I hate to repeat myself, I really do. Unfortunately, unethical people keep doing the same damn things over and over while the rest of the public has short memories. I could write this post almost entirely by cutting and pasting from a 2017 post I already re-posted once, in 2020, but it has more ethical implications for us now.
Last week, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced that it will not move the time on the infamous “Doomsday Clock” closer to “midnight,” which symbolizes curtains for civilization. This, said the Washington Free Beacon, raised “questions about the practices of an institution several legacy media outlets refer to as scientific.” A whether the clock would move forward after citing criteria the organization used in the past, such as armed conflict involving countries with nuclear weapons, a spokesman from the group said the time would remain unchanged and declined to answer any follow-up questions about how the heck that could be the case.
After all, last week President Biden was openly talking about World War III. Russian president Vladimir Putin has put his nuclear arsenal on “high alert,” and NATO has mobilized its response force for the first time since its inception. The West has installed crippling sanctions against Russia, which Putin, who is alleged to have gone nuts, has pronounced as acts of war. So why is the clock frozen in place when one would think it would be speeding terrifyingly forward?
Shut up! These are scientists! Why don’t you trust them? They’re smarter than you, and they know best! Science denier! Now put your damn mask on and trade your car in for a bicycle.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though. Some background, from that earlier post:
The Bulletin of The Atomic Scientists dreamed the gimmick up back in 1947 , and its initial setting was “seven minutes to midnight”…What sense did it make to have a clock already set at seven minutes to 12? …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.”
Oh. In other words it was an arbitrary time, the scientist were playing politics, and there was nothing scientific about it. Got it. It’s also clear that the Scary Clock’s handlers are extremely partisan, and don’t have the guile or sense to even try to pretend otherwise.
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. [Note: Eisenhower, a Republican, was President] Later test ban treaties moved the clock back a completely arbitrary distance to 12 minutes to midnight when President Kennedy [Note: A Democrat] signed the Partial Test Ban Treaty in 1963, Then it slid forward again when Scary Nixon [ Note: A Republican] was elected…
See something missing, you history buffs and old codgers? In 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, when a nuclear war seemed not only close but terrifyingly likely as the U.S. issued an ultimatum to the Soviets to remove missiles they had secretly installed in Cuba, the Clock didn’t move at all. Oh, wait! Jack Kennedy was the President, right? The clock had never moved forward when a Democrat was in the White House…which is fascinating, because the only nuclear bombs that were ever dropped on another country in anger were dropped by a Democratic President. Huh.
Then things got really squirrelly for the Clock. Even though Barack Obama had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for just existing, during his Presiency the Clock was moved to just three minutes to midnight, closer than it was during the Cuban Missile Crisis, for no discernible reason. (Obsviously, those scientist were racists.) Never mind, though: the news media barely reported it. Yes, these politically-biased, partisan institutions have each others’ back
Then Donald Trump was elected, so the calm, professional, considered scientific consensus of our erudite betters, descendants of Aristotle, Darwin, Einstein and Crick, was “ARRRRGHHHH!!!,” then “the official motto of the entire establishment Left,” as I accurately wrote in 2017. That was the first of three times the Clock was advanced during Trump’s tenure, when no new wars were started and a number began winding to a close. Now, however, a Democrat is President again, so the Clock won’t budge. I wrote in 2017,
The New York Times, which now averages at least eight “President Trump is a menace to civilization!!!…columns, editorials or news stories every…single…day, duly announced, “Thanks to Trump, the Doomsday Clock Advances Toward Midnight.”
Isn’t it reassuring to know that the Times is still publishing “Trump is a menace to civilization” pieces almost every day? Now that’s consistency! And I checked: though the New York Times prominent featured the news that the Clock had advanced while Trump was President, the fact that the Clock mysteriously stayed stuck while Putin was openly threatening nuclear war was deemed not “fit to print.” Go figure. But I digress: back to 2017…
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.
Now there, Present Jack has to correct 2017 Jack. The Clock isn’t useless, if we are honest about what it indicates about the scientific establishment. In truth, the Clock explains a lot. It explains why blindly following the dictates of politically motivated scientists who cannot keep their policy agendas from warping their judgment and research is irresponsible and incompetent. It shows us, or should, why “Follow the science!” is disingenuous and cynical, since scientists don’t follow the science with enough integrity to be trusted. It demonstrates why allowing politicians to shut down the U.S. economy and society, mask our children and take giant steps toward totalitarian government based on the pronouncements of scientists was idiotic, and why the current administration’s harmful policies to ameliorate a theoretical climate change Armageddon that scientists have been just as bad at projecting as a nuclear one, is equally foolish.
So thank-you, Atomic Scientists! And thank-you, Ridiculous Doomsday Clock! You have shown us exactly how much we can trust science, if only we pay attention.