AIG Answers the Greatest Question of All Time

Did our title get your attention? The question, of course, is: Which came first, the Chicken or the egg? We didn’t realize it before, but the question has already been answered at the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG), the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else.

It was posted back in 2012, but we didn’t see it then. Fortunately, it was just re-posted. As you might expect, their title is Which Came First — The Chicken or the Egg?

It was written by Heather Brinson Bruce, a name we haven’t encountered before. AIG doesn’t have a bio page for her, but at the end of her article it says that she “earned dual degrees in English and chemistry from Clemson University. She writes and edits for Answers magazine.” Here are some excerpts from Heather’s post, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

Few questions have plagued mankind like the chicken-or-the-egg conundrum. [She’s right!] Even Aristotle, the philosopher credited as the first to study formal logic, wondered which came first. Chickens come from eggs, and eggs come from chickens — how can one come before the other? What came first, the chicken or the egg?

Indeed, this is one of the greatest questions in the universe! Heather says:

As with other questions, worldview dictates your answer. Evolutionists [The fools!] 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.

That’s rather crudely stated. In reality, some bird that was almost but not quite a chicken produced an egg containing a true chicken embryo. But Heather writes for ol’ Hambo, so she tells us The Truth:

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.

Ah yes, that’s how it happened! She continues:

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.

We’re confused. Is Heather saying that today’s chicken evolved from something created on the fifth day? Apparently, that’s the view of creation scientists. Let’s read on:

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.

If you’re not knowledgeable about chicken ancestry, Wikipedia has an article on Galliformes, which says:

Galliformes is an order of heavy-bodied ground-feeding birds that includes turkey, grouse, chicken, New World quail and Old World quail, ptarmigan, partridge, pheasant, francolin, junglefowl and the Cracidae.

Heather tells us how all that variety happened:

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 chicken’s ancestors were on Noah’s ark. That explains so much! Another excerpt:

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.

And there’s your answer. Problem solved — at last! Heather finishes her brilliant article with an unexpected bit of humor:

Now, with that out of the way, we can address the other question on everyone’s mind — why did the chicken cross the road?

Clever ending, huh? That reminds us of a joke from the show Big Bang Theory: Why did the chicken cross the Möbius strip? To get to the same side!

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27 responses to “AIG Answers the Greatest Question of All Time

  1. Eddie Janssen

    If you want an answer tot the question which came first, the parent or the egg you may have to investigate the origin of sexual reproduction.

  2. Eddie’s right, of course, but I guess Heather would reply it’s chickens and eggs all the way down.

  3. Here a good old Dutch saying applies: Heather cackles like a decapitated chicken.

  4. Michael Fugate

    But did God make the bird with eggs in it ovaries?

  5. If you have seen the movie A Matter of Faith (creationist “masterpiece” endorsed by Ham), you will know that the egg/chicken problem is a huge issue in evolutionary biology.

    In the movie, the “evolutionist professor” destroying the faith of innocent young Christians holds up an egg and a rubber chicken and declares the that the egg developing into a chicken is an example of evolution, “simpler organisms” changing into “complex organisms.” I guess this is what happens when clueless evangelical script-writers try to imagine what a professor teaching evolution might say.

  6. Baraminology, the YEC talk about Biblical “kinds” has usually told us that a kind is something like a taxonomic family (the next traditional step above genus). “Microevolution” is permitted within a kind. So it is somewhat of a surprise to see that this “research” tells us that a taxonomic order (next traditional step above family) is a kind.
    Just think about the species Homo sapiens. The family containing the genus Homo is Hominidae, the great apes (humans, chimps, gorillas, oranges, and a bunch of extinct genera). If that weren’t bad enough, their taxonomic order is the primates (monkeys, apes, etc.).
    Who knows, maybe further research will turn up to show that a kind is a class (such as mammals or birds)? Oh my.
    (I say “traditional step” because
    there a slew of inbetween
    steps like super-, sub-, infra-, etc.).

  7. Off Topic Question Here – probably not the Greatest Question.

    Links to Padian’s slides from the Dover ID trial seem to have rotted away. Many links went to ‘scihost’ but I find only an error page now.
    Does anyone here have links to Padian’s slides, especially the feather evolution ones? Thanks.

  8. ” 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.”

    In other words, by using the standard methods of early 19th-century classification (the term Galliformes goes back to 1820), they got the correct standard answer. Who says they don’t do science?

    Padian’s slides tell him about this, at kpadian@berkeley.edu (I don’t know him,but this address is public information). I’m sure he will want to sort it out

  9. Theodore Lawry

    Dear SC, where have you been? Creationists think that 1) the Ark had only a few thousand breeding pairs which 2) evolved into the millions of species alive today, in a few thousand years after Noah’s Flood. That’s Biblically okay, because there were all of the same “kind!” No evolution across the borders of a kind, but hyper-evolution inside a kind!

    The extinct species, including dinosaurs were on the Ark too, since the Bible says all creatures “in which there is the breath of life” went into the Ark.” The dinosaurs etc. went extinct after the Flood! So sayeth Ken Ham so we know it’s true.

  10. Michael Fugate

    Brian, you might try looking at the open access journal Evolution: Education and Outreach. Padian has published several articles there.
    https://evolution-outreach.biomedcentral.com/

  11. If one considers the generic question, in any cyclical process in the world; not only reproduction but also the motions of the heavens; there are a limited number of solutions.
    Aristotle chose the answer that the world was without beginning.
    Another old answer is known as Omphalism, that there is break in continuity at the beginning. (What was the phase of the Moon on October 23, 4004 BC – how many days old?)
    Another is that time is not like a line; the simplest variation that it is cyclical, but modern mathematics has other options.
    And then there is the evolutionary answer.

  12. chris schilling

    Why did the chicken cross the road?
    Heather: God created mature birds with the ability to reproduce.
    No, to get to the idiot’s house. Hey, Heather: knock knock.
    Who’s there?
    The chicken.

  13. Theodore Lawry

    Why did the chicken cross the road? It’s too far to walk around!

  14. Dave Luckett

    Of course this whole spiel is really about one thing: “How many different birds and beasts can we kid people could be fitted in one hull of the dimensions given in Genesis?” There’s no conceivable way even the droolers would believe that two or seven (whatever) of every terrestrial species now extant would fit – that would be close to six million animals. So Ham has to somehow or other reduce that number to about twenty thousand individuals – still impossible, but with the aid of special pleading, anachronistic technology, and a miracle or two (or several), he can fudge the figures sufficiently to pull the wool over the not-too-sharp eyes of the not-too-sharp people at whom he is aiming this palaver.

    But, hey, special pleading, anachronistic technology and miracles are needed to build the thing, and more of them to get it to float (Ham didn’t even attempt that part) and then a continual parade of reversals of nature for it to survive half a year on an open ocean.

    So, twenty thousand or so individuals, ten thousand terrestrial animal species – very roughly. And today there are millions. How can that be? Why, by selecting whatever clade Ham needs to give the number of species on the Ark – family, superfamily, order, whatever – and crediting hyperevolution with their divergence into the number we have on land today. Simple!

    Any objection to this procedure can be met with the standard evasion: “They’re still only bugs (or deer or dogs or elephants, or whatever), aren’t they?” Reliance on ignorance is always a good bet, with this demographic. There’s an obvious contradiction: no evolution, except hyperevolution when Ham says so, and only because Ham says so, because it isn’t in the Bible. But if a mark spots that, they’re capable of logical thought, which is the last thing Ham wants. They’ll select themselves out, and a good thing, too – people who can think are troublesome.

    It’s really clever, in a way. The market selects itself. All you need is George Carlin’s observation: “Think how dumb the average human being is. Now think: half of them are even dumber than that.”

  15. But I see a trend.
    Once upon time, not so long ago, a kind was a species. (There was no Biblical warrant for that btw.) Then someone, on his own authority, decreed that kind was something like a family (and that species were the natural result). And now we are told that in some case, an order.
    When will we be told, a class?
    There is no rule for what can be said.

  16. @Paul Braterman
    AIUI, the only definitions of higher-order taxa are relative, perhaps subjective:
    a family is a convenient group of families. There is nothing which is shared by families of insects, families of vertebrates, families of flowering plants. This is recognized by cladistics.

  17. Dave Luckett

    TomS: No, there is no rule for what can be said – by Ham & Co. There is, however, a rule that defines what they will say, viz, It must profit them to say it. It is as simple as that.

  18. @DaveL: congratulations, you also earn a MoBs (Master of Bull(bleep!)) in creacrap.

    @TomS has his eyes wide open: “But I see a trend.”
    Of course. That’s because creacrap is science and hence makes progress too.

  19. Karl Goldsmith

    So on this they decided to go with reality that an egg exists before the chicken.

  20. Hambo is at 3rd grade level now … Start ’em young ….

  21. What came first, the chicken or the egg? The small therapod came first!

  22. Michael Fugate

    Why try to make the myth into reality – it won’t ever match. Magic is easier to believe than what they are peddling.

  23. I remember when I was a little kid, an adult was teasing me with the old riddles. One of them was the “chicken or egg”. Innocently, I pointed out that chickens evolved from an egg-laying bird that was not a chicken. I remember being puzzled by the upset that this obvious answer caused.

  24. Didn’t Ham once claim that in order to fit all the dinosaurs, etc. on the Ark, Noah may have taken them aboard as eggs.

    So, if he also did that with chickens, there’s the obvious answer — the egg came first, because according to Ham’s theology, all of today’s chickens would be descendants of those eggs; all the other chickens would have drowned in the Flood.

    But wait! As Paul Braterman points out, chickens descended from the order Galliformes, which includes coots and gallinules. Since coots and gallinules are waterbirds, there would have been no need to take chickens on the Ark in the first place! They could just… evolve!

    Riddle solved, either way. The egg did indeed come first. Same answer, whether you’re a creationist or a rational thinker.

  25. Laurette McGovern

    Are these creationists children? These are questions we would ask when we were 5 years old. Eventually, as we matured, we would learn. Creationists seem to have skipped that “maturing” stage, because they are still asking simplistic questions worthy of kindergartners.

  26. Eddie Janssen

    Imagine a chicken holding the wing of her mother, who holds the wing of her mother etcetera, etcetera. There is no way to decide which of the animals in this line is the last chicken and which is the first of the ancestor species.
    I think the correct answer is: We cannot know.

  27. Eddie Janssen

    There is another problem ofcourse: you have to asume that mother and daughter are of the same species. So the whole line should be of the same species. Which ofcourse is not true. The individual that lived 200 million years ago was not even a bird and her collegue that lived 400 million years ago was a fish!
    There is no clear borderline between a species and its ancestor species and that makes the question superfluous.