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Because it’s SCIENCE!

Today is Boobquake, the day when freethinking ladies everywhere prove to the world that science isn’t boring and show misogynist Iranian clerics a thing or two. I mean, I’d be the last to doubt the power of breasts in the course of human events. But actually causing tectonic activity? I’d say that’s due for some myth-busting. So in the spirit of research, I reiterate my support for this endeavor, and the dawning of a new age of global enlightenment it portends. I’m sure the day will rack up some revealing results.

Now, as in all worthy scientific efforts, the results of your research should be made publicly available for peer review. Over at Skepchick, some worthwhile boobular myths are examined, none actually having to do with geological activity, but still. And so far, among our fine AXP family of readers, Jennifer Juniper has documented her data points. I’m sure we’ll enjoy more results as the day goes on, which, even if we don’t have an actual quake, will completely rock the world! So I’ll just let Mike and the Bots from MST3K lead us out in song…and enjoy your experimenting. I certainly will!



Addendum, later in the afternoon: Holy cow, it worked! Well done, ladies!

Comments

  1. says

    Well, that earthquake in taiwan makes this experiment inconclusive.. We shall have to repeat it. I think I could suffer through it again. (for science of course)

  2. Martin says

    Well, we're just going to have to milk it for all it's worth. I think it's going to require a hands-on approach.

  3. says

    @ Glen-That was the first thing I thought when I heard about the quake. As we all know, the key to science is repeatable experiments. It will, of course, need to be repeated many times to yield proper data.

  4. WillQuestion says

    It's really amazing how popular Boobquake became in such a small amount of time. Hats off to Jennifer McCreight. Also, she mentioned Mardi Gras when being interviewed on The Young Turks. This should bring up the immediate question of, "So where's the earthquakes during the annual Mardi Gra in New Orleans?"Got to wonder if they will do this again next year. *Looks at wife and winks.*www.willquestion.com

  5. says

    I'm reminded of the scene from The Aviator where Howard Hughes brings a mathematician to the MPAA rating hearing to argue about cleavage circumference.

  6. says

    Things like this really annoy me. The coincidence of a major quake on this day, though not particularly likely, is not so unlikely to have made it a statistically significant event.If it had of occurred, we would have witnessed some serious back-pedalling from the "skeptics" involved, and lots of egg on the faces of us all.If you want to pull a stunt like this, at least try to make it something which would be significant if it occurred. Otherwise, you're exposing yourself (and, by association, the rest of us who want nothing to do with this) to a situation where you have everything to lose and nothing to gain.

  7. Martin says

    Darren, I think your sense-of-humor impairment has made you miss the point. The whole stunt was about mocking the misogynist ravings of Islamist clerics. You know, shits and giggles.

  8. says

    Martin,I understand the humorous intent, but that does not excuse the fact that, if this had backfired, it could have been harmful to to the promotion of critical thinking, which is a cause I happen to care about.If the only contribution someone wants to make to the community is "shits and giggles", I wish they would at least find a way of doing it which isn't potentially harmful to the cause – no matter how funny or clever they think they are in coming up with it.After all, a joke has never backfired before, has it?

  9. Martin says

    Actually, I think that if an earthquake had happened (in addition to the Taiwanese one), it's unlikely anyone with an IQ higher than room temperature would think that Boobquake had actually caused it. And if it had been a bad earthquake that had hurt people, yes, that would have been lousy timing and probably prompted a lot of apologies. But then, what do we do in life? Constantly play it safe and never mock any stupid ideas in the event some unforeseen lousy coincidence happens? What if an editorial cartoonist publishes a panel in the paper lambasting a local politician…who happens to die that same afternoon in a horrible car crash? Do you excoriate the cartoonist over the event he could not possibly have foreseen? Do we just stop the practice of editorializing forever? I mean, come on.

  10. says

    "… it's unlikely anyone with an IQ higher than room temperature would think that Boobquake had actually caused it."I think you're overestimating the intelligence of the average fundie. I also think you're forgetting people remember hits much more often than they remember misses."But then, what do we do in life? Constantly play it safe and never mock any stupid ideas in the event some unforeseen lousy coincidence happens?"Of course not. But you need to choose your battles. In my opinion, Boobquake carried an unnecessarily high risk given the pathetically small returns it offered (a few "shits and giggles").The Blasphemy Challenge is a good example of how to do it right."What if an editorial cartoonist publishes a panel in the paper lambasting a local politician…who happens to die that same afternoon in a horrible car crash?"That's a poor analogy. Perhaps a better one would be if the cartoonist lambasted the idea that using a cell-phone on an airplane can cause a plane crash, and on the same day a plane crashes whilst someone on-board happens to be using a cell-phone.That's also a poor analogy – since there may be some actual evidence supporting the cell-phone idea – the truth is probably somewhere between our two extremes. But I'm too tired to think of a better one.Anyway, the bottom line is, we had nothing to gain from this. As you noted, I am also quite humourless (the only giggles I got were from George's comment), so perhaps the average skeptic got some major giggles out of it which justifies the risk, but I didn't see it doing any good.

  11. Martin says

    Well, I'd differ with you on what you think poses a high risk. Car accidents are probably more frequent than earthquakes. And if there had been an earthquake the other day and idiot fundies had blamed Boobquake for it (doing this as many years as I have, I think you'll find I'm the last person to overestimate a fundamentalist's intelligence), that's hardly a situation of the joke backfiring on the skeptics. Quite the opposite: it would have been a total win.

  12. says

    Awesome initiative, and the results are in! Well within the regular range of quakes. As expected, the hypothesis seems to fail, though there are some problems with the experiment ;p

  13. says

    You know another thing it did, Darren. It made the average person who doesn't look for insane ramblings of religious figures on a daily basis awake of this ridiculous claim.I got asked multiple times on Monday what Boobquake was about and when I told them about it's origins, they were appalled. That alone, is worth it for me.

  14. says

    @Darren CubittI understand your objection to boobquake to be: 'If there is a major quake skeptics look dumb and will have to eat their words'.I wouldn't see that happening at all, I would see a lesson in repeatablility coming up to anyone who demanded such eating. If we got repeatable results (ie showing of boobs really does cause earthquakes) that would be awesome. We whould have learned something new about the world. (although it dosn't follow that we should all convert to islam)

  15. says

    @ Glen"If we got repeatable results (ie showing of boobs really does cause earthquakes) that would be awesome. We whould have learned something new about the world. (although it dosn't follow that we should all convert to islam)"Right. The only logical conclusion would be "showing of boobs causes earthquakes, but that is a necessary risk."

  16. says

    @ Jennifer_JuniperAs for the people who were appalled at the Iranian cleric's statement, did they have similar reactions to Pat Robertson's "Haitian Slave Hypothesis Regarding Plate Tectonics" and Jerry Fallwell's answer to why 911 happened?

  17. says

    "As for the people who were appalled at the Iranian cleric's statement, did they have similar reactions to Pat Robertson's "Haitian Slave Hypothesis Regarding Plate Tectonics" and Jerry Fallwell's answer to why 911 happened?"They weren't brown.

  18. says

    @ Jupiter. Semi-tangential and taking off-site things into account…but if any of the publishers do not run with this and make a Boobquake joke character I will be very sad.

  19. says

    @ Thomas, Yes, actually, they did. Every single Christian I know, including the full-tilt, Rapture-watchin', Devil-kickin', Jeebus-praisin' evangelical ones, considered Falwell and Pat's pronouncements to be absurd and disgraceful.Although zombies may have had something to do with the Haiti thing. You can't let your guard down…

  20. Martin says

    Pat's outburst was a rare instance of an evangelist saying something so disgraceful it alienates even most of the faithful. The unfortunate thing is that those Christians still won't acknowledge that their acceptance of the belief that anyone — even kind and decent people — who fails to join the Jesus Fan Club at some point in their lives deserves an eternity of torture is no less morally bankrupt.

  21. says

    @Thomas-Read the posts and comments on this blog. We have been very vocal at disgusting, ignorant things uttered by fundies, whatever their religion of choice.

  22. says

    "Exactly, Martin… it's as if they have a dormant BS-O-Meter which occasionally roars to life when forcefully kicked, only to settle back into quiescence thereafter."I'm tending to imagine religion as like the Suggestion family of spells from D&D. The spell controls behavior but can't make someone go too far outside their normal nature. Sudden dissonances or being pushed too far snaps them out of the spell. So you could give a suggestion to a good person that 'aren't you mad at them for defiling the temple?' and they'll act on that but not 'don't you think you should kill at eat them?'

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