The Portuguese Doctor Frankenstein

Egas Moniz: Frankenstein or Mengele 3.0?

The crucial DATE on the above image is hard to discern.
It says: January 12 1989.

The cowardly, disproportionate reactions to one castration 70 years ago

The amount of attention given to one, possibly a few cases of castration in the 1950s is in absurd proportion to the attention given to atrocities taking place in the 21st century. The exaggerated amount of attention to this issue has everything to do with the involvement of the Catholic Church.

In very broad circles, it is bon ton to attack this religion for its past. People react to the revelations as if they are about things that happened only recently and/or there is a chance that they could happen again in the near future. Bizarre.

It is a bit tempting to contrast these castrations with the scant attention paid to even more serious genital mutilations 1) performed on girls today. Hundreds of thousands of girls worldwide fall prey to this expression of ultimate hatred against women.
However, the Catholic Church is completely eliminated as a power factor. I will therefore leave it at this reference to the very existence of genital mutilation of girls. Elaborating on it could come across as “islambashing” and that would undermine the strength of my argument.

What I want to emphasize here first and foremost how different the world in the West was only 70 years ago; On how many achievements stem from the past decades. Achievements that should therefore be defended extra vigorously instead of being relativized.

The image is of a Portuguese bank bill with Egas Moniz’s head on it.

The idea of calling him the Portuguese Doctor Frankenstein came to me thanks to the picture of this man on the wikipedia page on lobotomy.
That picture of the first Portuguese Nobel Prize winner (!) is very unflattering indeed.
The choice of it must have been prompted by the author(s) of the page to have very little sympathy for the man, to put it euphemistically.

Moniz was the big man behind these extremely crude “operations” on the brains of people with the most diverse disorders, that possibly took the lives of thousands and causing dramatic personality changes in tens of thousands.

Through the movie “One flew over the cuckoo’s nest,” the existence of the treatment has become more widely known, but the nature of the surgery itself has not.
Some of the surgery literally involved drilling a hole in the skull, then inserting a stick into the hole and poking around a bit in the frontal lobe of the victim’s brain 2).

According to that wikipedia page, the number of these treatments declined very much after 1960, but the banknote that the Portuguese provided with the image of their own “Frankenstein” dates from 1989.

Western civilization has ancient roots in Judaism, Christianity, enlightenment and emancipation but some of its elements that are perceived as a natural part are of recent date.

Those elements deserve extra protection rather than relativizations, whether or not through the roundabout route of magnifying -extremely disgusting- Catholic excesses from 50, 60 or 500 years ago.

This is a translated and updated version of a text I wrote on the site
That site can still be consulted but is not updated since July 2014.
Here I explain (in Dutch) my motives and why it is
easy to misunderstand the URL.
Crucial part of my motive came from the murder of Theo van Gogh.


  1. The male equivalent of the pharaonic “circumcision” is more invasive than castration; it is better compared to being made a eunuch.
  2. I base this partly on the lectures on “physiological psychology” that I took in the first year of my psychology studies.

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