Counterpoint by Mark Nicol – The super-dominant predator

| November 19, 2020

“What a piece of work is man,
How noble in reason,
How infinite in faculty,
In form and moving, how express and admirable,
In action how like an Angel,
In conception how like a God,
The beauty of the world,
The paragon of animals.”

The super-dominant predator is a species, which via exclusive evolutionary process achieves not just apex predatory status over one ecosystem, but manipulative control over an entire geoecological domain. From the one model exhibit known, we perceive the exacting evolutionary conditions, which forge this super-dominant species.

The birthing place of this animal is, firstly, a planet availing the spontaneous or seeded generation of life forms. From the known statistical data we take this variety of planet to be extraordinarily rare. When single-cell life is progenated on such a rare planet, a further, extraordinary fortuity of conditions must avail the protracted evolution of enormously variegated and inter-dependent life forms.

This process of biological evolution will entail the sequential production of formally similar but idiosyncratically diversified forms, via lateral speciation. It will also entail the sequential production of increasingly sophisticated, more functionally complex life forms, via a process of hierarchical speciation.

Two critical processes, biological and evolutional, respectively universal and highly selective, may lead to culminating generation of the super-dominant predator.

Firstly, following generation of the first single-cell life forms, a cannibalistic paradox will develop as the secondary foundation of a symbiotic ecosystem. Rudimentary life forms will achieve metabolic sustenance via chemical and perhaps light uptake, converting inorganic matter and energy sources. More complex life forms will predate upon the store of vital chemical/energy wealth concentrated in other species, therein founding a near ubiquitous nurture/depredation paradigm.

Secondly, via hierarchical evolution, the impetus towards increasingly complex predatory/evasive functions will predicate for initial, then for increasing generation of cognitive apparatus in higher species. From the one genealogy leading to an SDP known, the coordination complexities entailed in swift arboreal movement were a fashioning precursor for generation of such sophisticated brain, cognitive functioning.

The determinant phase for production of the SDP will involve a transition in availing evolutional modality. This is the evidence taken from the script of the known SDP. Genetic production of a highly intellected predator will eventuate via a final frenetic process of brutal selection. One race in the genetic lineage after another will assert its cognitive apparatus/depredation superiority, by directly or indirectly annihilating and supplanting its proximous but inferior genetic archetype.

From the known genealogical script the potential for further augmentation in cerebral apparatus suddenly ceased, natal mortality rates and neoteric periods increasing to levels denying any further viability of larger heads at birth. But, from the example, one last phase of neurophysiological alteration generated a final qualitative improvement. The special neocortex region in this brain compacted circuitry in a unique way, allowing for the generation of advanced conceptual thinking.

From the example script, we see that critical moment where one modality of evolution gave way to another, in the apotheosis production of the super-dominant species.

Just as the predatory/existential advantage achievable via genetic improvement of neurophysiology kicked out, the advantage achievable via cultured improvement of intellected behaviour kicked in. Improvement, here, is that evolutional process facilitating potency, proliferation of a species within its predatory ecosystem. Our example species here is Homo sapiens sapiens, as evolved upon planet Earth.

Biological evolution is that physiological process responsible for generating the base existential potentials of all living species on planet Earth. Cultural evolution is that intellectual process solely accessed, practised by Homo sapiens sapiens in this terrain.

Biological evolution proceeds via chance-probabilistic mutation of genetic DNA scripts. This is a passive process, only incidentally, occasionally, lugubriously generating successful, perhaps more sophisticated and potent existential species. Cultural evolution proceeds via the conscious generation of existential and expressive designs, technological, teleological. This is, according to the level of actuation, an active process of intellectual, moral, and volitional self-determination.

We see four definitive levels of intellectual, moral, and volitional pedigree, cultural modality, actuated in the procession of proto-human and human cultural evolution.

The Primordial-mode culture, nebulously defined and extant on Earth between c4mya to c100,000ya, was that collection of rapidly evolving proto-human genotypes which developed crude Stone-Age technologies, associated existential methods. In this still genetically evolving lineage brain size increased from 450cc to 1500cc, the emerging human species asserted itself as an apex mammalian predator.

The Primitive-mode culture, generated at c100,000ya by Homo sapiens sapiens, is marginally extant in morphed forms today. Wood Age technologies, complex spoken language, mythological art, religion, are signature innovations of Primitive cultures.

As a significantly intellected animal Primitive Man began to exert a predatory prowess stationed above that of any other terrestrial species. This is archaeologically evidenced in the disappearance of mega-fauna, wherever Homo sapiens sapiens became active. As to the alternate claim that the last Ice Age was totally or largely responsible for mega-fauna devastation? Homo sapiens sapiens survived.

The Ancient-mode culture, generated at 5,000ya, is prolifically extant in various morphed forms today. Ancient-mode cultures developed written language, some mathematically based scientific and engineering skills.

The key innovation founding Ancient-mode cultural prowess, pedigree, was the development of agriculture and animal husbandry. This allowed for settled habitation, urban construction, intensive populations, socio-economic specialization. These developments summonsed economic, political, religious, legal, military organization.

The Cannibalistic Paradox

Large scale inter-State and imperialistic warfare, depredation, emerged as vast material wealths became concentrated in monolithic civilized cultures.

Ancient Man asserted clear, emergent powers as a Super-dominant Predator. He significantly changed ecosystems by clearing trees, placing lands under agriculture, stock, eliminating many species via intensive, calculated predation. Mass land clearance, actioned by Ancient Man, began to alter micro-climates.

The Modern-mode culture, generated between 200 and 100ya, is the dominant modal culture on Earth today, albeit that this pedigree of technological, economic, military prowess has been on-sold to more aggressive Ancient-mode cultures.

Whereas the Primordial, Primitive, and Ancient-mode cultural forms were all generated by technological revolutions, the Modern-mode culture was first-up generated via teleological revolution. This was that protracted action, which replaced supremacist control over economics, politics, religion, law, education, expression, with the breakaway institutions of the Modern Liberal State: free enterprise, democracy, secularism, common law, universal education, free expression.

That proscriptive moral and intellectual discourse mandated by the Ancient State, autocratic and theocratic, had for five millennia stifled individualistic enterprise – economic, intellectual, moral. It was political establishment of the Modern Liberal State that thus paved the way for the scientific, technological, industrial and economic revolutions generating modernist existential, expressive, cultural prowess.

Modern Man asserts clear powers as a Super-dominant Predator. He has vastly altered most ecosystems via urban, agricultural, grazing, military, and entertainment usage, by depositing voluminous bulk and chemical wastes into land, water, air, by achieving a saturating demography upon the planet. As a pestilent fouler of global ecological, meteorological balances sustaining life on Earth, this Super-dominant Predator currently faces a critical intellectual, moral, and volitional challenge.

This is the ultimate existential challenge confronted by any solitary intellected animal, any Super-dominant Predator become sovereign over its sustaining biosphere. Such challenge will test the faculties and instincts of this animal. Such challenge will determine if this being has risen to become just a devastating tyrant, or is to become the Lord Protector of life in his domain, the granter of grace.

The fundamentals of the final existential challenge faced by the super-dominant animal are simple. Will this creature reverse the saturating, ruinous demographic occupation of its home planet? Will this culture reverse those devastations of ecological fabric, meteorological balances that it has caused?

Will the ascendant rational and moral voices in the unevenly pedigreed mix possess the clarity of thought and tenacity of purpose to command the collective vision?

Risen to certain levels of technocratic, existential, expressive prowess the intellected animal will likely sustain perilous conceits regarding its behavioural designs. It may conceive that such designs are impelled by rational and moral reason, by a fully developed volitional potential. But, upon close examination, crude egoistic instincts and reactive, inverse-egoistic ideologies will likely be the sovereign impetuses.

Ingrained instincts, stimulus/response reactions impel the actions of dumb animals.
The dumb animal is master of his destiny only inasmuch as pre-programmed instincts service existential expression, chance progression within a stable, sovereign ecology.

For the intellected animal finding solutions to exigent physical predicaments and revelations of materialistic opportunity generate technological revolutions. The attainment of real volitional capacity, though, requires a jump in moral sensibility, intellectual rationale. The mature volitional animal will embrace symbiotic ecological and social harmony alongside the tenacious pursuit of self-assertive expression – humility and nobility.

“Looking at the continuing devastation of ecological health and beauty on this planet today, and attributing this to man’s corporate culpability, the candid analyst must arrive at one desultory conclusion:

In terms of moral sensibility and volitional intelligence the average human being is just a chimp with a credit card. This does not belie the fact that, in express potential, man is now more than ever the paragon of animals …”