A research proposal by Tom Pyszczynski, a Distinguished Professor at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, and Jeff Greenberg at the University of Arizona has received funding by the Immortality Project at the University of California, Riverside.
"Religious and Scientific Paths to Immortality: A Clash of Cultures?" will examine why some people embrace pursuing indefinite lifespan expansion while other people reject it, and how the prospect of being able to live indefinitely changes people's investments in aspects of their religious and secular beliefs.
Grants totaling $2.3 million will be awarded to 10 research teams from the United States and Europe in the scientific component of The Immortality Project, said John Martin Fischer, distinguished professor of philosophy at UC Riverside. The recipients were selected from among 75 proposals, which were reviewed by a panel of seven judges drawn from the disciplines of neuroscience, biological science, philosophy and psychology.
The Immortality Project was established at UC Riverside in 2012 with a $5 million, three-year grant from the John Templeton Foundation to undertake a rigorous examination of a wide range of issues related to immortality. Fischer is the project's principal investigator.
"The research should push forward the frontiers of knowledge about death and immortality in various ways," Fischer said. "Hamlet famously said about death, ‘No one comes back from that country.’ But one of the projects hopes that we can gain some insights about death and the afterlife from immersion in a virtual reality that depicts a kind of survival after death. The projects thus explore a fascinating and wide range of issues through, broadly speaking, empirical research into the great questions about death and immortality."