Does EOF include a description of cat-burning?

 
 
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dthuleen
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Joined  12-08-2006
 
 
 
31 March 2007 06:00
 

I'm hoping someone with a better memory than mine can help me out.  I recall reading recently about public cat-burning being a not-uncommon form of public entertainment in Europe as recently as 400 years ago.  I thought I had read it in The End of Faith, but I couldn't find it anywhere as I skimmed through it. 

The point was how much our sense of morality has changed in a few centuries.  With that in mind, I looked through the chapter in Dawkins' God Delusion on The Changing Moral Zeitgeist, but I didn't see it there, either. 

Can anyone figure out where I might have read this?  It's driving me crazy, because I want to show it to a friend of mine.  If I recall correctly, there was a powerful desciption of spectators laughing as the cats screamed in pain.

Thanks in advance.

 
 
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KFD
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01 April 2007 09:13
 

Yeah, I think I read that too. I don’t have the book here, so I can’t say much more.

 
wavelength32
 
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wavelength32
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02 April 2007 17:17
 

Cat burning is discussed on page 170 of the paperback version of The End of Faith.  It is in the first paragraph of chapter 6, entitled “A Science of Good and Evil”.  The paragraph begins, “Is the difference between good and evil just a matter of what any particular group of human beings says it is?”

Hope this helps.  Let me know if you need anything else.

-wavelength

 
 
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dthuleen
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02 April 2007 18:20
 

[quote author=“wavelength32”]Cat burning is discussed on page 170 of the paperback version of The End of Faith.  It is in the first paragraph of chapter 6, entitled “A Science of Good and Evil”.  The paragraph begins, “Is the difference between good and evil just a matter of what any particular group of human beings says it is?”

Hope this helps.  Let me know if you need anything else.

-wavelength

Thank you very much.  That is exactly what I was trying to find.

 
 
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rab
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03 April 2007 13:45
 

My niece did a report about that and learned that millions of cats were burned before the black plague. The reason was that cats carried familiar spirits for witches. The cats used to catch the mice that carried the fleas that carried the black plague. When they killed the cats, the mice overpopulated as did the fleas.

Curiosity didn’t kill the cat. Superstition did.

 
 
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windar
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23 April 2007 02:15
 

[quote author=“rab”]My niece did a report about that and learned that millions of cats were burned before the black plague. The reason was that cats carried familiar spirits for witches. The cats used to catch the mice that carried the fleas that carried the black plague. When they killed the cats, the mice overpopulated as did the fleas.

Curiosity didn’t kill the cat. Superstition did.

So we can say that the plague was propagated to the masses because of indirect religious beliefs. They didn’t know better I suppose.

 
 
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arildno
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27 April 2007 13:11
 

Since the cat burnings took place 400 years ago, whereas the Great Plague was 750 years ago, that theory doesn’t seem likely.

Besides, the witch scare hit Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries, not in the 14th.

 
 
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rab
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28 April 2007 07:38
 

You may be right. I didn’t read my neice’s report. But one thing we can all agree on is that nothing was known about the importance of cleanliness and disease prevention.