What came first?

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What came first?

Postby Watson on February 9th, 2015, 12:59 am 

The circular chicken egg argument is obvious. But on another level, the egg is what is going to carry the slight and successive genetic changes that develop from dinosaur bird thing to chicken. Each change in genetic material is procreated into the egg, and is in evidence as something increasingly more like a chicken.
Some millions year later, chickens still pass on genetic material to the egg/chicken/egg/chicken/etc. The dinosaur bird laid an egg and (fast forward) hatched a chicken.
What came first? The egg.
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Re: What came first?

Postby Eclogite on February 9th, 2015, 5:56 am 

I disregard the question, because it reflects the unfortunate tendency of (some) humans (some of the time) to view the world as digital, rather than analog. The world is not black or white, it is a continuously graded rainbow.
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Re: What came first?

Postby neuro on February 9th, 2015, 11:18 am 

I tend to agree with Eclogite:
the egg is a cell from an organism, generally modified by genetic material coming from another organism, which develops into a third organism, where the definitions of "egg" and "organism" (or "chicken") simply are fully arbitrary attempts at setting limits between a concept and a neighboring one.

When does an egg become an organism? When it splits into two cells, or later on when some cellular / tissue specialization occurs, or when organs can be eventually discerned (how can one speak of an organism without organs?)?
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Re: What came first?

Postby Braininvat on February 9th, 2015, 1:54 pm 

I always think of that cartoon, where Humpty Dumpty and a chicken are lying in bed together, and the chicken is having a postcoital cigarette. The chicken is saying, "Well, I guess we answered THAT question!"
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Re: What came first?

Postby Hendrick Laursen on February 9th, 2015, 2:33 pm 

I must confess I think like Watson.


When does an egg become an organism? When it splits into two cells, or later on when some cellular / tissue specialization occurs, or when organs can be eventually discerned (how can one speak of an organism without organs?)?


I'm not an expert, but I think the key point is that we have forgotten to find or perhaps "coin" a more proper term in our "Biologic Nomenclature". The reason of which is quite simple, that we first studied larger organisms - certainly they had "organs" - rather than to start at Archaea or Viruses.
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Re: What came first?

Postby Watson on January 3rd, 2018, 2:59 pm 

Eclogite » Mon Feb 09, 2015 4:56 am wrote:I disregard the question, because it reflects the unfortunate tendency of (some) humans (some of the time) to view the world as digital, rather than analog. The world is not black or white, it is a continuously graded rainbow.


I had reason to look for this old thread.

That is my point, the world is not black/white, or chicken/egg with an equally relevance depending on opinion. The change from dinosaur bird to chicken happened slowly through mutations developed in the egg. The continuous grading of the rainbow is evident in the continuous evolution that occurs within the egg.
The chicken was the results of mutations in the lineage of past egg developments. The resulting bird pairing offered more mutation in the resulting off spring, which are slightly more like the chicken than distant relatives. The change occurs in the egg, and is evident in the bird. Egg comes first.
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Re: What came first?

Postby zetreque on January 3rd, 2018, 5:47 pm 

This question is very easily answered. It depends on one's definition of egg or chicken. If the definition of a chicken contained a phrase where it must hatch from an egg then the egg came first. It's just how communication and human brains work. We must have definitions of things to communicate concepts.
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Re: What came first?

Postby Watson on January 3rd, 2018, 6:01 pm 

Isn't that implied in the question? Egg from chicken or chicken from egg? Standard definitions apply.
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Re: What came first?

Postby Braininvat on January 4th, 2018, 1:06 pm 

Couldn't a mutagen alter a pre-chicken's sperm first? The altered gene would then come from a sperm that had been zapped by a cosmic ray or whatever, which then enters the hen's ovum and fertilization ensues. If the mutation were dominant, then the phenotypic expression of "more like a chicken" would begin with that next generation. You could name the first hatched rooster "Jean Luc Picard."
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Re: What came first?

Postby Watson on January 4th, 2018, 3:37 pm 

And the first Picard would come from the egg. #EGG 1st. I'm going to start it.
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Re: What came first?

Postby BioWizard on January 5th, 2018, 7:33 am 

Watson » 04 Jan 2018 02:37 pm wrote:And the first Picard would come from the egg. #EGG 1st. I'm going to start it.


lol...
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Re: What came first?

Postby Hendrick Laursen on January 5th, 2018, 12:12 pm 

Thinking Evo-Devo; in an incredible array of nothingness, in the beginning, was some kind of solution (that resembled our extracellular fluid); that phospholipid progenitors wrapped around the most primitve cell and hence life began.

Then we have the third tenet of the infamous cell theory, added by Rudolf Virchow that "Omni Cellula e Cellula"; considering that every maternal cell could fulfill the criteria to be the Chicken in this analogy,

So, the chicken came first?
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Re: What came first?

Postby Hendrick Laursen on January 5th, 2018, 1:36 pm 

BTW happy to be talking with Bio, Watson, Brainiavat and all others again after a couple of years of disappearing into the void. ;)
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Re: What came first?

Postby BioWizard on January 5th, 2018, 1:51 pm 

Hendrick Laursen » 05 Jan 2018 12:36 pm wrote:BTW happy to be talking with Bio, Watson, Brainiavat and all others again after a couple of years of disappearing into the void. ;)


Welcome back HL, you're looking all professional now :]
p.s. I still refuse to be involved in this thread (haha)
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Re: What came first?

Postby mitchellmckain on January 5th, 2018, 4:42 pm 

The question and the illusion that such a question has an answer is an artifact of language where we create arbitrary categories which are but lines in the sand. Watson's answer is much like trying to pinpoint a line in the sand with something smaller than a single grain. Can you not see the absurdity of calling an offspring of a "non-chicken" by the name of "chicken" because of a single chicken-like characteristic? And what will you do when the various chicken-like characteristics trace back to completely different ancestors existing in different millenia? Then the grains of this line in the sand are all over the place demonstrating that this effort to pin it down to a single egg is an absurdity.

The real value of the question is to demonstrate how easily we can be misled by various rational tools.
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Re: What came first?

Postby Hendrick Laursen on January 5th, 2018, 6:57 pm 

BioWizard » January 5th, 2018, 7:51 am wrote:
Hendrick Laursen » 05 Jan 2018 12:36 pm wrote:BTW happy to be talking with Bio, Watson, Brainiavat and all others again after a couple of years of disappearing into the void. ;)


Welcome back HL, you're looking all professional now :]
p.s. I still refuse to be involved in this thread (haha)


Thank you :D

I was a mere teen back then ;)

Getting older hasn't made me wiser, however, the deeper I delve, the more I appreciate my ignorance.
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Re: What came first?

Postby BioWizard on January 5th, 2018, 7:35 pm 

Hendrick Laursen » 05 Jan 2018 05:57 pm wrote:
BioWizard » January 5th, 2018, 7:51 am wrote:
Hendrick Laursen » 05 Jan 2018 12:36 pm wrote:BTW happy to be talking with Bio, Watson, Brainiavat and all others again after a couple of years of disappearing into the void. ;)


Welcome back HL, you're looking all professional now :]
p.s. I still refuse to be involved in this thread (haha)


Thank you :D

I was a mere teen back then ;)

Getting older hasn't made me wiser, however, the deeper I delve, the more I appreciate my ignorance.


Sounds wiser to me.
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Re: What came first?

Postby Watson on January 7th, 2018, 12:05 pm 

Then we have the third tenet of the infamous cell theory, added by Rudolf Virchow that "Omni Cellula e Cellula"; considering that every maternal cell could fulfill the criteria to be the Chicken in this analogy,

So, the chicken came first?


Yes.................but.............considering that every maternal cell, could fulfill the criteria to be the egg in this analogy,

So, #EGG1st?
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Re: What came first?

Postby Watson on January 7th, 2018, 12:31 pm 

Watson's answer is much like trying to pinpoint a line in the sand with something smaller than a single grain. Can you not see the absurdity of calling an offspring of a "non-chicken" by the name of "chicken" because of a single chicken-like characteristic? And what will you do when the various chicken-like characteristics trace back to completely different ancestors existing in different millenia?


I only use the evolutionary history to highlight the change over time that developed the chicken. Implied in the question, "Which came first, chicken or the egg?" is the implied question "Where did either of them come from?" I think the accepted answer these days is, they became, from dinosaurs. And the difference is not a single characteristic. But that is not the point of this thread.

It is generally a philosophical argument posed to represent a circular argument that has no answer. My point is, it is not a circular argument. Any changes in the development of our present day chicken happened in the egg. Just ask monsantos if the are modifying the chicken, or messing with the eggs?

#EGG1st
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Re: What came first?

Postby Braininvat on January 7th, 2018, 12:36 pm 

An eggsistentialist, then.
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Re: What came first?

Postby Lomax on January 7th, 2018, 2:17 pm 

I always took Watson's line, until I read mitchellmckain's answer. I wanted to assert that for taxonomical reasons we must and do draw arbitrary boundaries between very closely related animals, but then I know that if a very slightly mutated chicken were born now, we would just call it a strange chicken, not a new species. We only diagnose a population as a "species" once it is sufficiently large and continuous. For this reason we are always making the diagnosis retrospectively. With this in mind I think we would have to say the chicken and the chicken-egg came simultaneously, and not spontaneously.
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Re: What came first?

Postby mitchellmckain on January 7th, 2018, 2:50 pm 

Watson » January 7th, 2018, 11:31 am wrote:I only use the evolutionary history to highlight the change over time that developed the chicken. Implied in the question, "Which came first, chicken or the egg?" is the implied question "Where did either of them come from?" I think the accepted answer these days is, they became, from dinosaurs. And the difference is not a single characteristic. But that is not the point of this thread.

It is generally a philosophical argument posed to represent a circular argument that has no answer. My point is, it is not a circular argument. Any changes in the development of our present day chicken happened in the egg. Just ask monsantos if the are modifying the chicken, or messing with the eggs?


Your analysis then comes down to the fact that for the most part, the earthly process of evolution has no inheritance of acquired characteristics -- saying that evolutionary development is thus something which comes down to the changes in the genome only. In defense, you shift the question from that of actually drawing a line of where "chickens" began to simply stating this basic principle of the evolutionary process.

I can only point out that this ignores the few elements of animal behavior which is not a matter of instinct passed down through genetics but which is passed to the next generation by learning of the progeny from those which bore and raised them from infancy. I agree that this is a much smaller component of development in animals than it has become in human life and civilization. Would we for example stop calling them chickens if at some point in the past it was before the male of the species greeted the morning with the familiar sound of a cock-a-doodle-doo (which I have no evidence is a learned/taught behavior but only speculate that it might be)?
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Re: What came first?

Postby Watson on January 7th, 2018, 3:41 pm 

Your analysis then comes down to the fact that for the most part, the earthly process of evolution has no inheritance of acquired characteristics -- saying that evolutionary development is thus something which comes down to the changes in the genome only. In defense, you shift the question from that of actually drawing a line of where "chickens" began to simply stating this basic principle of the evolutionary process.

It is not a defense or a shift. It is what I'm saying. Chickens came from somewhere. We, science, supposes they came from dinosaurs. But not the point. Nor is the mechanics of the specific evolutionary path. You seem to be arguing about WHAT happens in the egg is important. I'm saying WHAT happens in the egg is not important. My point is that WHATEVER it is, it happens in the egg.

I can only point out that this ignores the few elements of animal behavior which is not a matter of instinct passed down through genetics but which is passed to the next generation by learning of the progeny from those which bore and raised them from infancy. I agree that this is a much smaller component of development in animals than it has become in human life and civilization. Would we for example stop calling them chickens if at some point in the past it was before the male of the species greeted the morning with the familiar sound of a cock-a-doodle-doo (which I have no evidence is a learned/taught behavior but only speculate that it might be)?

This really has nothing to do with behavior, instinctual or learned. The question is, What came first the egg or the chicken?
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Re: What came first?

Postby mitchellmckain on January 7th, 2018, 5:31 pm 

Watson » January 7th, 2018, 2:41 pm wrote:This really has nothing to do with behavior, instinctual or learned. The question is, What came first the egg or the chicken?


Then I would propose that the category and word "chicken" came into existence before the category and word "egg," and before this there were no chickens or eggs but only living organisms of a vast variety finding their own unique ways to survive and reproduce, long before humans came along with their propensity to domesticate, name, and categories everything around them.
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Re: What came first?

Postby Watson on January 7th, 2018, 5:48 pm 

Yes I agree, for the most part, except the word egg does predate the word chicken by a considerable time, since dinosaurs, as one really old example reproduced by way of eggs.
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Re: What came first?

Postby Braininvat on January 7th, 2018, 7:12 pm 

Watson » January 7th, 2018, 2:48 pm wrote:Yes I agree, for the most part, except the word egg does predate the word chicken by a considerable time, since dinosaurs, as one really old example reproduced by way of eggs.


Not sure what you're saying there, because it sounds like you've posited that dinosaurs spoke English.
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Re: What came first?

Postby mitchellmckain on January 7th, 2018, 9:11 pm 

Watson » January 7th, 2018, 4:48 pm wrote:Yes I agree, for the most part, except the word egg does predate the word chicken by a considerable time, since dinosaurs, as one really old example reproduced by way of eggs.


Oh, then you think the dinosaurs came up with the word "egg" then. LOL. I certainly hope your are not pushing the creationist idea that humans and dinosaurs lived side by side. They are separate by some 62 million years.

Braininvat » January 7th, 2018, 6:12 pm wrote:Not sure what you're saying there, because it sounds like you've posited that dinosaurs spoke English.


No need to restrict this to English. It is easy enough to generalize this to mean any word in any human language with a similar meaning. But clearly the problem with what he said remains despite this.
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Re: What came first?

Postby Hendrick Laursen on January 8th, 2018, 10:53 am 

Watson » January 7th, 2018, 6:05 am wrote:
Then we have the third tenet of the infamous cell theory, added by Rudolf Virchow that "Omni Cellula e Cellula"; considering that every maternal cell could fulfill the criteria to be the Chicken in this analogy,

So, the chicken came first?


Yes.................but.............considering that every maternal cell, could fulfill the criteria to be the egg in this analogy,

So, #EGG1st?


Again, thinking Evo-Devo, " Every " maternal cell can not fulfill the criteria to be the egg, since the First Cell was not offspring of another cell.

Yet, every maternal cell could be the "chicken".

Why? Since, using the the most primitive pathways of replication, this phospholipid bubble with some peculiar genetic coding could replicate,...

Indeed, the aforementioned semantics problem could arise here, too.

What defines a cell from non-cell? What did the first cell posses that it's progenitors were lacking and thus, were not cells?

Let's think clearly.

Should we follow boolean cutoffs, and decide matters alive and not, (like zero and one).

Or is there actually some sort of tonality between live and not live, and the problem would persist unless we go "fuzzy"?

Could this be the reason we're yet unresolved about biochemical zombies we know better as viruses, as live or dead?
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Re: What came first?

Postby Hendrick Laursen on January 8th, 2018, 11:08 am 

Watson » January 7th, 2018, 9:41 am wrote:
It is not a defense or a shift. It is what I'm saying. Chickens came from somewhere. We, science, supposes they came from dinosaurs. But not the point. Nor is the mechanics of the specific evolutionary path. You seem to be arguing about WHAT happens in the egg is important. I'm saying WHAT happens in the egg is not important. My point is that WHATEVER it is, it happens in the egg.


Eggs don't pop up ex nihilo, do they?
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Re: What came first?

Postby mitchellmckain on January 8th, 2018, 8:35 pm 

Hendrick Laursen » January 8th, 2018, 9:53 am wrote:What defines a cell from non-cell? What did the first cell posses that it's progenitors were lacking and thus, were not cells?

This is considerably simplified by the distinction between the eukaryotic cell from the much more primitive prokaryotic cell which has far less features to it. Then to get to the minimum requirements of a prokaryotic cell then we need to look at the differences from the virus. Of course both virus and prokaryotic cell have genetic material as well as some protein (and in some cases lipid) covering. What the prokaryotic cell has which the virus does not is the materials and structures needed for metabolism, protein synthesis, and reproduction. For this reason the prokaryote has RNA structures for protein synthesis in addition to its genetic material, while the virus only has DNA or RNA for its genetic material only. This also means the prokaryote needs considerably more mass which includes a body of cytoplasm in which a lot of these metabolic process take place. The covering in the case of the virus has a much more narrow function to aid in the invasion other cells.

Hendrick Laursen » January 8th, 2018, 9:53 am wrote:Should we follow boolean cutoffs, and decide matters alive and not, (like zero and one).

Yes and no.
If you believe in abiogenesis as I do, then there is a continuum between the nonliving and the living. But a lot of that continuum is due to the quantitative nature of the living process - more such processes make some organisms more alive (more aware, sensitive, independent, and adaptive). This means it is possible to look for the minimum of what constitutes life as opposed to non-life.

What makes this a little less black and white is the wealth of self-organizing processes in the universe on the side of non-life. Some of the simplest examples are found in the weather and the red spot on Jupiter, where there is a metabolism like process absorbing energy from its environment to reinforce its own structure. These self-maintaining process can, to some extent, be considered sensitive to the environment and adaptive. So what does the life process add to this? I would argue that the answer is a degree of adaptation that can be described as learning. The adaptation in self-maintaining processes which are nonliving are a simple matter of balancing forces, while the living organism can actually change its structure in response to environmental challenges.

Why? To distinguish life from non-life we have to keep our eye on the end result that living things develop endlessly to more complex forms. Thus we must pinpoint the difference between life and non-life in the fact that non-living process although they can be self-organizing and self-maintaining do not have this capacity to become something more without first developing the ability to both alter and maintain itself simultaneously. I would also argue that this is also the key to distinguishing mere self-maintenance from self-awareness, which can encompass a change of self.

Perhaps all this sounds like I am implying the simplest living organisms have some kind of mental life, but this is not my intention at all. The kind of self-awareness I am talking about can be purely chemical in nature, such as the way in which DNA encodes a material structure which thus embodies a template according to which the organism can repair itself. Yet I am speaking of this in more abstract terms because I don't think this necessarily requires DNA or RNA, but only that these do this in a way that is more flexible and efficient as well as providing a means of passing information to a next generation.

Hendrick Laursen » January 8th, 2018, 9:53 am wrote:Could this be the reason we're yet unresolved about biochemical zombies we know better as viruses, as live or dead?

unresolved? I am not. Viruses are alive. Period. I see absolutely no reason to consider them otherwise. If anything, I would consider them to boil the life we find in many organisms down to the real essentials, showing that the life of many organisms is found not in the individual but in the species as a whole as it learns and adapts to the environment genetically.
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