Michael Egnor: I should point out that the argument that free will does not exist, and that we are all sort of following instructions, perhaps our chemical instructions, was actually very much an argument used by defense counsel at Nuremberg [the trials of Nazi war criminals]. That is, that when the Nazis themselves were asked, “Why did you do this?” The answer was, “Well, we were compelled to. We were following instructions. We weren’t really morally accountable.” So when you find that your metaphysics was shared by the defense counsel at the Nazi war crime trials, you ought to reconsider your metaphysics. And I think Coyne should reconsider.
Casey Luskin: … Of course, Dr. Egnor, all of this flows out of Jerry Coyne’s scientism. If you can’t scientifically prove that something is good or evil, then scientism dictates he can’t condemn it as good or evil. Obviously we have ways of determining whether things are good or evil that go beyond science. Jerry Coyne has to reject those ways of knowing because of his scientism.
But there’s another way that I think Jerry Coyne’s scientism leads him astray. You wrote in a post “If Jerry Coyne believes, as Dawkins does, that we can upset the design of our selfish genes and practice genuine generosity and altruism, then Coyne presupposes strong free will, an idea he has repeatedly rejected up until now. Cognitive dissonance is inherent to materialism.”News, “Michael Egnor: If evil exists, so must good — and real choices!” at Mind Matters News
Takehome: Denial of free will means, when dealing with crime, identifying those who, statistically, “might” commit a crime rather than those who have actually done so.
Also, here’s a writeup of an earlier podcast with Casey Luskin as Dr. Egnor’s host: Why free will is philosophically and scientifically sound. It has been nearly a century since determinism ruled unchallenged in physics. Though free will may be unpopular with atheist thinkers, science doesn’t refute it.
You may also wish to read: Can AI really predict crime a week in advance? That’s the claim. University of Chicago data scientists claims 90% accuracy for their algorithm using past data — but it’s hard to evaluate. The scary part: Intelligent, well-meaning people think that bail, sentencing, and parole decisions should be based on what may well be statistical coincidences. (Gary Smith)