Paul Davies (not the physicist but the philosopher at William and Mary) gets interviewed here (and there’s an audio clip here) on the possibility that we might have to give up on free will and what that might mean for us. By free will he has in mind some sort of capacity to transcend the neural instantiation of personhood, and he rightly suggests that a science-based, naturalistic understanding of ourselves calls such a capacity into question.
Of course compatibilists will say Davies is mistaken about what free will is, and that it has nothing to fear from science. But they will likely agree that what he means by free will might not survive a naturalistic understanding of ourselves. The obvious point being that we can avoid confusion on the free will issue by stating up front what capacity or characteristic of an agent we refer to when we say X has free will. Or better yet, simply talk about the capacities and characteristics themselves, whether or not there’s reason to believe they exist, and what their existence or non-existence implies for how we think about ourselves and, for instance, our responsibility practices. Talk about free will, absent clear definitions, is simply a recipe for miscommunication.
Davies himself speculates that even as strictly material creatures, we have robust, neurally based capacities for extracting and creating meaning that will likely see us through the death of free will as he defines it (the death of the contra-causal soul, more or less). He says there’s no evidence yet for such optimism, but I think there’s at least some anecdotal evidence coming in, see here. And as Shaun Nichols pointed out at the end of his Scientific American article (discussed by yours truly here), there’s evidence that determinists don’t give up on moral responsibility. Life, meaning and ethics and will go on after the soul is gone. Not that it’s going quietly, see Creationists declare war over the brain.