A Reddit-inspired campaign is pushing for Alan Turing, a World War II hero, to replace Charles Darwin on the back of the British £10 note.
In the space of three hours, since I submitted my own signature on the e-petition, it has raised another 2,000 signatories. In that same three hours, the Reddit up-voting has risen from 200 votes to 1,700 at the time of writing; once again showing the powerful viral nature of the news-sharing site.
A slap in the face to evolutionists and a probable cause for celebration for creationists, the Royal Mint has had Darwin as its purple-headed representative since 2000. Twelve years later, and with a twist in the technological society we live in, Turing as the replacement would not only be appropriate, but highly fitting.
The Royal Mint is currently on Series F, where philosopher Adam Smith remains on the £20 note, with inventor James Watt and business partner Matthew Boulton reside on the £50 note, the highest denomination of British currency.
Series F £10 are yet to be designed, and could be where Turing's head could land if the e-petition is successful. The government hosted e-petition system allows for ordinary members of the British society to submit their thoughts and opinions on laws, policy, and ultimately, a right to free speech in an age of open government.
If an e-petition gains more than 100,000 signatures, it will be eligible for a debate in the UK House of Commons, and could become law.
Why Turing deserves it
Cambridge graduate Alan Turing was the founding father of computing. An English mathematician, he was brought to Bletchley Park during World War II, which was then home to GCHQ, the UK's signals and electronics interception agency.
He cracked codes and helped in the construction of the Colossus, the world's first electronic, digital and programmable computer. The machine went on to read encrypted German messages during the war, and ultimately not only prevented millions of lives being lost and helped bring the war to a close, but also spurred on the very foundations of the computing revolution.
World War II was a conflict won through intelligence, and having the upper hand in tactic and strategy. Turing's work, at least on the home front, won the Allies the war.
But in 1952, he was arrested and convicted of homosexuality --- then a British law, which was ultimately repealed in 1967. To avoid prison, he was subject to Nazi-esque medical 'experiments' where he would be injected with oestrogen for a year, with the doctors' intention of minimising or neutralising his libido.
He lost his national security clearance, something vital to his job and his work. He committed suicide on June 7, 1954, aged only 41.
Then Labour prime minister Gordon Brown issued an unequivocal apology in September 2009 for the "horrifying" and "utterly unfair" treatment he suffered. But the current Conservative justice minister Lord McNally refused to pardon Turing because of what was then a criminal offence.
Of all people in this day of whizzing machines, high-speed Internet, supercomputers and cloud datacenters, along with his valiant efforts, which arguably won the Allies the war against the Nazis, I cannot think of a single person in the past hundred years more deserving of such an honour.
So let's make it happen. Here's the petition. If you are a British citizen, I urge you to sign it.
Image credit: C. Osborne/ZDNet.
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