1. Joined
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    11 Sep '09 03:38
    Alan Turing is an enduring icon in computer science - the Turing machine and the Turing test for artificial intelligence.

    His work in WW2 also provided a significant boost to the war effort and the defeat of the nazis by helping crack the nazi's codes.

    His thanks? To be tried for being gay and subjected to chemical castration by the very government he served.

    Finally the British government has finally officially apologized for their treatment of him despite his work already having been recognized all around the world.

    http://www.number10.gov.uk/Page20571
  2. Joined
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    11 Sep '09 06:171 edit
    Originally posted by PsychoPawn
    Alan Turing is an enduring icon in computer science - the Turing machine and the Turing test for artificial intelligence.

    His work in WW2 also provided a significant boost to the war effort and the defeat of the nazis by helping crack the nazi's codes.

    His thanks? To be tried for being gay and subjected to chemical castration by the very governmen ...[text shortened]... k already having been recognized all around the world.

    http://www.number10.gov.uk/Page20571
    Extremely belated apologies like that always amuse me in a very sad way. What good is an apology
    now? The man is long gone and the people responsible for this atrocity are long gone. I'm all for
    recognising what has happened in the past, and condemning it for the world to see with a law-bound
    promise not to repeat it, but apologise? Whom are the current government (totally innocent of this
    crime) apologising to, exactly? This is a totally meaningless apology, which leads me to believe that
    it's more of a political manoeuvre (a little diversion of attention perhaps?) behind it than anything
    else. If I were a Brit I'd be more careful to watch their moves right now. They're probably sliding a
    law proposal under the table while everyone's applauding their "apology". It'll probably end freedom
    of sexuality in Britain as you all know it. HA!

    Addition: I just actually read the statement. Well written.

    * Applauding *
  3. Cape Town
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    11 Sep '09 07:59
    Originally posted by PsychoPawn
    His thanks? To be tried for being gay and subjected to chemical castration by the very government he served.

    Finally the British government has finally officially apologized for their treatment of him despite his work already having been recognized all around the world.
    If certain rights are fundamental rights of everyone, then to what extent does being famous or a successful scientist make a violation of those rights more deplorable? I wonder if the government has apologized to all gay people they have treated that way or only the ones who became famous?
  4. Joined
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    11 Sep '09 08:00
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    If certain rights are fundamental rights of everyone, then to what extent does being famous or a successful scientist make a violation of those rights more deplorable? I wonder if the government has apologized to all gay people they have treated that way or only the ones who became famous?
    Michael Jackson was famous...
  5. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    11 Sep '09 08:181 edit
    Originally posted by PsychoPawn
    Alan Turing is an enduring icon in computer science - the Turing machine and the Turing test for artificial intelligence.

    His work in WW2 also provided a significant boost to the war effort and the defeat of the nazis by helping crack the nazi's codes.

    His thanks? To be tried for being gay and subjected to chemical castration by the very governmen ...[text shortened]... k already having been recognized all around the world.

    http://www.number10.gov.uk/Page20571
    Chemical castration? He'd have got more than that under the Nazis. But would it have made a difference? Criminalised, he took his own life anyway.

    There's a world of irony here. Would the administrator of the castration have passed a Turing test? If so, would that have proved his humanity?

    Apologies.
  6. Joined
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    11 Sep '09 09:08
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    There's a world of irony here. Would the administrator of the castration have passed a Turing test? If so, would that have proved his humanity?
    Turing test: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turing_test
  7. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    11 Sep '09 09:33
    Originally posted by FabianFnas
    Turing test: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turing_test
    Yes ...
  8. Joined
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    11 Sep '09 12:56
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    If certain rights are fundamental rights of everyone, then to what extent does being famous or a successful scientist make a violation of those rights more deplorable? I wonder if the government has apologized to all gay people they have treated that way or only the ones who became famous?
    I didn't mean to suggest that this makes the violation of his rights more deplorable. I think it would be even better if they did apologize officially in general and I hope they have and would.

    I think in some way it feels a little more unlikely that a government would persecute someone who was key to their winning a major war, but they didn't really see that as being persecution at that time.
  9. Joined
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    11 Sep '09 12:59
    Originally posted by Jigtie
    Extremely belated apologies like that always amuse me in a very sad way. What good is an apology
    now? The man is long gone and the people responsible for this atrocity are long gone. I'm all for
    recognising what has happened in the past, and condemning it for the world to see with a law-bound
    promise not to repeat it, but apologise? Whom are the current ...[text shortened]...

    [b]Addition:
    I just actually read the statement. Well written.

    * Applauding *[/b]
    The apology obviously does nothing for the dead.

    It is, as you said, a recognition of the fact that what was done was wrong and the apology is symbolic of the regret for what was done.
  10. Cape Town
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    12 Sep '09 19:471 edit
    Originally posted by PsychoPawn
    I didn't mean to suggest that this makes the violation of his rights more deplorable. I think it would be even better if they did apologize officially in general and I hope they have and would.

    I think in some way it feels a little more unlikely that a government would persecute someone who was key to their winning a major war, but they didn't really see that as being persecution at that time.
    If he had committed any other crime (being gay or committing 'gay acts' I presume was a crime at the time), then should they not have persecuted him?
    Surely it is the law which was at fault and not the government for carrying out the law with regards to a famous person? And is the government responsible for the law, or the people?
    Since many governments still have discriminatory laws regarding gay people (probably including the UK), is it not merely a degree of discrimination that they are apologizing for?
  11. Joined
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    12 Sep '09 22:38
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    If he had committed any other crime (being gay or committing 'gay acts' I presume was a crime at the time), then should they not have persecuted him?
    Surely it is the law which was at fault and not the government for carrying out the law with regards to a famous person? And is the government responsible for the law, or the people?
    Since many government ...[text shortened]... including the UK), is it not merely a degree of discrimination that they are apologizing for?
    The government is responsible for its laws and the people are responsible for their government - so I guess if the transitivity property applies then the people are responsible for the laws too.

    The present government isn't responsible for the enacting of laws that prior governments passed, but it is their responsibility to get rid of those that are prejudicial and wrong.

    You are right that it is the degree that they are essentially apologizing for.
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    13 Sep '09 05:44
    Originally posted by PsychoPawn
    The government is responsible for its laws and the people are responsible for their government - so I guess if the transitivity property applies then the people are responsible for the laws too.

    The present government isn't responsible for the enacting of laws that prior governments passed, but it is their responsibility to get rid of those that are pr ...[text shortened]... al and wrong.

    You are right that it is the degree that they are essentially apologizing for.
    The government is sending a message here. Not to Turing himself (of course) neither to his family, but to the whole gay community in Britain.

    The message is: "We did wrong then, and we will never do it again. Our promise for the rest of the future is that we will consider every man and woman alike, heterosexuals and homosexuals. If we do even near the same thing as we did to Turing, then this apology should be a reminder to anyone to point this out to us."
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    24 Sep '09 02:52
    Think its good that historical wrongs like this are acknowledged, the oppression of Turing by a few pea brained generals was a huge mistake... IBM could be an English company were it not for them! Turing dedicated his life to computing even tho Englands laws were quite homophobic at the time.. I hope he knew this would come.

    I think there's a bigger mistake too, Turing's work was seen as a threat to national security, in that it might come into the public / commercial eye. But had it. And been allowed to continue, our IT industry would be decades ahead. There's lots more science like this locked away in bunkers.

    Why I partly oppose trident (all 4) , we need new renewable power sources more than submarines, but are wasting talent building missiles that will never be used. When the same minds could be building the next generation of power stations. I think the recent announcements by Gordon Brown on this are very positive.
  14. Subscribersonhouse
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    12 Oct '09 17:33
    Originally posted by PsychoPawn
    Alan Turing is an enduring icon in computer science - the Turing machine and the Turing test for artificial intelligence.

    His work in WW2 also provided a significant boost to the war effort and the defeat of the nazis by helping crack the nazi's codes.

    His thanks? To be tried for being gay and subjected to chemical castration by the very governmen ...[text shortened]... k already having been recognized all around the world.

    http://www.number10.gov.uk/Page20571
    I have heard of this chemical castration, but what is it exactly? Inject H2SO4 into your testicles? I was thinking about how useless that would be, mainly an act of revenge, say for a serial rapist or some such. The only thing for sure is, it doesn't cure the underlying predatory behavior, of course in Turing's case it was barbarism pure and simple, but in the case of the sexual predator, it has been proven castration, chemical or physical does not cure any underlying psychological problems, for instance, a sexual predator gets the whack job, but 6 months later the inner predatory instincts turn to physical violence instead of sexual violence, no basic change of behavior, only the removal of the ability to penetrate.
  15. Joined
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    12 Oct '09 18:35
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    I have heard of this chemical castration, but what is it exactly? Inject H2SO4 into your testicles? I was thinking about how useless that would be, mainly an act of revenge, say for a serial rapist or some such. The only thing for sure is, it doesn't cure the underlying predatory behavior, of course in Turing's case it was barbarism pure and simple, but in ...[text shortened]... of sexual violence, no basic change of behavior, only the removal of the ability to penetrate.
    If I remember correctly the Turing case, he was injected with the female hormone oestrogene. This made him develope brests. He developed a depression and committed suicide of that reason a few years after.

    This was in the fifties, how chemical castration procedure of today, I know nothing about.
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