Institute Day, Mercy High School

Monday, March 13, 2017  ||  8:30AM - 2:00PM

Mercy Seal


Evolutionary Biology and the Development of Human Conscience

Rev. Dr. Chris Corbally, S.J. & Margaret Rappaport, Ph.D.

The Human Sentience Project, LLC, Tucson, AZ

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 their work changes as the findings in cognitive science, archaeology, and paleobiology change.

This Institute Day features an anthropologist/astronomer-priest team, who give a joint presentation on their recently published model for the emergence of morality and conscience in the genus Homo. Their approach finds no conflict between the domains of Science and Religion. Paleobiological findings support a natural capacity for “knowing Good” for most individuals on our evolutionary line. Speakers mention those individuals who cannot seem to “know Good,” but they emphasize – unlike many scholars of moral conscience – that morality and conscience cannot be learned from miscreants and unfortunate brain-damaged individuals, but from adults who exhibit and understand moral capacity. To flower, moral conscience must be taught through discussion, example, and practice.

In the workshops teachers are given a method and a topic for crafting five-minute Dialogues on the Reconciliation of Science and Religion that they can later use in the classroom. Participant pairs (or threesomes) choose from three scenarios and tailor them to their own experience. Dialogues are crafted with help from the speakers, edited after lunch, and then selected Dialogues are performed for the assembled audience. Discussion of the Dialogues closes out the day.
Administrators may opt to attend a workshop with Heather Camm Foucault (see below).

Margaret Boone Rappaport, Ph.D., is a cultural anthropologist and biologist who works int eh area of Science and Religion, and as a futurist, lecturer, and both fiction and non-fiction writer in the Tucson, Arizona.

Rev. Dr. Christopher J. Corbally, S.J., is a Jesuit priest and an astronomer with the Vatican Observatory Research Group, for which he has served as Vice Director, and liaison to its headquarters at Castel Gandolfo, Italy.

We ask... What is so special about the way humans think?

Workshop for Administrators with Heather H.M. Foucault-Camm

Teacher of Chemistry and Science Ethics, Padua Academy, Wilmington, DE

In this workshop we will explore one exciting possibility for the integration of science and religion into the high school classroom – the design of a novel course whose objective is to empower students to see how their faith can help them become BETTER scientists.

Already in its third year of delivery at Padua Academy with course enrollment increasing every year, The Ethics of Science helps young people explore the interdependent relationship between science and religion by asking them to consider the implications of Catholic social teaching in an array of pertinent scientific contexts. The course has been organized into four broad areas of study: (a) models for the relationship between science and religion, (b) precedent for the Church’s role in scientific advancement, (c) contemporary issues in bioethics and Catholic healthcare and (d) the final project.

Participants in this workshop will leave with the resources to help them construct a course of their own (i.e. possible module titles, literary sources, etc…) and student/parent feedback on this model suggestive of its profound impact and applicability.

I ask any participant the same question my students are asked: at what point is science no longer a service to humanity?




8:30 AM Registration Check-In 

9: 00 AM Opening Prayer - Welcome 

9:15 AM Keynote Address followed by Q&A

“Evolutionary Biology and the Development of Human Conscience” 

Dr. Margaret Boone Rappaport and the Rev. Dr. Chris Corbally

10:15 AM Break

10:30 AM Workshop - part I

"Teaching Tools for Conflict Reconciliation: Speakers Demonstrate Science/Religion Dialogues and the Task of Writing One; Introduction to Three 5-Minute Science/Religion Conflict Scenarios for the Workshop”

11:00 AM Workshop - part II

12:00 PM Lunch 

1:00 PM Workshop - part III followed by Q&A

1:45 PM Evaluation

2:00 PM Closing Prayer and Blessing


Location - Directions

Mercy High School,  1740 Randolph Road,  Middletown, CT 06457

Click here for directions.


Registration is Required

Through the generous support of the John Templeton Foundation and free of charge for teachers who register by February 28, 2016. After that date, late registration fee will be $30 per participant.  To register please click here.

 For more information, please email, call 860.346.6659 x 109 or register for the Institute Day.