Although this is a interesting and more-or-less unusual idea as to what "makes us human" it unfortunately turns a blind eye to those with significant mental disabilities and ultimately helps to perpetuate the stereotype that such persons are not fully human.
Moreover, although it is alluring to try to propose "Quality X" as being the definitive characteristic which makes us human, I shudder each time some brilliant person wants to suggest that a mental capacity is what separates humans from other animals.
Now, maybe there is such a thing as "Quality X" that distinguishes us as humans apart from other animals, but lets make sure it is one that really speaks for ALL humans - not just ones with university degrees.
Lastly, with a number of your programs touching on or directly focusing upon those with mental disabilities, I'm baffled as to why you wouldn't pick up on this in your post, Trent, and note this as a problem with Sapolsky's notion.
In the end, if we accept Sapolsky's idea we are just finding another (apparently) sophisticated way to keep those with significant mental disabilities in the "sub-human" category – which seems not the least bit enlightened or humane. Maybe you folks need to go re-listen to your own episode with Jean Vanier or read some of Stanley Hauerwas' writings.
All good wishes,
Leif Erik Bergerud
More information about text formats