IIS2018 - Netherhall House


Framing a Christian Response to the Transgender Movement

International Interdisciplinary Seminar Communication Track

A day barely goes by without transgender issues hitting the news. It might be about someone transitioning from one sex to another, and how they have been received or rejected by their communities. It might concern the politics of rights for transgender people, such as which restrooms should be available to them. It might have to do with the causes of and treatments available for gender dysphoria. Rapidly changing views on transsexuality are making waves in popular culture, politics and medicine.

In the UK transgender people were first given legal recognition in their new gender in 2004 if they had been medically diagnosed with significant dysphoria (a perceived discomfort with their biological sex) and lived for at least two years in their assumed gender. A recent parliamentary committee has called for a simplified procedure based on self-declaration by the individual, free of intrusion by medical and legal personnel.

In many countries, an increasing number of young people are being referred to gender clinics and given puberty-blockers and cross-sex hormones to deal with gender dysphoria, although some of these treatments remain experimental.

For almost 400 years Western societies have embraced a scientific understanding of the world, based on physical observations. Thus, at birth, a child’s sex is determined by examining its body. This observed ‘binary’ system fits with the biblical description of created humanity as male and female. 

Most people experience congruence between their biological sex and their sense of gender identity, but for some people that congruence is lacking, sometimes from an early age, and they experience a degree of distress as a result, feeling that they have been born “in the wrong body”.

Within the Christian tradition, marriage is a sacrament involving the union of one man and one woman, and sex and gender are at the heart of the Christian message and the way that the Christian life is lived out. The Church is studying modern developments closely before it provides a fuller answer to gender issues.

In many ways, gender has become an ideological battleground. While everyone wants to help people with gender dysphoria, are the current ideas proposed by gender specialists helpful or even right? Is transgenderism part of a larger gender ideology? If so, how can one frame a Christian response to gender ideology? What has the Catholic Church and other Christian Churches said about this topic? How can we welcome transgender people while rejecting any ideas that work against human flourishing? And how should we speak about gender issues with both mercy and truth?

This activity is complementary to the Science Seminar in Netherhall House (4-6 January 2018) and takes place at the same time as the academic sessions of that seminar.


Thu 4th January — Visit to Cambridge

Fri 5th January — Academic sessions in London (including standing-lunch and coffee breaks), 10.00 – 18.00 h.

Sat 6th January — Academic sessions in London (including standing-lunch and coffee breaks), 10.00 – 18.00 h.


Netherhall House,
Nutley Terrace, London.


£50 for participation to the Academic Sessions, two buffet lunches and coffee breaks.

The excursion to Oxford or Cambridge is not included in either of the costs.


Those interested in taking part should fill in the application form and then contact Jack Valero (jack.valero@me.com) to discuss possible topics for student presentations during the seminar.


Led by Jack Valero, Co-founder of Catholic Voices

Can Science and Technology Shape a New Humanity?

International Interdisciplinary Seminar Science Track

Objectives of the International Interdisciplinary Seminars

Science is giving rise to powerful technologies which will increase our capacity for constructing the world and shaping humanity. Quantum computing and Genome editing (CRISPR/Cas9) are among the technologies with the most far-reaching implications.

Quantum physics, evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and computer science have brought results which seem to be of help in overcoming a flat materialistic view of the world and of human beings. Nonetheless, the fascination with new technologies needs to be enriched with reflection about how scientific results may contribute to discussing and answering anthropological, philosophical and theological questions relevant to science and technology.

Programme of the 20th edition of the Seminar

The 20th International Interdisciplinary Seminar aims to address the tendency of reducing anthropological notions to scientific notions and technological achievements, defining humanity merely in terms of what the individual can do.

Scientific sessions

Thu 4th January — Visit to Cambridge with scientific sessions

Fri 5th January — Academic sessions in London (including standing-lunch and coffee breaks), 10.00 – 18.00 h.

Sat 6th January — Academic sessions in London (including standing-lunch and coffee breaks), 10.00 – 18.00 h.

Topics of the seminar

  • Experimental science relies on observation. Can there be observation without the human observer, including his or her five senses?
  • Free-will and personal identity logically precede the formulation of scientific theories. Are rationality and science without free-will and consciousness even possible?
  • Experiments in neuroscience are persistently referred to in popular media as demonstrating that we make our decisions unconsciously. Do these results actually achieve what is claimed, and do they exclude responsible behaviour?
  • Determinism, quantum physics, many-worlds and free-will: Does quantum physics allow for the unity of randomness and control characteristic for purposeful behaviour? What can we learn from quantum contextuality?
  • Arguably, the beginning of humanity cannot be established exclusively by genetic evolutionary means. What are the anthropological implications of these limitations?
  • Human creativity cannot be reduced to deterministic computing. Could it however be reduced to quantum computing? And what is quantum computing after all?
  • Can we define what is human without referring to moral responsibility and sense of law?
  • Transhumanism: what are the possibilities and dangers of “improving” humanity?


Netherhall House,
Nutley Terrace, London.


£ 50 for participation to the Academic Sessions, two standing-lunches and coffee breaks.

Excursion to Oxford and accommodation are not included.


If you are interested in attending, please fill in the application form. This will ensure that you receive further information about the Conference as it becomes available.

Submission of papers

Authors are invited to submit a 100 word abstract to the Symposium secretariat, Ignasi Fainé (faine@leman.ch).


30th Apr 2017 — First Announcement and first Call

15th Sep 2017 — Pre-registration deadline

15th Oct 2017 — Final Call with preliminary program

22nd Oct 2017 — Submission of abstracts

4 – 6 Jan 2018 — Seminar


Thursday 4/Jan

Visit to Cambridge: Guest lectures at Trinity College, Old Combination Room. We meet at the Great Gate at 13.55.

14.00 Sebastian de Haro (University of Amsterdam and University of Cambridge): Welcome

14.05 Jeremy Butterfield (University of Cambridge): A Philosopher’s Perspective on Multiverse Proposals.

15.15 Denis Alexander (University of Cambridge): Genes, Determinism, and God (The talk will be based on the book the speaker has just published at Cambridge University Press).

Friday 5/Jan

10.00 Dominic Jones (Director of Netherhall House): Organizational Issues.

Antoine Suarez (Center for Quantum Philosophy, Zürich and Geneva): Opening Note.

10.15 Massimiliano Berti and Michelangelo Tirelli (SISSA, Triest): Quantum Contextuality: The Kochen-Specker (KS) Theorem

10.45 Stijn Kleijweg (Amsterdam University College): HV Theories and Constraints Imposed by the Kochen-Specker (KS) Theorem.

11.15 Discussion

11.30 Coffee Break

12.00 Maciej Besta (Swiss Institute of Technology, ETH Zürich): The Relevance of Graph Processing.

12.30 Alfred Driessen (emeritus, University of Twente) Aristotle, the Tortoise and Quantum Mechanics.

13.00 Discussion

13.15 Lunch

14.15 Gennaro Luise (Pontificia Università della Santa Croce): Metaphysical Identity: an Introduction.

14.45 Salvatore Chiavazzo and Lorenzo Correale (University of Naples): Determinism in Quantum Mechanics.

15.15 Sebastian De Haro (University of Amsterdam and University of Cambridge): On the Metaphysics of Emergence.

15.45 Discussion

16.00 Coffee Break

16.30 Marco Natale (IPE Business School): Infinite Chess: Winning and Tie.

17.00 A. Suarez (Center for Quantum Philosophy, Zürich and Geneva): Unifying Many-Worlds and Copenhagen in the Light of Quantum Contextuality.

17.30 Discussion

Saturday 6/Jan

10.00 Peter Adams (Thomas More Institute, London): Quantum Algorithms.

10.30 Kaustav Phukan (Amsterdam University College): On the Possibility of Reducing Human Creativity to Quantum Computing.

11.00 Giuseppe Napoli, Paolo Iaccarino and Andrea Schiano Di Colella (University of Naples): On Simulating Human Intelligence through Computers.

11.30 Coffee Break

12.00 Mark Fox (University of Sheffield): Experimental Attempts for Realizing Quantum Computers.

12.30 Vuko Brigljevic (CERN, Geneva, and Rudjer Boskovic Institute, Zagreb): Elaborating on the “Observer Question” in Quantum Physics.

13.00 Discussion

13.15 Lunch

14.00 Ignacio Monge and Maurits Vissers (University of Fribourg/Switzerland): CRISPR/Cas9 and Targeted Genome Editing.

14.30 Dominic Jones (University of Manchester): Sequential Processing in Nature, ‘Anything but’ in Scientific Computation

15.00 José Carlos Caballero (Cygnus Gymnasium and Nikhef, Amsterdam): Does the Experimentally Established Emergence of Life Imply the Death of God?

15.30 Jean-David Ponci (Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies, Geneva): Gender Studies and Transhumanism: the Dream of a Post-Gender Society.

16.00 Discussion

16.15 Coffee Break.

16.45 Conclusive Talk.

17.15 General Discussion and Suggestions.

18.00 End of the Conference.

Organised by Center for Quantum Philosophy