Some solid information at last

Jerry Coyne has done a post on “Tom Johnson” and “Exhibit A” and the mythical rudeness and savagery and tendency to spit and kick of the mythical “New Atheists.”

The upshot is, Exhibit A never happened. It was a story. The guy who played the part of “Tom Johnson” made it up. He has apologized to Jerry via email, and says he will apologize to other people soon.

So that’s that. The “new atheists are evil and Exhibit A may have happened” crowd are wrong, and we can stop arguing about it.

There’s another thing.

“Tom Johnson” (hereafter “TJ”) remains anonymous, though his identity is apparently known by Mooney, Jean Kazez, and others.  For a few weeks I have known it as well, as I am friends with some of the principals in this case.  In return for my promise not to reveal TJ’s real name, I have been party to some of the details of the situation presented as “Exhibit A.” I have also questioned the other person who was supposedly involved in that “conservation event.”  I have spoken to TJ’s advisor (Johnson is a graduate student at a university in the South), and have learned more of the details from that person.  TJ has apologized to me by email for his actions, and says he will be apologizing to others soon.  His advisor and his university are looking at his actions to see if any formal academic transgressions occurred. [emphasis added]

He’s being held accountable, so we don’t need to hold him accountable. So that’s that. Excellent. I wanted him to be held accountable in some way, if only to make it more difficult or risky for him to do it again, but I did not want to out him. I wasn’t baying for blood; I wanted accountability for someone who called me a liar and a useless putrid twat. I do not think that makes me a medieval witch-hunter baying for blood. I’m glad we have that straight.

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