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The Human Sentience Project

The Latest News

  • Publishing on Mars Exploration & Colonization. We were delighted to be asked to write a chapter for an upcoming book by Springer, edited by colleague Konrad Szocik, on "Crew to Community; Delivery of Psychological, Social, and Spiritual Services on Mars." As an anthropologist and biologist (M), and an ethicist, clergyman, and astronomer (C), we have also contributed to two other Mars papers that are now winding their way through review at two different journals. They are:

  • (1) A paper on the ethics of human biology resulting from implementation of pharmacological, genetic, and cyborg enhancements that will aid crew in surviving in space and on the Red Planet; and (2) A paper on the severe dangers of human bone loss, and the ethical quandaries of implementing genetic engineering and other remediation to help Mars colonists survive. Konrad Szocik leads both.

  • To Be Published Sept. 2018 Festschrift. In our first excursion into Ecotheology, we trace the origins of theologically-based environmentalism in the 21st century, specifically in Christopher Southgate's poetry. Click for pre-pub here.

  • Just published: A set of 3 papers, "Evolution of Religious Capacity in the Genus Homo" in Zygon; Journal of Religion and Science  53(1), based on human genomics, neuroscience, cognitive science, and paleoanthropology. See Publications page, here.

Visit us on Twitter @AstronomyPlays. Our new book, Space Science and Astronomy Theatre (2017) is @AstronomyPlays. Click here for soft cover or e-book.

Our Mission

We ask… What is so special about the way humans think? 
The Human Sentience Project is interdisciplinary, addressing fundamental questions at the intersection of Science, Art, and Religion. Yet, it relies fully on the latest findings in the social and   physical sciences, so our work changes as the findings in cognitive science, archaeology, and paleobiology change. Said another way, the Human Sentience Project asks "Questions at the Borderlines of Science, Art, and Religion."

The Human Sentience Project looks for answers, starting with a foundation in anthropology and moving through existing findings from archaeology, evolutionary biology, cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and both primate and human genomics. We frequently find interesting intersections with astronomy, astrobiology, philosophy, and theology.

In 2015 we published our first proposal for what we call Matrix Thinkingª, and how it may have helped our hominin ancestors survive. It is derived from the theoretical concepts of Enhanced Working Memory¹, the human Socio-Cognitive Niche and Deep Social Mind², and in a context of the Social Brain Hypothesis³. We look at the Actual Functions of modern man’s adaptations with a view toward their Proper Functions in early man‡.  

A paper on our model of Matrix Thinking (click here) appeared in March 2015, as "Matrix Thinking: An Adaptation at the Foundation of Human Science, Religion, and Art," in Zygon 50(1):84-112. 

Our Goals

The Human Sentience Project has some very practical goals.

  • Development of new formats and innovative approaches for education of youth, adults, and the public, including, for example:  dramatic and comedic skits, interpretive dialogues, video presentations, web-based materials, and workbooks. One of the latest formats we have used is the panoramic poster, showing a wide sweep of evolutionary processes behind our "Advanced Domains of Thought" (Science, Religion, and Art). Click here for a poster example.

Chris Corbally, and Margaret Boone Rappaport
Founders of the Human Sentience Project LLC, Chris Corbally & Margaret Boone Rappaport,
in costume for the Astronomy Play,
"The Cassiopeian Supernova of A.D. 3054, or, Good News Travels Fast"
Performed at the Hayden Planetarium,American Museum of Natural History, 
New York, New York, on July 8, 2013,
for the Eighth International Conference on the Inspiration of Astronomical Phenomena.

  • Public education on common questions about evolutionary science and religion, and how to reconcile existing conflicts in the minds of many.  Public education on the commonalities of Science, Religion, and Art – the Advanced Domains of Thought for sentient beings on Earth.

  • Public speaking, in order to generate good discussion among individuals from a wide variety of disciplines who share an interest in human sentience and its origins.

  • Research and analysis of existing evidence for human sentience in the archaeological record, as well as evidence from laboratory testing in cognitive psychology, cognitive archaeology, and the cognitive study of religion.

  • Introduction of Matrix Thinking in the above formats. Since Matrix Thinking in Science, Religion, and Art helped early hominins adjust to their changing environment, a better understanding of it will help us adjust to our changing world.  The use of Matrix Thinking becomes a “Wellspring of New Knowledge for Our Coming Global Society.”


ª  “Matrix Thinking” is also a term also used in management training by Roger LaSalle, who contrasts it with “linear thinking.”  This is not the meaning we use, instead relying on a context of evolutionary biology, archaeology, and the cognitive sciences. 
Click "Bibliography," to the left, for the following full citations.

¹  Wynn and Coolidge, 2011.
²  Whiten and Erdal, 2012.
³  Dunbar, 2009; Stringer 2012.
‡  Fiddick and Barrett, 2001.

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