"Many women who do not dress modestly ... lead young men astray, corrupting their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes."
Those are the words of Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi, an Iranian cleric. Figuring this was one religious claim that could be easily tested and proven true or false, a Purdue student named Jennifer McCreight launched a Facebook campaign called, appropriately, Boobquake. The goal: Get women to don immodest clothing in public and then see if earthquakes follow.
The event is officially scheduled for Monday, April 26, worldwide—although the BBC will be filming in Washington DC.
I suppose there are plenty of reasons to find fault with the stunt, but the one that stands out to me is that Boobquake isn't accurately testing Sedighi's theory. It's not immodest dress alone that leads to earthquakes, he says, but the adultery that spreads through society because of immodest dress. So, there's really two claims that have to be tested here: First, does immodest dress really lead to adultery? And, second, does adultery lead to earthquakes? Somehow, I'm guessing that Everybody Cheat on Your Significant Other Monday wouldn't go over quite as well as Boobquake.
Plus, as Vaughan Bell points out, we really need a control planet to make this legit.
Maggie Koerth-Baker is the science editor at BoingBoing.net. She writes a monthly column for The New York Times Magazine and is the author of Before the Lights Go Out, a book about electricity, infrastructure, and the future of energy. You can find Maggie on Twitter and Facebook.