According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “doomsday” is described as, “a day of final judgement.” In the world of preppers, doomsday is usually associated with the infamous Doomsday Clock. The Doomsday Clock is something that has been getting a lot more attention than it has in the past due to recent worldly and political happenings. With so much talk surrounding it, it has got a lot of people asking, “What is the Doomsday Clock set at?”
Discussing the Doomsday Clock can be a difficult thing to do when you consider the outcome it’s counting down to, but just like most difficult or gray areas of discussion, the Doomsday Clock is something that’s important to have a conversation about.
So, what’s the Clock set at and is it even real?
To answer those questions and more, let’s get to talking.
Is the Doomsday Clock real?
Before we even get to talking about what the Doomsday Clock is set at, let’s first talk about the clock itself.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is the organization responsible for the Doomsday Clock, and according to the group’s official website, they are described as being an organization that, “engages science leaders, policy makers, and the interested public on topics of nuclear weapons and disarmament, the changing energy landscape, climate change, and emerging technologies.”
1945 was the founding year for the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists by the same people responsible for creating the Manhattan Project. A couple years later in 1947, the Doomsday Clock was created. The Clock was first seen on the cover of one of the first magazines for the Bulletin, and here’s how the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists describes it —
The Doomsday Clock, “symbolizes the urgency of the nuclear dangers that the magazine’s founders — and the broader scientific community — are trying to convert to the public and political leaders around the world.”
In 1947, the Clock was initially set at 7 minutes to midnight, and this has changed and fluctuated a number of times over the years. Although it isn’t necessarily an exact representation of when a nuclear war will take place, it’s an estimated timeframe as to when the Bulletin believes this will begin.
So, to make a long answer short, yes — the Doomsday Clock is real.
What time is the Doomsday Clock at?
Now that we know the Doomsday Clock is real, what exactly is it set at?
At the time of writing this article, the Clock is currently set at two and a half minutes to midnight. This is the closest that the Clock has ever been to Doomsday — even more so than during the Cold War. Three minutes was the previous closest that we’ve been to the fateful day, but this all changed earlier this year.
The reasoning for this jump forward? Actions that are taking place with the world’s leaders and political/military figures. The Bulletin says that, “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.”
It’s certainly worrisome to think that the Clock is closer to midnight than it has ever been before, but also consider that this number and time is set by a relatively small group of people — mostly scientists.
This isn’t to discredit the work that the Bulletin is doing, but it’s important to not get worked up over the number that currently shows on the Clock.
We definitely want to get as far away from midnight as possible, but if we lose our cool because of a quickly decreasing number, we’re only going to cause more trouble than good.
What’s the furthest the Clock has ever been from midnight?
Back in 1991, the Doomsday Clock was set all the way back to 17 minutes to midnight. This is the furthest back the Clock has ever been set, and the reasoning for this was due to the Cold War finally coming to an end.
Once the Cold War officially ended, both Russia and the United States decided to make moves to decrease the power and availability of their nuclear weaponry. These moves were reinforced by the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, and when all of this took place, the Bulletin commented by saying the following —
“The illusion that tens of thousands of nuclear weapons are a guarantor of national security has been stripped away.”
When the Cold War ended, the perpetual fear of nuclear warfare subsided. The world had been living in constant fear of nuclear warfare up until that day since 1947 when the Clock made its first appearance on the Bulletin’s magazine, so with nukes out of the way, Earth and its residents could finally relax and take peace knowing that the world was not coming to an end.
Although we aren’t technically in another Cold War at this point in time, it is very evident that the world is once again afraid and worried that nuclear war could break out once more. A lot of this undoubtedly has to do with leaders from North Korea, Russia, and the United States, so if these countries could come together and agree to halt production and testing of nuclear weapons, the Clock would likely take a few steps back.
Then again, what’s the likelihood of something like that happening?
Tensions are currently incredibly high with these three powerful nations, and all three of these leaders are some of the most radical and unpredictable that the world has ever seen. It’s certainly scary to think about the situation we’re currently in, but then again, all hope is not lost until the bombs finally start dropping.
That day has yet to come, and as such, we still have time to figure out what we need to do to ensure the safety and security of our world.
Although answering the question of “What is the Doomsday Clock set at?” can be answered with the simple number of two and a half minutes, the conversation that comes with such a question is much more complex than 2.5 minutes. We may not literally be two and a half minutes away from all-out nuclear warfare, but that number does indicate that we need to take serious steps forward to ensure that the bombs don’t start falling anytime soon.