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 The Chicken or the Egg?
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Subjectmatter
Skeptic Friend

173 Posts

Posted - 11/14/2005 :  11:08:17  Show Profile Send Subjectmatter a Private Message
"What came first, the chicken or the egg?"

This problem has often been quoted to me as being unsolveable. Although to me the solution seems simple, would you guys be so kind as to check that my reasoning is sound here.

At some point in the past, there must have been a theoretical first chicken, the parents of which did not qualify for our modern definition of chicken and are thus some form of proto-chicken.

Since gestation in the egg is an ancient phenomenon it is likely that the proto-chickens had been subject to this for a very long time. Certainly a chicken must by definition be sufficiently similar to modern chickens as to lay eggs.

Therefore the first chicken must have come from an egg layed by the proto-chicken.

Therefore the chicken came before the egg.

Right?

Sibling Atom Bomb of Couteous Debate

Edited by - Subjectmatter on 11/14/2005 11:08:45

H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 11/14/2005 :  11:26:56   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Subjectmatter

"What came first, the chicken or the egg?"

This problem has often been quoted to me as being unsolveable. Although to me the solution seems simple, would you guys be so kind as to check that my reasoning is sound here.

At some point in the past, there must have been a theoretical first chicken, the parents of which did not qualify for our modern definition of chicken and are thus some form of proto-chicken.

Since gestation in the egg is an ancient phenomenon it is likely that the proto-chickens had been subject to this for a very long time. Certainly a chicken must by definition be sufficiently similar to modern chickens as to lay eggs.

Therefore the first chicken must have come from an egg layed by the proto-chicken.

Therefore the chicken came before the egg.

Right?

Wrong.

I think the egg must have come first, because the proto-chicken doesn't count as a chicken, therefore the first egg with a modern-day chicken inside it would have had to come before that chicken hatched. So it's the egg first.

Of course, as the question is posed, it doesn't specify a chicken egg, meaning that eggs are found in the fossil record way before chickens, before birds even.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
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Siberia
SFN Addict

Brazil
2322 Posts

Posted - 11/14/2005 :  11:28:05   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Siberia's Homepage  Send Siberia an AOL message  Send Siberia a Yahoo! Message Send Siberia a Private Message
... but what was the first egg?

"Why are you afraid of something you're not even sure exists?"
- The Kovenant, Via Negativa

"People who don't like their beliefs being laughed at shouldn't have such funny beliefs."
-- unknown
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Ricky
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USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 11/14/2005 :  11:30:53   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message
The egg appeared way before the chicken ever did. Fish, reptiles, and amphibians all lay eggs.

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
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BigPapaSmurf
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3192 Posts

Posted - 11/14/2005 :  11:47:58   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send BigPapaSmurf a Private Message
^ what he said.

"...things I have neither seen nor experienced nor heard tell of from anybody else; things, what is more, that do not in fact exist and could not ever exist at all. So my readers must not believe a word I say." -Lucian on his book True History

"...They accept such things on faith alone, without any evidence. So if a fraudulent and cunning person who knows how to take advantage of a situation comes among them, he can make himself rich in a short time." -Lucian critical of early Christians c.166 AD From his book, De Morte Peregrini
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Kilik
BANNED

110 Posts

Posted - 11/14/2005 :  12:02:20   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Kilik a Private Message
I think the "chicken" is a metaphor for all creatures, and egg is meaning any egg
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filthy
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USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 11/14/2005 :  12:53:19   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message
No, no, no, no, no no, no, NO!

Mitosis came way before the egg was even a gleam in evolution's eye, and that settles that!

But to return to poultry, the rooster came first, then the eggs. See how simple it all is?



"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

Edited by - filthy on 11/14/2005 12:56:30
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GeeMack
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USA
1093 Posts

Posted - 11/14/2005 :  13:24:37   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send GeeMack a Private Message
If the question is in regards to a chicken and a chicken egg, the chicken came first. We (mostly) all agree that the first chicken came from an egg. But was it a chicken egg? I think not. I say the egg that contained the first chicken was a proto-chicken egg, because it existed as such long before the chicken itself existed. Since most definitions of "egg" relate it to the creature that produces it rather than to the creature it contains, the first chicken egg had to be produced by a creature which was already a chicken.
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Hawks
SFN Regular

Canada
1383 Posts

Posted - 11/14/2005 :  13:49:36   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Hawks's Homepage Send Hawks a Private Message
Or we just blame this whole conversation on "the tyranny of our discontinuous minds" (Richard Dawkins). We are far too happy to categorize stuff into neat boxes (protochicken, chicken, egg) when in reality there is a contiuum. Saying that, modern birds lay eggs, so it's valid to say that the common ancestor of them also did. That ancestor we would not classify as a chicken. I.e., the egg came first. (As to the question of "what COMES first, chicken or egg - I prefer chicken to egg any day. Chicken korma, mmmmmmm..............)

METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL
It's a small, off-duty czechoslovakian traffic warden!
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 11/14/2005 :  14:05:45   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by GeeMack

If the question is in regards to a chicken and a chicken egg, the chicken came first. We (mostly) all agree that the first chicken came from an egg. But was it a chicken egg? I think not. I say the egg that contained the first chicken was a proto-chicken egg, because it existed as such long before the chicken itself existed. Since most definitions of "egg" relate it to the creature that produces it rather than to the creature it contains, the first chicken egg had to be produced by a creature which was already a chicken.


Ok, I retract my earlier dissent. If we are only discussing chickens and chicken eggs, then indeed the chicken would have had to come first (inside a proto-chicken egg).


Now what came first, the mammary gland or the nipple?


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9677 Posts

Posted - 11/14/2005 :  15:45:32   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by GeeMack

If the question is in regards to a chicken and a chicken egg, the chicken came first. We (mostly) all agree that the first chicken came from an egg. But was it a chicken egg? I think not. I say the egg that contained the first chicken was a proto-chicken egg, because it existed as such long before the chicken itself existed. Since most definitions of "egg" relate it to the creature that produces it rather than to the creature it contains, the first chicken egg had to be produced by a creature which was already a chicken.


I'm with GeeMack on this.

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Hawks
SFN Regular

Canada
1383 Posts

Posted - 11/14/2005 :  16:08:52   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Hawks's Homepage Send Hawks a Private Message
quote:
Now what came first, the mammary gland or the nipple?

The nipple. It has obvious evolutionary advantages. Men want to fondle them (the womens') and thus this leads to higher reproductive success among females having them. Talk about macroevolution in action. Eeeerrrr.............

METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL
It's a small, off-duty czechoslovakian traffic warden!
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Kilik
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110 Posts

Posted - 11/14/2005 :  16:18:28   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Kilik a Private Message
The electron came first, perhaps the first egg?
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9677 Posts

Posted - 11/14/2005 :  16:25:00   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Hawks

quote:
Now what came first, the mammary gland or the nipple?

The nipple. It has obvious evolutionary advantages. Men want to fondle them (the womens') and thus this leads to higher reproductive success among females having them. Talk about macroevolution in action. Eeeerrrr.............

How true...




Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
Collateralmurder.
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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 11/14/2005 :  18:11:00   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message
A chicken and an egg are laying in bed next to each other. The chicken is smoking a cigarette, and says, "Well, I guess that settles that."

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
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Hawks
SFN Regular

Canada
1383 Posts

Posted - 11/14/2005 :  18:39:16   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Hawks's Homepage Send Hawks a Private Message
Two frogs are laying in bed next to each other. One is smoking a cigarette and the other says, "They are right, we do taste like chicken."

METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL
It's a small, off-duty czechoslovakian traffic warden!
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