Linked by David Adams on Mon 25th Jun 2012 19:32 UTC, submitted by Adurbe
In the News The BBC reports on a Turing scholar's recent claims that by today's standard of evidence, there's reason to doubt the commonly-held belief that the famed computing pioneer committed suicide in response to government persecution over his homosexuality. To be clear, he does not claim to have disproved the suicide theory -- only that the cyanide poisoning that killed Turing could well have been an accident caused by his careless at-home experimentation with dangerous chemicals.
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Comment by M.Onty
by M.Onty on Mon 25th Jun 2012 19:48 UTC
M.Onty
Member since:
2009-10-23

I agree entirely with your take on it. Given that we can't know for sure one way or the other, would personally prefer to suppose he took his lot with fortitude and good humour, as witness accounts from the time seem to suggest, rather than despair.

A small note of correction though:

"... the government was empowered to force chemical castration on any human being because of their sexual orientation."

As I understand it he actually opted to take the oestrogen treatment rather than the conventional punishment. Still scandalous, of course.

What is particularly unpleasant is that these laws had been largely unused for hundreds of years, with society and the law turning a blind eye to homosexuality as long as you weren't shouting about it from atop a pillar in Trafalgar Square. It wasn't until the late nineteenth to mid twentieth centuries that they started to actually enforce it. Hardly progress.

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