DOOMSDAY CLOCK MOVES BACK, AVERTING ANNIHILATION, FOR NOW
January 15 2010
Chicago, IL – For a time the idea that world would be obliterated by a massive nuclear war seemed a truly palpable situation. During the height of the Cold War children were taught to duck under their desks, families built bomb shelters, and the
nuclear sabre rattling between the United States and the Soviet Union seemed to portend an apocalyptic scenario that would undo humanity and all we have achieved. Popular fiction and real life science depicted that post-nuclear world as an almost Hell on Earth, a blasted wasteland where only the deformed and corrupt would survive.
Of course, that hasn’t happened yet and the continued cooperation between the major nuclear powers makes such a nightmare scenario not only unlikely but almost unimaginable. Though the possible presence of nuclear weapons in less stable governments could result in catastrophe nothing on the scale
of our greatest fears is every likely to happen. Now the small group of scientists that control the destiny of all nuclear weapons has confirmed as much, turning back the hands of the ‘Doomsday Clock’ by one minute, giving the species breathing room and future generations the very real possibility of living full and prosperous lives.
"The time to begin to free ourselves from the terror of nuclear weapons and to slow drastic changes to our shared global environment is now. We urge leaders to fulfill the promise of a nuclear weapon-free world and to act now to slow the pace of climate change. We are mindful of the fact that the clock is ticking,” said Lawrence Krauss, co-chair of Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (BAS). “There is much to be done and the world must respond to these threats. The use of nuclear weapons by terrorist organizations and the very real danger of runaway climate change provide the world with very real threats. Major nations are co-operating on these issues but should they once again fail to proactively respond to these situations we will have no choice but to advance the clock once again.”
Now standing at six minutes to the hour, the Doomsday Clock was intended to analogize the threat to humanity in the wake of the destruction at the end of World War II as well as the proliferation of nuclear weapons through that period.
“People often dismiss a tool like the Doomsday Clock in respect to real world issues but they are forgetting their history. Even the events that led to our current situation, that incredible dash to the nuclear finish that occurred through the latter half of the twentieth was sparked by symbols in the form of swastikas. Symbolism is a very powerful tool,” said Scrape TV Science analyst Dr. Howard Poe. “Though there has been concerns about the nuclear programs of nations like Iran and North Korea the kind of threat that once existed, the notion that these devices would destroy nations and the species, is more or less gone. Luckily the BAS scientists see things the same way and have moved away from damning us to destruction.”
The furthest from destruction the clock has ever been is seventeen minutes from midnight, a height few believe is ever achievable again.
“The real issue here is that as countries begin to dismantle their stocks of weapons the BAS will be reduced in terms of efficacy. That means that they will begin advancing the clock very rapidly more than likely and that is very dangerous. These people are the gatekeepers of our species continued existence and we do not want to agitate them,” continued Poe. “Those nightmare scenarios are a very real possibility if the gatekeepers begin to get agitated and we must do what we can to either diminish their effect, or somehow satiate their demands in some other way.”
One member of the BAS has reportedly been running back and forth to the clock, advancing the arm at will, agitating other members of the committee.
Anna Phillips, Science Correspondent