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Jewish World Review
$5 million grant to boost study of immortality
JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT)
Even a multimillion-dollar donation does not ensure a spot in heaven. Or at least that's what most religions believe.
But a $5 million academic grant, to be centered at the University of California, Riverside, may go a long way toward gaining insights into the possibility of an afterlife and delving into what science and culture say about immortality.
The Pennsylvania-based John Templeton Foundation founded by the late Wall Street mutual funds pioneer to help explore spirituality has announced the award and said it will be paid out over three years.
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UC Riverside philosophy professor John Martin Fischer will receive $1 million of that to host conferences on campus about the afterlife, to support post-doctoral students and to run a website for research on the topic. Then Fischer will administer competitions to dole out the remaining $4 million to researchers worldwide in the sciences, social sciences, philosophy and theology, he said.
Reports of near-death experiences with visions of an afterlife may be an important subject for psychologists and neuroscientists, Fischer said from Germany, where he has a fellowship until December.
"It doesn't mean we are trying to prove anything or the other. We will be trying to be very scientific and rigorous and be very open-minded," he said. Fischer described himself as skeptical about an afterlife but said he believed that "endless life without death could be a good thing."
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