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Doomsday Clock moves forward

Written By: - Date published: 8:10 am, January 27th, 2017 - 63 comments
Categories: activism, disaster, science - Tags: ,

They’re only atomic scientists – what do they know – right?

Board moves the Clock ahead

For the first time in the 70-year history of the Doomsday Clock, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Board has moved the hands of the iconic clock 30 seconds closer to midnight.

In the 2017 Doomsday Clock Statement, the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board notes that world leaders have failed to come to grips with humanity’s most pressing existential threats: nuclear weapons and climate change. Disturbing comments about the use and proliferation of nuclear weapons made by Donald Trump, as well as the expressed disbelief in the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change by both Trump and several of his cabinet appointees, affected the Board’s decision, as did the emergence of strident nationalism worldwide.

The Board’s statement outlines a series of steps that can be taken by world leaders to curb nuclear weapons and climate threats. The statement concludes as follows: “For the last two years, the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock stayed set at three minutes before the hour, the closest it had been to midnight since the early 1980s. In its two most recent annual announcements on the Clock, the Science and Security Board warned: ‘The probability of global catastrophe is very high, and the actions needed to reduce the risks of disaster must be taken very soon.’ In 2017, we find the danger to be even greater, the need for action more urgent. It is two and a half minutes to midnight, the Clock is ticking, global danger looms. Wise public officials should act immediately, guiding humanity away from the brink. If they do not, wise citizens must step forward and lead the way.”

63 comments on “Doomsday Clock moves forward ”

  1. Paul 1

    I highly recommend people view John Pilger’s ‘The Coming War with China’ if they want to become more informed on this subject.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4euTR6TUZoQ

  2. saveNZ 2

    Scary stuff.

  3. Glenn 3

    No one says it better than Barry McGuire

  4. Ieuan 4

    The doomsday clock is complete nonsense.

    We are not 2 1/2 minutes away from complete disaster or ‘doomsday’. Yes the risk of a nuclear war is higher with Trump as President but any escalation to a war would take weeks or months not minutes.

    Even looking at climate change, any ‘doomsday’ is years if not decades away.

    Yes, I get that the clock is symbolic but overly dramatic calls of impending doomsday get ignored just like the village idiot walking around with the ‘end is nigh’ sign.

    • joe90 4.1

      but any escalation to a war would take weeks or months not minutes.

      Ignoring accidents, itchy trigger fingers and cock ups ……

      On September 26, 1983, just three weeks after the Soviet military had shot down Korean Air Lines Flight 007, Petrov was the duty officer at the command center for the Oko nuclear early-warning system when the system reported that a missile had been launched from the United States, followed by up to five more. Petrov judged the reports to be a false alarm,[2] and his decision is credited with having prevented an erroneous retaliatory nuclear attack on the United States and its NATO allies that could have resulted in large-scale nuclear war. Investigation later confirmed that the Soviet satellite warning system had indeed malfunctioned.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanislav_Petrov

    • roy cartland 4.2

      Oh you don’t understand the Doomsday Clock – it’s worth having a look at the site:
      http://thebulletin.org/timeline

      It doesn’t mean that we are literally minutes away from catastrophe; the symbolic indication is a gauge of how urgent the situation is, is in relation to other crises the world has faced.

    • D'Esterre 4.3

      Ieuan: “Yes, I get that the clock is symbolic but overly dramatic calls of impending doomsday get ignored just like the village idiot walking around with the ‘end is nigh’ sign.”

      I tend to agree.

      Announcing isn’t doing. They have a lot of old ordinance that frankly needs replacing. Announcing isn’t using, either. Nukes are a fact of life now, unfortunately. And here we have the science sector – responsible for nuke development in the first place – whining about the Doomsday clock. Hypocrisy….

  5. Morrissey 5

    At 7:15 this morning Radio New Zealand National played a speech by one Lawrence Krauss of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. “Facts are stubborn things,” he said, and poured scorn on the science-denying fool who presently sits in the Oval Office.

    So far, so good.

    However, he then proceeded on to a ravening attack against….(wait for it)…. Vladimir Putin. He attacked the Russian leader, but his heart didn’t seem to be in it; his denunciation was like some Red China official of the 1960s ritually denouncing Lin Piao or one of Stalin’s henchman ritually sounding off against “Jewish doctors” in 1952. Like the thirteenth gong of a cuckoo clock, Krauss’s words cast doubt on all that he had said before.

    The sooner the United States “opposition” gets rid of these desperate, discredited Democratic Party liars—Krauss was part of Obama’s 2008 “Hope and Change” election campaign—the sooner the United States will be able to get rid of Trump and his gang of thugs.

    However, while people like Lawrence Krauss continue to make such muddle-headed, dishonest speeches, the Democrats will slither further into irrelevance.

    • DoublePlusGood 5.1

      You do know there’s plenty of reasons to be criticising Putin, right?

      • Morrissey 5.1.1

        Of course I do. But repeating lies by the discredited and demoralized Democratic National Committee is not criticism, it’s political propaganda.

    • Glenn 5.2

      “Democrats will slither further into irrelevance” says Morrissey…and yet they won the popular vote. 2,900,000 more than the republicans.
      http://edition.cnn.com/2016/12/21/politics/donald-trump-hillary-clinton-popular-vote-final-count/
      Of course the fascist is now making out that those voters were illegals.

      • Morrissey 5.2.1

        Yes, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by three million, and would have won the presidency if not for the massive program of voter disenfranchisement carried out by the Republicans in Ohio, Indiana and Florida.

        So why, instead of focusing on the crimes of the Republicans, did the DNC decide they would focus on the fantasy of Russian meddling instead?

        The American people do not want Trump’s neo-fascist horror regime, but they are being let down by the major “opposition” party.

        https://www.democracynow.org/2017/1/6/glenn_greenwald_democrats_eager_to_blame

      • Siobhan 5.2.2

        Hillary and the DNC blew it, Hillarys vote count was nothing to be proud of…

        “The number of eligible voters in the country grew by an estimated 10.7 million between 2012 and 2016, according to the Pew Research Center, and there were 6.9 million more presidential votes—and counting—cast this year than four years ago. There’s no perfect way to level the playing field between 2012 and 2016, but if we remove those additional votes from the equation, Clinton would be trailing Obama’s 2012 total by roughly 3.7 million votes today.”

        http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2016/12/06/clinton_s_popular_vote_total_edges_closer_to_obama_s_in_2012.html

        • Macro 5.2.2.1

          Don’t overlook the gerrymandering of voting districts by the Republicans – effectively removing millions of eligible voters by placing restrictions of voting booths in poor areas and increasing voting booths in white areas.

          Writing for The Root, Danielle C. Belton addressed the conundrum of political nonparticipation among the people who most need representation. “The reason politicians ignore so many of the working poor is that they don’t vote,” she wrote. “And the reason so many of the working poor don’t vote is that certain politicians have made sure it’s as inconvenient as possible for them.” Indeed, this election cycle saw several barriers to voting, including long waits, strict ID laws, and the potential for increased use of provisional ballots among minorities. Belton concludes that if voting were easier and more egalitarian, politicians would “suddenly have more citizens to answer to—citizens who want different things and can’t be ignored.”

          Little wonder that these voters, the ones who have been rebuked and scorned, are the ones who tune out when politicians speak. Viewed from this perspective, it’s an unfortunate and rational reflex for those who have been excluded from the national conversation to avoid trying to elbow their way into a voting booth on Election Day.

          https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/race/news/2014/11/06/100627/why-young-minority-and-low-income-citizens-dont-vote/

        • D'Esterre 5.2.2.2

          Siobhan: “Hillary and the DNC blew it,”

          Yup: sums it up. She was a shite candidate and her campaign team was risibly incompetent; they were shite at running a campaign that would get their candidate over the line. Huge sigh of relief from the rest of us who aren’t US citizens.

          • locus 5.2.2.2.1

            Huge sigh of relief from the rest of us who aren’t US citizens

            speak for yourself D’Esterre, non-US citizens aren’t necessarily pro or anti Hillary Clinton,

            but one thing the vast majority of non-US citizens may agree on is that the divided world that will emerge from the poisonous and deranged minds of Trump and his administration is not what they wanted

      • reason 5.2.3

        Hillary has compared the actions of Putin …..to Adolf hitler http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-ernesto/the-irony-of-clintons-com_b_4914972.html

        While the usa use real Nazis against ethnic Russian people … and the jews and all other non ‘pure’ Ukraine citizens

        A Collection of news clips, video footage etc showing these usa govt empowered Nazis https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-RyOaFwcEw

        If U.s.a/Nato nukes are put into Poland, Ukraine etc ………… then of course the nuclear war clock hands gets closer to midnight.

    • One Two 5.3

      Krauss is puppet, a gatekeeper. Not a scientist

      Bill Clinton used the ‘hope and change’ slogan in the 90’s

    • Richard McGrath 5.4

      The term “science-denying” reflects poorly on you. I don’t think Trump or anyone else disputes the enormous degree of human achievement and progress via the scientific method. What you, and other members of the warmist religion, can’t seem to understand is that it is perfectly OK to be sceptical of a hypothesis.

      • Morrissey 5.4.1

        I don’t think Trump or anyone else disputes the enormous degree of human achievement and progress via the scientific method.

        In fact, that is precisely what Trump does. He is, even if you don’t like the phrase, a science-denier. In fact, as we saw this week, he is prepared to aggressively deny the undeniable, like the photographic evidence of the sparse attendance at his inauguration.

        …the warmist religion…

        Obviously you don’t realize just how stupid you look by using such hare-brained language.

        • Richard McGrath 5.4.1.1

          Trump is in all likelihood a sceptic of the catastrophic irreversible global warming hypothesis, not a science denier. There is speculation as to when the photo(s) you mention was/were taken on the day of his inauguration – if it was hours beforehand, then one might expect a sparse crowd.

  6. It moved forward 30 seconds? Then I, for one, miss the good old days of the Obama administration…

    http://thebulletin.org/timeline

  7. Skeptic 7

    Having researched the logic behind the Doomsday Clock – there are objective and factual base points as well as psychological profiling among the factors that make up this analysis – I find its conclusions disturbing and sound – as well as free from political manipulation (despite some comments to the contrary as the commenters would know if they bothered to research before publishing). As the USA has the largest and most modern nuclear arsenal, Trump’s finger on the button is worrysome, but as MAD is still an unpleasant outcome, nuclear usage is by and large a defensive strategy – one used when all else fails. I imagine (and have no proof to substantiate this) that the real reason for the move to 2 &1/2 minutes is that Trump has shown himself capable of being easily duped (by Putin), and could be easily be provoked or tricked into launching nukes against an innocent party.

  8. Infused 8

    Yawn. No one takes this seriously.

    • McFlock 8.1

      Well, obviously some people do.
      Albeit maybe not literally.

    • Morrissey 8.2

      Actually, people do take it seriously. But when the message of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists is corrupted as it was by the DNC functionary Lawrence Krauss this morning, it has a seriously detrimental effect on its integrity and trustworthiness.

      • Peter ChCh 8.2.1

        No, this is not taken seriously. Its just one of the routine recycling of old stories by the MSM, stories pumped out by grandstanding irrelevants. The release of this story was as tediously predictable as it was irrelevant. Atomic Scientists are obviously experts in their field, but the future of the world is determined by politicians, not scientists. They just go along for the ride.

        In a global economy, where the powerful elite in each country are dependent on those of other countries, a nuclear war is very unlikely. There have been nuclear weapons for nearly 80 years. They are a deterrent, not a weapon to be used. have the lessons of Dr Strangelove been forgotten so quickly?

        • Morrissey 8.2.1.1

          Nicely put, my friend. You should write here more frequently.

          • Skeptic 8.2.1.1.1

            Sorry guys, but both of you are wrong. Please do some research – hell even look up wikipedia (the lazy man’s answer to everything). The Doomsday clock is not a political hack job – it’s much older and more respected than you two give it credit for. The spokespeople are representative of a fairly large group of peer reviewed scientists. For you two to write them off on the basis that you disagree with the politics of one of the aforesaid spokespeople is a bit shabby and unworthy of you.

            • Peter ChCh 8.2.1.1.1.1

              Thank you for confirming what i said. This group is a group of scientists (eminent undoubtably) but not politicians. My point is that it is politicians and not scientists that determine the direction of the future. Most people really cannot be bothered with the Doomsday Clock nonense.

  9. Morrissey 9

    For you two to write them off on the basis that you disagree with the politics of one of the aforesaid spokespeople is a bit shabby and unworthy of you.

    It was one Lawrence Krauss who brought shabby politics into this. I pointed out his clueless comments about Russia.

    • Macro 9.1

      Many here think you are the clueless one Morrissey.
      You certainly seem to have swallowed a good draft of Russian Kool-Aid.

      • One Two 9.1.1

        Speak for yourself, Macro. You represent no other

        Your comments are so shabby, it makes sense that you held senior public positions!

        • Macro 9.1.1.1

          Your comments are so shabby,

          Krauss is puppet, a gatekeeper. Not a scientist

          “Krauss was born in New York City, but spent his childhood in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He was raised in a Jewish household.[5] Krauss received undergraduate degrees in mathematics and physics with first class honours at Carleton University (Ottawa) in 1977, and was awarded a Ph.D. in physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1982.”
          Krauss is one of the few living physicists described by Scientific American as a “public intellectual”[22] and he is the only physicist to have received awards from all three major American physics societies: the American Physical Society, the American Association of Physics Teachers, and the American Institute of Physics. In 2012, he was awarded the National Science Board’s Public Service Medal for his contributions to public education in science and engineering in the United States.[35]

          During December 2011, Krauss was named as a non-voting honorary board member for the Center for Inquiry.

          Speak for yourself!

        • Morrissey 9.1.1.2

          What senior public position did Macro hold?

          I’m intrigued.

      • Paul 9.1.2

        I find Morrissey’s comments sound.
        If you disagree with his thoughts explain why, rather than resorting to ad hominems. As soon as you do that , you’ve lost the argument.

        • Macro 9.1.2.1

          I find Morrissey’s comments highly biased toward Russian apologetics. I make no apology for finding this bias offensive, and I am sure many others are of the same opinion.

          • Morrissey 9.1.2.1.1

            You find nothing. You obviously do not read with discrimination. You should not be here.

            Isn’t there a simple-minded right wing radio host you could ring up?

            • Macro 9.1.2.1.1.1

              I’m not going to get into a slanging match with you Morrissey, I know you think you are the bastion of all that is proper in left wing political thought. However, to imagine that just because I disagree with your love affair with RT somehow makes me a right wing nut is lunacy.
              Your assessment of this doomsday prediction is also widely off the mark. Just because you for some weird reason think that Professor Dr Lawrence Krauss has no credibility, does not make the fact that the US is now ruled by a nutcase who in this interview on 3 Aug 16 said:

              MATTHEWS: Well, why would you — why wouldn’t you just say, “I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to talk about nuclear weapons. Presidents don’t talk about use of nuclear weapons”?

              TRUMP: The question was asked — we were talking about NATO — which, by the way, I say is obsolete and we pay a dis —

              MATTHEWS: But you got hooked into something you shouldn`t have talked about.

              TRUMP: I don’t think I — well, someday, maybe.

              MATTHEWS: When? Maybe?

              TRUMP: Of course. If somebody —

              MATTHEWS: Where would we drop — where would we drop a nuclear weapon in the Middle East?

              TRUMP: Let me explain. Let me explain.

              Somebody hits us within ISIS — you wouldn`t fight back with a nuke?

              MATTHEWS: OK. The trouble is, when you said that, the whole world heard it. David Cameron in Britain heard it. The Japanese, where we bombed them in 45, heard it. They`re hearing a guy running for president of the United States talking of maybe using nuclear weapons. Nobody wants to hear that about an American president.

              TRUMP: Then why are we making them? Why do we make them?

              If you don’t think that the world has just moved closer to Nuclear warfare then you just aren’t listening!

              • Richard McGrath

                If that conversation was so significant, why has it taken six months for someone to move the clock forward?

                • Macro

                  Because he wasn’t the president then!
                  Now he is; and ever lunatic thing he said on the election trail he is now putting into practice with a vengeance!

                • In Vino

                  Because they move it at regular intervals, obviously. You can’t do something like Doomsday every time some berk does something silly or makes some dumb statement. You would be busy every week, and have run out of minutes years ago.
                  Sorry if I sound cynical.

      • Morrissey 9.1.3

        Many here think you are the clueless one Morrissey.

        Oh really? Could you provide us with a list of that “many”? There’s a good fellow.

        You certainly seem to have swallowed a good draft of Russian Kool-Aid.

        So criticising a foolish and poorly informed scientist makes me a Russian sympathizer does it? Gotta say, my friend, you haven’t exactly provided much in the way of evidence to support that rather confronting statement. Maybe you could post up your evidence along with that list of the “many” who think I’m clueless.

        Thanks.

    • Skeptic 9.2

      I suggest Morrissey that you re-read the article and not bring into it something that may have been said on a radio program. I think I made the point that it is a Board of reputable scientists that set the Doomsday Clock according to strict guidelines. The fact that you dislike one of the spokespeople and his comments on another matter entirely, is neither here nor there – so why bring him into it? Let’s at least TRY to keep the argument on the topic.

      • Morrissey 9.2.1

        The fact that you dislike one of the spokespeople and his comments on another matter entirely, is neither here nor there – so why bring him into it?

        For someone with a moniker like yours, you seem disturbingly ready to accept something as poorly thought out as Professor Krauss’s wandery and ill informed attack against Russia.

        Just to remind you: Krauss was the one who veered away from his field of expertise and decided to make comments about as sophisticated as a Rush Limbaugh rant.

        • Skeptic 9.2.1.1

          Show me in the above article any reference to Professor Krauss. If you can I’ll apologize – if not your comments are absurd in the extreme.

          • Morrissey 9.2.1.1.1

          • Morrissey 9.2.1.1.2

            Sorry, Skeptic! The following, not the “Ha ha ha ha” video, is the citation you asked for….

            Doomsday Clock moves forward

            • Skeptic 9.2.1.1.2.1

              Oh very well done Morrissey – you’ve cited yourself as the source and justification for your comments. I asked you to cite IN THE MAIN ARTICLE any mention of Krauss – you haven’t and can’t – because there isn’t any mention of him. You’ve introduced into this debate a straw man. You’ve cited a Radio NZ National program interview/speech and proceeded to argue about what may or may not have been said on the basis that the interviewee is a member of the same eminent group that sets the Doomsday Clock. You’ve made what we used to call at varsity “a leap of imagination without logic”. Just in case you don’t get it – I’ll spell it out for you in small words so even you can understand.
              1. The article was about the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Board moving the Doomsday Clock forward because of two factors – the new US President’s psychological vulnerability and the imminent inaction on climate change.
              2. You heard a Radio NZ report where one of the spokespeople for this group was talking about a completely different subject.
              3. You side tracked the discussion on the main article by making comments about this person THAT HAD NO RELEVANCE TO THE MAIN ARTICLE. (Krauss was talking about Russia – not the Doomsday Clock)

              Sorry Morrissey – but your grade is an “F”. if you want to debate a question, you have got to stick the the question; not bring in irrelevant and illogical arguments. So you’ve wasted a lots of people’s time – congrats.

  10. Morrissey 10

    Oh very well done Morrissey – you’ve cited yourself as the source and justification for your comments.

    What I did was refer you back to my original comment, which was to point out Professor Krauss’s foolish deviation from his field of expertise (nuclear physics) into the field of highly charged and tricky partisan politics. He was the one who chose to regurgitate those discredited and invalid attacks on the Russian bogey-man.

    I pointed to Professor Krauss’s inane comments to draw attention to the way that people like Prof. Krauss who SHOULD be leading the opposition against a grave threat to American democracy, i.e. Donald Trump and his cronies, are failing in their duty because they have aligned themselves with the utterly discredited Democratic National Committee and its McCarthyite ideological war against Russia.

    Nobody with any sense believes a word of James Clapper’s lies. People who repeat them, like Professor Krauss did yesterday morning, do grave damage to their credibility.

    • Skeptic 10.1

      You may well be correct in your summation of Krauss and what he said, and you might also be right about the DNC & Clapper, but they are not irrelevant to the article – they are red herrings – they are straw men – they are dead parrots (oops sorry – wrong show). The point I was trying to make in all of this, was that the Doomsday Clock is a respected measure of how close humanity is to self destruction put together by a committee of respected scientists. Trump’s election has moved us all closer to that event (relatively) and this has been recognized. Bringing in irrelevancies detracts from the importance of the article, and makes us all poorer for having done so. That’s why at varsity we were all taught (lo all those many years ago) to keep our arguments strictly on the subject being discussed. It’s a lesson you might be well advised to adopt Morrissey – I say this having taken a look at your posts on many other topics, article and subjects. Self-discipline in writing is an asset to be treasured.

      • Morrissey 10.1.1

        …they are red herrings – they are straw men – they are dead parrots…

        Appreciate the Monty Python allusion, my friend, and I accept your point about the need to stay on topic. However, I’m intrigued that you can’t see that Prof. Krauss is the one who strayed off topic, in a wild and pathetically craven manner. My post was for no other reason than to point out the way he had crashed the discussion, and let Trump off the hook by doing so.

        Self-discipline in writing is an asset to be treasured.

        And in speaking from privileged media pulpits, like Prof. Krauss was privileged to do the other day. I wonder how much attention the Atomic Scientists actually give to choosing who will represent them. As I pointed out yesterday, Krauss seems to lack a certain nous….

        Open Mike 28/01/2017

        • Skeptic 10.1.1.1

          I accept the validity of your comments in these circumstances. All in all I wonder how much longer the Clock will stay that way if Trump is impeached for either his unconstitutional ethics/business position or for his lies (what Nixon got done for). My prediction is that even f he does last 100 days, he won’t see out 2017 as President. Unfortunately, his successor will be a religious nutcase – the one the Republicans really wanted in power. I think Trump has made a fairly successful stalking horse. What do you think? Will the Clock move back under Pence?

          • Morrissey 10.1.1.1.1

            Trump is acting insanely. He can’t last. There will be a Julius Caesar-style move on him soon, I think. If it doesn’t happen, Trump seems capable of anything. It feels silly to write this, but I can see him ordering an American Nacht der langen Messer if he is allowed to carry on like this.

            I find Pence to be a really disturbing presence. He is the epitome of eminence grise. Since Spiro Agnew, we’ve become used to the V-P being a buffoon more than anything else. The obvious exception to that stream of ineffectiveness is the highly competent Cheney, and maybe George H.W. Bush.

            But Pence reminds me of Michel Temer: composed, urbane, sinister, capable of anything—and ready.

            • Skeptic 10.1.1.1.1.1

              Yes – very true. The problem for the Republicans is that once Trump is gone, and Pence has shown his true colours (fundamentalist Christian) traditional Democrat supporters – blue collar workers – will return, which when added to the rising Black, Hispanic and Liberal American population, should see the administration as the last Republican one ever. They know that time and demographics are not on their side. The real problem for Democrats is how to regain control of the Senate and House.

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  • Farewelling sports administrator and philanthropist Sir Eion Edgar
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  • Progress towards simpler process for changing sex on birth certificates
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  • Arihia Bennett to chair Royal Commission Ministerial Advisory Group
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  • Speech to the New Zealand Medical Association General Practitioners' Conference, Rotorua
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  • Speech to APEC business event
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