What do we get when a group of atomic scientists create a metaphor for the dangers facing humans beings in the nuclear age? A broken clock. Without
any irony, the best they could come up with was a faulty timepiece with a second hand arbitrarily wavering between 11:43 and 11:58pm for the past 70
Despite the name and despite the certainty that every working clock will eventually hit midnight (on this clock, midnight represents doomsday), there
has been no doomsday. Instead, these scientists are forced to wrench the second-hand to a point of their choosing every year.
I can understand the Bulletin’s urge to play prophet during times of uncertainty regarding nuclear war. But nowadays, I’m beginning to wonder if
the so-called doomsday they are speaking about symbolizes a world-ending catastrophe, or if it better represents the end of a dying, political
In January of 2017, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists moved the time hands to 11:57:30, which is the closest to midnight it has been since 1953. Back
then, the US and Soviet Union were each testing their first thermonuclear weapons. But, as it turns out, mutually assured destruction is quite the
deterrent to nuclear war, and the world has never been more peaceful. Nowadays, the second hand hovers near midnight due to climate change, but also,
because of the statements of one
, President Donald J Trump, who was in office only a few days when the Bulletin released its 2017 bulletin. (These two time periods do not
seem comparable, but it could be that scientists had more brass back then).
The statements of a single person have not historically influenced the board’s decisions. But this isn’t just any person. This is the Four
Horseman of the politically correct apocalypse, the anti-christ to those who are forced to watch as he sends their orthodoxy into its own doomsday,
President Trump. His catastrophic, world-ending act was to make “disturbing comments about the use and proliferation of nuclear weapons and
expressed disbelief in the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change”. I guess it goes without saying that if president Trump had adhered
to the tenets of political correctness, and placated these scientists with the typical public relations, doomsday would be averted.
As the board admitted
, Trump had only been president
for a matter of days, and the effects of his presidency, his policies, had yet to come to fruition. But, as folks routinely suggest, none of that
matters these days. Only his words do:
“Just the same, words matter, and President Trump has had plenty to say over the last year.”
He had a lot to say, no doubt, but oddly enough, the Bulletin of Atomic scientists have only mentioned the words and phrases as they have presented by
the press: cherry-picked, torn from their context, and served up on a propaganda platter. I’m not sure if they forgot the countless times Trump
spoke of peace and world stability both on the campaign and during his presidency, but my guess is they didn’t even bother. So, apparently some
words matter, some don’t.
Today, in 2018, the time is now at 11:58:00, two minutes to doomsday
. Once again,
the bulletin placed undue emphasis on the dangerous effects of Donald Trump’s rhetoric, as they witnessed from their perch “reckless language in
the nuclear realm heat up already dangerous situations and re-learned that minimizing evidence-based assessments regarding climate and other global
challenges does not lead to better public policies.”
Should we be scared? I'm not so sure. But so long as we do not use reckless language, do not dare minimize scientific authority, we should be alright.
Words matter, after all.
At any rate, given that this clock doesn’t purport to represent what it objectively symbolizes—the fears of some egg-heads—we should supersede
the Doomsday Clock with the Fear and Loathing Pressure Gauge, which symbolizes the mounting pressure of fear inside a scientist’s skull as he plays
prophet from the comfort of his lab. We should also look at it for what it is: as a piece of propaganda, an attempt to strike fear into the undulating
The doomsday clock is neither a symbol of the catastrophic dangers facing mankind, nor is it a clock; it is a record of false prediction and political
angst, proving the inability of even the smartest human beings to predict the course of world affairs.
edit on 17-7-2018 by LesMisanthrope because: (no reason given)