Which Came First, the Chicken or the Egg?
This is not a Q1 violation if both "chicken" and "egg" are defined consistently.
This is not a Q2 violation.
"Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" often serves as an example of a question that is either unanswerable or ridiculous. However, whether or not the question has an answer depends on how one defines "egg." In this context, would you say that an egg is:
- An egg laid by a chicken.
- An egg from which a chicken will hatch.
- Any egg.
- Not well defined.
These definitions lead to many possible answers to the question, including:
- A chicken egg is an egg that came from a chicken; therefore the chicken must have come first.
- A chicken must hatch from an egg, so the egg must have come first.
- God created animals, not eggs, so the chicken came first.
- From an evolutionary perspective, a non-chicken can lay an egg from which an animal that has a mutation to make it a chicken will hatch, therefore the egg must have come first.
- Dinosaurs laid eggs before there were chickens, so eggs came first.
- We use "chicken egg" to mean either an egg laid by a chicken (such as the infertile eggs sold in the store) or an egg from which a chicken will hatch (as in a fantasy story in which a lizard lays an egg from which a chicken emerges), so the question needs further clarification.
Any of these answers could pass 2Q, so long as they do not conflict with other beliefs you hold. This highlights the fact that, because some parts of personal philosophy are direct outgrowths of unprovable personal assumptions, two people can hold opposite positions on an issue without being able to say that those who disagree with them are necessarily not reasoning correctly.
Consider the questions below. Which (if any) of them is suitable for analysis with 2Q? Do any of them have more than one possible, reasonable answer?
- If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound?
- What is the sound of one hand clapping?
- How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?
- What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object?
- Can God make a stone so big that he can’t pick it up?
- Why do bad things happen to good people?
- Why do you drive on a parkway but park in a driveway?
- Is the glass half empty or half full?
- Why did the chicken cross the road?
- How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
You are encouraged to leave your answers to the questions posed in this post in the comments section. This post is based on an excerpt from Ask Yourself to be Moral, by D. Cancilla, available at LuLu.com and Amazon.com. See the 2Q system page for details of the philosophical system mentioned in this post.