New Online Course! Ancient Science & Its Relevance to the History of Freethought

Join my brand new class online! You’ll learn all sorts of valuable facts about ancient science and technology, especially the difference between pagan and Christian scientific values and accomplishments, and how the pagans, not Christians, set the groundwork for modern science and the modern freethought movement, and why they achieved so much more than the Christians were able for a thousand years after.

And if you don’t believe that account of things, you definitely should take this course. Because this is your chance to test and challenge the thesis with a close reading of the facts and an attentive interrogation of a leading expert on every point. This course will also be valuable if you want to hone your ability to argue with people who deny this account of history. And if you just want to know more about our scientific heritage.

Students will get to ask any and all questions they have about ancient science (and ancient industry, economics, philosophy, and technology), of a published expert who earned his Columbia University Ph.D. in the study of this very subject. We’ll do a close reading of my book The Scientist in the Early Roman Empire. Which you’ll also have to buy (in kindle or print). But you’ll get to explore it with an expert on hand to ask questions about it. And to ask where else you might go to explore further your favorite topics in it.

This new course starts January 1 (2018). It’s exciting! Register now.


Official Course Description: 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.


You can also read more on the Academy Certificate. It requires more work (from both of us, which is why registering for it costs more), but eventually gets you an official Secular Academy certificate of completion. Everyone else may register at the usual level, which allows you to put in as much or as little effort as you have time and inclination for. Easier for folks who aren’t sure how much time they have or who don’t need a certificate for it.


  1. Dr. Carrier – I have enormously enjoyed and cherished EVERY single book you have written and definitely look forward to reading your latest work. You changed my life, all for the better too. I wasn’t even aware that you had another in the works, but will be ordering this immediately. Thank you for the dedication and hard work, you’re changing the world for the better!


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