The Chicken And The Egg Dilemma, Which Came First ?
The question, which of the two was there first, is a simple question, that can be solved. It was Darwin who made it possible to provide the correct answer, as I will do in this scholarly article, but also before Darwin there can never have been a Dilemma, as all myths about the Creation I know of speak of the creation of animals, not of eggs. The famous Dilemma of the Chicken and the Egg, in other words, is nothing but a sham.
Nowadays we know that chickens, or eggs, for that matter, were not created by God, but that they are the product of a long evolution, and that makes the Dilemma more difficult to solve. But it can be done. To begin with, we have to specify that we will be speaking about chickens and chicken's eggs, not about chickens and any kind of eggs, because in that case, the answer is trivial and uninteresting. This seems evident, but I mention it because of its importance further in this discussion.
Let us call the animal which preceded chickens in the evolution of the species the primeval chicken, or p-chicken for short. The difference between chicken and p-chicken is probably small and arbitrary, but it must be possible to differentiate between them, although the criterion we will use will be chosen more or less arbitrarily by biologists. In the remainder of this article I will speak about chickens and p-chickens as if we all know the difference; what exactly this difference is, is unimportant to us philosophers.
One day a p-chicken must have laid an egg, out of which a modern chicken emerged. The arrival of this strange chicken has maybe happened on several occasions independently, and the first modern chicken might not be the ancestor of all our chickens, or it might even have died childless, but this is of no importance for our discussion. The only factor of importance is, whether the egg out of which the first modern chicken was born, was a real chicken's egg. If this egg actually was a chicken's egg, then the Egg existed before the Chicken, if not, it can only have originated later.
Now we still have to define a chicken's egg. At first sight, there seem to be three possibilities: a chicken's egg is an egg laid by a chicken (we might call this the popular definition of a chicken's egg), or a chicken's egg is an egg out of which a chicken is born, or a chicken's egg is an egg laid by a chicken, out of which a chicken is born. In fact, only the first definition can be right, because also the eggs we eat, which most certainly do not contain chickens, are called chicken's eggs. And on top of that, if eggs were named after what they contained, there would also have to exist cock's eggs. No, the genitive form can only refer to the maker, not to the inhabitant of the egg.
So, as the egg, out of which the first chicken emerged, cannot have been a chicken's egg, because it was laid by a p-chicken, and as we have clearly stated that the Egg in the Dilemma of the Chicken and the Egg can only have been meant as a chicken's egg, I conclude that the Egg came into existence after the Chicken. With the remark, that for once the old creation myths and modern science have come to the same conclusion, I finally put an end to this learned discussion.