It’s a question that has puzzled thinkers for centuries: which came first, the chicken or the egg? The conundrum is even more confounding when we’re talking about birds and eggs, because it’s not just one or the other–the chicken also laid the egg.
The first known discussion of this paradox was by the Greek poet, Aesop. In his fable “The Fox and the Grapes,” an enterprising fox attempts to reach some ripe grapes hanging from a vine but is unable to. The fox concludes that since he couldn’t get to them, they must not be worth eating. The moral of the story is that you should never judge something before you’ve tried it—the grapes may not have been as sweet as they looked, but you’ll never know until you try!
This lesson applies to our quandary as well: you can’t answer which came first until both exist in their present state. As we observe various things around us, it is at once apparent that there are eggs and there are chickens. So if we acknowledge that both exist and are distinct entities, then it follows that each thing must have come into existence independently of the other. If you put the chicken first, then the egg must have existed already—
Some of the most interesting discoveries in history are those that have changed the way we look at the world. These discoveries have yielded a great deal of new knowledge about how the universe works and our place in it. One of these discoveries is also one of the most interesting: it turns out that an egg comes first.
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