Chapter 3: ANTHROPOLOGY
Among a number of the higher mammals, foreskin conditions occur
with considerable frequency. The
evolutionary relevance of foreskin conditions is discussed: Why
have these hindrances to reproduction not been deselected?
The central file discusses The
Origins of the Practice of Routine Male Circumcision.
The relevant anthropological and texts are collected under Anthropological
Studies. Modern writers never mention phimosis. Phimosis was
last discussed by Ploss (1876) and Bryk (1931).
it was far too great a rarity to be
considered as originating factor. However in 1931 there
were no statistical studies. I discuss all the presently available statistical
reports. These show that even when assessed in the non-erect state at least 8% of men suffer phimosis.
In addition, the practice originated among the hunting peoples. Hunting peoples lived in tribal groups. Seen statistically, these
are of a size which are renowned for their erratic fluctuations.
Schoeberliens statistics show that around 8.8% of youths have phimosis. Due the extremely erratic fluctuations in frequences which are to be expected in any small group (or extended family like Abraham's), this would result in times when no-one would have phimosis and times when it would appear pandemic. Therefore it seems highly probable that routine circumcision was introduced at a time of high frequency of phimosis.
or it could be argued:
Original studies on large sample groups (i.e. excluding studies misquoting Øster) show that the frequency of phimosis lies between 2.4% and 14%. This may be due to the different degrees of phimosis which were measured or different ethnic groups.
Ploss was misinterpreted. His original work claimed phimosis to be the origin of routine male circumcision, (he did not claim fertility to be of relevance apart from among the Jews).
Lets reconsider - some forms of phimosis are merely irritating others
are painful, some typically result in inflammations and disease,
some cause problems by urination, others during masturbation; some
previous to intercourse, others during it, and still others for
several days after intercourse.
In pre-literate times it would not have been possible to start
understanding and classifying all these problematic conditions.
I suggest the primary reason routine circumcision was originally introduced
was as an all cure: a practical and apparently simple solution to and prevention
of, a number of confusing and chaotic problems.
A further section examines the various reasons why among some
peoples the practice became established - the oldest living surgical
tradition - and thus heralded the beginnings of the surgical practice
in Western medicine.
If routine circumcision had initially been introduced for this
most obvious reason of eliminating difficult foreskins; it would
clarify the importance of a modern alternative form of prevention.