Utilizing this verse, the Muslim apologist will demand reasonable individuals to show an error in the Qur'an. They will also state with exuding confidence that no one in 14 centuries have been able to show an error in the Quran.
Such a conversation usually unfolds in 2 ways; i) the Rationalist ignores the apologist or ii) the Rationalist shows some of the errors in the Quran (creation from blood clots, setting of sun in a muddy spring, seminal fluid from the back, flat earth, denial of human evolution etc).
Whenever ii) occurs, the apologist will usually dismiss any evidence and can be seen asserting his literary liberty to interpret the sentences however he wishes to. Given the spectacular vagueness of much of the Qur'anic statements, the conversation almost always reaches an impasse with each side rejecting the other's interpretation (and perhaps moving on to a round of creative insults).
However it seems to be the case that neither the apologist nor the Rationalist has reflected carefully on the challenge itself. The great irony of the Qur'an is that the very verse that issues this challenge also meets the challenge i.e. Sura 4:82 is an error on it own since it constructs a false conditional statement.
The verse states that if the Qur'an was from a source other than Allah, then it would contain many errors or contradictions.
Now consider this question, is it possible for a man-made work to contain no errors or contradictions? This should be uncontroversial. There are countless human texts that would be free of any errors.
Then, if it is the case that it is possible for man-made works to be free of any errors, then it is also possible for the Qur'an to contain no errors and be man-made i.e. be from a source other than Allah.
Given the above possibility, Sura 4:82 constructs a false conditional for it is easily possible for the Qur'an to be "from other than Allah" and yet contain no errors.
The concept is fairly simple. For a detailed explanation, continue along. The following proof will use terms used in the discipline of Logic.
In Logic, certain statements are called "conditional statements" when it consists of a relationship between 2 (or more) atomic statements where one is the antecedent and the other is the consequent. These are usually denoted as "If ... then" statements. For example;
The antecedent in this case is "John is a human" and the consequent is "John is a mammal". In logic, this statement is equivalent to it's "contrapositive statement" which in the above case would say;
In Formal Logic, any conditional statement can be symbolized in the following manner;
=(this is equivalent to its contrapositive)=
"~Q --> ~P"
A fair knowledge of these simple concepts alone are sufficient to examine the Qur'anic statement in Sura 4:82. Consider the verse,
Let A = "The Qur'an is from Allah".
Thus ~A = "The Qur'an is not from Allah" (which is the antecedent above).
Let E = "Errors will be found in the Quran" (which is the consequent).
The above statement can be symbolized as
It would clearly be absurd to state that any piece of text that does not contain errors is from Allah and yet this is what the Qur'an claims by logical extension. Certainly, for the Muslim apologist (especially ones acquainted with the principles of Propositional Logic), this is an irrefutable error in their Holy Book. Their only option to rescue the Qur'an is to show that it is impossible for the Qur'an to not be from Allah if it had no errors in it. Of course, this is not at all a tenable position as Humans have produced countless texts with no errors in it.
Thus, offering one of the greatest unintentional ironies, the very verse that challenges one to show errors in the Qur'an is on its own an irrefutable error.
Possible Objections from Muslims
1) The verse actually means "Since Qur'an is from Allah, no errors will be found in the Quran."
Reply: Even if this is what the Qur'an meant by the verse, it has no bearing on the argument above. The argument above is based on the structure of the statement in the Qur'an. It is the structure that is at fault. For example, consider the verse again
Let A = "The Qur'an is from Allah". Thus ~A = "The Qur'an is not from Allah" (which is the antecedent above). Let E = "Errors will be found in the Quran" (which is the consequent). The above statement can be symbolized as