Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Campaign to win official apology for Alan Turing

Yesterday Richard Dawkins wrote:

I have signed the petition, although in general I am not impressed with apologies being issued for the sins of past generations. I think that attempts to make all modern white people feel guilty for the slave trade are ridiculous, and apologies to all modern black people are even more ridiculous. But Alan Turing lived pretty recently. Many of his colleagues at Bletchley Park are still alive, and Turing himself might still be alive if he hadn't committed suicide. He was of roughly the same generation as my parents, both of whom are still very much alive. Moreover, although the law on homosexuality in Britain was changed in 1967, the bigotry that gave rise to it is still alive and kicking, and it still has the force of law in much of the Islamic world. An official government apology to Turing would send a signal to the world, which needs to be sent. An official apology for slavery would not send a useful signal, because nobody, not even the most bigoted Christian, is nowadays in favour of slavery. I agree that in, say, another 50 years, an official apology would no longer be appropriate. But it is still appropriate today.

Also see my blogs on 13 June 2007 and 23 June 2007

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