Chicken or Egg?

I’m inventing a new word: sci-spaining. Just as man-splaining is the tedious explanation that women supposedly get when asking men certain questions, sci-splaining is the sort of condescending answer from self-proclaimed science experts. Google “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” and you’ll be treated to some very self-important sci-splaining. Think of it as WWDS: What would Dwight say?

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Without getting into a whole evolution/creation thing here, I’m going to insist that the sci-splaining answer to the question is not particularly satisfying. Anybody who has ever raised chickens knows that the sort of chickens that people raise today are not the precise varieties that might have gone on the S.S. Ark with Noah. The question might be “Which came first, the Rhode Island Red or the Rhode Island Red egg?” The answer is that the egg existed before the chicken variety.

If Dwight is correct and birds evolved from dinosaurs, then the question could be, “Which came first, the T-Rex or the T-Rex egg?” Ultimately, we need to regress back to the ultimate question:

Which came first, the first egg-born and egg-laying creature or the first egg?

That’s not quite as elegant a question as the one with the chicken, but it creates the same sort of logical bind. How did some creature way back in the murky depths of unrecorded ages gone by transition from “doesn’t lay eggs” to “does lay eggs”?

Did it happen in a single generation? My limited scientific mind would assume that it absolutely must make that transition in a single generation. After all, it wouldn’t do for a partially evolved egg to emerge in generation 1 since generation 2 would never get the chance to continue the work.

I had intended to take this post in a different direction, but once I encountered the sci-splaining, I had to follow this path. The sci-splainers sometimes have a lot of letters after their names. They tell us that there is an infinite number of parallel universes or that our minds are strictly materialistic, chemical operations. They have learned a good bit within their field of study, but then they assume they know everything about everything.

Frankly, I have no idea of whether the chicken or the egg came first, and I’m not at all ashamed to confess that. What I do know is what Psalm 104:5-6 tells me about what brought about that chicken and that egg:

He established the earth on its foundations;
it will never be shaken.
You covered it with the deep
as if it were a garment;
the water stood above the mountains.

Granted there’s no poultry in that verse, but the implication is clear.

Which came first–before the chicken, before the egg? It was God. That answer doesn’t make the sci-splainers happy, but I can live with that. After all, to make an omelet, you have to break some eggs.

Creatures of Emotion

“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.” As someone who has taught writing for over thirty years, I find myself increasingly buying into this quotation from Dale Carnegie. We English teachers spend time talking about constructing a logical argument and how to avoid fallacies, yet, if we’re honest, we see that people respond much more strongly and much more frequently to emotional appeals.

Even highly educated people respond more strongly to emotion than they do to logic, until they can’t overcome your statements, in which case they try to shoot you down with logic. Those same people attempt to build bullet-proof arguments out of logical bricks and mortar. Then, when their logical flaws are pointed out, do they, as logic and science would demand, amend their thinking? No, they go off on an emotional course.

Let me illustrate with an invented example:

Boss: It’s not at all personal that we’re terminating your employment.
Worker: You’re firing me?
Boss: We’re eliminating your position.
Worker: But the company website shows that you’re hiring someone for a job that sounds just like mine.
Boss: That’s different. And besides, your performance made your termination necessary.
Worker: But I had the best ratings of anybody in my department.
Boss: Not that performance–something else.
Worker: I find it suspicious that you’re firing me just after I pointed out your violations of company policy.
Boss: Security! Escort this fired employee from the premises!

What this sort of exchange boils down to is that we want to sound logical but that we’ll actually be driven by emotion.

Jesus tried to use logic in dealing with people. Frequently, we find him posing difficult questions to his listeners. Take this case from Mark 2:9-12:

“Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat, and walk’?  But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he told the paralytic—  “I tell you: get up, take your mat, and go home.”

Basically, Jesus is saying, “Anybody can say you’re forgiven, but only somebody with power can say ‘Get up and walk’ and then watch the person walk. Therefore, if I can do that, then I must have the power to forgive also.”

And the response of his accusers? Actually, we don’t know how they responded, unless they were among those who were amazed. However, the people who eventually put Jesus to death saw his actions and heard his words. They were not persuaded by the logic of those things. They simply behaved with emotion. “Okay . . . let’s kill him anyway!”

So what’s the point here? Should we be creatures of logic or creatures of emotion? We have to admit that believing in justification through the blood of Jesus isn’t the most logical thing a person can do. Is it an emotional response? Is it a logical response based on additional information? Or is there a third possibility? I don’t have settled answers for these questions, but as a merely emotional creature, I’m not required to have them. What do you think?