Tuesday, September 01, 2009

"A Blueprint for Anarchy"

Every well-regulated civil government has an acknowledged head. The President in the head of the United States Government. Queen Victoria is the ruler of Great Britain. The Sultan sways the Turkish Empire. If these nations had no authorized leader to govern them they would be reduced to the condition of a mere mob, and anarchy, confusion and civil war would inevitably follow, as recently happened to France after the fall of Napoleon III.

In like manner the Church, besides an invisible Head in heaven, must have a visible head on earth. The body and members of the Church are visible; why not also the Head? The Church without a supreme Ruler would be like an army without a general, a navy without an admiral, a sheepfold without a shepherd, or like a human body without a head.

From the very fact, then, of the existence of a supreme Head in the Jewish Church; from the fact that a Head is always necessary for civil government, for families and corporations; from the fact, especially, that a visible Head is essential to the maintenance of unity in the Church, while the absence of a Head necessarily leads to anarchy, we are forced to conclude, even though positive evidence were wanting, that, in the establishment of His Church, it must have entered into the mind of the Divine Lawgiver to place over it a primate invested with supreme judicial powers.


The highly coordinated movements of flocks of birds or schools of fish are among the most fascinating phenomena to be found in nature. The group seems to turn and maneuver as a single unit, changing direction almost instantaneously, leading some researchers to hypothesize that electromagnetic communication or even "thought transference" must be involved. In reality this behavior results from far less mysterious causes. Such movements are a prime example of emergent behavior: the behavior is not a property of any individual bird, but rather emerges as a property of the group itself. There is no leader, no overall control; instead the flock's movements are determined by the moment-by-moment decisions of individual birds, following simple rules in response to interactions with their neighbors in the flock.

Observation shows that there are no leaders (at least not for more than a few seconds at a time), since different birds will be at the front of the flock every time it changes direction. Research by Wayne Potts, published in the journal Nature in 1984, helped explain how flock movements are initiated and coordinated. Potts, through a frame-by-frame analysis of high-speed film of sandpiper flocks, found that any individual can initiate a flock movement, which then propagates through the flock in a wave radiating out from the initiation site. These "maneuver waves" could move in any direction through the flock, including from back to front. However, the flock usually only responded to birds that banked into the flock, rather than away from it. Since birds turning away from the flock run the risk of being separated from it and getting picked off by the predator, others will not follow them. Besides its obvious benefits for individuals, this rule helps prevent indecision by the flock and permits it to respond rapidly to attack.

Once one of these waves began, Potts found that it spread through the flock far more rapidly than could be explained by the reaction times of individual birds. A bird's mean startle reaction time to a light flash as measured in the laboratory was 38 milliseconds, but maneuver waves spread through the flock between birds at a mean speed of less than 15 milliseconds. However, the first birds to respond to an initiator took 67 milliseconds to react. Potts proposed that birds farther away from the initiation site were able to see the wave approaching them, and could "get set" to respond before it actually reached them. He dubbed this the "chorus line hypothesis," in analogy to Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall who can see and anticipate an approaching high leg kick when it is still well down the line. Films of human chorus lines show that rehearsed maneuvers, initiated without warning, propagate down the line at less than 108 milliseconds, almost twice as fast as the human visual reaction time of 194 milliseconds.


1 comment:

  1. Brilliant Argument for Papism!!! You may kiss the Pope's Ring as a token of His Gratitude!!!