Flashback By Popular Demand, From The Ethics Alarms Archive: “Vintage Fake News: The Ridiculous Doomsday Clock”

Doomsday clock showing 3 minutes to midnight

I had completely forgotten that today is the day the Barry McGwire Fan Club or whatever the scientists who maintain the so-called Doomsday Clock call themselves behind closed doors reveal how close we are to destruction this time. From the Hill:

The famed Doomsday Clock has been set at 100 seconds to midnight this year, the closest it’s ever been to the metaphorical point of the Earth’s destruction. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists unveiled this year’s setting for the clock at a news conference Wednesday morning at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

“Speaking of danger and destruction is never easy. If you speak the truth, people will not want to listen because it’s too awful. It makes you sound like a crackpot,” said former California Gov. Jerry Brown (D), executive chairman of the Bulletin.

“Today we live in a world of vast, deep and pervasive complacency,” Brown added. “Even if there is a one-in-100 chance that these men and women before you are correct and we are truly in a dangerous moment, you would never know that from the president, from Republican leadership and from Democratic leadership.”

What a great job for Jerry Brown! Anyway, I had also forgotten that I had posted about this silliness in 2017, not long after President Trump had been sworn in, but several readers had not, and I received several reminders today. I went back and read the post, and it seemed appropriate to re-post it.

One update: at the end, I note that WWII songstress Vera Lynn, whose iconic rendition of the ballad “We’ll Meet Again” accompanied atom bombs exploding at the end of “Dr. Strangelove,” was 100 years old, and still singing. Well, I’m thrilled to report that Vera is now 102 , and she’s STILL singing. Here she is:

Take THAT, Doomsday!


I’m sure you have noticed that the scary Doomsday Clock, which tells us how long we have until “midnight,” aka. nuclear Armageddon, has been on the move again.

NBC News recently announced that the dreaded Clock was ticking like the soundtrack of “24 Hours, proclaiming: “Thirty seconds closer to global annihilation!”   The New York Times, which now averages at least eight “President Trump is a menace to civilization!!! ARGGH!!!” columns, editorials or news stories every…single…day, duly announced, “Thanks to Trump, the Doomsday Clock Advances Toward Midnight.” Across the pond, the UK’s Independent stated as fact, “We’re closer to doom than any time since the Cold War!”

Why? Because the Doomsday Clock says so!

Can we officially make that “The Ridiculous Doomsday Clock?” This has to be the most useless and malfunctioning timepiece in recorded history.  Even a stopped clock is right twice a day: this damn thing is never right.

The Bulletin of The Atomic Scientists dreamed the gimmick up back in 1947 , and its initial setting was “seven minutes to midnight” as in…

What sense did it make to have a clock already set at seven minutes to 12? Why wasn’t it at least a seven-minute stopwatch? What was its setting during the Black Plague? Did the dinosaurs have a Doomsday Clock? Did a wise Diplodocus and a precocious Stegasaurus see a meteor coursing through the Jurassic skies and conclude, “Oh oh. Eventually one of those is going to land here, and we’re all toast. Move the Doomsday Clock to 80 million years before midnight, let’s settle our affairs, and tell the rest of the gang that the mammals are coming…”?

The group of egg-heads devising the clock explained that it symbolized ” the urgency of the nuclear dangers that the magazine’s founders—and the broader scientific community—are trying to convey to the public and political leaders around the world.” OK, I can see that as a minor, fear-mongering news item in 1947—kind of like the climate change hysteria is now—but I would also say that when a group describes a peril as urgent and it hasn’t urged in 70 years, that isn’t just old news, it isn’t newsworthy at all.

The Clock claimed we came the closest the country ever was to nuclear Armageddon in 1953, when the U.S. tested the hydrogen bomb. The scientists consulted their slide rules and a Ouija Board and moved the clock to two minutes to midnight. Later test ban treaties moved the clock back a completely arbitrary distance to 12 minutes to midnight, for some reason. The Clock moved to twelve ’til when President  Kennedy signed the Partial Test Ban Treaty in 1963, Then it slid forward again when Scary Nixon was elected, and back to twelve minutes before THE END when President Nixon signed the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

Oddly, when we really might have been minutes from annihilation, in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the scientists weren’t fooling with their silly device. They were too terrified. Probably hiding under their lab tables.

During Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama’s Presidency, the Clock was moved from six minutes to midnight to just three minutes to midnight, an ominous jump forward, or good news, depending on your perspective. ( Hmmm. The Clock’s advance wasn’t generally reported—Democratic President, you know—so it was bit like the proverbial Doomsday Clock in the forest.)  After all, it was a minute closer to midnight in 1947! That might mean that the Clock is running backwards, although in weird ways, and that it picks up a minute every 60 years or so.  Doesn’t that mean that in dinosaur-time, after 60 million years we’ll be back more than an hour from Doomsday?

No, it just means that the Clock is a silly, incoherent propaganda device.

Now that President Trump is in office and “ARRGHHHH!” is the official motto of the entire establishment Left, these scientists nobody has heard of have moved their old Clock from three minutes to midnight to two-and-a-half minutes to midnight, so we’re in big trouble now!

Of course, this foolishness means absolutely nothing, but the movement of the Clock is suddenly news again. After all, it is useful to spread the message that the President is a reckless danger to civilization! He made the Clock move! All the News That’s Fit To Print!

No, he didn’t make the Clock do anything. A group of politically active scientists made the clock move, to broadcast their own political opinion, as if it has any greater significance than, say, yours.

Or Adam Sandler’s.

Or Mookie Betts’s.

Or Barney’s.

Writes Dave Taylor…

“…The Doomsday Clock has long been a partisan, not a scientific, device. As one critic of the clock noted, “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 global nuclear war. After all, it has routinely counted down after a Republican wins the White House, and ticked up when Democrats reclaim the presidency.”

Another Clock critic accurately describes it as “a more reliable measure of liberal angst than the risk of a nuclear holocaust, and it should be treated as such.” Ah, but who is going to pay attention to a report that says, “The Liberal Anxiety Clock is now just three minutes from midnight!” What happens when The Liberal Anxiety Clock strikes midnight? Well, this…

But I digress.

So why is the random movement of the Doomsday Clock news? It isn’t, and any news source that reports it as such without noting that that the Clock-watchers have been screaming that the sky has minutes left before falling since before anyone writing about it was a zygote is trafficking in fake news. What else would you call it?

Now scientists are planning to march on Washington for yet another purely partisan “We hate you!” protest of the existence of President Trump, and, by extension, free elections, the U.S. government, its institutions, democracy and the millions of voters responsible for this vile outrage. I’m hoping they don’t wear mushroom cloud hats and scream “Fuck you  Fuck you Fuck you!” like Madonna did, but you never know.

Oh, some scientists have argued that a partisan march by their colleagues will only further politicize and undermine the credibility of scientific research, and that is true.  On the other hand, it will brilliantly illustrate why even the sciences cannot be trusted, since once researchers allow political agendas to creep into their research designs and conclusions, the research is tainted. Good to know!

The Doomsday Clock, therefore, has its uses, as stupid and transparently political as it is. Every time the Clock’s movements are reported as news, you know that the journalists doing the reporting are not objectively informing the public, but furthering their own agenda, as well as that of the politically motivated scientists, by reporting something that is meaningless as worthy of public attention.


Fun Fact: That’s British WW II era songstress Vera Lynn singing her iconic “We’ll Meet Again” as Doomsday arrives in “Dr. Strangelove.”

Vera is 100 years old, and still singing: she will be releasing a new album this year!

If we make it, that is…


Pointer and Source: Acculturated

10 thoughts on “Flashback By Popular Demand, From The Ethics Alarms Archive: “Vintage Fake News: The Ridiculous Doomsday Clock”

  1. Last year, 2 minutes, this year 100 seconds. Next year 50 seconds. I would say this charade ends when they run out of seconds, but I’m sure they’ll convert the last 10 seconds into milliseconds for a couple years before they realize they can just add minutes AFTER midnight to champion the thought “Oh, it’s simply amazing that human annihilation hasn’t already occurred and we should be grateful because we’re living on borrowed time!”

  2. Wonderful luminous violet curtains in the color photo of Vera Lynn. I can only suppose there was a nuclear bomb going off outside? See, not everything is bad in the world. Every cloud has a silver lining.

    One wonderful thing that is happening is that maybe atom bombs will be made obsolete by those ultra high-velocity weapons. No need for messy, ruptured atoms.

  3. Vera Lynn’s rendition of Irving Berlin’s “It’s a Lovely Day Tomorrow” was a particular favorite of Brits during the Blitz. It inspired the title of an episode of the influential work, “The World at War”.

  4. Everyone is looking at the motivation wrong. Think about it: Agenda 21, environmentalism, and progressivism all think we have too many peeps in the world. The only way ro fix this is to destroy the vast bulk of humanity. The survivors then get to rebuild things the right way, or so the progressive radical line goes.

    The Doomsday clock is not a warning, it is a beacon of hope to the left!

    • The past couple of weeks I’d been thinking about teenage suicides as there seem to be a couple in my local school district each year. I can’t help but wonder what the effect is on young people who don’t know what contribution to the world they will make and are told that there are too many humans already and that the greatest contribution they can make to the world and environment is to off themselves.

  5. As Ethics Alarmists already know, Rush, the Canadian Triumvirate, recorded and released a song called “The Manhattan Project.” The song is about nuclear energy/weaponry. It speaks (erm . . . sings?) of the multifaceted use of nuclear technology, the good , the bad, and the in-between. Many think it is about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It does discuss them but within the greater context of what the technology can do and what it shouldn’t do.

    Here is the official video:

    Here are the lyrics:

    Imagine a time
    When it all began in the dying days of a war
    A weapon, that would settle the score
    Whoever found it first
    Would be sure to do their worst
    They always had before

    Imagine a man
    Where it all began
    A scientist pacing the floor
    In each nation, always eager to explore
    To build the best big stick
    To turn the winning trick
    But this was something more

    The big bang, took and shook the world
    Shot down the rising sun
    The end was begun, it would hit everyone
    When the chain reaction was done
    The big shots, try to hold it back
    Fools try to wish it away
    The hopeful depend on a world without end
    Whatever the hopeless may say

    Imagine a place
    Where it all began
    They gathered from across the land
    To work in the secrecy of the desert sand
    All of the brightest boys
    To play with the biggest toys
    More than they bargained for

    The big bang, took and shook the world
    Shot down the rising sun
    The hopeful depend on a world without end
    Whatever the hopeless may say

    Imagine a man
    When it all began
    The pilot of Enola Gay
    Flying out of the shock wave
    On that August day
    All the powers that be
    And the course of history
    Would be changed for evermore

    The big bang, took and shook the world
    Shot down the rising sun
    The end was begun, it would hit everyone
    When the chain reaction was done
    The big shots, try to hold it back
    Fools try to wish it away
    The hopeful depend on a world without end
    Whatever the hopeless may say

    The big bang, took and shook the world
    Shot down the rising sun
    The hopeful depend on a world without end
    Whatever the hopeless may say

    Music: Lee and Lifeson
    Words: Peart.

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