Martin Gardner

On this date in 1914, Martin Gardner was born in Tulsa, Okla. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Chicago in 1936. After Navy service during WWII, he worked as a reporter for the Tulsa Tribune. His mathematical column for Scientific American, originally called "Soma Cube," ran from 1956-1986. Among the more than 100 books and booklets Gardner has authored are: Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science, On the Wild Side, his collected Skeptical Inquirer columns, The New Age, Notes of a Fringe Watcher (1991) and The Healing Revelation of Mary Baker Eddy (1993), which exposes her plagiarism. Gardner called himself a "philosophical theist," rejecting all supernaturalism and admitting he only believed in a god to "console" himself. An article republished in Scientific American, as part of a tribute to Gardner after his death, quoted Gardner at age 81: "I grew up believing that the Bible was a revelation straight from God. . . . It lasted about halfway through my years at the University of Chicago." Gardner, whose "Mathematical Games" column for Scientific American popularized recreational mathematics in the U.S., died at age 95. D. 2010.

“ . . . bad science contributes to the steady dumbing down of our nation. Crude beliefs get transmitted to political leaders and the result is considerable damage to society. We see this happening now in the rapid rise of the religious right and how it has taken over large segments of the Republican Party. I think fundamentalist and Pentecostalist Pat Robertson is a far greater menace to America than, say, Jesse Helms who will soon be gone and forgotten.”

—Martin Gardner, interview, Skeptical Inquirer, March/April 1998

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

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