The Sciences

Circumcision - roundheads vs. cavaliers

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanJun 16, 2007 5:10 PM

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The debate below about circumcision has gotten fast and furious. I stand in the untenable position of neither believing that circumcision should be promoted by the authorities as a "health" precaution in the modern world, but also not considering it an abomination in the eyes of the Lord. That being said, one thing that should be value neutral are statistics. Here is a description of the regions of the world where circumcision is and isn't routine. In short, it is a common practice in most of Africa, with the exception of the southern portion of the continent. It is normative amongst Muslims, in the United States and a few nations which imitated American practice such as South Korea and the Philippines. Here are the rates for US regions over the past decade or so:

Cite

Year

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

Northeast

69.6 68.3 66.5 68.3 68.0 65.4 64.6 66.9 68.9 64.7 66.4

North Central 80.1 79.8 80.9 81.6 82.9 81.4 81.4 81.0 81.0 77.8 79.5

Southern

64.7 66.1 63.6 64.5 64.6 64.1 63.9 62.5 64.0 57.7 58.5

Western

34.2 42.6 36.3 38.0 38.3 36.7 37.3 40.9 32.6 31.4 31.7

All 62.7 64.1 60.2 62.8 63.2 61.5 62.4 63.1 60.1 55.9 57.4

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