Discrimination still happens to a large enough degree (gender, race and class) that we're shooting ourselves collectively in the foot by not enabling people to contribute as much to society as they are able.
That, as the British say, is utter bollocks. His contributions to Mathematics were done before the war. Plus he was pass 40 when he died...
Complete speculation here, but your use of "boys" makes it sound like you conflate Turing's actions with paedophilia. The ongoing and statistically inaccurate association of homosexuality with paedophilia is one of the reasons public actions like this one affirming that one can be both homosexual and legally and morally respectable are still necessary.
I just found this:
From which I gather it influenced his views on religion strongly but it didn't detract from his other work.
The large age gap brought to mind the pederastic (not necessarily paedophilic) relationships of Greece BCE - Socrates apparently railed against older men consumating such relationships.
Morcom's death appears to have been a pivotal moment in Turings formative years - my Freudian speculation was that Turings attraction to younger men, teenagers, could have been an attempt to chase the relationship of his youth that ended so abruptly; much as middle-age men are want to chase younger women as an attempt to recapture their youth.
It also seems right that having left his parents and arrived in bording school only to have his only real friend taken from him by death could well have spurred Turing on into his studies whilst social success may have led him to fritter away his gifts, ignore his studies and follow more worldy pursuits.
There's no need to prove wrong a statement based on speculation.
Gay men, go ahead and prove me wrong, are no more likely to have relationships with wide age disparities than homosexual men.
Besides: what of it? Most people don't have an IQ over 130 either. Most people don't drive Jaguars. Most people don't have a second home overseas. What's that a measure of? NORMALCY?
I agree that sometimes people who are hurt in life-at-large turn to inward pursuits in order to avoid further pain. It's certainly true that a lot of professional scientists have little or no use for 'social success', and see most of us as quite foolish, unreasoning creatures. But I don't think of their success as an excuse to run around torturing young men ... or driving older, very successful men to suicide after decades of loyal and very valuable service.
Did you mean no more likely [...] than heterosexual men?
The best stats I can get are from "The Demographics of Same-Sex 'Marriages' in Norway and Sweden" however they don't relate particularly to the Midlands of England in the 1950s. They show that indeed about 34% of homosexual male registered relationships in their study have a 10+year age gap (vs. 9% for heterosexual marriage) but account for this by the greater age of those entering registered homosexual relationships.
So yes "older men with younger" is apparently a more common homosexual pattern [in modern Sweden amongst officially recognised partnerships] but that's not really relevant as we're not considering a population but a specific case - stats don't show anything certain about individual members of a population. So this apparent Ephebophilia may have been a more specific fixation (which was my speculation) - Turing's crush died tragically at 18, the lad he was arrested for having a tryst with was 19.
Like I said, it's speculation. There doesn't appear to be anything ruling it out.
Two side points:
"Normalcy", yes statistics indicate "normalcy", the age gap is unusual. Deviations from normalcy often have interesting phenomena behind them - I had a BBQ this evening, that's unusual, the reason why we chose to sit outside and eat, cooking over charcoal, indicates something about my character.
I don't understand your reference to "torturing young men" what are you getting at there?
And as for whether or not it is normal between heterosexual people to have an age gap that large, I know personally of a couple that differed 30 years in age, the irony is that she was the younger one but died in her early 50's of a heart attack (and her widower is still alive today at 90+).
Normalcy is whatever people do, you can not compare heterosexuals and homosexuals as a group and expect to come up with the same answers with respect to things like this because they are two fundamentally different lifestyles.
This has effect on all those things you seem to want to compare them to in order to prove them to be abnormal, which seems to be your main point of interest here.
To a lesser extent I'd also be curious to know if (3) had he been having an affair with a girl 20 years his junior in that time period (1950s) then how would society have treated him?
Age difference can and has been compared across all types of sexual relationship - your comment is like saying fitness can't be compared between vegetarians and omnivores as their fitness is bound to be different, I disagree. Youths are more impressionable and easier to "corrupt" than older people with more self-knowledge and experience.
A large proportion of heterosexual relationships don't result in children and homosexuals are now able to adopt so nurturing ability is not a clear difference that would allow age-gaps in one sector of society and not in another.
One of the points of social pressure to long term relationships, particularly in the 1950s and before, would be reducing the spread of disease. Syphilis killed something like 1 in 6 children in the early 1900s. Thus, sexual relationships outside of marriage were strongly discouraged in the middle classes, it was not primarily a question of children - my point is that I don't think Turing would have faired much better if he were a heterosexual ephebophile.
Normalcy here is only relevant as an indicator, most of us are abnormal in some way, if I wished to prove Turing abnormal then I'd answer the question "how many were awarded an OBE in the war for doing maths?".
Your 34% statistic is interesting, although it lacks a comparison to heterosex. However: so what? Is there some reason a subculture should adhere to majoritarian statistics? Age differences do not equate with exploitation.My father was 10+ years older than my mother.
Interesting topic but this isn't the place.
This may not be the place, but it was not I who raised the subject.
Aside: Yes I believe sex outside marriage is wrong (not the subject here) yet no-one calls me an adultery basher, slut basher or an ephebophile basher; curious.
Turing was already well underway to become a very special person indeed long before that happened, his mathematical and scientific skills were beyond dispute at a very young age.
A quote from the wikipedia article on Alan Turing:
"Despite this, Turing continued to show remarkable ability in the studies he loved, solving advanced problems in 1927 without having even studied elementary calculus. In 1928, aged 16, Turing encountered Albert Einstein's work; not only did he grasp it, but he extrapolated Einstein's questioning of Newton's laws of motion from a text in which this was never made explicit"
He was certainly a gifted child but his exceptional mathematical abilities only appear to have really taken root during his University career.
Turing chose chemical castration in preference to prison (I think the term would have been 2 years). Given his knowledge of biology and chemistry and that people on-line have told me he was open about his homosexual preference (which is doubtful given his fiancée didn't know until after they were engaged despite working with him and knowing him intimately outside of work), anyway given those two points why didn't he choose prison?
He was convicted of a crime because he admitted to performing acts which were illegal - (at least after and probably before 1954 IIRC) it was also illegal to bugger anyone (or animal!) and an admission of that would have presumably led him to the same sentence (according to the statute), loss of clearance and job the only difference being he wouldn't of been offered hormone therapy ("organo-therapy")as an alternative.
Unrelated but I also only just found out that he is Alan M Turing OBE FRS having been honoured by the Queen for his war efforts and made a Fellow for his maths accomplishments. The recent news made me think he'd been blanked.
Is it such an unreasonable consideration that being rejected by society (even the society of Kings that would have been more than open to homosexuals) would lead one to focus attention on more ethereal pursuits?
And it was more of a surprise when my mobile phone rang and a Scottish man said "Hello John. It's Gordon Brown."
Yes, and he killed himself by eating a cyanide-laced apple. This poetic method of suicide allowed him, as one final gesture, to give his mother the comfort of thinking her son's death was accidental. His mother maintained that her little Alan was always tinkering in the lab, and it was most likely an accident that his apple became contaminated with the cyanide that killed him.
The speculation goes that if Turing was a homosexual he was a security risk. I'm not sure what to make of that though, after all he was no longer allowed to work with the machines which were advancing very rapidly indeed.
Similar rumours keep cropping up about David Kelly.
The problem is that with such a lack of transparency even if these are nonsense there is no way to debunk them, that alone gives them a semblance of credence. As you said, we'll never know.
Presumably the situation of his arrest wasn't the first time he had acted in this way.
From what I know about the case, and I've only read a book or two on it and quite long ago, the friend that Turing took home later broke in to his house or something to that effect. Turing reported to the police and in the process of the investigation the whole thing spilled out.
So, even if it wasn't the first time he acted that way it doesn't really matter because there is 0 proof that Turing was 'blackmailable' because of his sexuality.
I'd warrant there is no record anywhere to show this wasn't an attempt at blackmail as part of espionage activities - but you're right he turned out not to be blackmail-able in this instance as he went to the police. But one does not know whether he was in a trap and realised it or not in a trap at all.
The MI6 file on this would make an interesting read I'm sure.
When you(r country) messed up and it's your duty to apologize, don't be proud and pleased. Simply be sorry.
Today the monarch may only grant a pardon on the advice
of the Justice Secretary (previously the Home Secretary)
or the First Minister of Scotland (or the Defence
Secretary in military justice cases), and the policy of
the Ministry of Justice and Scottish Executive is only to
grant pardons to those who are "morally" innocent of the
offence (as opposed to those who may have been wrongly
convicted by misapplication of the law)
I know the end effect is the same but it is not as though some government official put a bullet through his head.
What they were doing was exceedingly cruel and misguided though.
While the UK shouldn't be proud of the way homosexuals were treated in the past, but I think it's perfectly acceptable to be proud that they are treated (relatively) well now.
There is lots of other more important stuff we need to deal with.
As such I don't see how this apology will make one jot of difference to the UK governments future actions (it already has openly gay MPs, I can't see them backing legislation that criminalizes their sexual preference).
So the United Kingdom (represented by its Home Office and judiciary in the 1950s), as a thing with a corporate identity, did wrong to Alan Turing, and it is appropriate for the United Kingom (represented by its Prime Minister) to apologize for its misdeeds.
Even today there are plenty of cases of overt violence against homosexuals and it certainly won't hurt to remind potential perpetrators on the current stance of the government in these matters.
Second, to put the spotlight on all kinds of discrimination happening today, not just because of sexuality.
Maybe it will make some people think about what the long term consequences of these stupid policies can be.
You can't bring the dead to life, that's for sure. But at least we can make the living think a little bit about the consequences of their actions.
The country that I live in (nl) does all kinds of unspeakable things to foreigners (jail them, make them take tests to prove their going to be good dutch people and so on), in short discriminates against them left, right and center.
For gays, lesbians and 'others' (no, I'm not forgetting you this time), the battle here (nl) is mostly won, there are plenty of others that still need doing. (see http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2008/05/14/netherlands-discrimina...)
Alan Turing being British and gay instead of Moroccan, Turkish or from some other 'scary' country with a 'scary' religion seems to be unrelated, but these cases are all about unjust laws singling out groups that have done absolutely nothing wrong.
I'm sure that for other groups this has absolutely no weight, but with every apology by some government official for past wrongdoings we get one step closer to governments that can be held accountable in the present.
50 years is way too long, but it is better than nothing.
So, I agree there is lots of more important stuff that we need to deal with. But it's 'cost free' because it does not actually go at the expense of one of those things, and it may help in the future to avoid stupid 'mistakes' like these so that at that time there will be less important stuff that needs dealing with.
People probably levelled the same argument against Socrate's [reported by Plato and Xenophon] denouncement of the buggery of juveniles by older men.
The 'teenage boy' (which implies anybody between the age of 10 and 19 inclusive) was in fact 19, Turing himself was if I get it all right 42 at the time.
So ? That's what I wrote wasn't it ? I realize 19 is 'a teen' but it is at the end of the spectrum. Saying just 'teenage' makes it ambiguous and is suggestive of someone much younger than nineteen, you tend to guess that must be in the middle of the range, whereas in fact it was the last entry in the range.
It used to be 13 to 20 here, but that was a long time ago.
Apologies, I just took the dutch word 'tiener' to mean 'teenager' in English. My bad.
So that raises the median age by a year and a half.
If you don't like it, feel free to not read the article.
If everyone was doing their best to help the living, I would have no issue with it.
Draw your own conclusions.
"President Bush apologized Thursday for the humiliation suffered by Iraqi prisoners at the hands of U.S. soldiers.."
"President Clinton has apologized to the elderly black survivors of a government-run study of untreated syphilis."
"The significance of a presidential apology was recognized recently when the President apologized to those harmed by Cold War radiation experiments."
"In 1990, the U.S. president apologized to and compensated Japanese-Americans for their internment during the war."
That's a real pity, it would have been nice to see this go one step further up the ladder. But it is quite nice to see something this positive come from jgrahamc's efforts.
I want to see a knighthood though. By any standard, Turing deserves one.
Really the government needs to establish a procedure for posthumous pardons, essentially a 'posthumously pardoned under present laws'.
"I am rather afraid that the following syllogism may be used by some in the future
Turing believes that machines think
Turing lies with men
Therefore machines do not think"
The Turing story has Alan Turing, one of the forefathers of modern computing, and probably an idol, of sorts, to many of the readers here.
So on those grounds, yeah, I could see how the latter is much more appropriate for this site.
I suppose it is sort of interesting in a National Geographic, watch the natives with their bizarre religious customs, type of way.
Now if the perpetrators apologized I would be more impressed. But even if those folks did, it still wouldn't bring him back. If the laws in Britain today are already such that they couldn't do that sort of thing again legally, then, this is even more of an irrelevant event. Just one particular unfortunate situation that happened to one particular person a long time ago.
Of course, I hear there was this one guy who got literally nailed to a cross for just talking to people, 2000 years ago, and people are still talking about that today. That really blows me away.