Monday, October 04, 2010

Again with the chicken and the egg

The latest in the chicken vs egg debate as internet meme has this supposed drawing by a seventh grader:

When it comes to today's accuracy of picture and video, I have difficulty trusting almost everything. It certainly could have been done by a seventh grader, but it looks more like an excuse to resurrect the chicken vs egg meme that seems to recycle every few years. The last one I remember was in 2006, fueled by a popular CNN news report that boasted of the unique consensus between a geneticist, a farmer, and a philosopher.

The debate has always been less about the sequential order of things and more about definition. It's accepted that the chicken mutated from the jungle fowl line, which reduces the argument to 'ownership' of the first egg. Is it a chicken egg or a jungle fowl egg? The consensus seems to be that if a jungle fowl emerges from the egg, it's a 'jungle fowl egg,' but if a chicken emerges it's a 'chicken egg.' If a zebra were to emerge, it would be a 'zebra egg.' Ownership and designation is not determined by what lays it, but by what comes out. The egg therefore precedes the chicken.

A much worthier paradox:


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