Phil for Humanity
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Which Came First, the Chicken or the Egg?


We all know the famous saying of "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" This adage is perceived as a paradox, because it is believed that only a chicken can produce a chicken egg and only a chicken egg can produce a chicken. This is commonly referred to as a causality dilemma or catch-22.

What most people do not know is that there is a logical answer for this question. Actually, there are three possible answers to this question. At first this may seem out of the ordinary, since the question only offers two possible answers so please let me elaborate.

First, if you believe in evolution, then the chicken egg came first. To over simplify this answer, the theory of evolution believes that at one point in time, a bird species very similar to the modern chicken, letís call this a proto-chicken, mated with another proto-chicken. Whatever the reason or reasons, a genetic change occurred in the egg created by the proto-chicken, thus a chicken egg was created instead of a proto-chicken egg.

Alternatively, since evolution is typically very gradual, most likely at no point in time was a chicken egg created from a proto-chicken. Instead, each generation of proto-chicken produced another animal that was even more genetically similar to the modern chicken; and after a long period of time, eventually this produced the modern chicken species. Since the science of taxonomy does not easily distinguish between intermediate species of animals, at no point in time did a proto-chicken produce a chicken egg. Furthermore, it is believed that all species, even current species, are only intermediate animals, thus labeling them as species is technically vague. As a result, the proto-chicken species did eventually produce the chicken species; however there is not a clear delineation between proto-chicken and chicken. Therefore, the second answer to this famous adage is that there is no definitive classification of either a chicken or chicken egg, so it is impossible to determine which came first.

Finally, if you believe in religion, then God (or whatever entity that you may believe in) directly created the chicken. There is no logic that can be examined with this belief. As a result, the third answer is that God created the chicken first.

Therefore, the paradox of "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" can be unraveled into three completely different answers. It is up to you to decide which answer is correct.

by Phil B.

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