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Petition seeks apology for Enigma code-breaker Turing. {Must Read!!}

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posted on Sep, 1 2009 @ 03:14 PM

LONDON, England (CNN) -- An online petition demanding a formal apology from the British government for its treatment of World War II code-breaker Alan Turing is gaining momentum.

Turing was subjected to chemical castration in 1952 after being found guilty of the charge of gross indecency for having a homosexual relationship, an illegal act at the time. He committed suicide two years later.

More than 19,000 people have added their names to the petition on the UK Government Web site since it opened three weeks ago, urging the government to "recognize the tragic consequences of prejudice that ended this man's life and career."

The petition was created by computer scientist John Graham-Cumming, who said he grew "mad" at the country's memory of a man he says should be considered one of its national heroes.

"I'm looking for an apology from the British government because that's where I think the wrong was done. But Turing is clearly someone of international stature," Graham-Cumming said.

Rest of the story here.

I think this is something very important for Britains as well as everyone in the world. This wrong needs to be put right in my opinion.

Here is the link to the International petition.


Let's help the UK Government right a wrong shall we?


[edit on 9/1/2009 by tothetenthpower]

posted on Sep, 1 2009 @ 03:25 PM
Whilst I am not a homosexual myself, it's still such a crying shame that this man, one of our finest minds in that great battle of wits, was driven to destruction by the ignorance of our government.
They owed him big time, and this is how he was repayed, like any other disposable hero.

Good on you for posting this.

posted on Sep, 1 2009 @ 03:27 PM
Thank you friend, I do think it's important.

Not only was he instrumental in helping the Allies in WW2, he is also prety much the grand father of modern computing.

Let's hope others feel the same.


posted on Sep, 1 2009 @ 03:38 PM
This is from the wikipedia page about Turing.

Alan Mathison Turing, OBE, FRS (pronounced /ˈtjʊ(ə)rɪŋ/) (23 June 1912 – 7 June 1954) was a British mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst and computer scientist.

Turing is often considered to be the father of modern computer science. He provided an influential formalisation of the concept of the algorithm and computation with the Turing machine. In 1999 Time Magazine named Turing as one of the 100 most important people of the 20th century for his role in the creation of the modern computer, stating: "The fact remains that everyone who taps at a keyboard, opening a spreadsheet or a word-processing program, is working on an incarnation of a Turing machine."[1]

With the Turing test, meanwhile, he made a significant and characteristically provocative contribution to the debate regarding artificial intelligence: whether it will ever be possible to say that a machine is conscious and can think. He later worked at the National Physical Laboratory, creating one of the first designs for a stored-program computer, the ACE, although it was never actually built in its full form. In 1948, he moved to the University of Manchester to work on the Manchester Mark 1, then emerging as one of the world's earliest true computers.

During the Second World War, Turing worked at Bletchley Park, Britain's codebreaking centre, and was for a time head of Hut 8, the section responsible for German naval cryptanalysis. He devised a number of techniques for breaking German ciphers, including the method of the bombe, an electromechanical machine that could find settings for the Enigma machine.

Near the end of his life Turing became interested in chemistry. He wrote a paper on the chemical basis of morphogenesis[2] and he predicted oscillating chemical reactions such as the Belousov–Zhabotinsky reaction, which were first observed in the 1960s.



posted on Sep, 1 2009 @ 03:41 PM
Right on, it could well be the case that a lot of people only know about Turing because of his Enigma work, but only that.

His work on mathematical biology and computer science can often get overlooked, but the Turing Test is something else entirely, a test to determine a computer's intelligence, literally whether it can 'think'. Very philosophical stuff.

Here's a LINK

posted on Sep, 1 2009 @ 04:44 PM
reply to post by purehughness

Wow I wasn't aware of the whole computers thinking stuff. That's pretty wild.

I am a little surprised there is such little interest in this story. It screams civil rights.


posted on Sep, 1 2009 @ 05:42 PM
Good stuff OP. I guess like many others, you only hear of Turing's efforts during WWII. It's an absolute shame of how he was treated based on his sexual orientation.

posted on Sep, 1 2009 @ 06:06 PM
Turing's fate is a peculiar one for another reason.

He wandered off the preserve in his social life, that is, he engaged in homosexual affairs outside the privileged university milieu where homosexuality was more than tolerated. Had he stayed in his own social circle, he would have been fine.

Then, having gone off the preserve, he made the fatal assumption that people in ordinary life would accord him the privileges he was used to and overlook his infraction of the law. He openly admitted his homosexual relationship with the young man whom he had accused of robbery and when the police took a professional interest in this infraction, remarked that it was OK because it was going to be legalized soon.

What does one say about that? Turing needed a minder.

He was a wonderful person though, in many ways, and an otherworldly crank in some ways. I think it would be good if the government apologized to Turing and to all the other homosexuals put on the pillory over the generations. Oscar Wilde is another one.

posted on Sep, 1 2009 @ 06:09 PM
reply to post by ipsedixit

Signing the petition is one step in the righ direction. I'm usually not one for these types of things, and it's not because I am a homosexual either.

I just think these sort of atrocities should be dealt with, especially considering the abundant ammount of contribution this man made to the modern world.


posted on Sep, 1 2009 @ 06:33 PM
reply to post by tothetenthpower

I absolutely agree. Although Turing, in particular, could be aggravating to collegues who weren't on his level intellectually, he was a sweet, sweet person.

Anyone interested in Turing should try to read "Alan Turing: The Enigma", by Andrew Hodges. It's a great biography. His life is told in great detail from childhood and many of his scientific ideas are related in similar fashion. The story of cracking the enigma code is told thoroughly.

Turing had many achievements in his life. Surprisingly, he was a solid track athlete, hovering somewhere just below Olympic level, for the times.

I was looking through the book cited above, trying to find a passage where it describes some of the arithmetic he had to do in his head, in base 32 in order to work with one of the early computers, but I can't find the passage. He was brainy in ways that impress even the brainy.

posted on Sep, 1 2009 @ 07:56 PM
Isn't it a bit late for an apology?

He certainly didn't deserve what happened to him, but the current government had nothing to do with it and definately wouldn't support it in this day and age. It's not illegal for a start.

If they want to apologise, that's fine. But I don't see the point in digging up the past. Turing's long dead, so I doubt he cares. The evil government shouldn't be forced to make an apology.

Alan Turing's a hero. We all know it.

posted on Sep, 1 2009 @ 08:27 PM
I think the real irony here is that a man who did more perhaps than anyone to help defeat the Nazi State, fell victim to a Nazi State, his own, in the end.

It's almost like someone asking you if you want one sugar or two, instead of would you like a little totalitarianism in your government or a lot of totalitarianism in your government.

This is a case where just a dab will do you!

We fight our Masters wars and battles for their profit, pleasure and sport and in the end are more often than not treated to the same brand of ideology we were enticed and compelled to fight against for their profit, pleasure and sport.

It’s amazing how people will cry out and fight for freedom and then fight others all the while for being too free in otherwise harmless ways that they don’t want you to be.

The more things change, the more things stay the same. There is very little today in the way of evidence to suggest that the fascists didn’t win the war!

posted on Sep, 1 2009 @ 08:30 PM
reply to post by System

Wasn't it a bit late when the government issued apologies to the Chinese for head taxes?

Was it too late when they made an apology to African Americans for slaverly?

Was it too late when they issued an apology to the Japanese for keeping them in internment camps during WW2?

It's never too late to rite some wrongs friend. It's not only about an apology, it's about the country taking responsibility for reckless and unfounded prejudice during that time.


posted on Sep, 1 2009 @ 08:47 PM
Every community has its heroes. Turing was a great hero, not just to gays but very importantly, to His Majesty's government (of the time). They couldn't award him a medal because of the ultra secrecy of his work. They gave him a cash award instead. Now, his work is known to people at large. Young gay people must feel a special pride in Turing, beyond what everyone else feels about him.

The government should apologize for them, to assure them that their hero is fully re-established in the esteem of the nation, with no taint attached to his life. They should acknowledge errors of the past because there is a continuity of government in treaties and in all sorts of ways. They must own up to the mistakes of previous incarnations of themselves.

[edit on 1-9-2009 by ipsedixit]

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