Thursday, February 10, 2011

Naturalism (SEC 224) w/ John Shook & Richard Carrier




For general information about online classes,
visit the CFI Institute Online main page


SEC 224: Naturalism
March 1 – March 31, 2011

Instructor: John Shook, PhD, CFI director of education
Visiting Lecturer: Richard Carrier, PhD, philosopher and author

This one-month, four-module course introduces the philosophy of naturalism by explaining its core ideas, examining what it is good for, and illustrating why it is a better view of reality than supernatural, mystical, or idealistic worldviews.


Course Topics:

·                            Reasoning and the scientific method

·                            Science's understanding of the universe and human beings

·                            How naturalism answers questions about morality, beauty, meaning, and society

·                            Making use of naturalism to better understand yourself and the world

Readings: Sense and Goodness Without God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism (2005) by Richard Carrier (students will purchase their own copies). Additional lectures will be made available online at no cost to students.

Your instructors for SEC 224:

[object Object]John Shook, PhD, is director of education and senior research fellow at the Center for Inquiry, and is also visiting assistant professor of science education at the University at Buffalo, teaching for its Science and the Public online program. From 2000 to 2006 he was professor of philosophy at Oklahoma State University. Shook publishes on philosophical topics regarding science, the mind, humanist ethics, democracy, secularism, and religion, and has debated the existence of God with leading theologians, including William Lane Craig. His most recent book is The God Debates.


[object Object]Richard Carrier, PhD, is the renowned author of Sense and Goodness without God and Not the Impossible Faith, 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 him and his work visit



About CFI Institute Online courses:

CFI 200-level courses are taught at an intellectual level equivalent to an introductory college course. We expect students to participate in the class discussion at their own chosen pace, and there are no other writing requirements and no grading. These classes are entirely online — everything for the course except the book is provided on a CFI website. You will read the course lectures, follow links to other webpages, ask your questions, and participate in class discussion with the instructors and other students on our website.

There is no specific time that you must be online. There is no "live" part to these courses, and you cannot miss anything even if you can only get online at 6am or 11pm — you can log in and participate anytime, day or night, 24/7. A certificate of course completion is available to students who do participate online (as opposed to only lurking and reading, which is also an unobjectionable option for some students). Completion of eight courses at the Expertise 200-level is rewarded with the Institute's Certificate of Expertise.

This course can also be taken for college credit through the University at Buffalo; contact Dr. John Shook for details.

Course Fees: $60 for general registration; $50 for Friends of the Center; and $10 for college students

 Ready to sign up? Register online here.


Explore our other educational opportunities at the CFI Education page
Questions? Email a CFI Institute representative
or phone (716) 636-4869 ext. 408.



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