"If you say to people that you make choices, no one will bat an eyebrow. But if you tell people that you never ever have a choice, that you may believe that you can actualize different possibilities, but this belief is ***always mistaken***, then they will, if they have common sense, look at you strangely and laugh at you as a skeptic of obvious reality." - Robert
Though I still want to see the actual statistics that back up these mere claims about how all laymen think, I have met some people who have thought this way - though without the sophistic language employed by Robert, viz., "if they have common sense, look at you strangely and laugh at you as a skeptic of obvious reality." I mean, perhaps that's what he does, but that's because he's a "loving Arminian." Furthermore, notice the fallacy of special pleading. If the "man on the street" doesn't fulfill Robert's prediction, that's because he lacks common sense! But you can't be too harsh on Robert. Sophistry and schoolyard fallacies are about all he has to work with considering what he's trying to defend from the Bible.
At any event, back to those people who have thought it odd that they never have genuine access to alternative possibilities. When you ask them why this is, they usually respond that because if you didn't have genuine access to alternative possibilities then you couldn't have done other than you did. When you ask them why this is problematic, they respond with something to the effect that either they were (a) forced to act, or (b) couldn't be held responsible.
At this point simply explaining that determinism/compatibilism doesn't implying forcing against your will - as action theorists on both sides admit - is enough to have them see that the first worry isn't a worry anymore. With regard to (b), I have found that by explaining Frankfurt counter-examples the "man on the street" finds these examples equally intuitive - as many libertarians even have admitted the intuitive appeal to Frankfurt counters - and thus (b) ceases to be a problem for them.
Look, the thing about intuitions is that they are pre-reflective. They are prior to reasoning. The interesting questions come into play when we are asked to think about our intuitions. To spell them out. At this point what we are trying to do is make our intuitions attractive. I maintain that most laymen I have spoke to about this admit that they fail to make their "ability to do otherwise" intuitions attractive. I usually hear, "Yeah, I guess I had never really thought about this." So, what the Arminian is claiming is that his view is supported by what people believe prior to thinking about it. That's an odd form of apologetic. Perhaps it's assumed to be more potent if indexed to claims about getting laughed at.
They're all gonna laugh at you.
(P.S. You can comment on this post, I don't know why the comment link is hidden.)