Recall what Coyne’s atheism has him believing:
Nevertheless we all, including incompatibilists like myself, act as if we have choices, for our feeling of agency is strong. So please don’t say that I shouldn’t make “should” statements because of that. I will act as though I have free choices even though I don’t.
Over at He Lives, David Heddle nails Coyne on his hypocrisy:
Jerry, if all actions are predetermined then you cannot act as if you have choices. Acting is a volitional process of the very type you are denying. In your model there is no acting, there is only a differential equation of the universe cranking out its next time step.
He is so close! He admits that in his world-view everything is predetermined, but in the next breath he obfuscates that unsavory factoid by claiming that he can “act” as though he has free choices. He can freely chose, he believes, to pretend that he can freely choose.
In Coyne’s mind, his sense of free will is only an illusion. But a sense of (convenient) fatalism kicks in, making it impossible for him to escape his illusion. This is just another example of atheism collapsing into nihilism.
Coyne even concedes the inherent nihilism of his views:
So if we don’t have free will, what can we do? One possibility is to give in to a despairing nihilism and just stop doing anything. But that’s impossible, for our feeling of personal agency is so overwhelming that we have no choice but to pretend that we do choose, and get on with our lives. After all, everyone deals with the unpalatable fact of our mortality, and usually do so by ignoring it rather than ruminating obsessively about it.
So the only solution to the inherent nihilism of atheism and its implications is to ignore them. And luckily for us, it’s not hard to live in the hallucination. But ignoring nihilism with distractions doesn’t make it go away.
Look, now are finally getting to the point where I can see the fundamental flaws of atheism. For atheism is not just about God, but about ourselves. Coyne’s atheism leads him to this place:
If we can’t really choose how we behave, how can we judge people as moral or immoral? Why punish criminals or reward do-gooders? Why hold anyone responsible for their actions if those actions aren’t freely chosen?
This view of reality conflicts with the reality that I directly experience. So I am faced with a choice. Either I am trapped in some elaborate delusion or I reject Coyne’s misanthropic atheism because it contradicts the world I experience. I’ll go with the latter because I have come to trust the reliability of my subjective experiences, while I have been misled by the more distantly experienced word salads of those who have an agenda. Nevertheless, if Coyne is right, it really doesn’t matter which choice I make because I did not make the choice. For if atheism is true, truth itself no longer matters.