Thursday, June 16, 2016

PCG's Jeremiah Jacques's False Analogy with Foreign Accent Syndrome

In a recent article Jeremiah Jacques talked about one unfortunate Croatian woman who one day woke up from a coma and unexpectedly ended up speaking German.
About six years ago, a 13-year-old girl named Sandra Ralic lived in the town of Knin in southern Croatia. She was a student in middle school, and among the classes she was taking was a German language course.

Sandra had been taking German classes for less than a year. Anyone who has taken a foreign language course knows that a person’s proficiency with a new language after taking classes for that amount of time is typically very modest. You normally would be able to count to 100, list the basic color and animal names, and say a few basic sentences—very slowly and with many errors. But you would be unable to express complex thoughts. You would be a long way off from anything even approaching fluency.

That was the situation for Sandra. She was interested in German, but that interest was casual. She could not, by any stretch, be called a fluent German speaker.

Sandra would sometimes try to watch German language movies on tv as she read the Croatian subtitles at the bottom of the screen. But she was not learning much German at all from this. The actors spoke far too quickly for her beginner-level German. And the range of words they used was far beyond what she could comprehend.
A Rare Glimpse Into the Brain’s Power
When Sandra was less than a year into her study of German, she suffered some medical complications and went into a coma for about 24 hours. When she woke up, her doctors and parents were really relieved. It looked like everything was going to be fine.

But then, Sandra opened her mouth to speak, and out came streams of fluent, complex German! She was suddenly speaking the German language almost like a native speaker.

Her coma had left her unable to speak Croatian, and her parents and doctors did not speak German. Her bewildered parents had to hire a German translator in order to communicate with her.

It was a great mystery to both her parents and the medical experts on the staff.

It’s easy enough to understand how the trauma Sandra had sustained could have damaged the area of her brain that stored her Croatian language skills. That kind of thing happens commonly in medical situations that affect the brain. But the big question was: How could Sandra suddenly communicate in German—at a level vastly superior to what she could speak prior to the coma?

There was never a conclusive answer to that question. But the best guess among the experts was that the key was the German movies that Sandra had watched.
It is called foreign accent syndrome. It is an extremely rare condition in which a person forgets his or her native language and speaks in another. It has been known in the medical field since 1907. There have only been 62 recorded cases between 1941 and 2009. It is extremely rare.

Unfortunately Jacques exploits this extremely rare medical condition to make his followers fearful of watching movies that PCG's leadership may disapprove of.
Situations like Sandra’s should inspire us—but they should also make us cautious. If our brains are quietly remembering everything—even words from foreign language movies—and cataloging it all away, that means we should be very careful about what we allow ourselves to watch.

Maybe we think: Well, this movie or TV show is pretty edgy and disturbing in some ways, but I can just watch something funny afterward, and forget all about it.
Maybe you should remind yourself that it is fiction. It is made up and not real. Reserve your sympathy for something that happens in real life. Hypocritically PCG's recruitment telecast, The Key of David, used to have an opening sequence that contained a picture of Kurds in Halabja who had been gassed by the Saddam Hussein regime in 1988 during the Iran-Iraq War. Unlike a movie that image is a picture of human beings who actually died in a violent way. Shouldn't it be more upsetting to see an image of real life violence instead of something made for a fictional movie?  
That might be a viable plan for the short term, but cases like Sandra’s suggest that, even if we think we have forgotten something, it is likely still up there.
This is an absurd suggestion. It is absurd to compare an extremely rare medical condition with what happens in everyday life.
Even without suffering a rare brain phenomenon such as Sandra’s, most of us have experienced times when unpleasant memories have forced themselves into our thoughts over and over, even when we wish they would leave us alone.

I came into God’s Church [PCG] about 10 years ago, but there are still times when certain unpleasant scenes from movies I watched many years ago intrude their way into my thinking. Occasionally some of these scenes still haunt me. I wish it would not happen, and with focus, I can usually stop thinking about them. But it is unpleasant to have the memories of those scenes suddenly in my head. It makes me regret ever having watched those movies.
This is a false equivalence to compare an extremely rare medical condition to watching movies that PCG's leadership disapproves of. This is an attempt to influence what movies PCG members happen to watch. This is an attempt to control what PCG members watch and read. If one lets the PCG leadership dictate what one can or cannot watch that person might learn to let the PCG leadership tell him or her what to do in other matters.

There is no need to let PCG's leadership control what you watch. God is not with PCG. They are but false prophets. They are but false prophets.

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