Scientists to Probe Immortality With $5 Million Fund

An award from the John Templeton Foundation will seek to answer important scientific questions about immortality, such as how experiences of the afterlife vary across cultures.

What's the Latest Development?

Over the next three years, a $5 million research fund will be distributed to scientists, philosophers and theologians seeking to study immortality. Called the Immortality Project, the effort "may look at questions like how belief in an afterlife influences human behavior and how near-death experiences vary across cultures. In America, for example, many who survive such events report seeing a tunnel with a light at the end. For Japanese people, the experiences often involve visions of tending a garden." The fund will award grants ranging from $100,000 to $250,000.

What's the Big Idea?

Thanks to advances in neuroscience, many vexing questions about immortality are ripe for study. Whether the brain's physiology predisposes humans to believe in an afterlife and whether people who believe in an afterlife are more likely to behave morally are just two questions expected to be researched by the project. The increasing interest in possibilities for extending human life through science has also given fresh impetus to immortality studies. Futurists such as Ray Kurzweil, for example, believe that immortality will be achieved by uploading one's consciousness onto a computer. 

Photo credit:

NYTimes exposé reveals how Facebook handled scandals

Delay, deny and deflect were the strategies Facebook has used to navigate scandals it's faced in recent years, according to the New York Times.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The exhaustive report is based on interviews with more than 50 people with ties to the company.
  • It outlines how senior executives misled the public and lawmakers in regards to what it had discovered about privacy breaches and Russian interference in U.S. politics.
  • On Thursday, Facebook cut ties with one of the companies, Definers Public Relations, listed in the report.
Keep reading Show less

Russian reporters discover 101 'tortured' whales jammed in offshore pens

Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • Russian news network discovers 101 black-market whales.
  • Orcas and belugas are seen crammed into tiny pens.
  • Marine parks continue to create a high-price demand for illegal captures.
Keep reading Show less

What would happen if America defaulted on its debt?

Sure we know it would be bad, but what do all of these scary numbers really mean?

Politics & Current Affairs
  • At the press time, the value was $21.7 trillion dollars.
  • Lots of people know that a default would be bad, but not everybody seems to get how horrible it would be.
  • While the risk is low, knowing what would happen if a default did occur is important information for all voters.
Keep reading Show less