"I am not an animal!" Jerry Seinfeld.
As one Jew to another, I think that Mr. Seinfeld would be deeply offended by Mr. Kaplan's empty assertion that man is but a mere animal.
Last time I checked, man was made in the image of his Creator:
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." (Genesis 1:27)
Indeed, though, Mr. Kaplan, reason does not rule us. We are prodded by the impulses of yetzer hara, since yetzer hatov was neutralized the moment that Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It was a remarkable marketing deception on the part of the Serpent, who in attempting to pump up Eve's self-worth, persuaded her to eat from the Forbidden Tree because:
"For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3:5)
Sadly, our knowledge of right and wrong does not translate into obedience to God to do good.
Yet this failing is endemic to our character as human beings. It is an amoral, flimsy, and offensive cop-out to charge that our propensity toward emotional self-aggrandizement is a mere "characteristic of our species." That is another empty, serpentine ploy, later akin to our first parents' blaming each other, and then the Serpent, for having deceived them in the first place.