Re:Saint Alan Turing
« Reply #30 on: 2010-03-28 16:22:58 »
I'm happy to see Bricoleur chiming in. And yes even that trollish Mermaid, I've noticed. Since she asked so nicely for me to unlock the thread, I'm happy to see that she knows how to follow through anyway. Since Hermit has made a new effective practice of announcing his Meridion rankings of others on the BBS, I thought I would honor his example and announce that I've upgraded him to a '5'. It does seem that with some passage of time, some though certainly not all of my negative judgements tend to evaporate a bit. I acknowledge that I claimed I would "never" unlock this thread. Congruent to some of Mermaid's gripes with my integrity, I was less than honest . . . exaggerating in this case the finality of my decision. And using the dogmatic word "never" even . . . the horror! Dog forgives me as usual, perhaps you can too. -Mo
Re:Saint Alan Turing
« Reply #31 on: 2010-03-28 16:42:13 »
I suppose I might even go that extra step and make some comment on what happened on this thread. IMO and the opinion of some others as well, the thread got bogged down in issues of homosexuality regarding Alan Turing's Sainthood nomination, during the course of which Hermit's stated opinion went from support and promises not to oppose Turing, to his polar opposition to the Turing Nomination on the grounds that Turing would be viewed at large as a "gay icon", and that the rest of the world would henceforth misunderstand the CoV condemning us to obscurity. Or something like that. Soon after this became apparent I deleted my posts and locked the thread. I think you can figure out that much by reading the remaining posts. Of course anyone is free to delete their posts from this ealier part of the thread. If you wish to edit a post, I suggest doing that in a new post, because the original post will show a last edit time after the thread was re-opened. All of Hermit's quotes of me seem reasonably accurate though obviously out of context as you might imagine - we were disagreeing a lot. At one point he seemed to be quoting me saying something like "because he's teh ghey". I'm not sure what that was supposed to mean, but as best I can tell that was a complete Hermit fabrication. Maybe it was supposed to be a joke I wasn't getting? :::me shrugs::: -Mo
ps I went back and read through it. It seems that Hermit convinced himself that I was going to write wiki that was all about Turing's gayness and about how "Alan" liked man-on-man gay sex, and everyone he had sex with, and how he was so open about it, and how wonderful for humanity homosexuality is, and shouldn't we all embrace it, maybe even try it out for ourselves just to be open minded and non-dogmatic, and that we should all march for Alan Turing in gay pride parades, and we should shame all homophobic politicians and castigate all gay hate speech and the bigots who use it.
Hermit, Well, other than sounding a bit ridiculous, and taking incredible imaginative license, and in fact being inaccurate, all I can say is so what? Even if it were true of Mo, why should that matter in whether or not you support Alan Turing as a CoV saint? And you certainly didn't wait for any actual wiki before you announced your opposition. Even after Lucifer provided the wiki, the best you could do was fail to support it, a failure of apathy. Should we consider hypocrisy and/or dogmatism --> apathy progress? love, -Mo
Re:Saint Alan Turing
« Reply #32 on: 2010-03-28 16:52:48 »
I'm also not planning on any mass deletions of my own posts, but then you only have my word on that. -Mo
ps. if you have any concerns about anybody else doing that on this BBS, (as anyone can do it, its not my secret trick or anything) you can always save your own copies of threads off of the BBS. I sometimes do that anyways, for convenience purposes. Sometimes the BBS goes offline for a bit now and then, sometimes I don't have a connection, and sometimes its easier to compose and edit with a real word processor when I get really involved in a topic.
If any one is accounting. Looks like b4 thread closing: Hermit 15 Mermaid 4 Fritz 3 Blunderov 1 MoEnzyme 1 + ? deleted posts = approximately 15 est.
Re:Saint Alan Turing
« Reply #33 on: 2010-03-28 17:18:13 »
In addition to any post mortems on the early part of this thread, I suppose we may as well get back to the original subject as well. I, like Fritz, am a bit more interested in the whole issue of suicide, re: Turing. As a general rule suicide is not the answer to anything. But as I say, its a general rule and specifics can trump. I also can reckon with mercy. Pointless and/or wrongful suffering has nothing worthwhile to recommend. Love, -Mo
I had trouble with the suicide, but as I refreshed my notions; he was for all intends and purposes murdered by people of the times and I still feel being an atheist was as relevant as his sexual preference for the prosecution; I think Christendom and alter boys clearly indicate deviant sexual preference when a devout Christian is involved was okey back them. Plus as pointed out below he was out in the open with his gayness so no KGB blackmail would have made sense. I will again underscore that this is my take and some of it is based on feelings.
Alan Turing, Apologies, and Cthulhu The British Government has finally apologized for its treatment of Alan Turing. Turing was one of the greatest mathematicians of the twentieth century. He was responsible for founding computer science and he lead the effort to crack the Enigma encryption used by the Germans during World War II. This work saved many Allied lives and according to some historians proved crucial to the victory over the Axis forces. Without Turing's work, our world would look very different. However, Turing was gay. In 1952, Turing was convicted for engaging in homosexual acts. He was forced to undergo hormone therapy which lead to weight gain and other problems. Turing's security clearance was revoked. At the time, homosexuals were considered a security risk because of the potential of blackmail. The fact that the entire risk of blackmail was because they were considered a security risk apparently did not matter. Nor did it matter that since Turing was publicly gay, there was no possible risk of blackmail. Turing's ongoing consulting work with the government was terminated. Turing's life took a steady downhill side. In 1954, he committed suicide.
I am ambivalent about this apology. On the one hand, it is good to acknowledge how horribly Britain treated one of the saviors of civilization. On the other hand, apologies to the long dead always strike me as hollow. The living always face more than enough issues that are of far more practical importance than assuaging the feelings of the long-deceased.
Rather than discuss the pros and cons of such apologies, I am instead going to suggest three pieces of further reading.
First, Wikipedia has an excellent biography of Turing which explains his accomplishments and his mistreatment in far more detail than one can easily do in a short blog entry.
Second, Greg Egan, an excellent science fiction writer, has written ashort story imagining a world in which Turing's life went slightly differently. In this case, "slightly differently" means had the assistance of a time-traveling robot. The story is more serious than one might think from that summary. The story looks at Turing's interactions with C.S. Lewis. I'm not sure the story is completely fair to Lewis overall, but it is very well-written and is an amusing what-if. Like most of Egan's writing, there's just enough plausibly correct mathematics to make it interesting.
Third, Charles Stross has written an amusing novel The Atrocity Archives in which Turing figures in the background. The essential premise is that Turing did not commit suicide but was assassinated by the British government to cover up far scarier discoveries he made (so presumably the Brits still owe Turing an apology in that universe). In that novel, mathematics is deeply connected to magic and thinking about certain theorems can accidentally lead to summonings of Cthulhu and other eldritch horrors. Turing was killed for discovering a series of powerful theorems including a proof that P=NP which if invoked improperly could destroy our universe. Unlike the Egan story, this is not a story I can claim has much in the way of serious merit. But it is very fun. By most accounts, Turing was a man with a sense of humor about things. I'd like to think that he'd smile to know that fifty years after he was dead, Great Britain would be apologizing to him at the same time that people were reading novels which linked him to Lovecraftian horrors. POSTED BY JOSHUA AT 5:19 PM
Source: http://talkingincircles.net/2008/12/24/alan-turing-on-religion/ Alan Turing on religion By PROBABILITYZERO | December 24, 2008 ALAN TURING was the father of computer science, as well as an atheist and a homosexual (at a time when homosexuality was illegal and considered a mental illness). These two famous quotes are attributed to him:
“Science is a DIFFERENTIAL EQUATION. Religion is a BOUNDARY CONDITION.” “I am not very impressed with theological arguments whatever they may be used to support. Such arguments have often been found unsatisfactory in the past. In the time of Galileo it was argued that the texts, ‘And the sun stood still… and hasted not to go down about a whole day’ (Joshua x. 13) and ‘He laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not move at any time’ (Psalm cv. 5) were an adequate refutation of the Copernican theory.” This entry was posted in ATHEISM, OTHER and tagged COMPUTER SCIENCE, QUOTES. ATHEISM, RELIGION. Bookmark the PERMALINK. POST A COMMENT or leave a trackback: TRACKBACK URL.
<snip>In 1952, Turing was arrested and tried for homosexuality, then a criminal offence. To avoid prison, he accepted injections of oestrogen for a year, which were intended to neutralise his libido. In that era, homosexuals were considered a security risk as they were open to blackmail. Turing's security clearance was withdrawn, meaning he could no longer work for GCHQ, the post-war successor to Bletchley Park. He committed suicide on 7 June 1954.<snip>
Author:Tim Teeman Date: June 30, 2009 Gay Icons at the National Portrait Gallery
<snip>A playful momentum is maintained by Sir Ian McKellen (whose heroes include Edward Carpenter and Walt Whitman, both looking beardy and lusty) and by Ben Summerskill, the Stonewall lobby group chief, who writes wittily on Martina Navratilova and Joe Orton. Sir Chris Smith chooses Alan Turing, the code-breaker who committed suicide. In the last room Sarah Waters and Sandi Toksvig surf from k.d. lang to Denton Welch, to Peter Tatchell, in a mock-police mugshot with the badge “Queer Terrorist”.<snip>
Turing The Biologist Olaf Sporns, 06.23.09, 06:50 PM EDT Another side of genius.
Most of us remember Alan Turing as a pioneer of computing and machine intelligence. However, one of Turing's most influential (and most cited) papers made a lasting contribution in a very different field of science, the area of theoretical biology.
Much of Turing's mathematical work focused on the formal description of the logical operations of human thought and the project to build intelligent machines that would embody the formal principles he discovered. Turing's contributions in this area will endure forever and he will always be regarded as one of the intellectual giants of artificial intelligence.
But there is another side to Turing's genius. Throughout his life, Turing was fascinated by the organized forms and shapes of biological organisms. How could something as simple as a fertilized egg grow to become something as complex as an adult organism? What are the physical forces that govern the appearance of organization in biological matter? How can physics and chemistry account for the shape of a growing embryo, the markings and pigmentation on an animal's skin, the branched structure of blood vessels or the rich symmetries of flower petals and leaves?
Turing observed patterns everywhere in the natural world. According to his biographer Andrew Hodges, Turing was especially attracted by the shapes and forms exhibited by plants, filling scrapbooks with pressed wildflowers he collected in the Cheshire countryside and puzzling about the appearance of sequences of Fibonacci numbers in fir cones. He also corresponded with a prominent neurobiologist, J.Z. Young, to learn more about the growth and plasticity of the brain. A theory began to form in his mind that would provide a quantitative framework for some of the most fundamental problems in biology.
His key idea was that morphogenesis came about by a pattern of "chemical waves," variations across space of chemical compounds that would serve to organize cells and tissue into biological shapes. In 1952, Turing published his theory in a landmark paper entitled "On the Chemical Basis of Morphogenesis." The paper originated a new approach to the mathematical theory of pattern formation, in biology and beyond.
Turing's insight into the origin of biological forms was all the more remarkable because it was achieved without ever having performed a single biological experiment, and long before the arrival of modern tools and model systems in development. Nevertheless, Turing provided an account of morphogenesis that required nothing more than chemistry and physics.The key idea was that a coupled system of as few as two chemicals (he referred to them as "morphogens") was sufficient to create stable patterns that resembled those seen in biological organisms, for example leaf whorls, pigmentation patterns on animal skin or the arrangement of appendages along the body axis.
A key factor in Turing's model was diffusion. The diffusion of morphogens was essential for setting up stable patterns across space. This may seem surprising since diffusion is generally thought of as a process that "evens out" deviations from homogeneity. Instead, in Turing's model, diffusion acted to create organized patterns out of an initially uniform medium. Turing showed that under specific conditions of chemical reaction and diffusion, the homogeneous distribution becomes dynamically unstable and a different stable pattern emerges.
Turing's work provided one of the very first models of biological self-organization. The ability of biological systems to organize themselves into greater and greater complexity appears, at first glance, to violate the second law of thermodynamics, which states that: Over time, the disorder or entropy of any closed system must increase. Nevertheless, many natural systems, in particular living organisms, manage to create order out of disorder. Turing's theory provided one of the first examples of how order could arise spontaneously.
Turing's theory was highly original. As was the case for his seminal contributions to computing and mathematical logic, his work on morphogenesis has few if any direct predecessors. Instead, Turing's 1952 paper represents a true singularity, the origin of an entirely new approach to the theoretical understanding of biological systems.
Turing dreamed of "building a brain," a machine that could replicate human thought and intelligence. Turing's dream has yet to become a reality. But he was the first to grasp and formulate some of main theoretical ideas that may make artificial intelligence a reality at some point in the future.
Today, many of us who still pursue Turing's dream see great promise in combining computation and self-organization in an attempt to capture and replicate the capacity of the dynamic networks of the brain to process, create and represent information.
Alan Turing was not to see the coming revolution in modern biology, or the advances of neuroscience in deciphering the workings of the brain. In my mind it is certain that, had he lived, we would now be much closer to understanding how intelligence emerges from patterns in brain and mind.
Back to the AI Report
Olaf Sporns is professor of psychology and cognitive science at Indiana University.
Alan Mathison Turing, OBE, FRS (23 June 1912 – 7 June 1954), was an English mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, and computer scientist. He was influential in the development of computer science and providing a formalisation of the concept of the algorithm and computation with the Turing machine, playing a significant role in the creation of the modern computer. (from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Turing)
For his monumental achievements and vast influence the Church of Virus voted for Turing's illumination as a VirianSaint on March 21, 2010
Often considered the founder of computer science, Alan Turing's work in mathematics led him to envision the first digital computer. The Turing Machine would read a series of ones and zeroes, interpreting them to perform an ordered and repeatable sequence of steps. His machine introduced the concept of the multi-purpose computer. His concepts introduced the algorithm as a means of solving any problem by way of a sequence of well-conceived steps.
Turing's interest in biological processes and his belief that a machine could be created to mimic the process of the human brain ushered in the era of artificial intelligence. He conceived of the Turing Test, a method of proving or disproving the presence of intelligence in a machine. If an objective observer, by way of questions posed from a keyboard, could not reliably identify a machine from a person, the machine would have passed the Turing Test. Successful achievement of the test remains a primary goal of today's artificial intelligence researchers.
During World War II, Turing was an instrumental member of the team from the Department of Communications in Great Britain that deciphered German codes generated by the Enigma machine.
In recognition of his monumental achievements in the advancement and realization of computers and computer science, significant contributors to the field are recognized by the A.M. Turing Award. Bestowed by the Association for Computing Machinery and sponsored by Intel, the award recognizes major contributions of lasting significance to the computer field. Its list of recipients constitutes a veritable Who's Who of computer science.
Turing was awarded an undergraduate degree in mathematics from King's College, Cambridge, in 1934. He received a Ph.D. from Princeton in logic, algebra, and number theory in 1938. He was a fellow of King's College and of the Royal Society, and a recipient of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). (from http://www.sis.pitt.edu/~mbsclass/hall_of_fame/turing.html)
Turing never described himself as a philosopher, but his 1950 paper “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” is one of the most frequently cited in modern philosophical literature. It gave a fresh approach to the traditional mind-body problem, by relating it to the mathematical concept of computability he himself had introduced in his 1936-7 paper “On computable numbers, with an application to the Entscheidungsproblem.” His work can be regarded as the foundation of computer science and of the artificial intelligence program. (from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/turing/)
Views of Alan Turing; I see a subtext that Turing's religious views were a threat to the pious establishment and his sexual preference were the political vehicle to dispatch him.
Thanks Fritz. I watched the videos. The last one, while interesting didn't seem to be about Alan Turing.
I first knew of Turing through the Turing Test, and the concept of the Turing Machine. Since being in the Church of Virus I've had many occasions to read up on Turing, mostly through internet resources fittingly enough. The man was such a creative workhorse that we are still only just beginning to understand all the intellectual gifts he left us. From what I've read he seemed uncommonly honest and driven. Although he had a few important collaborations throughout his life, it seems that most of the time he worked alone with his assistants.
A few things that also strike me about Turing: He was politically active against the UK joining WWII, however once war arrived he was probably the most important weapon in the Allies arsenal. Because the US had to rely on the UK for Turing's code breaking abilities, Turing became the defacto first high level intelligence liason between the US and the UK. So for all practical matters it was his thoughtful, frequently candid yet consciously discreet ways which paved the way for the much closer relationship between the US and UK post WWII.
p.s. oh yeah, he was also friends with Ludwig Wittgenstein whom he studied under at Cambridge. Just one of many high powered intellects he interacted with throughout his life.
<snip> Thanks Fritz. I watched the videos. The last one, while interesting didn't seem to be about Alan Turing.
-Mo <snip>friends with Ludwig Wittgenstein whom he studied under at Cambridge. Just one of many high powered intellects he interacted with throughout his life.
I like the Wittgenstien link .... and the last vid was one of 10 from the BBC that for me really underscored the harm religion played and continues to play, in the wrecking of the lives of smart people. Religion naturally selects for sheep and our humanity is lesser for it.
if we are to have a gay icon for cov, i'd like to nominate liberace.
will there be a vote?
While I'm sure he's got something to be said for himself in other respects, I think Liberace is a real crappy choice as a gay icon. He never claimed to be gay, and he sued the Daily Mirror for libel and won upon his claim that he was not homosexual. And maybe it was a good day in court but it certainly doesn't make him a gay icon and your claim would presumably offend him if he were still alive. Obviously you didn't think about this, which seems par for course with you. You merely wanted to insert yourself into some CoV drama with nothing important to say . . . also very much like your history. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberace#Lawsuits_and_alleged_homosexuality
[snip] THE NINE GAYEST MEN OF ALL TIME Last Sunday was the annual Gay Pride Parade here in West Hollywood, the city with the highest percentage of openly homosexual citizens in the world. And in the midst of all the continued controversy over gay marriage, as well as this recent brouhaha over including historical figures' sexual preferences in school textbooks, I thought I'd pay a little tongue-in-cheek tribute to the nine gayest men through the ages. [snip] 9. Freddie Mercury. Of all the British pop stars of the 70's and 80's to choose from - Elton John? George Michael? Boy George? - I have to go with Mercury as the gayest. For his flaming stage name (he was born Farrokh Bulsara), his macho moustache, his chest-exposing leotards, his love for opera, the fact that he called his band Queen for crying out loud, and finally, and sadly, for succumbing to that grim rite of passage for so many gay men in the 80's: AIDS.
It looks like we still need to update our Webpage at http://www.churchofvirus.org/saints.html, but as of a few months ago, Alan Turing became our third saint along with Charles Darwin and Hypatia of Alexandria.
Re:Saint Alan Turing
« Reply #44 on: 2010-09-19 13:46:15 »
Today completes the final details of illuminating Saint Alan Turing. Of course he was illuminated earlier this year, but thanks to the good work of Lucifer, today our webpage reflects this latest upgrade to our doctrine. http://www.churchofvirus.org/saints.html