Author Topic: A Genius Verses Ignorant Bigots=Tragedy  (Read 2170 times)

Offline Solitary

A Genius Verses Ignorant Bigots=Tragedy
« on: February 21, 2015, 11:53:55 AM »


The Washington Post
Joel Achenbach 7 hrs ago

PRINCETON, N.J. — Freeman Dyson, 91, the famed physicist, author and oracle of human destiny, is holding forth after tea-time one February afternoon in the common room of the Institute for Advanced Study.

“Let me tell you the story of how I discovered Turing, which was in 1941,” he says. “I was just browsing in the library in Cambridge. I hit that 1936 paper. I never heard of this guy Turing, but I saw that paper and immediately I said this is something absolutely great. Computable numbers, that was something that was obviously great.”

Pause. Then, with a laugh: “But it never occurred to me that it would have any practical importance.”

Oh yes, “On Computable Numbers, With An Application to the Entscheidungsproblem,” had practical importance, for it was arguably the founding document of the computer age. Turing — that would be Alan Turing (1912-1954) — did as much as anyone to create the digital revolution that continues to erupt around us.

Turing has been of great renown among computer scientists for generations, but in recent years his stature as a culture icon has steadily grown, and now millions of people know him because of the Oscar-nominated movie “The Imitation Game.”

The film focuses on Turing’s heroics in World War II, when he worked for the British intelligence service and played the key role in breaking the German “Enigma” code.

We see Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch, also nominated for an Oscar) laboring obsessively over the building of a code-breaking machine. After the war, he’s still tinkering with an elaborate piece of hardware. The movie closes with a valediction:

“His machine was never perfected, though it generated a whole field of research into what became known as ‘Turing Machines.’ Today we call them ‘computers.’ ”


Turing proposed a test that he called the Imitation Game. It would work like this: An interrogator asks questions. In a separate room, unseen, are a human being and a computer. Both answer the questions. Can the interrogator distinguish human from machine? If not, in Turing’s view, the computer will have become a thinking machine.

Turing did not have the chance to see the computer age flourish. Turing was homosexual in an era when that was a crime; charged with gross indecency, he avoided prison only by agreeing to hormone treatments, a kind of chemical castration — “as if he is like the universal computing machine where if you change the program you can change the outcome,” Isaacson says.

Turing, whose efforts to win the war remained classified for decades, lost his security clearance and then, apparently, his will to live. In 1954, he died of cyanide poisoning with a half-eaten apple by his side. The man who did much to invent the modern technological world may have left it after dipping the apple in the poison.

“Is that something a machine would have done?” Isaacson asks. “The Imitation Game was over at that point. Turing was a human.”     What he could have achieved if religious based laws hadn't driven him to despair.  Solitary
There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.

Re: A Genius Verses Ignorant Bigots=Tragedy
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2015, 01:23:02 PM »
I haven't seen the movie (need to) but am familiar with Turing and his work. That's a sad commentary on our society when a man so responsible for defeating the Nazis in WW II was driven to suicide instead of hailed as a hero.
You cannot have a rational discussion with someone who holds irrational beliefs.

Re: A Genius Verses Ignorant Bigots=Tragedy
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2015, 10:44:31 PM »
How hypocritical of Christians. It's fine to use the talents and science of a person while condemning them for some innate characteristic.

I can't even imagine the agony of chemical castration and the humiliation of being shamed despite all the work you've done to help your country and the world.

Only the religious are vulgar enough to pry into a person's sex life and broadcast it publicly. Yet they claim to have the moral high ground. What good did it do to shame this man? He did nothing wrong and proved himself beneficial time and time again.
Quote from: Jakeness
if you believe in the supernatural, you do not understand modern science. Period.

Offline stromboli

Re: A Genius Verses Ignorant Bigots=Tragedy
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2015, 11:00:46 PM »
There is a long list of great men who were gay. T.E. Lawrence, i.e. "Lawrence of Arabia" and......

--W.H. Auden, poet
--Michaelangelo, artist
--Leonardo da Vinci
--Simone de Beauvoir, author
--Cyrano de Bergerac, dramatist
--Lord Byron, poet
--Elizabeth Bishop, author; Poet Laureate of the US; Pulitzer Prize winner
--William Burroughs, author
--Caravaggio, artist
--Willa Cather, author; Pulitzer Prize winner
--Hart Crane, poet
--Quentin Crisp, author
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, author, naturalist, philsopher
--E.M. Worster, author
--Lorenz Hart, Broadway lyricist
--Frida Kahlo, artist
--Wilfred Owen, poet
--Andy Warhol, artist
--Tennessee Williams, playwright
--William Armstrong Percy III, writer, historian
--Walt Whitman, author
--Herb Ritts, photographer
--Christopher Marlowe, playwright
--Alexander the Great
--Frederick the Great
--Saladin
--Erasumus, philosopher
--Thornton Wilder, playwright
--Virginia Woolf, author
--Marquid de Sade, author
--Sappho, ancient poet
--Siegfried Sassoon, author
--Gertrude Stein, author
--Pyotr Tchaikovsky, classical composer

Some are questionable because they lived in an era when exposing themselves would be death or worse. But you get the idea. Da Vinci and Michelangelo almost certainly were gay.

Online trdsf

Re: A Genius Verses Ignorant Bigots=Tragedy
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2015, 04:03:57 AM »
Leave us not forget Alexander von Humboldt, Sally Ride and Nate Silver.  :)
"My faith in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total, and I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution." -- Barbara Jordan

Offline Solitary

Re: A Genius Verses Ignorant Bigots=Tragedy
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2015, 11:15:04 AM »
Who?  Seriously, I have never heard of them.  :doh: Wait! Yes I do, I think I'm getting senile.  I  really do have a health problem that may lead to this.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2015, 11:21:06 AM by Solitary »
There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.

Offline stromboli

Re: A Genius Verses Ignorant Bigots=Tragedy
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2015, 12:42:05 PM »
My current best friend is a retired gay interior designer with- say it- a fabulous art collection. He is a witty, talented guy and smarter than I am. I've never personally met a gay man that was an asshat, but I have limited experience in that area. Gifted often seems to go with being gay, and that is something I always respect.