An interesting example of cultural deafness came my way this morning: a “blog entry”:http://fistfulofeuros.net/afoe/the-european-union/witch-doctors-of-the-eu claiming that there are licensed witchdoctors in Bulgaria, one of whom had advised a patient to cure his premature ejaculation by attempting congress with a hedgehog.
The “source quoted”:http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2007/05/i_wonder_if_bora_knows_about_this_painfu.php/ was on scienceblogs, a hotbed of pharyngular atheism as well as interesting science. Sure enough, a commentator there lamented the presence of “traditional healers” in Bulagaria, describing them as “witch doctors who pretend to talk to God”.
But “the source the Orac quoted”:http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/09/15/serbian_witchdoctor/ turned out to be that well known journal of cutting-edge theology, el Reg. Anyone with knowledge of the tone and manners of the tabloid press would realise that everything after the first paragraph, which may not be true, has been made up from the whole cloth and is supposed to be funny. The moral, I suppose, is that sceptics, too, will believe whatever they want to, if they want to badly enough.
On the other hand, it’s obvious that most of Orac’s commentators weren’t taken in, and one, at least, added a piece of useful knowledge: that there is a Serbian idiom for getting into difficulties, which translates as “you’ve buggered a hedgehog”.
fn1. would “like to see”:http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/05/christianitys_sins_against_sci.php#more “religion” extirpated