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Curious as to whether anyone here has read Yuval Noah Harari's books Sapiens and/or Homo Deus, or has seen his YouTube videos on the subject of religions. Summarized extremely briefly, his perspective is that "liberal humanism" is the most dominant religion on the planet, and that (as he defines it), it captures both believers and non-believers under its umbrella. Its defining characteristic is the value and sacrosanctity of the individual and the value of the subjective perspective. There's more, obviously, but for those who have read him and/or seen his videos, what are your thoughts?

ejbman 7 Apr 11

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I am a fan of Harari And listen to his lectures. As well as Four Horsemen and many more. There is some knowledge to be gained. Better than wasting my time. Watching mindless TV.


I read Sapiens two years ago this month. It was very good, not a lightweight read at all but worth the effort.

I highly recommend following it up with Homo Deus. I feel sure you won't be disappointed.

@ejbman Thank you for the suggestion, I just put it on hold at my library.


Yes, I found them very compelling. His explanation of intersubjective belief is profound. We are genetically upper paleolithic hunter gatherers and all of our culture, government and religion are made up by the human animal. It is easy for we skeptics of religion to see through it, and everybody seems to understand fiat money, but all of culture? Yes, mull over that a while.

Agreed. The intersubjectivity discussion was very profound. I also found the perspective on "religion" very fascinating. I believe I'm increasingly becoming a Dataist, despite myself (or should I say, 'my selves', with respect to the section on us be 'dividuals'😉.


Sounds fascinating. I'll have to look.


Sapiens is a really good book.
I have read it and have it on audiobook. Its a good one to dip in and out of, much like Brysons Short History.

KarlM Level 3 Apr 11, 2018

Thanks for the summation. wow. That would be the ideal world, wouldn't it? Sounds like Tolerance to me. I was referred to Harari by another member and did look him up on youtube but haven't had time for depth. You may get learned discussion from this, so I'm adding this to my favorite post AND if I haven't already, I'll add you to the members I follow. ejbman. This somehow gives me hope for humanity.

I'm sorry to say, don't get too hopeful. Harari casts some skepticism on the current world religions (i.e., liberal humanism). For one thing, he points out that the sacrosanctity of the individual is an illusion. We are not individuals, we are a collection of subsystems which act in concert most of the time. Secondly, there is no reason to suppose that the subjective perspective is authoritative of anything, since it can be shown time and again that objective data is superior to subjective data, even (especially) on matters concerning yourself. He suggests that the next candidate for a dominant world religion might be called "dataism", or the faith in data. His case is very compelling. Already people are more apt to trust their devices (and the datasets behind them) than other people. Same goes for data about your body and experience. The question of "how well did I sleep" might be better answered by your FitBit readout that how you feel in the moment. Many of us would much rather use and trust the GPS in our phone than some person's directions, for another example. It's a fascinating, if somewhat bleak and mechanistic, perspective.

Ed Wilson has some profound things to say about the human animal too: []


I've never read it.

He has a lot of good insight into human nature, where we came from and what we now are.

@DaveSchumacher Oh cool.


Your going to make me look this up aren't you ?

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