Why do I not know or understand what this Doomsday clock business is all about?

Who decides what peril we are in and who gets to choose whether or not the clock changes? What does it mean to be 6 minutes until midnight when I’m looking at my own clock and we’re just after noon. I just don’t understand.

Quick research has told me this much:

“The hands of the clock move in response to changing world events, marching forward or back depending on the state of the world and the prospects of nuclear war.

When the Doomsday Clock debuted in 1947, the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union was occurring, with the time showing seven minutes to midnight. The time has since changed 18 times.” – source MSNBC

Okay…so…what some fanatic scientist out there, or perhaps a group of drama queens are behind this..? I still don’t get it.

ABC News reports that, “A group of international scientists this morning announced that they are moving the hands of the symbolic “Doomsday Clock” away from midnight — or the figurative apocalypse — but only by one minute.”

Today, at a press conference in New York, the Bulletin announced that despite the looming threats of nuclear weapons and climate change, it would move the hands of the clock from five to six minutes before midnight. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, which manages the clock issued a statement saying that, “We are poised to bend the arc of history toward a world free of nuclear weapons. For the first time since atomic bombs were dropped in 1945, leaders of nuclear weapons states are cooperating to vastly reduce their arsenals and secure all nuclear bomb-making material. And for the first time ever, industrialized and developing countries alike are pledging to limit climate-changing gas emissions that could render our planet nearly uninhabitable.”


After beginning to sift through the information given to me by, commenter Sarah, I am now understanding this a little bit more. The Bulletin press release from today explains why the minute hand was moved one minute further away from midnight. The further away from midnight, the more hope that signifies (in my opinion). The scientists at The Bulletin state, “By shifting the hand back from midnight by only one additional minute, we emphasize how much needs to be accomplished, while at the same time recognizing signs of collaboration among the United States, Russia, the European Union, India, China, Brazil, and others on nuclear security and on climate stabilization.”

Clock Announcement 2010 from TurnBackTheClock.org on Vimeo.


3 thoughts on “Doomsday clock, so out of the loop”

  1. So I get that your confused, especially since you research doesn’t seem complete and that you have a picture of the clock changing from many years ago. So to help you out below I have listed some acutally helpful sites.
    The history quote I have actually taken from the Bulletins website, so maybe that would help you understand that The Bulletin is not a bunch of “fanatic scientists” but was acutally creted by some scienetist that were part of The Mahattan project and realized after the bomb was dropped that they had created something so dangerous they needed warn the public, but you’ll read that all in the quote. maybe if you check out the site of The Bulletin, which is the owner of the Doomsday clock, you would understand better, and see that it is a very well respected publication in the science and technology world. Always good to do through research!
    The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists was established in 1945 by scientists, engineers, and
    other experts who had created the atomic bomb as part of the Manhattan Project. They knew about the horrible effects of these new weapons and devoted themselves to warning the public about the consequences of using them. Those early scientists also worried about military secrecy, fearing that leaders might draw their countries into increasingly dangerous nuclear confrontations without the full consent of their citizens.”


  2. Thank you, Sarah. I will definitely be doing more research now. I’m quite interested, I just don’t get it. So there was a Doomsday Clock created after the Cold War and now the hands get moved closer or further from midnight on the clock depending on what? I think that is the part I am unclear about. Because life is much different now, there are new evils…new mysteries…and who is to say the folks of The Bulletin should know whether we are safe or not. I appreciate your information and links.

  3. So. This “clock” is 64 years old, it was invented after the onset of nuclear weapon use during the onset of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and and the United States, two of which don’t exist any longer.

    It’s operated by a group based in the United States that is supposed to be accurately measuring the threat or lack-thereof of nuclear war globally?

    Perhaps we should group this thing along with the outdated idea of daylight savings time and start the Ministry of Silly Clocks.

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