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 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.