World Civilizations

What conditions have allowed creation, life and civilization to develop?

Why Take This Course?

The law of entropy states that all creation moves from order to disorder. We see it all around us. Eventually, our new car becomes a jalopy. In time the threads of our clothes come apart. Something akin to entropy is also found in society. Our relationships decay without consistent care. Our communities fall apart without leadership and vision. Entropy is a constant foe.

World Civilizations

World Civilizations have risen and fallen throughout time.

However, under the right conditions, the law of entropy is stopped and creation is activated. For example, most fallen acorns dry up in the hot sun or never reach enough soil to put down roots. But when one acorn in hundreds finds the right conditions of soil, light, and water, it becomes a tree. One tree, under the right conditions, can eventually create a forest. Again, something akin to this happens in society. For example, the love of two people can create a family. A family can nurture confident and capable children. Confident and capable children can grow to create great communities, nations, and civilizations.

This contest between entropy and creation is the fundamental principle of this course—under the right conditions, creation, life, and civilization are possible. Under the wrong conditions, life and civilization fall apart or are never created. Throughout this course, we will tease out and discover these ‘right conditions’ as we chronologically tour the history of our planet and its civilizations.


Note to Parents – This is an advanced course for mature students. In this course, students are exposed to competing worldviews, taught to question assumptions, and invited to see the world from new perspectives. For example, in addition to competing worldviews, topics include creation stories from various cultures around the world, the scientific creation stories known as the big bang and human evolution, and an exploration of human history. We encourage parents to discuss syllabus questions with their students throughout the semester and help students navigate challenging material.

Course Framework

Unit 1Unit 2Unit 3Unit 4
What Conditions Led To the Creation of Our Planet, Humanity and the First Civilizations?What Conditions Led to the Agrarian Age?What Conditions Led to the Industrial Age?What Conditions Led to the Information Age?
What conditions led to the creation of our planet, humanity and the first civilizations?How did collective learning create the conditions for civilization to begin?What conditions led to mercantilism, colonization, and western dominance?What ideologies challenged capitalism and liberal democracy? What is the the next challenge to capitalism and liberal democracy?
What are creation myths?How did inclusive fitness, kin selection and reciprocal altruism create the beginnings of civilization?Why did capitalism replace mercantilism as the dominant economic system of the West?What are globalization, the Information Age, global trade and global governance?
What is the modern scientific creation myth?What conditions caused man to move from the social groupings of tribes to cities and then to empires?Why is Liberal Democracy a better fit for a capitalistic economic system?What are the conditions that led to the creation of our contemporary world?
What is entropy and how is it overcome in the universe?Why did monotheism replace polytheism in the West, Arabia, and Persia and then spread throughout much of the world?What conditions led to the modern revolution?What are the principles of futurology?
How did life begin on earth?What is the Malthusian population cycle? How did this cycle effect agrarian societies?How are humanism and fundamentalism a reaction to each other?

Texts and Materials Students Must Purchase

David ChristianMaps of Time: An Introduction to Big History


  • Recommended Grade: 12th (Senior)
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Versions & Estimated Weekly Hours: Classic: 5 Hours / Honors: 7 Hours
  • Format: Live/Self-Paced
  • Credits: 0.5
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