I was listening to a scientist interviewed on NPR today. He described his horror at watching chimpanzees hunt down monkeys and tear them apart, eating them alive as their prey howled in agony.
Naturally, being me, my human exceptionalism radar went up. I looked it up, and sure enough, they eat monkeys alive, meaning: Chimps are psychopaths!
Except they’re not. They’re chimps. They don’t have a moral nature. Thus, their torture of the monkeys is merely an expression of instinctive chimp nature.
We, in contrast, do have moral natures. Any human who acted like a chimp on a hunting frenzy would be rightly deemed a “Hannibal Lecter” psychopath, a person with a profound psychological disorder utterly lacking in empathy.
For all of you “chimps are people too” types–you know who you are–human moral accountability is just one reason why we are exceptional and chimps are not.