New Course – Ancient Science & Its Relevance to the History of Freethought – Dr Richard Carrier

Richard Carrier (Ph.D., Columbia University) will teach you the accomplishments and place of scientists in Greece and Rome, and the ensuing battle over scientific values between Christian and Pagan intellectuals, and what this means for the history of freethought.

Based on Richard Carrier’s Columbia University dissertation and now published as a book, this course will astound you with what ancient scientists thought and accomplished and how they laid the groundwork for modern science, to be recovered and built upon only after a thousand years of Christian rule in the West. We will also cover the achievements of ancient technology, and the reasons why both the Industrial and Scientific Revolutions did not happen then but over a thousand years later. We will compare and contrast Pagan values with Christian in the first three centuries and what effect those values had on the pursuit and progress of science then and thereafter; and what role that connection played in the history of freethought. We will explore ancient scientific progress: it’s reality, and what ancient observers thought about it. We will learn some of the debates over methods and results scientists were then engaged in and how they anticipated modern science. Students will also get to ask an expert in the subject any and all questions they have about ancient science, technology, and philosophy, and the interaction of religion and science in the ancient world.

start/end dates – January 1 / January 31, 2018
DEADLINE for registration – January 10

Secular sage level registration- $79 (choose ‘Carrier-Ancient Science’ on the next screen)
Academy Certificate registration- $139 (choose ‘Carrier-Ancient Science-cert’ on the next screen)

Schedule: Specific reading and discussion goals are set for every week, completing four units in four weeks, but within that framework you can participate in every element on your own time. There are no live events to be missed. One book is required reading (see below). Everything else about the course is provided inside the classroom website. Course lectures, academic papers, links to websites, and forums for discussions with the instructor and students are included in the Moodle website classroom. Visit the class anytime to contribute your posts and receive Dr. Carrier’s replies in discussion forums.

Course Reading: The required course text (which students must purchase, in print or electronic form) is Richard Carrier, The Scientist in the Early Roman Empire. All other materials will be provided for free, including research papers discussed, and excerpts from critical scholarly editions of the Bible in the original Greek, public online tools, and other readings and resources.

GENERAL INFORMATION: Online classrooms and their discussion threads are accessible 24/7, so you can participate at any hour of the day when there’s some time in your busy schedule. Instructors will not be on live video and you won’t be either – there is nothing happening on camera and no particular time of day you have to be present. If a pre-recorded video is posted, you can view it at your convenience. There’s nothing ‘live’ to be missed, and course instructors respond individually and promptly to all questions and comments. Instructors lead everyone through lectures and readings, but no attendance is taken and there are no assignments to complete – instructors are always available when you are ready to engage them about what is on your mind.

Ask Richard about his course by posting on his facebook wall at

Richard Carrier
Richard Carrier, PhD, is the renowned author of Sense and Goodness without God and Proving History, as well as numerous articles online and in print. He received his PhD in ancient history from Columbia University in 2008, and now specializes in the modern philosophy of naturalism, the origins of Christianity, and the intellectual history of Greece and Rome. For more about Richard and his work visit