Gay Sex Caused the Earthquake in Nepal - Pacific Standard

Gay Sex Caused the Earthquake in Nepal

And other conspiracy theories.
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HAARP antenna array. (Photo: Public Domain)

HAARP antenna array. (Photo: Public Domain)

We know what causes earthquakes, and it's not gay sex. (Though, surprisingly, the field of plate tectonics as we know it today has only been widely accepted since the late 1960s.) Still, just as many maintain misguided ideas about climate change, evolution, and vaccines—despite incontrovertible evidence regarding their existence and effectiveness, respectively—there's a group that argues gay sex is to blame for earthquakes, like the one that rocked Nepal this past weekend.

Consider them misguided victims of the just-world hypothesis, a cognitive bias that an individual's actions will bring morally fair consequences. Ultimately, according to this widely studied fallacy, all good actions will result in reward while all evil or bad actions in punishment. And gay sex is bad, really bad, like bad enough to lead to magnitude 7.8 earthquakes, at least according to those who believe in divine retribution.

The most vocal believers are likely Pat Robertson, who blamed an especially damaging 1994 earthquake in California's San Fernando Valley on "God's displeasure with gays and lesbians, pro-choice activists, and 'perversity,'" according to a 1994 report in the Advocate, and the Israeli politician Shlomo Benizri, who served as his country's health minister and labor and social welfare minister before leaving the Knesset in 2008.

Benizri's belief, while absurd, shouldn't be that surprising. It says it right there in the Talmud that gay sex causes earthquakes. As Tzvee Zahavy explained on his Talmudic Blog back in 2011:

According to the Talmud text, earthquakes are caused by any one of a number of acts: yes one of them is gay sex, but others are by disputes, and also by not taking heave offering and tithes from your produce, and also because God is just upset that the Temple is in ruins and there are theaters and circuses in Israel.

Zahavy went on to call out rabbis, like the outspoken Yehuda Levin, who, he wrote, "ought to know better than to cherry pick among the Talmudic reasons for earthquakes." They ought to, but sometimes they don't.

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Some other things that likely had nothing to do with the earthquake in Nepal:

  • A nuclear weapon 1,000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima that the CIA accidentally detonated while conducting secret underground testing.
  • Namazu, a giant catfish buried under the Himalayas.
  • Oil and gas drilling practices, like those that have been responsible for tremblors in Texas.
  • The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program jointly overseen by the U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, the University of Alaska, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which was built to study the Earth's upper atmosphere in order to determine the potential for future radio and surveillance programs. HAARP, the heart of which is a high-power radio frequency transmitter facility constructed more than 20 years ago in a remote region of Alaska, has been a favorite subject of many conspiracy theorists, who have argued the facility is responsible for everything from the crash of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 to the polar vortex.
  • A tunnel being constructed under Mount Everest by the Chinese government.
  • A beam spike at the European Organization for Nuclear Research's particle accelerator, which disrupted the magnetopause.

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