original synthesis is fine although original research is not.
Just as a suggestion, I think your statement about current infanticide is quite reasonable. Offhand, I can think of 2-3 abandonments, one on New Zealand Air (e.g., [1] the last week or so. In the U.S., there are more and more local laws and facilities for safely and anonymously depositing a baby who might otherwise be abandoned; there has been recent news reporting about pleas that these cannot handle older children, often directed to parents caught in economic crisis. Howard C. Berkowitz 12:42, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
P.S. My original post in this thread made no sense unless I explain that by then I could not edit the lead. It looks now that I was trying to click on the clickable editing letters with my screen showing big letters. I had to make letters look smaller so that they turn really clickable (I like to watch the screen from a distance and this is why I enlarge the text). Anyway, problem is solved now. Cesar Tort 22:00, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

New heading to link to Talk: Satanic ritual abuse

Added new heading so it could be linked to Satanic ritual abuse; perhaps some of this text should be copied there or at least linked. I'll leave it to Constables whether to move, as that affects the revision history. Reset indentation to fit new heading. Howard C. Berkowitz 17:30, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

Just as a suggestion, I think your statement about current infanticide is quite reasonable. Offhand, I can think of 2-3 abandonments, one on New Zealand Air (e.g., [2] the last week or so. In the U.S., there are more and more local laws and facilities for safely and anonymously depositing a baby who might otherwise be abandoned; there has been recent news reporting about pleas that these cannot handle older children, often directed to parents caught in economic crisis. Howard C. Berkowitz 12:42, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

Well, there's a "Child abandonment" article in Wikipedia. It's distinct from exposure and infanticide, both of which generally kill the infant. If you relocate the above sentence to a more suitable place I guess it should be removed from the lead? --Cesar Tort 12:51, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
I see your point. Just there a good generic term that could serve as a top-level for all of these? It's culturally challenging, if a particular culture doesn't regard even extreme abandonment as infanticide, merely the will of the heavens if the child does not live. Of course, this begins to touch on all the abortion, euthanasia, and things that get really touchy. You might want to look at futile care, which touches on these. Howard C. Berkowitz 12:57, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
The article is basically made of sentences based upon sources. My view about the subject is that child sacrifice, which sometimes goes with the canibalization of the infant (as was done by Indians in my town before the arrival of the Spanish conquerors) was the most barbaric. Greek and Roman exposure in the ancient world was less barbaric. Then we have abortion in our times. Euthanasia is quite different and I support it. --Cesar Tort 13:39, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
Well, we certainly don't want to get into trying to find the Right Answer about abortion; eventually some of that really is faith-based (not meant nastily). As an aside, though, it's interesting to try to understand the rationale for human sacrifice in various belief systems. This is one of my problems with alleging it as a widespread Satanic practice; a good deal of known sacrifice, including ritual cannibalism of warriors or sacrificing kings to the land, dealt with transfer of power from people who had it.
You are, however, touching on a CZ-WP difference. While we try to be careful about attributions not generally accepted by experts, with feedback from our own, not having to have a source for every sentence — using other methods for accuracy — often makes for much more flowing writing. As you well know, a person with an agenda can source everything, but with biased sources. Howard C. Berkowitz 14:20, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

Constable's move of some material

I removed some material that was originally here to a more apt discussion area at If any of this moved material duplicates anything that already exists there, it can be edited by anyone who wants to, as long as it is *exactly* duplicated material, word by word.... Hayford Peirce 16:38, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for the moving. This is the specific thread. Cesar Tort 19:08, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Next step

Hi Cesar, I think you have done a wonderful job on this article. It is chock full of information. I think your next step is to add some prose (or consolidate what you have into some prose) to make it a little more enjoyable to read and you will have an approvable article here. See this and this as part of the article mechanics page. It is by no means a policy, but just suggestion. D. Matt Innis 17:46, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

Great. I certainly prefer narrative than bare bones! Cesar Tort 19:25, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
I tried to recognize the sentiment by upgrading status to 1 (Developed). Howard C. Berkowitz 00:51, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Can you please explain what is that status? Cesar Tort 12:25, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
There's no *really* definitive answer, depending on the article. A "stub" is a short beginning, maybe 50 to 200 words. A "developing" article is one that you're working on, adding material to, but that still needs more work. A "developed" article is one that is just about done, or that at least has all the main information in place. It may simply need more copyediting, or more bibliography, or maybe a little fleshing out of some of the info that's already there. It varies. One could have a "developed" article on Abraham Lincoln that is 5,000 words long. But, being Lincoln, there's always room for *another* 5,000 words or so if anyone wanted to do it. But short of writing a full-scale biography of him, 5,000 words (or much less) on an old-time tennis player like Pancho Segura would probably be *far* more than is needed. In either case, if competent editors signed off on them, each of the 5,000-word articles would almost certainly be waiting for Approval. Hayford Peirce 15:02, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
I see. Now, this article has about 4,300 words (not counting references). I guess that's a starting point for other authors to add 700 words of "flesh", or a bit more perhaps? Cesar Tort 16:07, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
No, I just pulled 5,000 out of my hat. A completely developed article for *some* subjects could be 1,000 polished words, already for approval. Another article might be 7,000 and still not be fully developed. Or, in the case of *some* articles, there might be an initial article of 5,000 words that needs to be *cut* back to 3,000 because a lot of the extra words are unsourced, or prejudicial, or simply wrong. If you've read Joe Quick's comments about this article on Matt's page, you'll see that he is possibly suggesting that you *remove* a bunch of stuff, then *add* some other stuff. If that were eventually done to his (and more important, an Editor's) satisfaction, then the finished article might well be significantly longer -- but it *might* also be shorter. So it all depends. Take a look, for instance, at an article I wrote about an obscure, old-time tennis player named Ray Casey. It's probably not more than 300 words long. Yet there's really nothing more to write about -- I've got it on the list of Articles Ready for Approval. On the other hand, the article I wrote about Bill Tilden is probably 2,000 words long and is *still* not fully developed. The article on Pancho Gonzales is probably 4,000 words long, not even counting all of the info at the bottom, and still not fully developed. Hayford Peirce 16:35, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
OK: I am copying and pasting Joe Quick's comments about this article on Matt's page (and my responses). --Cesar Tort 16:59, 17 April 2009 (UTC):

Infanticide dilemma

    • Moved from Matt Innis's Talk page: all discussion there about this same topic. It is ALL duplicated below, so I have deleted all of that redundant material. It now exists only here, on this page. Constable Hayford Peirce 22:21, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for the advice in talk:Infanticide. I am on the other side of the Atlantic and will stay here perhaps for half a year. I left all of my library in Mexico. Therefore I doubt I can do more "narrative" in the article. I wish I could. It would be great to add a bit of flesh and blood to the bare bones of some parts in the article. Another reason why I'd prefer that other authors do the job is that I have a very definite point of view on the subject, as you can see in the journal article I published last year, linked to the CZ article. Thus I limited myself to gather facts and dry "bones" and keep my opinions on the subject mostly to myself (only in my writing outside CZ I speak out strongly about it). Anyway, with time it could become a good article and I hope it will serve a purpose for CZ anthropology/criminology projects. Cheers. --Cesar Tort 23:21, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

I think you can just leave it as it is in good conscience and let other people, if they wish, flesh it out. A year from now, if it's still about the same, you might return to it and do some more work. As it stands, it's very informative, without being, of course, close to being an Approved article. But we have *lots* of informative articles here that need more work before they could even be considered for approval. Thanks for doing what you have so far! Hayford Peirce 23:45, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
Hi Cesar, I agree with Hayford. You've made an excellent start and others can work with it now. Of course, you can still work with it from the other side of the pond! D. Matt Innis 00:43, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but I disagree. As it stands, the "bare bones" is subtly biased in very dangerous ways. Without content to establish the context in which infanticide occurs or has occurred in the past, the article would seem to indicate that infanticide is/was an everyday activity for pretty much all human groups except the modern West. There are lots of unfounded "theories" floating in the ether that would have you believe as much and then there are cases of documented practices. I'm not saying that infanticide doesn't or hasn't happened, but I find the current article unacceptable. --Joe Quick 04:50, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Actually, as the article states, infanticide was very common in the West as well; in Greece and Rome, and it states that infanticidal exposure "was performed on gigantic scale" in the Middle Ages. --Cesar Tort 12:33, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Interesting. But, that is the nature of collaboration! And all the more reason for it! Hopefully we'll get some and the end product will be neutral, well documented and enjoyable to read (from an informational perspective - not because we enjoy baby killing ;-(. D. Matt Innis 14:40, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Cesar, I wrote "modern West" not just "West". Look, I'm not interested in getting into an argument over this, especially not on Matt's talk page. I'll make a few comments and then bow out.
I have some problems with content. In the New World section, for instance, there is a comment about a mass grave in southern Mexico, which is an area I've studied extensively and a discovery I've never heard of and can't find any mention of via Google searches. Nor do I recall ever seeing any mention of the sacrifice of infants to Tezcatlipoca. Perhaps young people but not infants.
More significantly, we need to address the structure. Lists like this are inherently incomplete because it is impossible to list all cultures. Choosing a few from this region or that implicates the entire culture area by extension. It would be much more informative and less implicitly prejudiced to discuss the reasons that infanticide has occurred and then point to examples as explanatory tools.
Also significant is the manner in which we gather information. I haven't looked at every one of the references yet, but there are some issues. For one, with this kind of article and all of the prejudiced "theories" out there, we should try to stay away from secondary sources, which all too often uncritically accept and report incorrect information. We should also stay away from non-academic sources, again because they will tend to be less careful about statistics and information. --Joe Quick 16:09, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree with you not to discuss in Matt's page. Anyway, we could move this discussion elsewhere. Among others, the source you asked for the mass grave is this one. In Mexico one of my hobbies was to collect these sort of recent child sacrificial news in the papers thanks to modern archaeology.
As to the Old World, I gathered much info from Larry Milner's treatise on infanticide: the only massive monograph on the subject published as to date. I believe it's a good source because, believe it or not, he idealizes infanticide. He doesn’t want to condemn the tribes which until very recently still performed it. On the contrary. If Milner is biased he is certainly not biased in the sense of your concerns (that's why I criticized him in my journal article). The most offensive passage of his book is a quotation that describes infanticide as “the noblest of deeds”. Certainly a guy who quotes that in the concluding chapter of his scholarly work is not biased against the tribes.
As to infanticide in modern West, we can include a new section of it. But it’s clear from the sources that westerners are not performing infanticide in the “gigantic scale” they use to in the Middle Ages (which is why I omitted that section; you can add it if you wish). The scale of infanticide in the past throughout the world is what matters: it’s statistics according to diverse authors. But again, let’s move this discussion to other place, if Matt agrees --Cesar Tort 16:50, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree to the move. As for Joe's concerns, I think he makes some good points. Two things come to my mind - the defintion of West - are we talking about "west of the Middle East" or "west of China" or the western hemisphere. I think one of the concerns is that the 'enlightenment' to stop infanticide started with Christianity when actually it may have been just part of the Renaissance in which everyone was a part? D. Matt Innis 17:45, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Also, should this article be under Anthropology Workgroup instead of Health Sciences? D. Matt Innis 17:47, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Yes: it belongs to anthropology. And yes again: it seems that actual stopping of the practice started many centuries after the edicts by Christian Roman emperors. --Cesar Tort 18:55, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Cesar, the link you provided is for a grave found at Tula. It did not contain 500 bodies. It is not in the Maya region. The report states that the bodies were those of children but not those of infants. --Joe Quick 00:19, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

A challenge

We do, I think, need to bound this problem, but there isn't a terribly clear date or geography. What I do want us to keep at arm's length (very long arms) is anything about modern abortion or futile care of infants not capable of life. Things such as covert infanticide in countries with a two-child policy probably are current, but the focus of this article, I believe, is outside the medical and contemporary political. Howard C. Berkowitz 17:50, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

Agreed: the focus is anthropological. --Cesar Tort 18:57, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

We also need to bound the subject on the other end. The article is named "Infanticide" so we need to restrict the discussion to infants. Many of the examples are of children but not of infants. They may belong in other discussions but not here. I was going to make a list of examples below but I found myself cutting out huge portions of the article. Though I am not really interested in writing on this subject myself, I'd be happy to help guide Cesar or others in its development, but I don't feel comfortable with it staying in the main space as is. As a concerned author with training in anthropology, I'd like to formally ask that this article be moved to user space so that it may be cleaned up. --Joe Quick 00:12, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

Just for the record: Milner's Hardness of Heart does include children, not only newborns, throughout his treatise. (And the same can be said of the Journal of Psychohistory, which has been published since the middle 1970s and publishes much about infanticide in the broader sense.) See the lead of the present article. Of course, this is a hotly controversial topic for anthropologists, as you can see in this online debate in which I participated. But that’s just an informal debate. The real issue is that, as the New York Times, put it, "infanticide has not received much study because it's a repulsive subject," said Glenn Hausfater, a Cornell ethologist. And I remember another Times article (I still have to find the link) in which Carthaginian sacrifice of older boys (e.g., 6 year olds) was considered infanticide as well. --Cesar Tort 00:39, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

Editorial input

If the common definition of Infanticide includes children, then include them in the article, but if not, then you have some choices to make concerning scope and/or renaming this article.

I hope it goes without saying that it is important that any article use an accurate reflection of each of the cited references. For instance, just because one author includes children in his/her discussion does not necessarily mean another author is including children. Therefore, when we cite them, it is important to discern what that particular author is commenting about so we don't unwittingly distort what that author was trying to say. This is not necessarily done purposely, it is human nature. Peer review and collaboration provide people with different perspectives to help clarify these issues. The end result will be a balanced and neutral presentation that is an accurate reflection of the sources.

As authors with difficulties concerning scope and layout for an article, it is important to identify the appropriate workgroups and editors for the article and let them decide issues concerning scope and layout. D. Matt Innis 14:31, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

Since human infanticide is "a repulsive subject" for many scholars (even the above cited article deals with animal infanticide), it might be difficult to find a standard definition. Does a title such as Infanticide and child sacrifice sound a little odd for an encyclopedic entry? --Cesar Tort 14:48, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
"Does a title such as Infanticide and child sacrifice sound a little odd for an encyclopedic entry?" Yes. They are two distinctly different things. I don't want to refight ancient wars that occurred before Cesar joined the project, ie, the "Usual Definition as Known by the General Public vs. What the Scholars in the Field Call It Wars", but my suggestion is to write this particular article, Infanticide, to include *only* what that word is generally taken to mean. My Merriam-Websters Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition, which is certainly the most commonly used and most cited dictionary in the United States, says that Infanticide is:
1.) the killing of an infant
2.) one who kills an infant
Nothing about child sacrifice or anything else. I would therefore confine this article purely to that single subject. There could be other articles such as Child sacrifice as they occur to you. And I think that in the very start of this article, you ought to have a sentence that reads, "This article is concerned specifically with the active killing or abandonment of infants upon their birth or within a very few days of their birth. Any killing of children beyond that age is treated in Article xxxx, Article yyyy, and Article zzzz." And then be absolutely sure that you don't go off on tangents such as "Roman law permitted fathers to kill their children up to the age of three because they were not considered to be actual human beings" or whatever the case may be. Confine it solely to this one subject. Hayford Peirce 15:36, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
Isnt't it curious that even though the 1911 edition of the Britannica defines infanticide as the killing of the newborn, it also includes the sacrifice of older "children in the worship of Moloch"? --Cesar Tort 16:11, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
Both interesting and curious. But absolutely irrelevant to what Citizendium is in 2009. Hayford Peirce 16:44, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
That article is worth reading anyway :) Cesar Tort 16:49, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
I don't like reading about gruesome things -- better you than me! But you could use it as a public domain source for secondary information for your forthcoming article about Moloch. Hayford Peirce 17:44, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

(undent)Again, I suggest that you ask an editor for guidance about content. D. Matt Innis 23:41, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

I did add Anthropology to the top spot for workgroups and removed health sciences as there seemed to be some degree of agreement on that, but would gladly yield to anyone more knowledgeable on the subjects. D. Matt Innis 23:56, 18 April 2009 (UTC)