...But of these sophisms and elenchs of merchandise I skill not...
Milton, Areopagitica

Except he had found the
standing sea-rock that even this last
Temptation breaks on; quieter than death but lovelier; peace
that quiets the desire even of praising it.

Jeffers, Meditation On Saviors



Newborn babies can remember melodies played to them while they were in the womb

Myth:  Everyone is circumcised.
Reality check:  Actually, world-wide, only 30% of men are circumcised, and most of these men are Muslim (WHO 2007).   Most modern, Westernized countries have rates well below 20%.  In the United States about 25 years ago, around 85% of babies were circumcised. The rates have dropped substantially to 32% in 2009, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control (El Becheraoui 2010).
Myth:  Circumcision is an important tradition that has been going on forever.
Reality check:  In the United States, circumcision wasn't popularized until Victorian times, when a few doctors began to recommend it to prevent children from masturbating.  Dr. Kellogg (of Corn Flakes fame) advocated circumcision for pubescent boys and girls to stop masturbation:  "A remedy which is almost always successful in small boys is circumcision, especially when there is any degree of phimosis. The operation should be performed by a surgeon without administering an anæsthetic, as the brief pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind, especially if it be connected with the idea of punishment... In females, the author has found the application of pure carbolic acid to the clitoris an excellent means of allaying the abnormal excitement" (Kellogg 1877).  Circumcision caught on among the sex-negative Victorians, but only wealthy parents could afford it.  In 1932, only 31% of men were circumcised; this peaked around 85% in 1980, and has been dropping ever since (Laumann 1997, Wallerstein 1980).  Far from an ancient tradition, it was only popular in post-war America; think of it as "your parent's body mod."

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