Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Fact-Checking Sam Harris 1: Islam and the Virgin Birth

Sam Harris recently said that he wants to correct every error he's ever made, and that people should send him any errors they find in his works. One of Sam's errors was made on "The Colbert Report," where he insisted that, according to the Qur'an, anyone who believes in the virgin birth of Jesus will spend eternity in hell. Since Islam affirms the virgin birth of Jesus, we can only wonder how much Sam really knows about the religions he discusses in his books and lectures.

***UPDATE*** Sam Harris responded: "I meant that Quran asserts Jesus wasn't divine. I misspoke." Odd to give a reply about Jesus' deity when Colbert was talking about the virgin birth, but it's entirely possible to misspeak while the cameras are rolling and you don't have much time to think about what you're saying.


  1. Not surprising that Harris misspoke as he is such a shoddy thinker, blind to his own presuppositions, made up for only by the silkiness of his presentations.

  2. By the way David, I met a friend of yours and Nabeel's in New Zealand a week or so ago...

  3. Sam may have been mentally conflating the virgin birth as evidence of divinity. Dunno, extemporaneous mistakes happen. Kudos to Sam for seeking out, acknowledging, and correcting his errors.

    Of course, god does the same thing, starting with the OT, then the NT, then the Qur'an, so kudos to old yahweh likewise :-) Although, I must say there are a number of items I take exception to in each of his revelations.

    Say there Rob Ward, just how do you consider Harris to be "such a shoddy thinker"? Care to be more specific?

  4. Hi David,
    To be honest, I only went by your printed words for my first comment. Please allow me a followup regarding your whole video...

    "487 years (for Sam to self correct his mistakes)", "multiple lifetimes to clean up the messes he's made". I got a good chuckle from your over the top hyperbole (see, we atheists are not all dour life sucks and then you die types!-), but seriously, you only give one. Kind of a let down really. So I will ask you the same thing I asked Rob, care to list this supposed multitude of errors and unwitting presuppositions?

    "Mob of foolish narcissistic teenagers who call themselves the new atheists" Ok, gee David, kinda hard to that one seriously. I mean, here I thought I was an old man with long thought out views who has been considering these issues seriously for decades, like the authors of the recent spate of books on the subject.

    "Why aren't these self proclaimed skeptics at all skeptical about their self proclaimed sources of information?" I suggest you look here

    Dawkins posted some nonsense article and got a barrage of negative tweets in response on his own twitter page. You will find all kinds of criticisms of Harris, Krauss, Ali, and all the rest from atheists far and wide.

    So, David, this particular assertion of yours is without significant merit beyond a few fanboys every public figure generates. Krauss in particular has made a point of emphasizing there are no scientific authorities including himself.

    "cult...blunders...followers" Much ado about nothing. Still waiting for this massive list of blunders, you have named one, which Sam has already corrected at his own request. Tick Toc :-)

    "Keep the faith atheists" Oh this tired old saw. Atheism is a faith like an empty cup is a flavor of coffee, not reading anything is another kind of reading, not building models is another kind of hobby.

    An absence of a thing is not another form of that thing. Atheism is the absence of faith, not a form of faith. You really should know this by now with your long experience in Christian apologetics.

  5. Hi Dave, does anybody know where I can get a copy or read online Dan Brubakers "Intentional Changes in Qur’an Manuscripts"