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Do gender differences have a biological basis?

Watch the debate, held on 22nd of October of 2018 in Santiago de Compostela (Galicia, Spain)


There is currently a big debate about in which extent gender is a social construct or is biological one. There is a current that affirms that gender is a purely social and cultural construct that faces those who consider there is a biological component.

The existence of gender roles makes it very difficult to distinguish what similarities and differences exist between men and women in a natural way.

The social interpretation of being a man or a woman has given each person his or her function in the world before birth, which is why today it is difficult for us to discern what is biological and what is cultural and learned in the masculine and feminine. From psychology, many studies have focused on researching whether this distinction of roles is due to different innate aptitudes or, on the contrary, whether social inequalities are what created these differences.

Starting from this axis, the question that focuses the debate is 'Do gender differences have a biological basis?'

Team Yes:

  • Rosalind Arden, Researcher, London School of Economics

  • Ferran Suay, Professor of Psychobiology at the Universtat de València

Team No:

  • Angela Saini, writer and journalist. Author of the book "Inferior".

  • Pilar López Sancho, Research Professor at ICMM-CSIC and member of the CSIC Women and Science Commission.


Should science help us live forever?

Watch the debate, held on 7th November 2017 in Santiango de Compostela


Regueifas de Ciencia: Should science help us live forever?

This is the first international "regueifa". The debate will be conducted in Spanish and English, with simultaneous interpretation to and from each of those languages. It is the penultimate debate of the season and comes with the sponsorship of Portomédica.

Regueifas de Ciencia is an initiative of the University of Santiago de Compostela and is funded by the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT) of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (Spanish Government). It was first held in 2016.

The third debate of this second edition will take place next Tuesday, 7th of November at 8:00 p.m. (UTC+1), in the Facultade de Comunicación of the USC with one main question: Should science help us live forever?  There will be live streaming at


After the success of the first edition, which gathered more than 1500 people in the live events, and showing the same trend in this edition of 2017, Regueifas de Ciencia faces the final stretch of this season announcing a new event for next Tuesday, 7th November.

The debate: the topic

With the continuous advances in biomedicine and technology, we are getting closer every day to radically extend human life. Given this possibility, there are different approaches: there is a current that states that we are going to live for 1,000 years soon and that the origin of all disease is aging. However, it is easy to find scientists who think that stating that we are going to live so long or achieve immortality is, at least, an unrealistic assumption. There are also currents of opinion that consider that aging and death are part of our nature; that although it is obvious that we must treat diseases to improve the quality of life of people and avoid premature deaths, it is not morally acceptable to change our nature so radically and approach immortality. Of course, there are also those who warn about the challenges and consequences that the extreme increase in life expectancy would have at social, demographic and economic levels.

In short, we are dealing with an issue with many faces, perspectives and dilemmas of all kinds. The perfect subject to carry out an exciting debate, perfect for a Regueifa of Science: Should science help us live forever?

Defending the Yes:

  • Carlos Martínez Alonso, research professor at CSIC CNB (CSIC_UAM)

  • Aubrey de Gray, Gerontologist, SENS Foundation

Defending the No:

  • Vicente Bellver Capella, Professor of Philosophy of Law at the University of Valencia

  • Richard Faragher, Professor of Biogerontology at Brighton University


About Regueifas de Ciencia

Throughout 2016 and in the first half of 2017, prominent personalities from different fields jumped to the ring of Regueifas de Ciencia and debated on GMOs, security and digital privacy, the possible change of time zone for Spain, the relation of the food and beverage industry and our diet, animal experimentation in science and even on the eternal dilemma of whether science and faith are compatible.

One of the most interesting aspects of the initiative is precisely that the speakers have very different profiles: scientists, philosophers, writers, researchers, disseminators, journalists, teachers... making a great source of information for the audience on topics that might not be easy to understand a priori, and that could also be difficult to take a position on them.

This activity is intended to facilitate this task. Regueifas de Ciencia are free-access events which are streamed and recorded, making it possible to enjoy the debates a là carte from the website ( or the YouTube channel.


The debate

The debates are Oxford style, which means that there are two teams (in this case made up of two people each), a moderator and fixed times for each intervention (interventions, replicas and counter-replicas).

In addition, at the end a question time is opened so that the public can solve any doubts that may remain after hearing the arguments of the parties.


Electronic voting

Another innovative aspect of Regueifas de Ciencia is that the audience can give an opinion. Before the beginning of the debate, the audience is asked about which of the two sides they support, and they can cast an electronic vote with a remote. This first result is not shared with the audience or the speakers.

At the end of the debate, the moderator will repeat the question, the audience will vote again, but this time the data will be displayed in the screen to see and compare if there have been any changes of opinion in the audience.