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Immortality studies gets a big boost at UC Riverside

The John Templeton Foundation gave the university $5 million to fund research on aspects of immortality, including analyses of belief of the afterlife and near-death experiences.

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UC Riverside gets major funding for Immortality studies. (Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)

Immortality studies at the University of California, Riverside got a big funding boost this week.

The John Templeton Foundation gave the university $5 million to fund research on aspects of immortality, including analyses of belief of the afterlife and near-death experiences.

The Pennsylvania-based foundation said that it will give the award over three years.

The Los Angeles Times reported that philosophy professor John Martin Fischer will receive $1 million of the money to run a website and host conferences relating to the topic.

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Fischer will also be responsible for doling out the next $4 million to researchers worldwide.

“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, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Fischer insisted that the money won't be wasted on questionable "theories."

“Our approach will be uncompromisingly scientifically rigorous," he added, in a statement.

"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.”

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/120802/immortality-studies-gets-big-boost-at-uc-riverside