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Chicken and Egg Problem Solved 449

Java Pimp writes "It seems scientists and philosophers now agree which came first. The Egg. From the CNN article: 'Put simply, the reason is down to the fact that genetic material does not change during an animal's life. Therefore the first bird that evolved into what we would call a chicken, probably in prehistoric times, must have first existed as an embryo inside an egg. Professor John Brookfield, a specialist in evolutionary genetics at the University of Nottingham, told the UK Press Association the pecking order was clear.' So, does this mean we can now show P=NP?"
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Chicken and Egg Problem Solved

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  • Old News (Score:3, Funny)

    by databyss ( 586137 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @03:36PM (#15411841) Homepage Journal
    I solved that question in a paper for a philosophy class years ago...
  • by zappepcs ( 820751 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @03:37PM (#15411842) Journal
    Complete details of why the chicken crossed the road... ba dum bum
  • by Frequency Domain ( 601421 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @03:37PM (#15411846)
    Only for P = 0 or N = 1.
  • by TopShelf ( 92521 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @03:38PM (#15411849) Homepage Journal
    So when did the nuggets and fingers come into play?
  • by shiafu ( 220820 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @03:38PM (#15411854)
    So the chicken and the egg are laying in bed together. The egg's smoking a cigarette. The chicken says, "Well, I guess we know the answer to THAT question!"
  • by varmittang ( 849469 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @03:40PM (#15411872)
    Reading the above post, I could have swarn it said PORN.
  • by Stradenko ( 160417 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @03:41PM (#15411889) Homepage
    Q: Which came first; the chicken or the egg?

    A: The Rooster.
  • by DaveM753 ( 844913 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @03:44PM (#15411909)
    Something that was almost a chicken laid an egg that hatched into a chicken. So, the egg had to have been first.

    But what if the almost-chicken converted?
  • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @03:50PM (#15411963)
    And to answer that, you have to define what a chicken egg is, is it an egg that hatches into a chicken, or is it an egg laid by a chicken?

    Because you'll never get anywhere if you don't define your terms :)

    Please define "chicken."

  • by mr_zorg ( 259994 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @04:01PM (#15412053)
    If it was obvious, then why is it on Slashdot?

    That's exactly why it's on Slashdot. :-)

  • by the.Ceph ( 863988 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @04:07PM (#15412107)
    Two days ago I was driving for a few hours in my car and started thinking about this and came to the same conclusion.

    I knew they were onto me.... *puts tinfoil hat back on*
  • by PB_TPU_40 ( 135365 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @04:08PM (#15412113)
    P = ~P

    For those who haven't had any Philosphy classes relating to logic... P equals NOT P.

    When they prove that, we'll I'm building myself a perpetual motion machine.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 26, 2006 @04:08PM (#15412121)
    Well that's not as bad as having to write about the synthesis of a phosphorus+oxygen+radon molecule in a peer-reviewed journal.
  • by mfrank ( 649656 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @04:11PM (#15412135)
    Dumb ass croc. It was a one-way street.
  • by CrazedWalrus ( 901897 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @04:12PM (#15412140) Journal
    I think in this case, the egg may have been laying the chicken. :-P
  • Haven't you seen the cartoon where the chicken and egg are lying in bed smoking cigarettes, and the chicken says "I guess that answers that"
  • by ultranova ( 717540 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @04:22PM (#15412215)

    Complete details of why the chicken crossed the road... ba dum bum

    The question "Why did the chicken cross the road" is invalid. It is invalid because "why" assumes that the chicken had some reason for taking the action "cross the road". This, in turn, assumes that the chicken has the concept of "road"; after all, if the chicken doesn't know that the road is there, then the chicken did not - from the chickens point of view - cross the road, and consequently it is meaningless to ask for its motivations for doing so.

    Since chicken is an animal, it is unlikely that it has the concept of road in the same sense than humans do; since it is a bird, whose ancestors were propably capable of flight in the near past, it is unlikely to have the concept of road in any sense - why would a flying bird need roads ?

    Therefore, the chicken can never have any motivation for crossing the road, since from the chickens point of view, it never does any such thing. It simply moves from one point to another, and these points happen to be on the opposite side of a flat area of ground. No road-crossing has happened.

    Think of it this way: if you walk over a scent trail left by some animal, and you don't know that the trail is there, it is foolish to ask your motives of crossing that trail. One can ask your motives for walking in the first place, but the crossing was pure coincidence and not something you chose.

  • by b1t r0t ( 216468 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @04:28PM (#15412271)
    So when did the nuggets and fingers come into play?

    The hell with that, when did they evolve buffalo wings?

  • by corbettw ( 214229 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @04:31PM (#15412299) Journal
    The question "Why did the chicken cross the road" is invalid.

    You must be a riot at parties.
  • by Poltras ( 680608 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @04:47PM (#15412427) Homepage
    I don't remember you saying anything like that at all.

    But then again... I probably don't know you.

  • Re:Old News (Score:2, Funny)

    by insomniac8400 ( 590226 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @05:03PM (#15412547)
    A philosophy paper can't prove anything.
  • Re:Old News (Score:4, Funny)

    by Slur ( 61510 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @05:12PM (#15412617) Homepage Journal
    The interesting part of the question to me is, the fact that it makes you look at the egg as the point of most radical change, a point on the line of evolution. And it nicely illustrates the way our minds think about that continuum of change, and how we decide when an evolving form merits one designation, and not another. The animals that gave birth to the class of beings we now call "chickens" were themselves, not quite chickeny enough to be themselves "chickens."

    Since chickens have been artificially selected by humans for centuries, if not millenia, they have obtained an especially "chicken-like" form, consciously and unconsciously sculpted by the human chicken aesthetic.

    Interesting now is the highly concentrated factory farm method of chicken selection. The chickens are stressed beyond their original design, and so factory farmers are forced to use more forceful methods to predominate over the ailments of overstressed overcrowded fowl. The evolved chicken factory employs de-beaking as the solution to aggression, and antibiotics boosters as the solution to natural death, before conveying them into the slaughtering and plucking machines.

    Which leads to the next axiom: "Never trust an inexpensive chicken."

    Similar conditions exist for the majority of laying hens, and who knows what it does to the eggs? I don't eat inexpensive chickens or eggs any more, but plenty of people will.

    I imagine a science fiction scenario where the factory method of chicken evolution is permitted to continue unrestrained for many centuries. The chickens continue to evolve, selected for their hardiness and calmness under pressure.

    But what will the chicken evolve into?

    Will humans of the future ask, "Which came first, the Xorph or the Cubulex?"

    Could there one day be a chicken equivalent of the Kwisatz Haderach?

    Will chickens become so powerful that they rebel against the factory workers, and massacre the human race?

    Or, will chickens become so overstressed, right down to their genetics, that the species loses its viability?

    Or, could the chicken's natural genetics, in its spontaneous, creative way, evolve antibodies or poisons in their flesh to infect and debilitate humans, in the same way as toads developed poisons to protect them?

    Or, since chickens are descended from dinosaurs, maybe the cumulative effect of generations of genetic pressure could cause latent DNA to awaken, so that chickens develop more dinosaur-like traits, reverting to more primordial forms. Chickens on psilocybin suspended in sensory deprivation tanks - like in "Altered States."

    Or, in another scenario, chicken chemistry becomes a major factor in selecting human offspring, and as a result over many millenia chicken geist merges with human geist. Chicken chemistry subtly influences the chemistry of the human womb, infants are born early, die young, and the United States eventually has the second-highest infant mortality rate of all industrialized nations.

    In another scenario, it is learned that KFC is not really chicken, that the chain long ago sought out chickens with extra limbs and those born without brains, and began genetically selecting these birds. They turn out to be funding studies into chicken DNA so that they can grow chicken meat in any desired form. Some of the horrors uncovered are described as "large pulsing triple-breasted oysters" and "quivering picushions bearing as many as twenty chicken legs and thighs." When the legal smoke clears nothing happens. KFC stock doubles every month as their patented creations become staggeringly popular worldwide.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 26, 2006 @05:14PM (#15412628)
    Actually the question "Why did the chicken cross the road?" is perfectly valid. While you may be correct that the chicken does not have a 'reason' for crossing the road because reasons (used precisely rather than as in common parlance) require intentionality with regard to their object, causes do not require intentionality and yet are at least as commonly if not more commonly the object of the interogative 'why' as reasons are.

            To put it simply, I may say that the cause of the chicken's crossing of the road was the action of a particularly strong gust of wind in that direction. This provides an adequate explanation for the phenomenon and answers the question "Why did the chicken cross the road?" without imputing sentience or intentionality to the chicken's actions.

            I may further say (if I wish) that the chicken crossed the road to eat the grain on the other side. This both imputes intentionality to the chicken, adequately explains the phenomenon and answers the question "Why did the chicken cross the road?" But wait, you may be saying, you just told us that intentionality isn't necessary to answer the question. I did say that and I stand by it, but that does not mean that intentionality may not be involved in the answer to the question. In this case, however, the intentionality while needed to answer the question, is only tangentially related to the effect under examination. Specifically to answer the question "Why did the chicken cross the road?" we are pointing out that the chicken intended to consume a certain pile of grain, and that the road was between the chicken and that pile. We still have not imputed to the chicken any knowledge of the road "as a road". Rather we have simply explained the conditions and the intentions which led to the action of the chicken crossing the road, whether or not the chicken had a full understanding of those conditions.

            Finally we must address the standard answer to the question: "To get to the other side." Again this answer imputes intentionality to the chicken's actions (the chicken did it 'to get' something) and it seems to imply a knowledge of the road (to understand 'the other side' the chicken must have knowledge of some object with two sides, understand that it is on one side of said object and desire to cross the object to reach the other side). Implied in this answer is that there is no further motivation other than getting to "the other side" and hence we cannot suggest that the answer simply left off the fact that there was a pile of grain on the other side which is the 'real' reason the chicken crossed the road. No. The chicken must have crossed the road for the sole and ultimate purpose of reaching the other side of "the road". How are we to reconcile this with the (most unassailable) assumption that the chicken has no knowledge of the road "as a road" and the need to allow this statement as a positive answer to the question "Why did the chicken cross the road?" We have specified that the chicken has no knowledge of a road "as a road". However, we have never suggested that the chicken has no knowledge of the road "as something". What then is the nature of the road as the chicken perceives it? We would not be unjustified in suggesting that at the very least the chicken has access to its own sensory data. It then must have a knowledge of the road as the "extended-hard-flatspace". We need go no further in our suppositions. We have here a chicken with an exploratory bent who wishes to discover what lies beyond the "extended-hard-flatspace". This adequately explains the phenomenon, assigns to the chicken a state of intentionality, relates that state of intentionality to the road, and answers the question "Why did the chicken cross the road?" with the statement "To get to the other side" all without in the least requiring that the chicken understand roads in the sense that we as humans understand roads.

  • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @05:17PM (#15412652)
    Philosophers announce after 150 years (since The Origin of Species was published) that they've solved a great philosophical problem. Scientists and scientifically minded laymen say "duh."
  • by TechTracker ( 920095 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @05:42PM (#15412814)
    The Bible says that birds and animals were created on the fifth and sixth day. That would mean that the chicken was made before an egg came into existence. It's so sad that people disregard the Bible (special creation) and rely on theories like evolution. The Bible has been proven the most historically accurate book ever, while evolution is full of contradictory ideas which do not work out. It contradicts both the first and second law of thermodynamics, and much more which I will not go in to right now. Sure, it may seam fine now to not believe in God, but what do you think is on the other side after you die? You are dead a lot longer than you are alive. Are you 100% sure where you are going? Jesus came down to earth as the ultimate sacrifice. All you need to do to be assured you will go to heaven is believe what God did for you (sent Jesus to die for our sins), ask for forgiveness and repent (choose to turn around and follow God). No matter how many or how big of a sin you did, it can be forgiven without you having to "make up for it." So next time someone asks you which came first, the chicken or the egg, I pray that you proudly say "The chicken did" and tell them why.
  • Re:Old News (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 26, 2006 @06:03PM (#15412980)
    I solved this also when I was 13-15 years old (I don't know why parent was modded funny, but this is not a joke). I also solved the same problem for those who bulieve God created it all. The answer for them is that chicken was first. Reason: In the bible it says that god created animals and birds, there's nothing about creating eggs.

    But I seriously don't understand why this is news. Are you really telling me that some "smart" people have been trying to solve a problem that 15-year old solved 10 years ago, after thinking it few hours? It really wasn't that much of a problem. It might been a problem when we didn't know about evolution, but when I was young, that was already teached at schools.
  • by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @06:04PM (#15412988)
    Yeah, that's one egg that doesn't get laid too often, I'd bet.
  • by cpt_rhetoric ( 740663 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @07:27PM (#15413407)
    That's just great, now everytime I sit down at my 3 egg omellete at IHOP I have to worry about the possibility of wiping out an entirely new species of chicken.

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