Doomsday Clock Closing in on 12-o’clock Hour of Doom
In case you are not familiar with that headline timepiece, it is a symbolic clock that was created in 1947 by the members of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.
It is intended to suggest how much time is left before the world is engulfed in a nuclear Armageddon – and the human race is thrust back into the Ice Age if we survive at all. Midnight is the moment of the atomic holocaust.
Periodically, the folks at the Bulletin adjust the time to indicate how close the disaster is to reality – in their opinion, of course. The clock has been set – or should I say, re-set – 25 times in the past 76 years. The furthest from Midnight was 17 minutes in 1991. The Doomsday Clock is not like any other clock, however. In the tradition of Einsteinian time warping, the Clock can go backward – and it has done so in 8 of its 25 time changes.
On January 24th of this year, the Scientists put the Clock at 90 seconds to Midnight. The bad news is that the reset is the closest to a nuclear disaster that the Clock has ever been in its history. That is closer than all years of the Cold War – when school kids were doing “duck and cover” drills. Closer than at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Closer than all those other wars in the Middle East. Closer than the war in Afghanistan.
According to Rachel Bronson, president of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, “We are living in a time of unprecedented danger, and the Doomsday Clock time reflects that reality.”
I am laughing. That “Clock” has been wrong for 76 years no matter how close to Midnight it is arbitrarily set. The Clock is a public relations gimmick for the radical left scientists who publish the Bulletin. Like a Draconian Brigadoon, they rise from obscurity to reset the Clock and quickly return to the anonymity they so richly deserve.
There is a bit of nuance in the latest ominous prediction of global catastrophe. They apparently have incorporated climate change and international politics as part of their odious brew of pending calamity upon which they base their ominous fortune telling.
I have long given the Doomsday Clock the same level of serious consideration as I do the horoscopes published daily in newspapers and those fortune cookies found in every Chinese restaurant. The folks at the Bulletin remind me of the robed preacher on the street corner carrying a sign that the world is coming to an end. At least he is right in the long run. The Clock has never been right – and may never be right.
Now that the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has placed Armageddon just 90 seconds away – symbolically speaking – I still feel no sense of heightened dread. If it was my Clock, I would set it for around six in the morning to start a new day – about the time I set my real clock.
Keep in mind that the Doomsday Clock does not represent any REAL peril of pending doom. It is just a gimmick. I have to admit, however, that the Clock is a great publicity stunt. It gets a lot of publicity every time the Scientists move the big hand. Other than that, it is a broken Clock.
So, there ‘tis.
Why not go to the source:
“Failure of world leaders to deal with the increased threats of nuclear war, such as the end of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) between the United States and Russia as well as increased tensions between the U.S. and Iran, along with the continued neglect of climate change. Announced in units of seconds, instead of minutes; this is the clock’s second closest approach to midnight, exceeding that of 1953 and 2018. The Bulletin concluded by stating that the current issues causing the adjustment are “the most dangerous situation that humanity has ever faced.” In the annual statements for 2021 and 2022, issued in January of each year, the Bulletin left the “100 seconds to midnight” time setting unchanged.
Due largely–but not exclusively–to the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine and the increased risk of nuclear escalation stemming from the conflict. The last remaining nuclear weapons treaty between Russia and the United States, New START, is scheduled to expire in February 2026. Russia also brought its war to the Chernobyl and Zaporizhzhia nuclear reactor sites, violating international protocols and risking widespread release of radioactive materials. North Korea also resumed its nuclear rhetoric, launching an intermediate-range ballistic missile test over Japan in October 2022. Continuing threats posed by the climate crisis and the breakdown of global norms and institutions set up to mitigate risks associated with advancing technologies and biological threats such as COVID-19 also contributed to the time setting.”
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
Larry laughs because it hasn’t happened. That’s funny. It’s a risk assessment, not a guarantee. It’s directional, it’s documented as to the rationales. If you stopped at: we are in a more dangerous position today than yesterday, I think you have it. Even Larry has talked of his non-fear of a tactical strike admitting that why he doesn’t think so, there is the possibility given Putin’s rhetoric. That’s enough for me to feel it’s more dangerous today than yesterday.
Not losing sleep since it really won’t matter, but would rather people backed down versus amping up.
Frank .. Frank … Frank. You never stop with the spin. The Clock is nothing but a PR gimmick to express the OPINION of a bunch of left-wing scientists. It has no bearing on reality. And again you misrepresent me … or were you referring to the Larry Horist of your imagination. I do not favor ANY form of nuclear war. I just do not believe that Putin would push that button even in desperation — or that his folks would allow him to do it. If you want to comment on my opinions … go to the source instead of making up things in my name.
What is your problem? I print the scientist’s response and you call it my spin? That’s ridiculous.
Are you saying you never mentioned, in your overly hawkish Ukraine refrains, Putin mentioning nukes, you saying tactical, therefore small, and probably won’t happen so not a big fear?
Did you just sneak in the same sentiment again?
Talk about spin. oye.
One last point: how do you know they are left-wing scientists? Are all scientists left-wing, or just the reputable ones?
OR if you don’t agree, then they must be left-wing? I am guessing that’s more your mantra, more your style, or lack thereof.
Think your baggage is showing, once again.
Perhaps Larry is quoting from this article on investors.com where it says the following:
But it’s clear from its movements over the past seven decades that the Doomsday Clock is more about politics than any sort of scientific measure of the risk of nuclear annihilation.
After all, the Clock routinely counted down after a Republican wins the White House, and ticked up when Democrats reclaim the presidency.
It moved a minute closer to midnight when Eisenhower took office, and four minutes closer to doomsday under Reagan. It ticked down four minutes while George W. Bush was president.
Full article can be viewed at “https://www.investors.com/politics/commentary/the-doomsday-clock-measures-liberal-angst-not-global-risk/”
Personally I do not buy into looking at a clock and psyching out the world and all of the people that do not have a clue as to how to analyze such an issue. I have the scriptures which detail all of the signs. There is the Jewish Calendar which details what year we are in, currently 5783 of 6000. I do not need a clock. If the clock is at 90 seconds, then that is equal to 300 years according to the Jewish Calendar where each two hours in the twelve hour rotation equals one millennium or 1000 years. That makes each minute equal to 200 years, and so 90 seconds would be 300 years according to my engineering and theological analysis. Humanity may or may not have this long, nobody knows. But the reality that there may be activists attempting to use this clock as a way of psyching out ignorant populations is distinct and does exist. So the clock holds no validity in my view. But the scriptures cannot be denied. Much of what you mentioned is in the scriptures only Jesus did not call it “climate change”.
While it’s clear that’s what happened at the turn of the President’s, without reading the text, it is not clear that is the reason. Correlation is not necessarily causation. What else was happening, what about the other Presidents. I wondered what happened round time of Bay of Pigs, seems low actually.
Perhaps less about politics and more about policy, I don’t know; I just take the text for what it said.
Larry is a self-proclaimed political strategist, all noted clients are from the right, he writes commentary from the right, so I take him at his word too. Right?
Well the clock may be a “publicity stunt” as you say, but, I think the clock is a symbolic indicator. Most people cannot fathom all of the dangers in the world right now. So the clock gives them a convenient indicator of the shape that humanity is in at any moment in time. This same concept could be used by the conservatives with regard to national debt and what happens when the full faith and credit of the USA is destroyed by a gang of 20 who cannot in their own minds separate “future spending” from “gotta pay the bill now”.
I agree with Frank on this one but do acknowledge that you have a point. But I am not convinced that it is a publicity stunt for left wing groups. I think there are scientists that are genuinely fearful and attempting to warn others. Just a darn shame that scientists are much of the reason we are in this mess. Had nuclear fission, internal combustion, and sailing vessels not been discovered, we would be a long ways off. But its too late for that wish now, so we got a clock. Famines, pestilence (covid), earthquakes, floods, species going extinct, rumors of wars and war escalations – all are here now!
That minister is also correct. And you at least give him some credit. If you read Matthew Chapter 24, verses 3 to 31 you will know what that preacher knows. Much of this is already happening and has been happening at least since WWI. Famines, pestilence (covid), earthquakes, floods, species going extinct, rumors of wars and war escalations – all are here now! That preacher is not kidding! And if you want to know where we are in history right now, we are somewhere in Revelations Chapter 7 or 8 – The pale horseman (pestilence) was released some time ago, bubonic plague come to mind, now Covid? The trouble is most people look at this stuff happening all at once, but this is not the case. The horsemen are released over time and act through time – until the end of time. Now if you happen to be Jewish you can look at the Jewish 6000 year calendar which is how many years God said man has according to Hebrew theology. Many have calculated that final year before all of the troubles begin to be around the year 2000. I personally have calculated it to be around year 2039 when the tribulation (trouble times) begin and the extinction of man is signaled as on the horizon. . According to the Jewish calendar we are in year 5783 – but this is when man is no more, not when the tribulation (trouble times begin). And we are steaming towards it! Your minister is the smartest of all because he believes the warning. It will come to pass. The question is, will you be prepared for it!
Publicity stunt? What for? Where’s the money, what’s the reason.
Come on man, it’s been since 1947…….
Well Frank, not all publicity stunts are for money. Some are to further a cause or idea or philosophy or ideology or theology. Watch the superbowl ads on Feb 12. You will see a lot of this from the Christian Right. They will be running around 10 million in ads. The money will be with the network.
By the way, I said, “It may be a publicity stunt, as Larry says.” I also said that I thought it was a symbolic indicator in my opening line. My opinion of the clock is much different than Larry’s. I was simply acknowledging that his opinion could be possible. This is what Spock would do.
Tom … under your theory of utility, we need a clock for Yellowstone erupting … California sliding into the ocean … Florida winding up under water … or any other devastating event. I am not against the use of the Clock to express a narrow view. That is their gimmick. It is just that I believe it is meaningless, not very predictive of anything and as a symbol does not quite work. Time moves forward. They could have done the same by publishing an odds graph. It does draw attention to their narrow opinion and helps them raise money for whatever other purposes they service. Not sure why Frank thinks the Bulletin runs without money. I think Spock would not embrace the Clock. He character was based on brutal logic … not marginal fluctuating opinions.
Yes I agree there are many ways to make any representation, they just happened to choose a clock. If you wish to call the doomday clock a fund raising gimmick, then well, maybe you should consult with them because the gimmick is NOT working according to their tax filings, see “https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/362136497” Note that their fundraising was a net MINUS 84 thousand dollars on contributions of $1,480,119, and their overall LOSSES were around 304,000 dollars for the organization as a whole. What I do question is their executives, top five salaries, and then all below them get nothing – all for an organization that loses money. Yes the “Bulletin of Atomic Scientists” is probably an ideologically driven organization that has a very common sense clock as its trademark marketing tool. Be sure to watch the Superbowl commercials this weekend and see all of the Christian Right / Evangelicals running their commercials. They will spend ten times in one day what the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists collected in all of one year. Top exec salaries:
Rachel Bronson (President & CEO) $184,027
John Mecklin (Editor-In-Chief) $139,639
Lisa McCabe (chief financial officer) $125,481
Colleen Mcelligott (chief advancement officer) $123,790
Robert Elder (chief digital officer) $112,10
So yes, Frank is incorrect if in fact he indeed thinks as you say, “that the Bulletin runs without money.” They do indeed take contributions.
And from what I can tell the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists is a technology oriented group concerned with the destruction of the planet. They appear to be politically left but their website does not say that – however their main cause seems to be environmental which has a high population of scientists that identify as “left”. And from their website, at tab “https://thebulletin.org/support-the-bulletin/special-initiatives/” supporting organizations are known to be left such as: influential outlets like The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Financial Times. Popular outlets such as People Magazine and TMZ also cover the Clock each year, and a wide variety of policy makers, actors, musicians, and artists will comment on the Doomsday Clock as a starting point for discussions about the security and environmental issues they care about most. Most of these are left oriented entities.
As far as I am concerned, both left and right get a say in this country and the path this planet is on. That is free speech, right?
As I said, I do not place much validity in the clock and the arbitrary way that the clock watcher group moves the clock depending on the party in power. What I was speaking of is the symbolic reference using the clock. It has twelve hours on the face – twelve tribes of Israel. Each two hour segment of the clock aligns with one millennium of the Jewish 6000 year calendar. Thus each hour equals five hundred years divided in five, one minute segments. I think the Jewish Calendar trumps the arbitrary movement of the clock by the clock watchers whom may be politically motivated based on the article I referenced. According to the Jewish Calendar, we are in year 5783. So really we should be just a smidgeon more than two minutes (not 90 seconds) from the 12 position.
I like your sarcastic humor in commenting about needing a clock for every natural disaster. Personally, I do not need a clock for any of it. I will defer to the scriptures to know roughly what time in humanity’s history we are in. Actually, Yellowstone is sort of a geothermal clock, as my understanding is that it erupts at the same time daily. And you and I and Frank will be long gone before our final destruction comes! So let them all raise their funds and exhort their wonderful plans to save Humanity – fact is, they won’t. Read Isaiah first 20 chapters to find out why! 🙂
“Not sure why Frank thinks the Bulletin runs without money.” Not sure why you would say that I said this, I did not. I said: “What for? Where’s the money, what’s the reason.”
Turns out they operate on 1-2M a year pay out less than $400 K in compensation and seems a pretty low-budget operation.
Don’t think the recent clock will change that; may get less given we all gonna die :>)
Tom … Two points. You say “… I do not place much validity in the clock and the arbitrary way that the clock watcher group moves the clock depending on the party in power.” That puts you in total agreement with my assessment of it. I think the Clock is meaningless in terms of its states purpose. You do not put much validity into the Clock. And whatever they do time-wise, does not keep Frank up at night. We do not seem to have grounds for disagreement — unless it is just Frank wanting to be disagreeable.
In terms of money, the fact that the Bulletin spends more money than they take in does not negate the fact that they raise a lot of money — and the Clock is part of the ability to get attention. Maybe they would be better off organizationally if they lowered those salaries you noted. Good research by you. I can now add the adjective “fundraising” before the word “gimmick”.
Frank Stetson … Now let us be honest. You were implying that the Clock was not a fundraising gimmick by rhetorically asking where is the money? I will add that if you have ever been involved in proposals for money or grant request, giving almost 40 percent of the money to the personal compensation of the executives would be a deal killer. Thanks to your and Tom’s observations, I would not be out of line to suggest that the entire operation is a bit of a scam.
Tom … You miss my point. You and Frank say that at least it is an indicator. Of What? It is only an indicator to folks who think the scientists are correct. But if you think it only represents the view point of a very small clique of anti-nuclear scientist, you are inclined to believe that the time registered on the Clock is an indicator of nothing more than a biased opinion. It is the basis for nothing factual. And what is its value? What are you going to do about it? What is anybody going to do because the move the big hand back and forth? Even Frank is not losing any sleep over it. It is not even a good risk assessment or predictor since the clock meisters are biased. I put the Clock in the same category as Chicken Little … or the little boy who cried wolf once too often.
As far as the end of mankind, I disregard all those predictions. Life on this planet will be going on for millions of years, in my opinion. I am not into Nostradamus … the Mayan Calendar … The Rapture … or the various religious zealots who have been predicting the end All the past predictions that the end of the earth was near are reason enough to discount the ominous warning of the Clock.
I did not miss your point Larry, that is your perception. I got it. I agree that a clock with arbitrary movement based on political ideologies is as useful as tits on a bull. That is why I said I do not bother with it. That is also why I have referenced the clock to the Jewish Calendar, which is actually useful. I do not need a clock. Between the Jewish Calendar and the Scriptures, I know what time we are in and have no problem with any of it. As far as what can be done, NOTHING!!! Except to ready your own heart to accept God, believe in him and his son Jesus, meditate and think about God keeping him in your mind, words, and actions. It has already been foretold that humanity has 6000 years. We are in year 5783 as I type this!
As far as Mankind and your opinion, you are in the majority or what would be called the “secularists” and that is fine by me. I am not a religious zealot, I am an engineer, mathematician, and Christian man. I merely reference the sound teachings of the scriptures and a Jewish Calendar. I do not belong to any organization that promote religion, zealousness, or political views. You may be right as far as life on the planet, yes algae may still exist. And that is life. But mankind I doubt will exist in a million years because it has been foretold otherwise. Take heed of the words of Jesus, “How is it you can predict wind and rain based on the signs, but you cannot see the sign of the times?” I think Frank does not lose sleep over it, but he is concerned because he knows how to read the signs of the times. 🙂