Do boobies lead to earthquakes? Theory will be tested Monday


"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.

Booby shot courtesy Flickr user ex_magician, via CC


  1. It’s a good way to demonstrate the absurdity of his claims, but I can’t help but think there are going to be some who use the “poking a hornets nest” argument. They’ll say we should just let these people keep saying and doing absurd things and get away with it unchecked.

  2. A. Women should run naked on Monday, April 26, to truly push Allah.
    B. Actually, Allah might just wait a few months to obfuscate the cause-effect.
    C. Women should nonetheless still run naked on Monday, April 26, just to make Monday special.

  3. Jiggling boobies, jiggling tectonic plates. God does everything in analogies doesn’t he?

  4. No no! This isn’t going to work! These women have to “corrupt the chastity of young men and spread adultery in the world” for this to be proved.

    If there are any women out there who would like to try corrupting my chastity and spreading some adultery my way I could help in this experiment…

    1. Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi is the Pat Robertson of Iran, making useful tasteless disaster origin myth memes for mass-media consumption.

  5. I’ve always wanted to do an experiment to see whether having women wearing veils in the workplace improves the productivity of male workers. (In that it’s another Islamic claim that gets frequently repeated, is empirically testable, and yet never actually gets tested.)

  6. I never thought I would be pleased about a preposterous claim by an Iranian cleric, but I was wrong.

  7. The second oldest profession is religious leader. There is a synergy between first and second.

  8. Hmm, sinful behavior leading to natural disaster… you mean kind of like the big flood in the book of Genesis in the Jewish Torah and Christian Old Testament?

  9. Boobs? Uterus? Ann Coulter’s Adams Apple? and USGS placenta helper – Oh my

    Jen McCreight is like Marc ‘Skeptic Tank’ Morano for both using their feminine sexuality for a liberal fembottized Mother Nature that reduces our freedoms, increasing our taxes to help the poor outside gated communities, and clean the air as it passes through the chain-link fence outside of ExxonMobil! It was bad enough for Morano to dress up like “fuzzball of Haitian love’ Limbaugh’s pilonidal cyst in prior to the icelandic volcano blowing. Now, Sarah ‘immaquiter’ Palin aka Armageddon Barbie and her T-bagger Army of Darkness have sorta proved that recent Tennessee quakes are caused by her hunk-a-hunk-a-burning love for hatred and greed. See the ~ last submission under “Robert Rhodes … Learning the real meaning of “If the trailer is rocking, don’t come knocking …“

  10. In the absence of a control planet, can we settle for just having a control Monday? Looks like the last significant seismic activity was a magnitude 4.9 in Utah on Thursday of last week, so this past Monday might work. It was partly cloudy and mid-60s in Pasadena, so there wasn’t a heck of a lot of exposed skin out here, which led to lowered libidinous behavior, which accounts for the flat seismographs of the day, I guess. Let’s see what happens this coming Monday.

    Funny thing: of the last 8 significant earthquakes, fully half of them have occurred on Tuesdays. Those damned, godless Tuesdays…

  11. First of all, immodest dress certainly can lead to adultery. And adultery leads to more adultery. And if all that adultery is with the same woman, then the immodest dress leads to jealousy. And if the jealous person is Lex Luthor then, yes, it leads to earthquakes.

    1. Immodest dress leads to adultery
      Adultery leads to anger
      Anger leads to hate
      Hate leads to the dark side
      The dark side leads to have the power to create earthquakes?

    2. I think Teller’s got a point.

      The other argument may be sympathetic magic. If all the other women are jiggling, maybe that convinces Mother Earth to loosen her own corset a bit.

      Or, quoting an old Playboy cartoon, “It may not make the fields more fertile, but you’ve got to admit it’s one heck of a ceremony!”

    3. One other thought: If loose boobs are claimed to cause earthquakes, shouldn’t we lock up the loose boob making the claim?

  12. I am all for large groups of people dressing immodestly and flaunting what they’ve got, but this will not convince Sedighi that he is wrong, nor will it convince anyone who believes him. Even a properly controlled experiment would not convince them: evidence and rational arguments are unlikely to sway people who arrived at their beliefs through faith and irrational arguments in the first place.

    There is actually a reasonably good chance that this will backfire: if there is an earthquake somewhere in the world in the following days, weeks, or even months (which, of course, is virtually guaranteed to happen no mater what) believers are likely to take that as evidence that Sedighi was right. Even if the earthquake occurs far away, weeks later, and in an earthquake-prone place, believers will still take it as confirmation of their belief. If, by sheer chance, a serious earthquake happens within hours or days of the demonstration, it will be seen as an even stronger sign from God and even more damning evidence that Sedighi is right.

    Even if this were conducted as a proper controlled scientific experiment and not a stunt, it won’t change anyone’s mind, except perhaps to further entrench existing beliefs.

  13. Improper use of the word ‘theory’. OK, seems trivial but this type of usage is what confuses the Creationists and perpetuates scientific bullshit.

  14. A simple way to test the hypothesis of a predicted correlation between lustful thoughts/actions and seismic activity would be to determine whether there was a change in the number of earthquakes per unit time before verses after the sexual revolution of the 1960’s when the conventional standards of modesty were reinvented with consequential increase in the frequency of extramarital sexual behavior.

    Personally, I think there would be a stronger correlation to extremist/fundamentalist initiated catastrophes than with natural catastrophes… with the single exception being the rise in communicable diseases. And, obviously, STD’s are no more a sign of theistic displeasure than cholera is in the absence of sanitation and water purification.


  15. it would be a greater challenge to get more american women to dress modestly; in fact, i would say operation boobquake is already in effect and has been for quite some time.

  16. Boobquake party at my place! Is it a coincidence that Boobquake day is the same date as International Trampoline Appreciation Day?

  17. Man, I hope there isn’t a co-incidental quake on that day. ‘Cause you know those clerics will NEVER shut up about it, every time we’re at the bar.

    “Remember the time you said that boobs didn’t cause earthquakes. and then there were boobs and there was an earthquake? BOOYAH! Who knows about boobs and earthquakes? THIS GUY! YEAH!”

    PS. May I ask how many boobs must there be for it to be statistically significant? I have another… experiment… going on right now.

  18. This has happened before:

    “The latest explanation of salmon runs in the Fraser river, Vancouver, during the last few years comes from a coastal Indian who believes that the salmon have been offended by the prevalence of jazz music.”

    “The women of the tribe, whose duty it is to play soothing melodies from the banks of the river, have forgotten the old-time favorites of the salmon and are resorting to the modern syncopated melodies.” – The Vancouver Sun, 22 October 1927

  19. What would be hilarious though is if somewhere on this planet there was an earthquake at approximately the time this goes down!

    The friggin clerics would come out on top and all the believers would say see we told ya!

  20. For this experiment to have any statistical rigour, it has to be repeated many many times.

    Just saying…

  21. “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.”

    Hum. Given Sedighi’s brand of morality, having any kind of sex outside a traditional marriage probably counts as “adultery”. See how he goes on from “corrupting chastity” to adultery.

    Obviously, then, science demands that hundreds and thousands of consenting adults test this “theory” on Monday, in lots of practical and creative ways. Let human imagination lead research!

    1. Indeed, the traditional definition of “adultery” is “extramarital sex”. So really, those of us who aren’t married simply have to get it on.

      Let the bootyquake commence!

  22. While I certainly don’t want to discourage women from “dressing immodestly” on Monday, or any other day, I should point out that several earthquakes happen around the world each and every day. So there’s bound to be at least one earthquake on Monday that the wacko fundies can point to as “evidence” that immodesty causes earthquakes. Besides, the guy claimed that it was adultery that caused earthquakes, not immodesty per se (immodesty is supposedly just the first step down the slippery slope). So, I’m not sure how you could test or disprove that empirically.

    Besides, I thought it was supposedly Voodoo pacts with the devil that caused earthquakes. Or our toleration of homosexuality (which, according to the good folks at Westboro Baptist Church is responsible for all the bad things that happen in the world). I really wish these religious extremists would get together and decide once and for all exactly which sins cause which natural disasters. Otherwise it sounds almost as if they’re just making it all up as they go along.

  23. I certainly hope there is a huge quake in the whole area, with mile-deep clefts and gorges forming in the streets, and later, it is discovered on satellite photos: huge flaming letters of burst pipeline and gratuitous lava : This Is Not How Science Works

  24. I think it may be worthwhile to check out Ms McCreight blog to find out what she intended by creating this day:

    It is also worth pointing out that she actually isn’t asking women to dress immodestly. She’s asking them to all ware the most immodest outfit the already own and already wear, all on the same day. For some women this might mean wearing club wear to the grocery store, but for others it may be that top that shows just a little cleavage. For every women the definition would be different.

    It is also worth pointing out that as sapere_aude stated there are lots of earthquakes every day and the organizers of boobquake will in fact be looking to see if significantly more earthquakes occur.

    Finally, its also clear that this has spread far further then Ms McCreight every thought it would.

  25. O yes, that evil adultary.

    Thankfully, their civilized ways permit men in the Ayatollah’s age bracket to legally marry 13 year old girls.

    So you can have clean, wholesome, healthy, religeously endorsed attempts at knocking her up.

  26. I asked my wife about the adultery thing, but she didn’t seem to keen on the idea. Maybe I can still get her to wear that low cut sweater she has though.

  27. One thing that gets glossed over in this regard is the timescale of the effect. How long does it take for adultery to induce seismic activity? Unclear! So, what #22 said, really.

  28. yea right like the men have to responsibility for their immoral behavior, just blame it on women….so middle east!

  29. Sure, the experiment may be designed poorly, suffer from methodological flaws, and be incapable of really proving anything.

    Doesn’t really seem to be a problem to me though.

  30. Given Sedighi’s brand of morality, having any kind of sex outside a traditional marriage probably counts as “adultery”.

    No need to single out that particular religionaut; pretty much every religion will claim any sort of sexual activity not explicitly required under its particular deranged set of rules to be ‘adultery’. Similarly ‘immodestly’ is rarely anything much to do with dressing in any particular style – it is enough for a woman to have the sheer effrontery to be visible in society. After all, women ought to just be silent, invisible, meek servants hiding in the background, obeying the men that own them by grace of their god, right?

    Thankfully, their civilized ways permit men in the Ayatollah’s age bracket to legally marry 13 year old girls.

    Just in case your use of ‘their’ was intended to refer to Islam, you really should remember that ‘they’ are far from alone in this. The marriageable age in various parts of the USA might surprise you. The age of consent in Canada was 14 until a couple of years ago ( Various sects of the christian cult seem to prefer 12 year olds and forced ‘marriage’. Men with power over people have a pretty nasty history of using that power to screw young boys and girls under the guise of holy authority. Sometimes they do it openly, sometime covertly.

    If you like to show off your cleavage, or your legs or even merely your arms, go for it. If you work in a place where you have required clothing, undo an extra button, or smile with an extra glint in your eye, or sit provocatively or whatever makes you feel a tad naughty. Simply doing something that says “I am here, notice me” is enough immodesty to cause strokes in some of these deranged religions.

  31. I’ve spoken to some conservative religious types, and they assure me that even adulterous THOUGHTS are sinful and dangerous (That whole “thou shalt not covet” thing in the commandments). I’ve also spoken to women who feel that husbands viewing porn is equivalent to adultery. So really, there’s no excuse for everyone not participating on Monday!

    If the women out there are doing their part(s), then by God I’m going to have at least one impure thought. I might even accidentally click on, well, let’s face it, most anything, these days…

    Ahhh, boobies!

  32. So, lots of women plan to go out in public dressed immodestly on Monday.
    How is this different than any other spring day in the big (Canadian) city? Streetwalker-chic seems to be the norm around here.

  33. Gay readers, please remember that other religious zealots have claimed that Being Gay causes earthquakes, so please refrain from gayness on Monday so as not to corrupt the data. Thank you for your cooperation. We are specifically testing Immodest Women.

  34. Regarding adultery, it’s been my experience that most fundamentalist groups/religions consider even looking at another person in a lustful way as adultery. When I was younger I went to a pretty out there youth group, and they called it “committing adultery in your heart.” So I don’t think everyone actually needs to have sex outside of marriage for that part to be taken care of.

  35. Oh people, how I love to lol at your funny comments. BB comment boards are my favorite ever! I especially lol’d at #’s 1, 15, and 26. But #51, I almost lol’d my pants! :)

  36. OMG I’m dying here! The article, and what it proclaims, started that but the comments here has made it so that I can barely breath! There are actual tears I was laughing so hard.

    Sadly though, no matter the outcome of this little experiment, the being that started this whole thing will just use the results to shore up their claim about it. It will be win/win for him no matter what. Though, really, I have to give props to the young lady that came up with this whole thing. It’s very original, I have to give her that! Plus, really, it’s a fun way to strike back at some of the idiocy that is floating around out there. It’s a far better way to go about such things than trying to argue the dogma of the statement, something you would never win doing. Kudos to her!

    All that being said… I believe I will abstain from joining in the festivities. Me being ‘provocative’ might frighten people so I will just stick with my normal street wear in this case for the good of humanity.

  37. I think a more positive and helpful way to react to such a absurd statement would be to donate funds to the women of need in that area.

    A boobquake is just a means to laugh at an absurdity while also dismissing the real seriousness of these kind of claims with sexuality, which is probably the most base and cheap way to prove a scientific point true. Also, a predictable one.

    1. @#57 – No reason one can’t donate and laugh at the same time. Serious claims deserve serious responses, but silly claims deserve silly responses. Which one do you think this was?

  38. Here is link to my response to this event tonight:


    Hi all, there was an earthquake in Taiwan today. So, let’s stop playing at being web-scientists and web-feminists and start donating to charities that support these causes in countries over which we have no democratic influence. This facebook event may have shown us all the power of the social network, but it’s only when we start giving our own tangible resources that the causes we’re fighting for become reality. Let’s make ourselves a permanent revolution.

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