Survival of the Fittest is what dictates morality in Nature - there is no such thing as any "inherent respect" that does not bow itself before something of greater power there. Expecting to find the basis for an "optimal moral code" without objective guidance, expecting to find something that is subjective and not absolute, is inviting the opinions of a clever master over a witless slave. What you are essentially saying is that the weak should simply bow down and accept whatever the strong decide is right - not surprisingly, the exact moral system we are currently living under today.
What I find written in this post, then, is an elegant mash-up of Hegelian dialectic and the psychological progression of Nietzsche's Herd Morality. Yet, both this method and observation are only at the possible disposal of the human race - elevated above Nature with the ability to understand and create beyond their physical environment, living a dual existence. Anyone who believes that this ability somehow occurred because of Natural Selection is denying the empirical and scientific evidence in favor of their own faith and convictions of atheism.
To shirk the responsibility of mankind - a being above mere animal - is the easiest way to win the favor of your human handlers after all.
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