IRAS Webinar – Extraterrestrial Species: Will They Be Moral? Will They Be Religious?

January 28, 2021

Please join IRAS for the January session of our 2021 monthly webinar series, Science, Religion, and Society. On January 28, 2021 IRAS will host a live session, featuring:

Dr. Christopher J. Corbally, SJ, adjunct astronomer at University of Arizona and the Vatican Observatory, and

Dr. Margaret Boone Rappaport, cultural anthropologist, biologist, and Co-Founder of The Human Sentience Project, LLC.

Initial Respondent: Jennifer J. Wiseman, Director of the AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER) program at AAAS, and an astrophysicist at NASA.

January 28, 2021 at 4:00 pm Central time, 5:00 Eastern time

Presentation Overview:  Interpretations have been made of a currently narrow range of signal types that humans can record from interstellar sources, to determine if distant life forms exist. This talk briefly surveys the types of signals now available and what they and others could reveal about distant life forms in the future. The presenters then explore the assessment of intelligent species if they visit Earth. They ask which observable signs could indicate self-awareness, social behavior, and ethical thinking, and how humans can test for the presence     of ethics, religion, and culture. A “Goldilocks Evolutionary Sequence” of neurocognitive features is presented, which can be operationalized as a plan to vet interstellar visitors and      a protocol for negotiating with them.  

Presentation Background:

Christopher J. Corbally, S.J., Ph.D., 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. He is an Adjunct Associate Astronomer at the Department of Astronomy, University of Arizona, and ministers to a wide variety of Catholics, including Native Americans, in Tucson, Arizona. He is the Co-Founder of The Human Sentience Project, LLC.

Margaret Boone Rappaport, Ph.D. is a cultural anthropologist and biologist who works in human cognitive evolution, and as a futurist, lecturer, and author in Tucson, Arizona. As President, Policy Research Methods, Incorporated, she conducted research for federal agencies for 30 years. She lectured at Georgetown and George Washington Universities. Dr. Rappaport is also a prize-winning short story and poetry writer, and the Co-Founder of The Human Sentience Project, LLC.

The IRAS webinar is FREE but registration is required: