In college I spent many hours with a Rick, a friend who loved philosophical discussions. Among the topics we debated was the truth of the arguments that "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny" and "essence precede existence." It will do the reader good to google the first of those debates, which was taken up by the Simpsons in one of the episodes, in a nutshell meaning: an organism's development will take it through each of the adult stages of its evolutionary history, or its phylogeny. The latter debate is summed up here:
Sartre, Kierkegaard and other existentialists believe that existence precedes essence. Perhaps never before had such a concept been put forth. Down the ages the contrary belief has been held. Almost every thought system, every philosophy believes that essence precedes existence. . . . Even existence is an embodiment of an essence. Spinoza, however. believed the opposite—that people are determined by what surrounds them. A similar debate relates to nature vs. nurture.
Below: "Intellectual Homer, who has been killed by Serious Homer, has written on the floor in his own blood [about] the similarity of the embryonic development of organisms to its evolutionary history."