Bartolotti seems to have a good grasp, but I find Zahavi’s counter arguments to be somewhat silly. I think the fact that there are hundreds of millions of Buddhists on the planet practicing compassion and empathy daily is a counter weight to his argument
These kind of questions always remind me of the smackdown the Buddha gave the Ven. Mālunkyaputta in MN63:
[These views] aren’t beneficial or relevant to the fundamentals of the spiritual life. They don’t lead to disillusionment, dispassion, cessation, peace, insight, awakening, and extinguishment.
When there are any of these views there is rebirth, there is old age, there is death, and there is sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and distress. And it is the defeat of these things in this very life that I advocate.
I by and large agree, in terms of perpetual discussion of these topics. However, i think some discourse on these subjects can be somewhat beneficial, especially in the public sphere, as we have a whole lot of Vacchagotas running around these days.
There is always the risk of this condition arising.