“If Calvinism turns out to be true, then Ken is exactly where God wanted him to be. Ken never had any real choice in the matter. Ken's final destination was planned out long before he was ever born. It's all part of the script that was foreordained for Ken's life. Seems like the charge of human beings as nothing but ‘robots’ can apply equally as well to the Calvinistic worldview.”
This is what passes for intelligent argument in pop atheism.
i) I’ve often pointed out the inadequacies of the robotic metaphor in reference to Calvinism. Walter offers no counterargument.
ii) His criticism also disregards the literature on compatibilism and semicompatibilism.
iii) I’m not the one who leveled the “charge”; rather, I’m merely reproducing the language of Richard Dawkins.
iv) I, as a Calvinist, don’t take offense what someone characterizes me in Calvinistic terms. However, infidels have taken offense when I characterize an atheist in atheistic terms.
Therefore, the attempted analogy is fundamentally disanalogous.
Walter’s comparison also suffers from a fatal equivocation of terms. Here is Dawkins’ actual statement: “We are survival machines – robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes.”
Is that parallel to Calvinism?
v) Assuming, for the sake of argument, that Calvinism turns men into robots, we wouldn’t be “blindly-programmed” robots. For the God of Calvinism would be the All-seeing Watchmaker, and not the Blind Watchmaker of naturalistic evolution. As such, men would be omnisciently-programmed, not blindly-programmed. And that’s hardly a trivial difference.
vi) We wouldn’t be vehicles to transmit our genes.
vii) Even if the reprobate (e.g. Pharaoh) have a “vehicular” function, the elect do not.
vii) We wouldn’t be machines, for men are ensouled creatures, not simply bodies.
viii) And we don’t survive for the sake of replicating ourselves.