Epistemology is the investigation of what distinguishes justified belief from opinion: it considers the nature of “knowing.” Dr. Yuval Harari would have done us a favor if he had begun Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind with this definition.
How do we know? Anything to which we are not an eye witness we “know” and “believe” by faith. The more I thought about this book, particularly the “history” up through about 12,000 years ago, the more I concluded that Sapiens is as much a statement of faith as is the Bible’s record of creation.
As I looked at Harari’s timeline and read early chapters, I tried to overlay Frankopan’s The Silk Roads, and his sense of how civilization developed and spread. I would love to hear Drs. Harari and Frankopan discuss the beginnings of civilisation and the beginnings of humankind. In Sapiens Harari traces human (homo) “history” back at least 2.5 million years. In The Silk Roads Peter Frankopan opens his book stating, “From the beginning of time, the centre of Asia was where empires were made.”  Without completely retracing steps along the Silk Road, it would seem that Dr. Frankopan’s “beginning of time” drops into Dr. Harari’s time line where Harari sees the first kingdoms, money, and polytheistic religion. 
Does the comparison challenge lie in reading a history of civilization along side a history of anthropology? Perhaps the two volumes may be allowed to exist side-by-side as different populations of the same species.  Frankopan’s history is more palatable since he restates actual recorded history, as opposed to Harari’s record of the speculations regarding the biological history of homo sapiens that would often be considered “prehistoric.”
Further curiosity wonders why Harari seems to dismiss religion as fantasy, offering no credence to the Bible’s answer to many of his questions. And yet he names Chapters 2, 3, and 4 after Biblical themes. Is this his condescending way of saying to Bible-believers, “Here’s the real background to your myths?”
Globalization has been in process for two million years, according to Harari. At that time humans spread from Africa to Eurasia.  Is that why we are reading Sapiens? Reading this book stretched my brain…trying to figure out why we are reading this book.
Part of my issue reading books like Sapiens is the dogmatic way in which theorized history is recorded as concrete fact. Archaeologists find the bone of a finger or a little animal dung and extrapolate details of an entire civilization. I do not doubt that there are literally tons of archaeological evidence about past people groups, and that many of the extrapolations are accurate. I would simply think that the “scholarship” would be swallowed more easily with display of a little more humility with frequent phrases like, “we think,” or “our theory is…”
My engagement with Sapiens is affected by watching a video of an interview with Dr. Harari regarding his newer book entitled Homo Deus. He stresses the achievements of humankind in the last century. “Humans have prayed to every conceivable god…and it didn’t work. Over the last century or so thanks largely to human ingenuity and scientific development we have managed to reign in, to gain control of famine, plague, and war.” 
If we have achieved all of that, why doesn’t Harari’s world view allow for the possibility that our ability to accomplish these things is, in fact, the answer to prayers? Part of God’s design and plan is “agency” whereby we are given the privilege to be His workers for the good of humankind.
In the video he continues, “If we are…solving these problems…what’s next? The next big problems of humankind will be to overcome old age and death…and to basically upgrade humans into gods… For thousands of years humans have imagined gods in a particular way. We are now seriously in the business of acquiring these traditional divine abilities and qualities to ourselves.” 
I admit that I am in danger of misunderstanding and misjudging Dr. Harari. But based on what I have read and heard, I have rarely encountered such arrogance, bordering on blasphemy.
I did find the book fascinating at points. Harari writes, “Our language evolved as a way of gossiping. According to this theory Homo sapiens is primarily a social animal. Social cooperation is our key for survival and reproduction…It’s much more important for them to know who in their band hates whom, who is sleeping with whom, who is honest, and who is a cheat.” 
We may fast-forward a few thousand years and encounter social media. Language is still a way sapiens gossip and continue as a social animal. Now everyone can know who is sleeping with whom, and to an extent know who is honest, and who is cheat (because if it’s on the internet it has to be true).
Harari asks, “…how did humans organize themselves in mass-cooperation networks…? The short answer is that humans created imagined orders and devised scripts…The imagined orders sustaining these networks were neither neutral nor fair. They divided people into make-believe groups, arranged in a hierarchy.”  America’s founding fathers believed in equality for all persons, yet categorized slaves differently.
“All societies are based on imagined hierarchies, but not necessarily on the same hierarchies.”  He claims that societies “created artificial instincts that enabled millions of strangers to cooperate effectively. This network of artificial instincts is called ‘culture.’”
Ironically, Harari’s definitions regarding religion are less offensive than his dogmatic explanations of societal beginnings that make no room for the validity of religions. Also ironic is his discussion of the development of “intelligent design” within humans  with no notion that these creatively intelligent beings came about because of intelligent design by a Creator.
In conclusion this book motivates me to do high quality research, with well documented reporting. I would like to produce scholarly work that would stand up in a court of law, based on solid evidence, and that would stand before reason.
Further speculation makes me wonder if these musings and rantings qualify as “reflective reading?”
 Peter Frankopan, The Silk Roads, (New York, NY: Knopf/Penguin/Random House, 2015),1.
 Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, (New York, NY: Harper Collins, 2015), Timeline of History.
 Ibid., 16.
 Ibid., Timeline of History.
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJ1yS9JIJKs Accessed 11/9/16.
 Harari, 22-23.
 Ibid., 133.
 Ibid., 138.
 Ibid., 163.
 Ibid., 397.