Thursday, February 7, 2013

Qur'an's Error: Sura 4:82 "If [Quran] had been from other than Allah, they would have found within it much contradiction"

[Guest Post by CaptainDisguise]


Sura 4:82 would be found in the average Islamophile's list of favorite verses. It is often quoted in the form of a challenge to Rationalists and others. Sura 4:82 states the following; (http://quran.com/4/82)


Sahih International
If it had been from [any] other than Allah , they would have found within it much contradiction.
Muhsin Khan
Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much contradictions.
Pickthall
If it had been from other than Allah they would have found therein much incongruity.
Yusuf Ali
Had it been from other Than Allah, they would surely have found therein Much discrepancy.
Shakir
And if it were from any other than Allah, they would have found in it many a discrepancy.
Dr. Ghali
And if it had been from (any where) other than the Providence of Allah, indeed they would have found in it many difference (s).


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.
Thus, Sura 4:82 is an erroneous statement.
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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;

"If John is a human, then John is a mammal"

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;

"If John is not a mammal, then John is not a human"

In Formal Logic, any conditional statement can be symbolized in the following manner;

"P --> Q"
=(this is equivalent to its contrapositive)=
 "~Q --> ~P"

P symbolizes the antecedent; Q symbolizes the consequent; '~' symbolizes negation (i.e ~P means "not P" or "P is false"); '-->;' symbolizes the conditional relationship (i.e. "~Q -->; ~P" means "IF not Q THEN not P)

A fair knowledge of these simple concepts alone are sufficient to examine the Qur'anic statement in Sura 4:82. Consider the verse,

"If [Qur'an] had been from other than Allah, they would have found within it much contradiction"

The verse expresses a conditional relationship between two atomic statements. The antecedent is the negated atomic statement "The Qur'an is not from Allah". The consequent is the atomic statement "Errors will be found in the Quran" (Verse rephrased for simplicity). Thus the verse is stating the following relationship;

"If the Qur'an is not from Allah, then errors will be found in the Quran"

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

"~A --> E"

As stated above, this statement is logically equivalent to it's contrapositive statement which would state the following;

"~E --> ~(~A)"
==
"~E --> A"
==
"If no errors are found in the Qur'an, then the Qur'an is from Allah"

For those who were unable to spot the mistake in the original verse, its contrapositive statement should certainly render the issue clearer. A conditional statement is false if it is possible for the antecedent to be true and the consequent still false. Such is the case for this verse.

Take the original verse for example, it is possible for the antecedent to be true and yet for the consequent to be false i.e. for the Qur'an to be not from Allah, and at the same time be free of errors. Likewise, for the contrapositive statement, it is possible for there to be no errors in the Qur'an and yet at the same time, not be a product of divine intelligence.

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

"If the Qur'an is not from Allah, then errors will be found in the Quran"

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
"~A --> E"


If instead, the Qur'an were to say "If the Qur'an is from Allah, then no Errors will be found in the Quran" (i.e. "A --> ~E), then the conditional relationship would be correct. However, as it is currently found in the Qur'an, the conditional relationship is false.

2) The verse is an example of Abductive Reasoning

Reply: First and foremost, it should be noted that Abductive logic does not absolve the false relationship constructed in a conditional statement. Thus, this is an absurd and misinformed use of the term "Abductive Rasoning". 

A false conditional is a false statement i.e. it is an error in the truth of the statement. This is not an error in deductive logic for it to be reconciled with inductive or abductive reasoning. To state so, is to show an utter misunderstanding of the argument presented in this blogpost as well as ignorance of Formal Logic.

Secondly, abductive reasoning could only have been utilized if the conditional statement had been in the form of a true conditional, as found in objection 1,  i.e. "If the Qur'an is from Allah, then no Errors will be found in the Quran". However, this would still be a very weak case of abductive reasoning.

Abductive Reasoning can be defined in the following way; it is a form of reasoning that allows one to reasonably hypothesize an inconclusive statement from a known event. For example, consider the following conditional

(1) "If there is fire, then there is smoke"

In formal logic, based on the above conditional, it is fallacious to conclude there is fire if there is smoke (Since that is not what the conditional states; this commits the fallacy called Affirming the Consequent). However, if one were to see smoke, it is certainly reasonable for one to assume or hypothesize that there is fire (even if the fire is not visible). Such a form of reasoning is called Abduction (as opposed to deduction or induction).

On the other hand, consider this conditional statement;

(2) "If it is night, then John is asleep"

Unlike example (1), it is not as reasonable to assume that it is night just because John is asleep as he could be sleeping during daytime in this particular instance. This would constitute a weak case of abductive reasoning.

However, consider a conditional such as this,

(3) "If Obama is living in Mars, then Obama is breathing"

Based on this conditional, it would in fact be unreasonable to abduce from the fact that Obama is breathing, that he is living in Mars. However, note that the conditional is a true statement i.e. if Obama were to be alive on Mars, he would have to be breathing. Yet it would be unreasonable to state that he is on Mars merely because he is breathing. This would constitute an absurd case of abductive reasoning. 

Likewise, even if the Qur'an contained no errors, it would not be reasonable to state that the Quran is from Allah. To establish such a form of reasoning, the Muslim would have to take on the absurd task of showing that any text that is free of errors are from Allah. Of course, this is false as countless human works contain no errors or contradictions etc.

In conclusion, by constructing a false conditional statement in Sura 4:82, the Qur'an has committed an irrefutable error. The irony of the fact that this erroneous Qur'anic verse challenges skeptics to show a Qur'nic error is, almost divinely, priceless.



42 comments:

  1. Captain,
    Good point. One that is overlooked by most Islamists, of course, and also by me in the days of my initial confrontations with bucailleism. It was only much later that I realized the fallacy of this verse, but only now did I realize that this verse is itself an error.

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  2. in fact you are comparing English translations of different people and not comparing Arabic text.
    there can be several different translations of many people. so don't make mistakes and compare Arabic text.
    Muhammad Yahya

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    1. Language does not play a role in this argument. It is the structure that is at fault. The verse in the arabic is also a false conditional, thus an erroneous statement.

      Unless you show that the Arabic does NOT mean "If Quran had been from other than Allah, then it would contain many errors"; then your point is wholly mute

      PS - Unbelievable how ridiculously people appeal to the "language" copout even when it is irrelevant.

      Delete
  3. @Muhammad Yahya - the Arabic Quran is also changed: it is not in the originial order and this is common knowledge,
    Also, if you compare ancient Quranic script to modern Quranic script you will not see all the dots and flecks that they have now
    And the Quranic Arabic is different from the Classical Arabic people speak today

    These are facts.

    @Spinoza - yes, it has errors: what's the conclusion you are drawing from that?

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    1. Hi Jasmine - this is CaptainDisguise's guest post, so I'll leave him to answer...
      For my part, the conclusion would be that if the Qur'an has errors then it surely proves it cannot be from God (since He promised to keep it in its perfect state and Muslims believe that every word is as it was when the Angel Gabriel revealed it to Muhamamd)

      Delete
    2. @Jasminse, I would be concluding the same conclusion as Spinoza.

      1) God (All-knowing being)G cannot commit errors
      2) If Quran is from God, then Quran contains no errors
      3) Quran contains at least one error
      Therefore, Quran is not from God

      That would be my argument, with this post as evidence for (3).

      I am unsure as to how to believe that God can make errors. That is against the definition of God or the Greatest conceivable being.

      Delete
    3. @Captain,
      "I am unsure as to how to believe that God can make terrors."
      Believe me, religious people have cop-outs even for this. Some time back I had corresponded over email to a Hare Krishna. When I pointed out an error in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (The god Krishna spoke of spiders emitting their webs from their mouths), he replied that this was so that Krishna could give the reader the chance to believe in him out of love instead of just intellectually accepting him. Yeah, right. I don't think it is possible to shake the faith of the truly faithful.

      Delete
  4. Spinoza, could you add the "recent comments" widget to your sidebar please?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Blogger tells me the "gadget is broken" at the moment.
    I'll add it as soon as they've fixed it.
    Good idea.

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  6. Are you THE Muhamned Yahya?

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  7. Interesting essay! I agree with your findings. I also agree with what you stated regarding the verse construction and its logical implications. It would have been much easier to put it 'Because the Quran is from Allah, they would find no contradiction within it'. The fact that it was put in this way 'If it had been from other than Allah, they would have found much contradiction' implies, and thats the cornerstone of your essay, that humans are not able to produce consistent error free work/book. I of course have no doubt about human capabilities. But the point you are missing is how Quran came to existence. Quran wasn't produced in one go, given full time for review and amendements to make sure its error free and consistent, and then handed over to Mohamed to read excerpts. It took over 20 years to produce, it came in small installements (a couple of sentences at once every now and then), in an oral fashion to people who memorised by heart, to respond to particular situations, so it s highly circumstantial (couldnt be written once and done). My point is that your logic looks at the book as a final product, then yeah, it can be made error free (reviews by pears, subject matter experts, extended research...) before one hand over the final copy. But in the case of the Quran, it was created from a list of basically tweets by Mohamed, tweets that once lectured by Mohamed, suposedly were not modified after, tweets bearing a difference from his other tweets (These one started with God said wheres the others, the Hadith, started with I Mohamed think or I say), tweets that were tailored to give guidance or solutions or reactions to specific situations, in an oral fashion and over a long period of time and change of fortunes (from 1 guy fearing for his life and marginalised to being the dominant force) , and eventhough all this, the Quran was always consistent and made sense ! Thats, in my view, why this verse was constructed in this fashion !
    The Dude

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    1. I understand your point. It would be a good topic for another essay.

      In comparison to the bible, for example, the Quran does seem to not have the same kind of internal contradictions as with the bible. However, as you pointed out, this is very easy achievement given the 23 year period in Quran's making.

      But more importantly, it should be noted that there are very few numbers used in the Quran (as opposed to the Bible which are full of them); and the numbers that do appear in the Quran are mostly from popular myths (Creation in 6 days, Allah's time being 1000 years etc). Therefore, there was very little opportunities for there to be the same kind of internal contradictions as with the bible

      Add to this the fact that the quran is a very short book with many verses simply being excessively redundant.

      Yet, even if this all is the case, even if Muhammad was cocksure that his "book of tweets" did not contradict internally, Sura 4:82 is still an erroneous statement to make

      Delete
  8. I don't agree with your last statement. For the sake of clarity (and please note that I am not preaching for a particular church or mosque or temple or whatever, I am just keeping an open mind and considering other points of view) , please allow me to restate my point in a clearer fashion. My personal view is that the verse is not erroneous if it can be proven that no human can produce error less or with no contradiction work of litterature (touching upon so many subjects) IN THE SAME WAY THE QURAN WAS PRODUCED. I think God is smart enough to know what humans are capable of. He presumably created them and on purpose blessed them (?) with brain and reason. So the question is: Can a 'other than God' , so presumably a Human produce no contradictory and sensible work of litterature that was:
    A- given in bits and pieces, not a final handout
    B- over a period of 23 years
    C- in oral fashion, not written. Apparently, Mohamed did not know how to write
    D- highly circumstantial as most of it was reaction to particular circumstances and provided closure on a lot of subjects as 'God's word is law'), following the not that ordinary life of Mohamed and his rise to power from humble beginnings
    E- apparently every bits added did not contradict the previous bit or the subsequent bit
    F- apparently, the assembled final product is also deemed to be not containing contradictions or errors
    G- touching that many subjects (inheritance, creation, warfare, etc)

    I am attempted to answer yes, but then I will need to come up with examples when this did happen in our collective History. I need here your help guys (whoever reading this post). It will be interesting to see your thoughts (Captain) in 20 years and check if they are consistent with what you publish now. How painful will it be to see you then with a beard and turban? (Just kidding)
    The Dude

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    1. Well, then I have to say it is irrational of you to disagree with the fact that Sura 4:82 is an erroneous statement, esp. when you have already accepted that it is a false conditional statement. Although, it could simply be the case that you are not familiar with the principles of logic used.

      Allow me to clarify your position. You are now merely adding qualifiers to the statement in Sura 4:82; which of course is not a problem. To state that a conditional statement is false, it would certainly need to facilitate or transcend any valid qualifiers.

      However, what I find ironic is that most of your qualifiers (A-G) actually make a good case for the Qur'an to be from "other than Allah" i.e. from a human source.

      At the same time, you have not at all made it clear as to why (A-G) would mean Quran cannot be from "other than Allah", if it had it no errors (which it does anyway).

      "A final handout, produced in a small amount of time, containing scrutable written data, that speaks on universal topics (as opposed to reacting to people in front of you), specializing in a few subjects" is a much more difficult work to produce, such a work would be susceptible to more human errors.

      On the other hand and by your own admission, the Qur'an is the opposite. (Also, to note that you are wrong about qualifier F as the Quran contains scientific errors.) Let me address them one by one;

      A - C: - Yes. Qur'an is basically a compilation of Muhammad's ramblings. Mostly, redundant or repeating Judeo-Christian myths. He had scribes follow him around to record them. Around 6000 sentences were uttered over about 2 and a half decades. Such a piece of "literature" had to be one of the easily produced ones.

      D - Precisely. All Muhammad had to do in many cases was react or respond to what was asked of him. Such a form of text is hardly complex for it to be making internal contradictions. I can even introduce you to this hadith, http://sunnah.com/urn/42730

      In it, Muhammad initially reveals a verse as "Muslims who fight for Allah are better than those who sit at home" (paraphrased). Then a blind man came to Muhammad complaining that he was unable to fight. So Muhammad responded i.e. he altered the verse that had just been "revealed" and included the clause "except for the disabled".

      Again, this is merely the elementary state of Human discourse i.e. to react or give opinions. Hardly can be considered as a candidate for arduous literature.

      E - So what? Of course, I don't even want to go into the abrogation excuse (I hope you know what that is)

      F - You are wrong as the quran contains several scientific errors (creation from blood clots, setting of sun in a muddy spring, seminal fluid from the back, flat earth, denial of human evolution etc)

      G - so what? Saying a few lines about many things is actually something that all Humans do. Have you ever heard of the saying, "Man of many tasks but master of none". That is what most humans are and that is what the Quran is.

      And at the end of it, it is still no where clear what your reasoning is in asserting [A-G] justifies Surah 4:82; esp. when it does a better job for my argument.

      If you are able to clarify please do but I certainly do not think you have a valid point. There is a difference b/w being open-minded and being gullible.

      The Captain

      PS - I already have a beard and I will probably look good in a turban especially the Sikh turban. Now why would that be "painful"? Oh! Was that a jab at a suggestion that I would become a muslim? I am actually an ex-muslim BTW. From my knowledge of the religion, it is clear that it is man-made on top of being irrational. SO the only way I will be a muslim is if I become irrational or demented haha

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    2. On the Qur'an and the flat earth--

      Spinoza and Captain, remember "Wormhole" the guy who claimed that the Qur'an spoke of the speed of light? In another miracle claim of his (http://www.speed-light.info/miracles_of_quran/earth.htm) he has written:

      "The Quran says that God spread out the Earth "والارض مددناها" meaning increase in surface area during formation. “Madda” in Arabic means “spread out”, however it was mistranslated to “flat”. Flat in Arabic is "musattah مسطح" and its verb (to make flat) is "sataha سطح" however neither were used in the entire Quran."

      My initial reaction on reading this was obviously WTF?! Has he not read Surah 88 (Al-Ghashiya) verse 20:

      وَإِلَى الْأَرْضِ كَيْفَ سُطِحَتْ
      (Wa-ila al-ardi kayfa sutihat)?

      Remember he called Spinoza names? Now let us judge for ourselves: Is Wormhole lying, or is he an idiot, or both?

      Delete
  9. Hi Spinoza,

    I just wanted to add my thoughts on your essay. Based on your statement about “formal logic”, you state the following:

    Quote:
    "P --> Q"
    =(this is equivalent to its contrapositive)
    = "~Q --> ~P"

    P symbolizes the antecedent; Q symbolizes the consequent; '~' symbolizes negation (i.e ~P means "not P" or "P is false"); '-->;' symbolizes the conditional relationship (i.e. "~Q -->; ~P" means "IF not Q THEN not P)
    Unquote.

    Now coming back to the verse in the Holy Quran [4:82]

    “Do they not think (carefully) in Quran? And if it had been from any other than God, they would surely have found in it much discrepancy”

    Let’s use your “formal logic”:

    P= If it was from other than God => that is human being for example
    Q= they would have found in it much discrepancy
    ~P= If it was NOT from other than God =>that is God HIMself
    ~E= they would have not found in it many discrepancy

    Scenario 1: P --> Q: If it was from a human being, they would have found in it much discrepancy

    Scenario 2: ~P --> ~Q: If it was from God, they would have not found in it much discrepancy

    You state that: “a conditional statement is false if it is possible for the antecedent to be true and the consequent still false” In this case, both the scenarios (1 & 2) are true. Hence, the logic is valid.

    You may argue about the fact that there are books out there which are perfectly clear and do not have any discrepancies. Well that is of course possible and the Quran do not reject that. It only states that as Allah being the author of HIS book - the Quran - it is free from discrepancies. =)

    Now whether you want to believe this or not, this is totally up to you as you have been given intellect to reflect and ponder.

    P.S.
    Just a side note on the first sentence of this verse[4:82]:
    "Do they not think (carefully) in Quran?..."

    This tells us a very interesting fact about the Quran which encourages us to "think and reflect" and not just taking everything for granted.

    I will just conclude on a quote from Einstein:
    "science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_views_of_Albert_Einstein --> from WIKI, the website you seem to affectionate a lot I can see =)]


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    1. You have made three mistakes.

      1) Your Scenario 2 is not logically equivalent to your scenario 1.

      Remember P-->Q is logically equivalent to ~Q-->~P.

      P-->Q is NOT logically equivalent to ~P-->~Q (Try to think of simple examples and it will make perfect intuitive sense).

      2) As stated in my "Possible Objections from Muslims", I state that the conditional expressed in your "scenario 2" is a true conditional i.e. If quran is from god, then it would not contain any errors.

      HOWEVER, this is not what the Quran says (i.e. structurally). What the quran says is what you express in Scenario 1 which is a false conditional therefore an erroneous statement.

      [Quote]"Scenario 1: P --> Q: If it was from a human being, they would have found in it much discrepancy" [Unquote]

      Remember, a conditional statement is false if it is possible for the antecedent to be true and the consequent still false.

      So my question to you is, is it possible for a human being's work to contain no errors? The only reasonable answer is yes. If that is the case, then your scenario 1 i.e. the conditional expressed in the verse is false and therefore Sura4:82 is an erroneous statement.

      3) Sorry but believing this is not "up to me" or a matter of anyone's opinions. The principles of formal logic are clear and necessitate that Sura 4:82 is an erroneous statement. Unless you can show this verse does not express a false conditional, it is irrational to believe (for anyone) that the verse is not erroneous.

      PS - You might want to check the context of Eintstein's quote from his book "Ideas and Opinions". He was not referring to "historical religions" like traditional Islam or Christianity

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  10. Before we go any further, how dare you talk to me like this?

    1- it is irrational of you to disagree
    2- you are not familiar with the principles of logic used
    3- Allow me to clarify your position
    4- what I find ironic is
    5- I hope you know what that is (for abrogation)
    6- There is a difference b/w being open-minded and being gullible

    I have been civil in our exchange. Why cant you?

    (and perhaps moving on to a round of creative insults)
    Yeah...What a surprise!

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    1. Sorry if you got offended but I do not believe I have insulted you or that I was uncivil in my remarks.

      Of course, I also do not believe being polite is the same as being passive. I am only politely showing you where you have erred. You are free to do the same for me.

      Just for clarification, I did NOT say you were irrational for disagreeing WITH ME; but rather you are irrational for stating that sura 4:82 is not erroneous AFTER YOU ADMITTED that the verse expresses a false conditional. Since I have already shown that your qualifiers do not make your case, yours would be the irrational position among us.

      What you said is like saying, "I agree 2+2+4 but I don't think 2+2=5 is erroneous".

      I apologize if it was offensive, but I don't consider pointing out the irrationality in one's reasoning as insulting. (Personally, I would be grateful to those who point out my irrationality).

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    2. Captain, it is not the way how I debate with other people. I always refrain myself from making or insinuating any remarks about their intellectual capacities, just because they have views different than mine or they seem not to have understood my point. I would appreciate if we stick to this rule going forward. This will allow to continue exchanging in a respectful, civil and objective manner. Now, let's get back to the subject at hand.
      You did not at all get my point. I am not trying to prove that the Quran is error free (what makes you think that?). I am taking as basis your finding regarding the verse. I didn't accept that is a false conditional statement. I said and I am quoting my self here "I agree with what you stated regarding the verse structure and its logical implications'

      1- Structure = "~A --> E" where
      A = "The Qur'an is from Allah"
      and
      E = "Errors will be found in the Quran" . Let's call "~A --> E" S1

      2- Logical implications of structure = for "~A --> E" to be true , it is necessary that "~A --> ~E" is false. If "~A --> ~E" (let s call it S2) is true, then we have a false conditional statement.

      Now, As I said previously, the cornerstone of your essai is "human can produce error free books" because they have proved it through History over and over again, so S2 is true and as a consequence S1 is a false conditional statement.
      Fine, but then i tried to attract your attention to what, to me, makes the Quran unique, its creation process.

      If we take into consideration the creation process specific to the Quran (what I tried to detail in my 2 messages), then lets examine the verse again, which means let's see if S2 still holds true, which means let's see if Human can produce error free book in the same way the Quran was produced.
      The argument used for 'human can produce error free book' was: we have a lot of examples through History where humans did just that. Fine.
      Now, lets see if this argument holds true, do we have in History an example of a book (or books) which was created in the same manner as the Quran and which is error free. I personaly can't find any book in History created even in a similar (not same) way. May be I am wrong. If you know of any, please share. I am always happy to learn new things, and then we can examine if it is deemed error free.
      So, my current conclusion is:
      Since the proposition "humans can produce error free books in the same way the Quran was produced" can't be proven to be true, it is dismissed.
      If it is dismissed, well, then S2 is false, and per consequence, S1 is not a false conditional statement !
      The Dude

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    3. I have to once again disagree that I have made comments on your intellectual capacity. Perhaps, you are thrown off by me using words like "irrational". Wanting to impose such constraints is far more deleterious to free dialogue. Furthermore, what I call "irrational" or "illogical" is not you per say, but the defense you wish to promote (one as we will see, still holds no water).

      Anyways, let me move on. I do have to correct a technical detail in your comment.

      1) You state: "for "~A --> E" to be true , it is necessary that "~A --> ~E" is false. If "~A --> ~E" (let s call it S2) is true, then we have a false conditional statement."

      This is incorrect.
      Let S1 = "~A --> E"
      Let S2 = "~A --> ~E"

      If both statement were true, what it would lead to is a contradiction (this is also known as Reductio ad Absurdum), from which it can be shown "~A" is false. However, this doesn't necessarily say anything about the conditional relationship.

      I am also confused as to why this is relevant and also why you think S2 is true. S2 would be saying "If Quran is not from Allah, then Errors will not be found in the Quran". Which is another way of saying, "If errors are found in the Quran, then Quran is from Allah". This is of course false. So I don't understand why you think (S2) is true, and I also don't see its relevance, therefore I am ignoring it for the rest of comment. If you had a point to make about, please clarify

      I am giving you the standard definition of what it mean to be a false conditional. It is a statement where it is possible for the "antecedent" to be true and the consequent can still be false. In other words, it is a statement in which the consequent does not necessarily follow from the antecedent.

      With this mind, let us move on to your major point.

      2) On the contrary, I have understood your point and it holds no water.

      First of all, this is starting to sound like a special pleading fallacy. You are trying to ask the skeptic to find an error-free book that has all the INCIDENTAL properties of the Qur'an. This is absurd and unnecessary and is in fact irrational.

      Regardless, I discussed all your qualifiers in previous comments. Absolutely none of them show why it would be impossible for a human to do the same.

      I even asked you to make it clear what aspect of the Qur'an do you think renders it impossible for a human to produce without having any errors? I still do not see a response.

      Therefore, your argument is the same as before. It is in fact illogical. I can't stop myself from sensing that you might not be familiar with the principles of Formal or mathematical logic. This video series will be of help to you

      http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4B8A8476E860BB69

      Even if you are not familiar with the principles of logic, you should be able to understand why what you say commits the "special pleading" fallacy.

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    4. You are missing my point completely. Give me one example of a book which was created in a similar way as the Quran in human history.
      Its not that 'you don't need to', its simply 'you can not'

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    5. Actually it is the case that "I don't need to" on top of which is the case that your argument is an invalid special pleading, and those who are aware of what they are talking about know your claim is irrational. Period!

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    6. Here is a page on the special pleading fallacy if you do not know what it is:

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org/specplea.html

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    7. I don't agree with you Captain.
      If God had chosen a superhuman extraordinary mean to communicate its message (like appearing to every human individually or some other godly shit), then there would be no doubt about its divine origin.
      The fact is (at least to religious people) that God used a HUMAN mean to communicate, that is words.
      When you say that 'you don't need to', you are basically saying 'Since the message is human, the author is human' and you stop right there not going any further using your own perceived rationality.
      In addition, how is the creation process (or the delivery method if you wanna call it this way) I detailed before an irrelevant characteristic? I think it is pretty relevant. I don't agree with your special pleading fallacy point.
      Again, I am still challenging you to provide me with a single example of a book created in a SIMILAR way (not the same) as the Quran in human history

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    8. I could care less if you disagree with me. All I care is for you to show valid reasoning to support your claims and so far you have failed all over.

      First of all, this argument says nothing about God using "human means" for communication. Rather, the argument is that the content of the communication is in factual error.

      Second of all, I have no idea what you mean by this - "When you say that 'you don't need to' ... using your own perceived rationality." - No that is not what it means. What it means is that since the message has errors then it cannot be the product of an infallible being i.e God.

      Third of all, I have no rational obligation to find a book matching or which is similar to the irrelevant properties of the Qur'an in order to meet your so-called "challenge".

      The reason they are irrelevant is because they do not have any effect on the conditional relationship expressed in the verse. Everything you have said is merely incidental on top of the which is the case that I have discussed each of your qualifiers one-by-one showing how they are irrelevant.

      Let me provide an analogy of what you are doing; Imagine I produce a book writing one sentence everyday based on my "thoughts" on various subjects, for the duration of 10 years. Suppose, that right before each sentence was written down, I, the author did 150 push-ups every day and after the sentence was written, I swam for an hour in a lake; the hour would be spent in contemplation of the next statement. Finally, imagine that, that I conclude the book with the statement, "If this book was not from God, it would contain many errors" and declare myself a prophet who received "thoughts" from God.

      Of course, anyone who is reasonable will realize the conditional is false.

      But suppose in the future, a gullible follower of mine try to defend this verse by "challenging" others to find a book where the author took 10 years, did 150 push-ups and swam for an hour everyday in contemplation of each sentence.

      Any unreasonable follower of mine could issue such a challenge but again, it would be his irrationality to expect anyone to take it seriously given that the challenge is petty and pointless. Even if there is no other book on the planet where the author spent 10 years doing 150 push-ups and an hour of swimming, it has absolutely no relevance on the conditional relationship. The 10 years, push-ups and swimming are merely incidental properties of the book and thus irrelevant to the conditional. The gullible follower would be committing the special pleading fallacy whether he agrees with it or not.

      Again, you can disagree with the special pleading point all you want but as I have stated, people who understand what they are talking about will recognize your defense is a textbook example of the special pleading fallacy.

      I know it is common courtesy to say something like, "please provide justification for your claims" etc as I have said before. However at this point, I do not wish to be facetious any longer. Thank you for showing your interest in the argument and having the dialogue. However, your point is irrevocably fallacious. You will not be able to justify your claim because your error is in your epistemology and NOT in anyone's lack of historical or empirical knowledge. Your point is unjustifiable I will now add a point under my "possible objections from muslims" where I will address your special pleading fallacy.

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  11. Great article captain.

    When ever I came across this verse, something always tugged on the back of my mind how logically there was a problem with the verse itself. You basically summed it up brilliantly.

    You also make an excellent point about special pleading the anon commment is using. We don't have to find any other work that has the same conditions as the quran until Muslims actually highlight what exactly these condition are.

    1. You can't say it has to be from god. you have to prove god first.

    I can not see any other possible conditions which would make the quran not man made.

    Also if I said to Muslims to produce a work by shakespeare say romeo and juliet. Which has ALL the characeristics that make it exactly like romeo and juliet of shakespeares but it can not be romeo and juliet. Ofcourse this is impossible does this mean that shakespeare is a messenger of God or even God himself. No it would not.

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    1. Thanks. I am still amazed that Muslims think they can try to get out of this one. The comments from Muslims here are quite appalling given that the argument in the post is based on simple & undisputed logic.

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  12. took me a long time reading through comments from brilliant minds.

    My opinions are:
    1) the quran is older than both history and science.

    2)Logic has to respect the word of God and not find unnecessary paradoxical negation

    3)the construction of the transliterated quran was not based on modern english ethics.

    4)if it were to be Hamid, he would have completed the meal doesnt mean only Hamid can?

    5) the content of the words in the quran were its basis not its context.

    6) u av not been able to show the evidence when you said there were many books written by human with no error.
    mind u, i hope you are not referring to novel or scripts.

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    1. point six. you can pick up any math text book, logic text book etc. all have no contradiction or else they would be useless as text. Does any of these works contain contradictions but before you answer consider that in the realm of fiction contradictions can be easily explained away. A lot like the quran.

      Again you have atleast provide us with a criteria of what kind of book you require to fulfill the challenge. A novel, poem etc. No point in finding/producing something you will reject off the bat.You will then realise the whole challenge is subjective from Muslims and actually pointless/irrelevant.

      The rest of your points are invalid as they have the presupposition of your beliefs already being true. Which you have not demonstrated to be true at all.

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    2. For unfortunate souls like you, I will send you to thinker1's holy book;

      http://infaliblebookfromgod.blogspot.com/

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  13. @Anon,
    My opinions about your opinions:
    1) Prove it, please.
    2) Come again? Where's the proof that it is the word of God?
    3) I don't think language is the issue here.
    4) The verse says it all: if a book is not from God, it would have errors. That statement is not true.
    5) Please explain further.
    6) Let me think: will my old Physics textbook do?

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  14. which other books stood the test of time as the quran?

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    1. What exactly is this "test of time"? Ignoramuses obsessing over a book and refusing to acknowledge it's logical errors?

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    2. Perhaps this test of time means that the Qur'an has remained uncorrupted since Muhammad? I doubt even that, actually.

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    3. Captain is correct.

      My infalible book from God (see link above) is a far better candidate for infalible divine revelation than the Quran.

      To quote from the holy book itself from Surat 'Salvation', verse 7:

      "Will mankind not consider this book? It contains no errors or contradictions, unlike other holy books that do such as the Quran and Bible and so is clearly better than them."

      Amen.

      I cannot fathom why anyone would reject this far better Holy Book from God infavour of the Quran. Esspecially when the former is infalible but the latter has clear errors.

      So if you could elaborate on your supposed "test of time" criteria, that would be great.

      Thanks

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  15. CaptainDisguise: what do you understand the word "Quran" to mean? If you understand it to mean a book or piece of writing then your have misunderstood the whole verse. This is not surprising since you don't even know arabic.

    I think you should stick to the bible since it is available in your language i.e. the KJV. Leave the criticisms of the Quran to arabic scholars.

    Imagine a Chinese linguist who didn't know English was doing literal criticism of English literature and relying on bad Chinese translations. Would anyone take him seriously?

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    1. The arabic copout! You really should know that that is sound of you admitting defeat.

      Regardless, the argument is also independent of the language or whatever magical literary genre you think the Qu'ran belongs or doesn't belong to.

      It is independent because the argument only takes into question the logical consequence of a statement in the Qur'an.

      The same statement could have been expressed in any spoken language or sign language or braille or whatever other form you can think of. It could have been expressed in poetry, prose, haiku or whatever you think the Quran is. IT WOULD STILL BE WRONG!

      Simple logic!

      And of course, keeping up with the Muslim tradition of coming up with bad analogies, you have one here too.

      I have not once ever tried to comment on the literary merits of the arabic Qur'an. So your analogy goes right out of the window.

      What I do generally of course, is verify the claims made by (dishonest) apologists. That can be done by anyone provided they have some basic critical thinking skills.

      So to change your analogy, if a chinese person who did not speak english wanted to investigate the alien abduction hoaxes in America, he can do so by relying on the chinese translations or reports even though the original was in English. Better yet, if he worked with a group of English-speakers, then he can simply consult them.

      And if some kind of 'English-supremacist' decided to not take the Chinese person seriously, not due to his arguments or evidence, but because of his language, then the 'English-supremacist', (like the "Arabic-supremacist" you are) is simply an IRRATIONAL BIGOT. The real question why the bigoted idiot should be taken seriously?

      Likewise, when Muslims keep attempting hoaxes, anyone could verify them, especially myself given that I have many Arabic speaking Exmuslim friends that I consult with.

      In the case of the above argument course, the case is much simpler. All one needs is a basic understanding of logic which I am afraid you do not have.

      Now of course, if the meaning of the verse 4:82 is something different, by all means, do give the right one? (Of course, we both know that is a facetious attempt)

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  16. You use the words 'Errors'. Errors and contradictions are not the same thing! Here are the definitions:

    er·ror (rr)
    n.
    1. An act, assertion, or belief that unintentionally deviates from what is correct, right, or true.
    2. The condition of having incorrect or false knowledge.
    3. The act or an instance of deviating from an accepted code of behavior.
    4. A mistake.
    5. Mathematics The difference between a computed or measured value and a true or theoretically correct value.
    6. Abbr. E Baseball A defensive fielding or throwing misplay by a player when a play normally should have resulted in an out or prevented an advance by a base runner.

    con·tra·dic·tion (kntr-dkshn)
    n.
    1.
    a. The act of contradicting.
    b. The state of being contradicted.
    2. A denial.
    3. Inconsistency; discrepancy.
    4. Something that contains contradictory elements.

    So the error is yours! Or were you deliberate in replacing the word 'contradictions' with the word 'errors'? Mmmmmmm...makes one think doesn't it?

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    1. That hardly matters for the argument presented! Do a better job!

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    2. A "contradiction" is a type of "error" so there isn't any error on my part in having used the word "error" mostly. The argument would remain the same whichever word was used. How is it that you guys are incapable of such basic understanding?

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  17. Very good point Nabeel Alkhalidy!

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