With few exceptions, most scientists and philosophers think that morality is at bottom based on human preferences. And though we may agree on many of those preferences (e.g., we should do what maximizes “well being”), you can’t show using data that one set of preferences is objectively better than another. (You can show, though, that the empirical consequences of one set of preferences differ from those of another set.) The examples I use involve abortion and animal rights. If you’re religious and see babies as having souls, how can you convince those folks that elective abortion is better than banning abortion? Likewise, how do you weigh human well being versus animal well being? I am a consequentialist who happens to agree with the well-being criterion, but I can’t demonstrate that it’s better than other criteria, like “always prohibit abortion because babies have souls.”
From a subjectivist perspective that is exactly right. When a subjectivist says “good” he means nothing more than “that which I prefer.” Coyne leaves unsaid the ominous logical implications of his worldview. If the majority of people prefer eradicating the world of its Jews as a means to racial purity, then not only it will that happen, it will be a “good” thing that it did.
Consider especially this statement: “I can’t demonstrate that it’s [i.e., Coyne’s moral view] better than other criteria.” Again, under the subjectivist paradigm that is correct. Coyne cannot say that his view, or any view, is better than another in any meaningful sense. So which view prevails if none is better than any other? Why, the view of the strong of course. In Coyne’s world the strong impose their preferences on the weak.