Jerry Coyne continues to wallow in his helpless hypocrisy as he tries to defend his infamous claim, “I will act as though I have free choices even though I don’t.” He starts with a dig at David Heddle:
In response, the unknown blogger simply levels a criticism of my remark made by David Heddle, a Calvinist physicist in Virginia who has something of an obsession with watching and criticizing my words.
LOL! When Coyne brags about the popularity of his activist blog, apparently he doesn’t want to be noticed by anyone but his fans and acolytes. Sorry Jerry, but as you become a more famous atheist activist, you will be noticed by those of us who value critical thinking. So Coyne links to Heddle’s observations and responds:
What a mishmash of garbled thinking! Acting is not a volitional process of the type I’m denying; where is the evidence that it is “volitional,” presumably in the dualistic sense implied by Heddle and the Theo-Sophist. As for “freely choosing” to act as if I have free choices; that’s simply wrong. I don’t choose that feeling, freely or otherwise. My feeling of volition—that there is some “I” apart from my genes and environment that can make choices—is not freely chosen. It’s instilled in me—and almost certainly by my genes, since nearly all humans have it regardless of their experience.
Oh, the helpless hypocrisy.
Jerry doesn’t believe he has free will, but will act that way because his genes make him do so. End. Of. Story. So there! Like I noted before, if atheism is true, truth no longer matters. Dawkins will eat meat even though his atheistic ethics tells him not to. Coyne will act as though he has free choices even though his atheistic worldview says he doesn’t have such a thing.
Interestingly enough, such convenient nihilism doesn’t seem to be in play in other arenas. For example:
That is this: I favor the notion of holding people responsible for good and bad actions, but not morally responsible. That is, people are held accountable for, say, committing a crime,because punishing them simultaneously acts as a deterrent, a device for removing them from society, and a way to get them rehabilitated—if that’s possible.
To me, the notion of moral responsibility adds nothing to this idea. In fact, the idea of moral responsibility implies that a person had the ability to choose whether to act well or badly, and (in this case) took the bad choice. But I don’t believe such alternative “choices” are open to people, so although they may be acting in an “immoral” way, depending on whether society decides to retain the concept of morality (this is something I’m open about), they are not morally responsible. That is, they can’t be held responsible for making a choice with bad consequences on the grounds that they could have chosen otherwise.
That said, all the strictures and punishments I mentioned yesterday still hold, and retributive punishment is still out. But moral responsibility implies free choices, and those don’t exist.
What happened to the helpless hypocrisy? Those same genes that instill in us the sense that there is some “I” apart from our genes and environment that can make choices give us the same sense of moral responsibility. Somehow, Jerry has found the mysterious power to rise above his instilled sense of free will and declare we should not hold people morally responsible for their actions. And of course, retributive punishment is out.
So it looks to me like the helpless hypocrisy is just a fancy excuse that is invoked when convenient. Y’see, Jerry Coyne will continue to act as though he has free choices while the rest of us are not allowed to do so. We’re supposed to give up holding people morally responsible along with retributive punishment. And while Jerry can act as if he has free will, we can’t act as if he is morally responsible for his actions. How convenient.
If Jerry Coyne can act as though he has free will, so can I and so can you. So can all of society. So we can all act as if morally responsibility exists and it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t exist. We can all act as if retributive punishment is justified and it doesn’t matter if it is not.