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Do we ever get to Doomsday in a Doomsday Clock?

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1182189.  Mon Mar 14, 2016 10:35 am Reply with quote

In a Doomsday Clock which shows the "minutes to midnight" before Doomsday, can you ever get to Doomsday? Because it can never be precisely midnight, it can only ever be a few milliseconds before or after? And if it's after that would be the start of a countdown for "the next day's doomsday". Maybe a few milliseconds before midnight could be Doomsday, but that wouldn't be a countdown?

Ian Dunn
1182569.  Wed Mar 16, 2016 3:11 pm Reply with quote

I think that this is a question we can only concrete answer to if Donald Trump becomes president.

1182653.  Thu Mar 17, 2016 8:23 am Reply with quote

I think the Doomsday clock would be set to about five past midnight as soon as President Trump was sworn in!

1182655.  Thu Mar 17, 2016 8:39 am Reply with quote

1182671.  Thu Mar 17, 2016 10:20 am Reply with quote

The doomsday clock, not being an actual clock or a measure of real time, could be set to any value you like for as long as you like, including precisely midnight.

1183055.  Sun Mar 20, 2016 10:33 am Reply with quote

But if it is midnight, has the bomb gone off? I think we're back where we started.

1183066.  Sun Mar 20, 2016 11:31 am Reply with quote

AIUI, "The Doomsday Clock" is intended to indicate the likelihood of Doomsday, rather than its actual arrival. It could be set to midnight, but that would indicate that things were going reeeaaaallllyyyy badly, (ISIS getting the atom bomb, Trump being elected, something like that).

1183180.  Mon Mar 21, 2016 10:13 am Reply with quote

I guess it is only really Doomsday when there are no longer any people around to set clock.

1223038.  Wed Jan 25, 2017 2:25 pm Reply with quote

Ian Dunn wrote:
I think that this is a question we can only concrete answer to if Donald Trump becomes president.

It is now 3 minutes to midnight, Ian.

1281597.  Wed Apr 18, 2018 12:26 pm Reply with quote

If Doomsday is defined as the moment the bomb goes off / disaster causing event occurs, so long as the "clock" is not in the epicenter of the event there would be time for the clock to progress before the impact of the event reached it. i.e. in this definition it's a "Yes".

If the definition of Doomsday is the point at which all damage incurred by the disaster has taken place (i.e. once life has ended due to the nuclear fallout) the answer's no; since the clock being destroyed will be one of the events which has to occur before we can declare Doomsday. i.e. in this definition the answer to your question's "No".

The former definition makes more sense; since aside from a universe ending event (i.e. heat death of the universe), the latter will always have a vague boundary, whilst the former will be more simply tied to a single point in time.

Since the clock's not physical, you can say that the position of the doomsday clock exactly matches the point to which it applies. i.e. The clock at the epicenter reaches Doomsday moments before the clock 1 mile down the road. However in this case, the clock striking midnight is the exact point at which the event occurs; neither before nor after.

1281633.  Wed Apr 18, 2018 7:31 pm Reply with quote

Good argument! Welcome, JohnLBevan :-)

1295934.  Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:01 am Reply with quote

The answer is almost certainly "no", because the clock is only reset twice a year:

The clock is not set and reset in real time as events occur; rather than respond to each and every crisis as it happens, the Science and Security Board meets twice annually to discuss global events in a deliberative manner. The closest nuclear war threat, the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, reached crisis, climax, and resolution before the clock could be set to reflect that possible doomsday.

DVD Smith
1296190.  Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:19 am Reply with quote

Most of me wants the clock to be as far away from midnight as possible for the sake of humanity - but the Iron Maiden fan in me wants it to remain at two minutes to midnight for at least a little while longer.


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