Martin Gardner assails the woo of the paranormal,yet falls for that of religion in being a fideistic deist.
He assails the etiological [Primary Cause] argument, for finding a regress of causes absurd, but that isn't Aquinas' position, he relies on Scriptures for finding no eternal Universe. Where he actually fails comes forth with his statement that taking away the primary cause, takes away all causes as that begs the question of that cause.
He rightly implicitly contemns the Kalam version:the fallacy of composition as Lord Russell applies in that we do find causes for matters in the Cosmos but cannot find any for the Cosmos.The eternal quantum fields evince that.
He notes, in connection with the previous argument, that people experience anxiety in contemplating that regression. William Lane Craig exploits that anxiety with his red herrings about infinity.
He finds teleological arguments false. He finds,in effect, that people impute to patterns a pattern-maker, but evolution exhumes why we don't need to use Deity to explain the how of pattern-making. I add that Carneades atelic argument disposes of that sophism- the argument to design- by finding it a begged question as all teleological ones are.Then, he notes implicitly that the probability argument fails in that it assumes equiprobability of outcomes when necessity rules randomness: the random has no directed outcome as to the need for some occurrence but natural selection uses it ; he notes that organic molecules come together by " unblind chance" that I add as when H2O occurs.
Then he alludes to the fine-tuning form. Why, with the many universes forming in all eternity, then some would contain life. And the Gardner statistician argument portrays a statistician who after people have or have not killed themselves by Russian roulette,makes" a retrograde analysis,and concludes there is a high probability that the randomly selected guns being drawn by the survivors of the game."*
That applies also to Aquinas' teleological argument that relies on the archer with the purpose of sending an arrow to a particular spot, only he puts the bull's- eye around the arrow after it lands! Again, Carneades refutes nonsense. And he notes Voltaire's saying that eyes came about for wearing glasses!
He dismisses the common consent argument that billions of people believe in the supernatural.
Then he returns to the teleological arguments,noting that atheists can just as well find evidence of what C.S. Lewis calls the argument from undesign," what we naturalists should call Hume's dysteleological argument- from imperfections.
And I add , that theists fail in answering with their defenses and theodicies as this skewers God as an answer for pattern -making, and thus they have no defense in the first place for those defenses and theodicies!However, as fun, a some philosopher says, and I add,
as mental exercise, we naturalists will eviscerate those sophistries.
As an aside, Alvin Planting makes the gargantuan sophism that why, omni-God can cause flourishes - those imperfections whilst limited God must aim for perfection. And then to further assault reason, he finds that the arguments from the greater good and the unknown reason defense- arguments from ignorance!
Gardner explains at length what ails the ontological argument, but in essence, I note that defining Him as that utmost perfection defines cannot instantiate HIm, because it relies on no evidence.
Yet, he fails himself with his faith!
See the new article about his fideism in Skeptic Griggsy.
* Martin Gardner " The Night is Large: Collected Essays 1938 1995 "