After much controversy and much investigation, it now seems clear that the story originally told by "Tom Johnson" is not credible. Details are here and here. I regret defending it as I did with this post.
Last week, the New Atheist comment machine targeted the following post, in which I republished a preexisting blog comment from a scientist named "Tom Johnson" (a psuedonym). In the comment, Johnson had related how some of his New Atheist-inspired scientist colleagues had behaved toward religious folks at bridge-building conservation events. The comment obviously reflected one individual's experience and point of view, and nothing more. But it struck me as worth highlighting, in light of my many well known concerns about the New Atheist movement. I'm a bit surprised how much hoopla the simple elevating of a comment into an individual post, with minimal additional commentary, has caused. Clearly, Johnson really touched a nerve. Accordingly, my post unfortunately subjected him to various attacks; fortunately his real identity remains unknown (though I am aware of it). In light of all this, this post is simply to thank "Johnson" for commenting here, for sharing his story, and for being willing to defend it as vigorously as he has done. It is one person's perspective, but as I said before, I consider it a striking one. I'm glad we've heard it, and I hope Johnson and others like him will continue to comment here on science, religion, and the New Atheism, despite the heat it can sometimes cause.