• EVOLUTION OF RELIGIOUS CAPACITY IN THE GENUS HOMO: COGNITIVE TIME SEQUENCE

      Rappaport, Margaret Boone; Corbally, Christopher; Univ Arizona, Vatican Observ; Univ Arizona, Dept Astron (WILEY, 2018-03)
      Intrigued by the possible paths that the evolution of religious capacity may have taken, the authors identify a series of six major building blocks that form a foundation for religious capacity in genus Homo. Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens idaltu are examined for early signs of religious capacity. Then, after an exploration of human plasticity and why it is so important, the analysis leads to a final building block that characterizes only Homo sapiens sapiens, beginning 200,000-400,000 years ago, when all the other cognitive and neurological underpinnings gradually came together. Because the timing of cognitive evolution has become an issue, the authors identify the time periods for these building blocks based on findings from modern cognitive science, neuroscience, genomic science, the new cognitive archaeology, and traditional stones-and-bones archaeology. The result is a logical, and even a likely story 55-65 million years long, which leads to the evolution of religious capacity in modern human beings.
    • EVOLUTION OF RELIGIOUS CAPACITY IN THE GENUS HOMO: ORIGINS AND BUILDING BLOCKS

      Rappaport, Margaret Boone; Corbally, Christopher; Univ Arizona, Vatican Observ; Univ Arizona, Dept Astron (WILEY, 2018-03)
      The large, ancient ape population of the Miocene reached across Eurasia and down into Africa. From this genetically diverse group, the chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, and humans evolved from populations of successively reduced size. Using the findings of genomics, population genetics, cognitive science, neuroscience, and archaeology, the authors construct a theoretical framework of evolutionary innovations without which religious capacity could not have emerged as it did. They begin with primate sociality and strength from a basic ape model, and then explore how the human line came to be the most adaptive and flexible of all, while coming from populations with reduced genetic variability. Their analysis then delves into the importance of neurological plasticity and a lengthening developmental trajectory, and points to their following article and the last building block: the expansion of the parietal areas, which allowed visuospatial reckoning, and imagined spaces and beings essential to human theologies. Approximate times for the major cognitive building blocks of religious capacity are given.
    • EVOLUTION OF RELIGIOUS CAPACITY IN THE GENUS HOMO: TRAIT COMPLEXITY IN ACTION THROUGH COMPASSION

      Rappaport, Margaret Boone; Corbally, Christopher; Univ Arizona, Vatican Observ; Univ Arizona, Dept Astron (WILEY, 2018-03)
      In this third and last article on the evolution of religious capacity, the authors focus on compassion, one of religious expression's common companions. They explore the various meanings of compassion, using Biblical and early related documents, and derive general cognitive components before an evolutionary analysis of compassion using their model. Then, in taking on neural reuse theory, they adapt a model from linguistics theory to understand how neural reuse could have operated to fix religious capacity in the human genome. They present a teaching tool on Religious Capacity in Action, and develop an example of compassionate decision making in very early Homo sapiens in North Africa. They round out their analysis of compassion by exploring theory in neuroscience on a standard decision-making model, and investigate what goes on in the human brain when a values-based decision is made.
    • HUMAN PHENOTYPIC MORALITY AND THE BIOLOGICAL BASIS FOR KNOWING GOOD

      Rappaport, Margaret Boone; Corbally, Christopher; Univ Arizona, Vatican Observ; Univ Arizona, Dept Astron (WILEY, 2017-09)
      Co-creating knowledge takes a new approach to human phenotypic morality as a biologically based, human lineage specific (HLS) trait. Authors from very different backgrounds (anthropology and biology, on the one hand, and astronomy, philosophy, and theology, on the other) first review research on the nature and origins of morality using the social brain network, and studies of individuals who cannot "know good" or think morally because of brain dysfunction. They find these models helpful but insufficient, and turn to paleoanthropology, cognitive science, and neuroscience to understand human moral capacity and its origins long ago, in the genus Homo. An unusual narrative capturing "morality in action" takes the reader back 900,000 years, and then the authors analyze the essential features of moral thinking and behavior as expressed by early and later species on our lineage. In what has primarily been the province of philosophers to date, the authors' morality model is presented for further scientific testing.
    • MATRIX THINKING: AN ADAPTATION AT THE FOUNDATION OF HUMAN SCIENCE, RELIGION, AND ART

      Rappaport, Margaret Boone; Corbally, Christopher; Univ Arizona, Vatican Observ; Univ Arizona, Dept Astron (WILEY, 2015-02-12)
      Intrigued by Robinson and Southgate's 2010 work on “entering a semiotic matrix,” we expand their model to include the juxtaposition of all signs, symbols, and mental categories, and to explore the underpinnings of creativity in science, religion, and art. We rely on an interdisciplinary review of human sentience in archaeology, evolutionary biology, the cognitive science of religion, and literature, and speculate on the development of sentience in response to strong selection pressure on the hominin evolutionary line, leaving us the “lone survivors” of complex, multiple lines of physical and cultural evolution. What we call Matrix Thinking—the creative driver of human sentience—has important cognitive and intellectual features, but also equally important characteristics traced to our intense sociability and use of emotionality in vetting rational models. Scientist, theologian, and artist create new cultural knowledge within a social context even if alone. They are rewarded by emotional validation from group members, and guided by the ever present question, “Does it feel right?”