Some will find it strange, but I think it makes perfect sense. We have little data on death. For something we all will face, it's a topic most scientists avoid. There is little opportunity to measure and get hard data. Or is there? It's worth exploring, which is the purpose of this project. We have the ability to reach places that until recently were impossible.According to the university's website announcing the grant award, many anecdotal reports of the afterlife abound, but there has been "no comprehensive and rigorous, scientific study of global reports about near-death and other experiences, or of how belief in immortality influences human behavior." The research will look at a range of phenomena, including heaven, hell, purgatory, and karma. The grant is the largest ever awarded to a humanities professor at UC Riverside, and one of the largest given to an individual at the university.Fischer said in a statement, "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.
Death is an event that we need to understand on a biological, psychological and intellectual level. Gathering facts and bringing it together will be a daunting task.