Various definitions have been advanced to explain the meaning of invention. For the purpose of this work, invention will be used to refer to anything that is created for the first time through the use of human imagination. This often contracts and conforms to the atheist perspectives of innovation and science. New atheism continues to build in the contemporary faith and complexity of religions. The exponents of a “new atheism” have risen from the historical notions of what preceding scholars like Richard Dowkins, Daniel Dennet and Sam Harrris have explored. David Fergusson adopts a rather historical approach in drawing a comparison between the present notions of religion in relation to earlier forms of atheism. This paper thus dwells on giving a summary of the main ideas that Fergusson advances in explaining the relationship or connection between science and morality, atheism, values and religion in general.
In chapter four of his writing, Fergusson responds to the critics of religion through a conversation biased towards justification of the credibility of religious belief, Darwinism, morality fundamentalist perspective and religious approach to the reading of sacred texts. David Fergusson establishes a compelling case for the practical and theoretical validity of faith even in the contemporary human society. In this chapter, Fergusson argues that although rationality, morality and the rise of the scientific discoveries are real, science by itself is not exhaustive in explaining human life, morality and religious patterns. The world in its present form presents a complex, yet an elegant rationality (Fergusson 94). Wonder in this development makes a stand against the complacency of a world that has become materialistic leaving no room for anything beyond the scientific accounts of reality.
Fergusson examines the challenge allegedly presented by Darwinism. Through a middle-ground approach, Fergusson does not find any justification for the atheist in baulking at evolution by mutation and the theory of natural selection. He asserts that divine agency is found, not in the particular adjustments to the flow of evolution, but through the creation and sustenance of the cosmos that is guided by the adequate natural properties to bring this about. To simplify this implicit discourse, Fergusson notes that God is not an alternative to evolutionary processes but rather, he works through them to reveal his divinity (Fergusson 104).
The relation of scientific explanation to other justifications is advanced by human moral beliefs and commitments. For example, the discipline of sociobiology claims to offer an account of the evolutionary nature of morality in terms of the advantage associated with altruism and the benefits it confers on the survival of human genes. David Fergusson (97) cites that the metaphor of the “selfish gene” is used to explain the selfish nature of organisms. However, this is misleading according to Fergusson, since genetic drives often account for the cooperation amongst the individuals leading to non-selfish and sacrificial patterns of human behavior.
Selfish genes can produce altruistic behavior through the phenotype community. Fergusson thus rejects any simplistic explanation of the connection between religion and morality. He instead advocates for the objectivity in the explanation of connection between the moral values and religion. For example, Fergusson rejects the evolutionary accounts for altruistic behavior and instead maintains that there exists certain objective moral values and principles that everybody, including atheists, can recognize and embrace since even theism recognizes deity as the origin of moral values inferred from the human experience and encounters of human life (Fergusson 95).
Charles Darwin’s research and theory planted seeds of doubt into the supremacy of God as the creator of the universe. The discoveries of Charles Darwin made him build foundations that are reviewed by many scientists world-over. However, Fergusson rejects this and instead asserts that all creations, aquatic, terrestrial or otherwise have their origin from God as the creator. The explanations advanced by socio-biologists are thus illogical and plainly founded on human natural ability to reason and not a mere blanket of connections between ethics and religion as advanced by strong and hardened loyalist supporters of science against religion and theism (Fergusson 101).
Arguments against the neo-Darwinian are totalizing assertions that the world as we know demands descriptive categories balanced between art, morality and religion. Explaining this requires different approaches including a multi-layered form especially if the human concerns and experience are to be objectively expressed (Fergusson 113). Fergusson thus asserts that although biological explanation is necessary, it is not in itself exhaustive. The relationship between the biology and religion is complimentary and emergent in the history of human cosmos. This relationship is thus not self-standing but founded on an interactive platform of shared rational resources.
Fergusson has strong inclination towards the accommodation of science rather than total dismissal of the scientific explanations. This becomes clear in Fergusson’s criticism of reductionism of the socio-biologists who maintain that the human behavior is a product of the conditioning of evolution (Fergusson 94). There are the mechanical processes involved in the evolution process. These are determining and facilitating patterns for moral discernment. This allows men to think and feel in ways that fall short of the strategies for success in the struggle for human survival. A non-reductionist approach is thus necessary in order to allow for complexity. Fergusson thus acknowledges with openness that religion often provides for objective analysis and discourse between scientific discovery, invention and innovation. A balanced approach is thus one in which ethics, rationality and morality are balanced on the basis of objectivity.
In conclusion, David Fergusson presents an objective assessment on the relationship between science, religion and morality. It is worth noting that he takes a rather balanced perspective by arguing that even though scientific innovation and discoveries exist, science its isolation can never replace the supremacy of the divine and religion.