Monday, December 17, 2012

The Egg Came First, Get Over It.

I was recently reading an article by physicist Lawrence Krauss on his debate with William Lane Craig and the troubles he had. It's a good article and I encourage you to read it.

When he came to the cosmological argument the old idiom that I've heard or read so many times reared it's head again: which came first the chicken or the egg? I would have expected myself to be desensitized to such a common trope, but I stumbled over the phrase this time.

My immediate thought this time around was, don't we know the answer to that question? And indeed we do. Scientists have known for years that dinosaurs laid eggs millions of years before a subset of them eventually evolved into chickens. Eggs even predate the dinosaurs by millions of years. Case closed, can we pick a different phrase now to represent an unsolvable conundrum?

Then a wave of morbid curiousity swept over me and I wondered what Ken Ham had to say about all this, because clearly he cannot avail himself of the scientific answer as it requires acceptance of, if not evolution, the accepted geologic timescale.

Ask Google and yea shall receive. I give you the Answers in Genesis article entitled, appropriately enough, "Which Came First - The Chicken or the Egg?" I've highlighted the most interesting bits.
Some questions don’t ever seem to get resolved. Some matter, and others don’t. What about the age-old question of the chicken or the egg? Does the Bible give us a clue, and does it matter? 
As with other questions, worldview dictates your answer. Evolutionists assert that birds evolved from reptiles over millions of years, so the reptiles eventually laid the egg that hatched as a chicken. The egg came first. 
What do creationists believe? On Day Five of Creation Week, God created “every winged bird according to its kind” (Genesis 1:21). God created mature birds with the ability to reproduce. So the bird was first, ready to lay eggs. 
While we know that birds came first, that fails to address the specific question about domesticated chickens. Is it possible to determine the chicken’s ancestor that was created on Day Five? Classification research is a very young field, but chickens happen to be one of the creatures that creationists have investigated to identify the original parent kinds.1 
What they found is interesting. Analyzing all the relevant biblical words for chickens and birds, then studying which modern birds can mix (hybridize) with chickens, along with statistical analysis of similar physical traits, they found evidence that chickens belong to the potential created kind of the Galliformes order. 
These birds appear to have been among the clean animals on the Ark. As they diversified and filled the earth after the Flood, many different species appeared. Some of these were preserved in post-Flood sediments. The earliest fossils look like pheasants and similar wild birds. It’s possible that it was not until later that the modern species of domesticated chickens (Gallus domesticus) appeared. 
The Creator placed designs for immense diversity within the genetics of the original kinds. As this diversity was passed from parent to offspring, most likely a non-chicken bird eventually laid an egg containing a chicken. So, technically speaking, it’s very likely that the Gallus domesticus egg came first. 
There is so much here to talk about, so I'll just go in order.

Worldview certainly dictates your answer, insofar as you worldview demands unquestioning obedience to authority and permits dismissal of evidence. But having a fixed answer does not guarantee accuracy. Evolutionists don't "assert" that birds evolved from dinosaurs, they show that it is the case using evidence and  reason.  

This is a textbook example of projection, as in the next paragraph the creationist answer is asserted via the Bible as usual. "God created mature birds with the ability to reproduce. So the bird was first, ready to lay eggs." That's it, full stop. No more reason is given other than one verse in an ancient book. 

And in the very next sentence the creationist has moved from assertion to certain knowledge. "While we know that birds came first, that fails to address the specific question about domesticated chickens."

Ironically, the rest of the article is a quasi-evolutionary explanation of how the modern chicken species evolved (they don't use the word but that's what they are in fact saying) from the first of the Galliformes kind.

They then proceed to explain away the fact that they are describing a sort of hyperspeed 6000 year long evolutionary process by adding the claim that God included the recipes for all those derivative species in the original coding. This is a level of cognitive dissonance that must require herculean effort to maintain.

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