The Qur'an and the formation of sperm error
"Now let man but think from what he is created! He is created from a drop emitted-Proceeding from between the backbone and the ribs," (Qur'an 86:5-7).
At first reading of this Qur'anic verse, it is obvious that the error is that sperm comes from a man's chest. After all, the chest is "between the backbone and the ribs"? The abdomen is below the backbone and ribs, and the male testicles are far below that.
This error is important because in Islam, if one thing in the Qur'an is false, then Islam is false. In Islam the Qur'an was supposedly transmitted directly to Muhammad from God through the angel Gabriel. Therefore, it cannot have even a single mistake. But, as you can see, it does.
The response that Muslims give to this problem is that the testicles, during the embryonic formation, descend from an area below the kidneys. Since the kidneys are in the abdominal area, they assert that the Qur'an miraculously and with scientific accuracy portrays what could not have been known except by God; namely, that in the embryonic development the testicles were up in the chest area. But this is inaccurate. Let's take a closer look.
The verse says that it is the "drop" that is emitted from the chest area. It is not referencing the testicles that descend from the abdominal area (not the chest). In addition, by definition, a drop is a small quantity of liquid that is separated from a larger body of liquid. Gravity acts upon it and it drops; hence, the term "drop". Drops are not in the human body. They are outside of it. Human blood flowing through the veins is not in drops, neither is the seminal fluid, which is emitted from the prostate, in drops. It is the seminal fluid that carries the sperm from the testicles as it exits the body that then forms drops. Therefore, what the Qur'anic verse is talking about is not the testicles, but the seminal fluid and sperm mixture that has left the body during sexual intercourse. It is the drop that the Qur'an says is formed from "between the backbone and the ribs." This is an obvious and blatant error.
Where do testicles form?
Sometimes Muslims will say that sperm comes from the testicles and the testicles are formed in the chest area. They then maintain that the Qur'an is correct since the testicles were in the chest area. Is this accurate? Not at all.
- "The testicle originally forms in the back of the abdominal cavity, similar to the position of the ovaries in girls. Near the end of pregnancy, the testis begins to descend to the scrotum."1
- "The testicles begin inside the abdominal cavity."2.
- At seven months, "The testicles begin to move down from the abdomen into the scrotum."3
- "Normal testicular development begins at conception and the testicles first appear in the abdomen at about the level of the kidneys."4
Even if it can be surmised that the testicles were formed in embryonic development in the very lower part of the chest area, it still does not solve the problem wherein the Qur'an states that man is formed from the drop that is emitted from between the backbones and the ribs. The drop, the liquid, is not formed in embryonic development and does not begin such development until the testicles begin to mature. This occurs after the birth of the baby and after the testicles have descended out of the body.
Therefore, the Qur'an (also known as Quran and Koran) is incorrect in its statement that a person is formed from a drop that is emitted from between the backbone and the ribs.
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- 1. The Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh: www.hmc.psu.edu/childrens/healthinfo/c/cryptorchidism.htm.
- 2. Penn State Children's Hospital: www.hmc.psu.edu/childrens/healthinfo/c/cryptorchidism.htm.
- 3. Allina Hospitals and Clinics: www.medformation.com/ac/crswa.nsf/file/crs-wha-obg_normal.fetal.growth.
- 4. Long Island Jewish Medical Center, http://www.lij.edu/lijh/urology/personal/personal_3.html.
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