I believe the issue of free-will comes down to what we mean by free-will because there is certainly between what the everyday person believes and what sophisticated thinkers believe. Contrary to what many philosophers and scientist believe, I think we do need to take into account what the general public believes in spite of the fact that they may be ill-informed. Anyhow this may opinion and I mean my opinion because in all honesty, I have no clue if free-will or determinism is true and I’m not afraid to admit that. Maybe its a combo of both, who knows.
I think the reason this will always remain an issue is because this actually may be a metaphysical and ontological issue as opposed to a scientific one but I could be wrong. I think there are two reasons as to why people believe in free-will (or want it to be true for the sake of polemics):
1) because people feel subjectively free
2) if determinism is true how could you account for moral responsibility.
For the former, I think this results from the fact that we are not paying enough attention to the nature of our subjective experiences. If one pays attention to they will realize that all our thoughts (intentions and desires included) appears in our minds. If you think in the way that I do you are left wondering about the variables behind the mechanics of thinking. I think that it is in this way that scientist develops axioms in favor determinism.
As for the latter, I understand the concern for moral responsibility but creating a justice system based on the presupposed notion that free-will exist I think is a huge problem not because of my personal opinion but the fact that people are not willing to understand the different variables that are involved in people’s actions. Instead of outright calling a psychopath a monster perhaps we should take into account their upbringing and genetics and how this influenced brain development. Of course this lack of initial judgment becomes increasingly difficult is the victim is ourselves or someone close to us.
Although my response may lean more towards determinism I am not arguing that we are completely determined which is why I am leaving out particular experiments (Ben Libet experiment for example) or arguments in favor of determinism. Again, I believe that it depends on what we mean by free-will. If we are talking about free-will that my neighbor believes in then I think we can all agree that absolute freedom of the will is probably unlikely but if we take into account thinkers like Dennett or Owen Flanagan then absolute determinism appears to be sitting on some shaky foundations itself.