“Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind”: Why Dr. Yuval Noah Harari Is Really Wrong and The “Zombie” Disciplines of the Humanities and Economics

It is generally a waste of time to debunk really bad ideas that so closely align with popular cultural beliefs and current academic trends.  But the I just came across the “Sapiens” set of ideas by Yuval Noah Harari and they are so uninformed about the basic medical science of the brain and behavior, in any species, they deserve to be called out – not at length though.

The “Sapiens” model is a good example of the latest in what I call the “zombie” bodies of knowledge and theories that dominate the humanities, business schools and economics and the social science.  They are “zombie” professions because they exclude any knowledge of the brain, but they are still “walking” and basically “dead” (languages).  If your ideas and professions don’t include a sophisticated and updated knowledge about brain science – your ideas are obsolete.  RIP

The “Sapiens” ideas are so wrong they can’t be unpacked.  However, from a pop(culture) marketing and sales strategy POV they are real crowd pleasers.  Perfect to TED Talks which are always, tendentious, and the best good indicator of weak, warm fuzzy ideas that sooth our brains.

“Sapiens” is saturated with magic.  The “Sapiens” model is based on the really old, Medieval ideas of human exceptionalism, anthrophmorphizing and the magical thinking of “cognitivism.”  All magical thinking has the central principle, and false promise, of “Mind over matter.”  Cognitive models of brain > behavior processes are just a post modern version of magical thinking.  And good for selling “Sapiens.”  Magic always sells best.  But magical ideas are not only useless in problem-solving but obstruct it.

On the magical ideas that “Sapiens” is selling…..if only…..

About the Author
Elmer Rich is interested in evidence-based problem-solving in professional, business and policy work. With an M.S. in Lifespan Developmental Psychology from University of Chicago, he works as a professional marketer and communicator in B2B/technical topics in financial services.