Of Chickens, eggs, scientific studies and snake oil


Virtually every day I see people of “authority” passing judgment upon things that they do not understand.  They proclaim this “good for your heart” and that “bad for your heart”.  Worse yet, they will presume to know what natural remedy will work without even understanding how it functions.  I’ve seen proportedly intelligent people emphatically proclaim that using herbs to correct sleep apnea is rediculous.  Well it’s not rediculous.  It works every evening that I do it whether I believe it will work or not.  The fact is that things work because they work, not because we understand them.  Scientific studies are an important part of separating myth from truth, but let’s not get carried away.  They are what they are before we separate them.  Studies don’t make products work.

Here’s a little essay that explores one of the more basic discussion that has been passed down through the ages.  The paradigm of which came first, the chicken or the egg.  I think that in the end, you will see that the answer isn’t what we thought.  Yet, I’ll still enjoy my omelette for breakfast and my fried chicken dinner.

They say that “Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread.”  I’m not sure that I’m rushing into this, but I’m not arrogant enough to wave from consideration that this may be foolish.  They say that the weapons you will need in a confrontation are the ones that you bring with you.  I have faith.  I’ll bring faith in the process of cogitation.

I have started raising chickens.  I raise them for their eggs you see… and this has given me a new perspective on an old question.  I’ve eaten the eggs for breakfast, and during the processing of my fallen stock, have seen them in their formative stages before delivery to the external world.  “Clearly,” one would say, “The chicken makes the egg.”  “How could it be any other way than that the Chicken comes first, before the egg?”  “To argue such,” some continue, “Would be folly.”

Folly.  “Fools play”.  Well perhaps that’s what I’m here to do.  …To play the fool.  In Medieval times, it was the court jester who was responsible for getting the Aristocracy to view certain events in the kingdom from a different perspective.   A tricky job indeed, to present intelligent insight in a light and humorous manner.

So without further adieu, let us begin by asking a question.  What is a chicken?  I would endeavor to answer that all things can be viewed from a number of perspectives.  From one perspective, a Chicken is an animal that has repeatable social interactions with others of its breed whilst consuming food and water to live and propagate the species.

A fox on the other hand views the Chicken as lunch.  More specifically: a wonderful assortment of tastes and textures that leaves one feeling full-filled and nourished.

A new-age farmer may consider a chicken as a bio-converter that takes in food, water and sunlight to produce a saleable product.  That would be eggs.

Well then, what is an egg?  Some would say that it is a complete set of blue-prints and materials from which a chicken can be made.  Of course the Ferret would call it lunch.

So what then is a chicken?  Aristotle would say, “All of these things.”  He would argue that we can never perceive (at least while in human form) the complete truth of what a chicken is.  The best that we can hope for is a well rounded set of impressions that approaches chicken truth.  At this point you must be wondering why this is at all important or even pertinent to the age old question “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”  The reason is simple.  The parable is difficult to solve when one thinks within the context of one point of view.  Both Chickens and Eggs have attributes that must be considered from all perspectives in order to offer a sensible answer.

To begin, let’s describe the egg in a more rudimentary manner.  It could be described in a more metaphysical sense as the arrangement of matter that is capable of becoming a more complex living organism.  This arrangement of matter can be seen from the evolutionist stand-point as the first amino-acids which grouped to form organisms.  These amino acids were not made in the organisms that they became, rather they were made in the environment in which the organism will live.  Hence, an argument can be made that they were not “of the chicken”.

So if they meet the criteria of ‘egg’ in that they are the plans and materials from which to make the more complex life-form and they are not directly made from within this higher life-form, one can present that the egg in fact, comes before the chicken.

Looking at the question from the obvious perspective of chickens and chicken-eggs, after 50 Million years of evolution simply obscured the question.

But wait a second…

Perhaps we did not accurately describe the chicken in its most rudimentary form.  The chicken can be considered a more complex organism made up of repeatable, identifiable building blocks and a distinct plan.  As such it is part of the larger eco-system known as Earth.

Earth, in fact is where the amino-acid building blocks that were used to create the more complex organism came from.  So, one could present that the building blocks and plans to re-generate the more complex organism came from the ‘greater whole complex organism’.  Then, we would be left to conclude that the ‘chicken’ is part of Earth and as it were, came before the ‘egg’ for there would be no building blocks with which to build the egg were the chicken and Earth not there.

Hmmm.  The dichotomy continues even at a rather rudimentary level.

I think that this later argument may fall apart as the perspective of one-ness is being miss-applied.  You see, if we consider the chicken as part of the greater whole, then so also is the egg part of the greater whole and this activity is not re-production of a species but a transient movement of matter towards a lower level of entropy.  Entropy, you see is a systems’ potential for disorder.  Entropy is constantly increasing in the universe.  That is, the universe is heading towards increasing disorder.  There are, however, points, regions, pockets of space and time where entropy can locally decrease within a larger increasing region.  So this movement of matter into more complex life-forms and back into matter is part of a greater cycle which involves the wave-like ebbing and flowing of the universe.  This is certainly farther than I had intended to pursue this “simple” question on a Saturday before lunch.  Yet, here we are… where Angels fear to tread and looking back, perhaps I did rush in.

Never-the-less, we press on as ignorance is bliss.

If consciousness ‘God energy’ were to produce some of these points, pockets or regions where entropy decreases, they would sensibly move from the lowest building blocks of matter to the more complex assemblies of building blocks.  You can’t build a brick without sand and you can’t make sand without silica and silica cannot be built without proton, electrons and neutrons.  Matter in fact is merely a manifestation of coalesced energy.  Yet, in the world as we know it, these two are interchanged with the balance of E=mc2.

Uh, oh.  Now we’re re-defining the problem as: “which came first matter or energy.”

Ah.  There we have it.  Space.  As one draws energy and matter out of space producing time, we also simultaneously produce chickens and eggs.

“Is that your final answer Mr. Frank?”  The moderator was getting impatient…

“Well, yessir.  I believe that it is.”  Looking down at my feet and feeling the terrible burden of being a portion of consciousness trapped within the limited perception of a 3-dimensional life-being I cannot look him in the eyes as I repeat my answer. “I would have to say that when one asks the question, ‘which came first the chicken or the egg?’ the answer from a human perspective would have to be “Space”.

“I’m sorry Mr. Frank, that answer is not correct.”

“What? How can that be?” Now my arrogance, once denied, is showing forth…

“Well sir, what separated matter from energy within the space, in order to produce chickens and eggs?”  The nebulous host appeared to be toying with me at this point.  Yet, it went on. “Would this not be a more rudimentary level of chickens and eggs?”

I took a deep breath and considered the question while pressing my lips tighter together.  “I suppose that you are suggesting that God came first…”  I mustered the courage to look him in the eyes.  I continued, “I had no intention of proving the existence of God with this exploration.”

“Nor have you.” He replied.  “You simply demonstrated that you cannot perceive a system without a beginning and an end.”  “This then should suggest that there are things which may exist that define the very world in which you live, that are beyond your perception.”

He continued, “What you have shown, Mr. Frank, is the roll of faith.  It is faith that allows you to move within this system without being able to perceive it in entirety”.

Where we take that faith is entirely up to us.

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