Blute Blog

Blute's blog about evolutionary theory: biological, sociocultural and gene-culture.

Is the Chicken and Egg Problem Solvable?

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Evolutionary biologists sometimes say that a chicken is just an egg’s way of making more eggs even though they in fact begin their story of “generation” with chickens making eggs rather than eggs making chickens! Developmental biologists on the other hand actually study how eggs make chickens. Meanwhile, a “chicken and egg problem” has become a synonym in popular usage for an unsolvable problem. So is the apocryphal chicken and egg problem solvable?

I don’t know whether it can or ever will be solved empirically. However, theoretically I think the key question is whether geological and physio-chemical processes originally created many small things or a few large ones. I think the former is far more likely. If so, then individual growth and development came first and demographic growth developed rather than demographic growth coming first and individual growth and development evolving. Eventually of course the circle was closed so that instead of individual growth and development being the end and demographic growth a means to that end, or demographic growth the end and individual growth and development a means to that end, both became ends and both a means to the other’s end.

Written by Marion Blute

June 25, 2021 at 10:25 am

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