Saturday, October 22, 2005

Shawn Hannidy behind the scenes

When you appear on television or radio shows, the interaction you have with your host varies greatly
Usually, you go on the set,  get miked up and make small talk with the host.  This pre-show chat usually consists of a few "get acquainted" questions like :"Now, I understand your position is...";  "What we want to focus on during our program is..."; "Now, our viewing audience isn't very sophisticated so don't use terms like 'nuclear transfer'"; etc.
After being seated on the set with Shawn Hannidy, he seemed oblivious to my presence.  Instead he tried repeatedly to throw a crumpled sheet of paper into a trash basket about eight feet away.  Each time he missed. 
After six failed attempts, he turned to me and asked me if I wanted to "make a wager" on whether or not he would succeed with his next attempt.  I've known enough pool sharks to know that ruse when it presents itself.
"No," I replied. "I don't believe in gambling."
The show commenced.  Hannidy quickly made a point of saying he believed "life begins at conception".  That is the traditional Roman Catholic and Christian Fundamentalist viewpoint which causes them to oppose the desgtruction of an embryo to create a stem cell culture.
In the few minutes not shown, I explained that reproductive cloning varied greatly among species.  While mice and cows conceived through cloning frequently had all sorts of abnormalities, pigs were (at that time) univerally normal.  Goats also seem to fare better than most other species with ten out of sixteen surviving and apparently normal.
After the exchange you see here, Hannidy did say to me as I rose to leave:"You did very well."
I resisted the temptation to say something like: "I always do well because I  really know my subject" and simply replied:"Thank you very much". 
I've worked with dozens of documentary makers from all over the World.  I've appeared on Fox, CNN, MSNBC, and the BBC many times debating cloning.  I much prefer a "debate format" because they can't edit your remarks.
Many documentary makers have treated me fairly: Japanese Public Television; ABC Australia; ABC USA; Sixty Minutes; John Stossel; John Daily and Comedy Central;A&E; among others.
The worst documentary makers were those from Germany and France.  One German crew wanted to film me printing Xerox copies of picture of my unborn twin brother.
Der Spiegel described me as "a living fossil of the gay liberation movement". 
The European theologians really hated me. They said I was a mad immoral egotist.  They described me as a "millionaire"(I wish!) determined to force my will upon an unwilling world.
I managed to testify to Congress twice.  When challenged, the Congressmen admitted they weren't really open to any arguments in favor of reproductive cloning, they just wanted to make it illegal.
So, these so-called "moralists" are actually immoral monsters denying me my reproductive rights and my unborn twin brother his "right to life"!
You can't win an argument about human cloning.  People have their closed minds firmly set against it based on science fiction mythology.
But I believe science will enable at least the "formula that is me" to live on into additional lifetimes.  I've devoted years of my life and thousands of dollars pursuing that dream.
I'm looking forward to going to the first conference sponsored by The Immortality Institute,( ), in Atlanta on November 5th.
We Immortalists believe science can find a way to stop aging and then reverse it, that we can achieve a theoretical immortality and "defeat the blight of involuntary death".
Yes, I dare to dream the impossible dream, to fight the approaching night rather than to be gently swallowed by it.  I fight for my own life and I fight for the life of my unborn twin brothers.  May there be many of them!
You may say I am a dreamer, I've been called worse. 


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7:17 PM  

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