In the course of studying Plantinga's new book, Where the Conflict Really Lies, I have encountered some surprisingly hostile web materials directed against Plantinga. Some of this stuff is too scurrilous to refer to, and I won't. Coyne's rants against Plantinga are somewhat milder but still unseemly for someone in the academic world. Alvin Plantinga: Sophisticated Theologian? appears to be Coyne's latest outburst.
That Coyne is muddled in his thinking about free will has already been demonstrated here and here. This post will showcase a sophomoric blunder he makes with respect to the concept of a necessary being. Coyne writes:
No theologian in the world is going to convince me that it’s impossible for God to fail to exist because he’s a “necessary being.” Science has shown that he’s not “necessary” for anything we know about the universe.
Given the silly blunders and nonsensical assertions Coyne makes in his free will piece, I am not surprised that the man fails to grasp a very simple point. To say that X is a necessary being is not to say that X is necessary for something. Could he really not understand this? If X is necessary for Y, it does not follow that X is necessary simpliciter. Sunlight is necessary for photosynthesis, but the existence of sunlight is logically contingent. And if X is a necessary being, it doesn't follow that X is necessary for anything. If Plantinga's God exists, then he exists necessarily and does so even in possible worlds in which nothing distinct from God exists, worlds in which he is not necessary for anything.
What about Coyne's second sentence in the above quotation? Pure scientistic bluster. One thing we know about the universe is that it exists. Has science shown that God is not necessary for an explanation of the universe's existence. Of course not. How could it show any such thing? Or will Coyne make an absurd Kraussian move?