The Kalamity of Naturalism: Taxi! Taxi!
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The Kalamity of Naturalism: Taxi! Taxi!

The Kalam Cosmological Argument, (kalam, hereafter) seeks to show that on the basis of philosophical reasoning and modern scientific discovery, that the universe had a first cause. The reasoning is laid out as follows.

  1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
  2. The universe began to exist.
  3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

If premise one and two are true, it follows that three is true as well.

The first premise is grounded in the fact that something cannot come from nothing. For, out of nothing, nothing comes. As Craig states, “To suggest that things could just pop into being out of nothing is to….resort to magic.”[1] If the universe came into being out of nothing, it would be the only exception to the causal principle. This raises an interesting question: If the universe came into being out of nothing, why doesn’t anything or everything come into existence out of nothing?

One response is that that the causal principle only applies to things in the universe, but is not true of the universe itself. However, this commits what is known as the taxicab fallacy--an error of thinking in which one assumes a certain system of thought in an attempt to make a particular point but then jumps out of the system of thought when it suits their fancy. In addition to being a fallacy, this “in the universe but not of the universe” objection also misinterprets premise 1. For, the causal principle isn’t like the laws of thermodynamics or the law of gravity which reside in the universe. The causal principle is a metaphysical principle and therefore deals with all reality.

This is a common and very popular objection to the kalam. But, given the fact that it commits the taxicab fallacy and misconstrues the nature of premise one, it should be rejected.


[1] William Lane Craig. The Kalam Cosmological Argument. Blackwells Companion to Natural Theology. (Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), 183.

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