This will be interesting for both believers and non-believers to follow. My prediction is that, regardless of the findings, neither side will experience any great gain or loss in adherents.
John Martin Fischer, a philosopher at the University of California at Riverside, will oversee a $5 million project to study “immortality.” As it happens, Mr. Fischer does not believe in the afterlife himself, but, with money from the Templeton Foundation, he will lead a three-year endeavor that will include multidisciplinary research projects, two conferences, translations of relevant philosophical work, and, naturally, a website. In a statement released by his university, which noted that this is the largest grant ever received by a humanity professor at Riverside, Mr. Fischer said:
“We will be very careful in documenting near-death experiences and other phenomena, trying to figure out if these offer plausible glimpses of an afterlife or are biologically induced illusions,” Fischer said. “Our approach will be uncompromisingly scientifically rigorous. We’re not going to spend money to study alien-abduction reports. We will look at near-death experiences and try to find out what’s going on there — what is promising, what is nonsense, and what is scientifically debunked. We may find something important about our lives and our values, even if not glimpses into an afterlife.”
(Read the complete article by Christopher Shea at the Wall Street Journal Blog)
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