When Coyne, the extreme determinist, criticizes Dan Dennett for doing something that was “unnecessary,” we get to witness the intellectual bankruptcy of his extreme ideology. Interestingly enough, someone on his blog noticed the hypocrisy and Coyne actually let that comment see the light of day:
“Dan’s tone in his original paper was peremptory and snide, and that was unnecessary.” But he didn’t have a choice!
Coyne then tries to rationalize his hypocrisy:
Although Dan had no choice, and was not morally responsible for being mean, he was responsible for being mean.
Coyne’s distinction is defeated with two words – So what?
If Dan is not morally responsible for being mean, why is it worth noting that he was responsible for being mean? Isn’t that like noting he is responsible for using the English language to convey his thoughts?
Also, is it really true that “he” was responsible for being mean? In Coyne’s extreme ideology, there is no “he.” “He” is an illusion. It would therefore be far more accurate to say, “the environment and genes that control the output of the entity we label “Dan Dennett” are responsible for the entity being mean.”
And, given that he’s subject to influence (I hope!), our calling him out is an environmental influence on his neurons that could, in principle, turn him toward incompatibilism!
Notice how Coyne seeks to justify his response, as if he had a choice in “calling him out.” The proper response from Coyne would have been to blame his environment and genes for his action. Of course he is a hypocrite, but you can’t hold him morally responsible for this. What a convenient ideology he has there.
What we are seeing here is the manner in which the Extreme Atheism of Coyne and Harris collapses into a black hole of nihilism. And while they try to mask this nihilism by stealing from language that assumes free agency, they concede in the end that they are not trying to communicate with another human being. On the contrary, they just admitted they are trying to manipulate and control Dan Dennett to make him more like them. In Coyne’s world of atheism, people are just entities to be manipulated and controlled. The end justifies the means. Move on people, no nihilism there. 😉