So yes, the debate can be “won”, not when religionists admit that their beliefs are unsupported and untestable, but when religion passes away from the world, as it is doing now. The fight will be long, and we won’t be alive to see the victory of secularism—make no mistake, a reliance on reason and observation will ultimately defeat superstition—but win we will.
This is hilarious. The unsupported and untestable claim is this blind belief that one day religion will cease to exist in the world. In fact, notice how Coyne courageously predicts victory long after he is dead and long after everyone reading his words is dead. By placing his bold prediction so far into the future, Coyne shields his prediction from testing. That is, his belief in a world where there is “victory for secularism” is unfalsifiable, as the secularist will always be able to promise it’s coming long after we all are dead.
What Coyne is unintentionally recognizing here is the motivational value of faith. Without faith in their godless future, the New Atheists would throw in the towel. If they had to rely purely on reason and observation, there would be no room for such bold optimism.
One more thing. Notice the warfare imagery that is inherent in Coyne’s thinking. It is inconsistent with objectivity and intellectual honesty.