Well, if modern societies which have nuclear arms end up exterminating themselves (imagine the participants of the two world wars armed with nukes like select countries around the world today are), an external observer would conclude that the technological advancement contributed to their downfall. That’s why I mentioned that the circumstances are crucial in my earlier comment.
Imagination is just that, imagination. A vivid imagination correlates well with intelligence and creativity, both of which have potent survival benefits. That Benzene Ring example was just one such illustration.
That said, if you have dogs as pets you’d know that even dogs dream (if you don’t, then look up ‘dog dreaming’ on YouTube). Does the ability of dogs to dream imply that they are not the unthinking, imagination-lacking flesh-based automaton animals that certain Middle-East-origin religions project them as? Would their ability to dream imply that animals share something we do - an ability to imagine? Evolution supports this, while religion doesn’t (except maybe Dharmic religions like Buddhism / Hinduism). If animals can have an imagination, would they also have souls? This is the kind of questions a believer (in superstition) will have to contend with.
I'll admit my ignorance on this: I don't know of any doctrine of any religion concerning animals' ability to dream or imagine.
Nor do I know of any doctrine saying animals don't have souls.
I neither speak nor read Hebrew, so maybe somebody who does could correct or amplify this, but as I understand it, Judaism uses 5 different Hebrew words for soul:
Therefore (as I understand it) animals have a "level" of soul (like, maybe, nefesh and ruach?) which coresponds to the Catholic/Aristotelian idea that animals have an "animative" soul --- including, I'm guessing, dreams, emotions, imagination --- but humans have a "rational" soul.
So Catholic teaching doesn't deny that animals have souls. And its stance needs to be clarified, according to: http://www.all-creatures.org/ca/ark-186soul.html>
Pope John Paul II explains that animals have souls according to their nature (an animal nature.)
A righteous man knows the soul of his animal - Proverbs 12:10
This corresponds to the idea that animals do not have moral responsibility. You can't put an animal on trial for what it does or fails to do, because it lacks accountabilty; it's not "answerable" for what it has done.
Humans are "answerable" for their actions because they have the intellective capacity to deliberate and choose.
If you said animals had "rational" souls, you'd have to hold animals legally or juridically accountable for their choices. But they don't.
Does this make sense?