|The Blik Lemon controls the universe.|
(photo by Karen Wang)
Noun. Mid-20th century.
PHILOSOPHY. A personal slant on something; a conviction, especially a religious one.
Taking a more cosmic tack, I explained that the universe is expanding, and scientists have measured the speed of its expansion. If you play that expansion backwards, like rewinding a tape, you can get an approximate measure of when the universe started, and it's considerably more than 6,000 years ago. "Ah," she said, undeterred, "but 6,000 years ago is the point at which the universe and time began, and everything started moving from then."
Determined to make headway, I queried her on the geological accumulation of sedimentary layers and the fossils they contain; how these show that countless species have lived and died over a period far in excess of 6,000 years. "God created everything in situ," she explained. "He could have put the fossils in the ground when he created the Earth."
"Why on Earth would God do that?" I asked.
"Who knows?" she said. "God's ways are unknowable. Perhaps he did it to give us something to study."
The problem with this lady's assertion (or, more correctly, the problem with my debating her assertion) is that it's a blik, a word coined by the philosopher R. M. Hare. He defined a blik as an unfalsifiable belief that forms part of one's worldview. No matter what I said to this woman about her belief, she would have an answer, as all 'evidence' I could suggest was inherently part of God's creative act 6,000 years ago, making her belief unfalsifiable. Hare himself illustrated a blik with a story of a student who believed that all of his professors were plotting to kill him. How could anyone ever empirically disprove that? Any nice prof that assured him "No, honestly, I'm not planning to kill you," is just saying exactly what a conniving, murderous professor is going to say, right?However, the really odd thing about bliks is this: they're not necessarily false. As utterly bonkers as it might sound, the fact that no one can falsify the statement that God created everything in situ 6,000 years ago does not automatically render it untrue (maybe he did). The fact that no amount of 'evidence' can prove that the professors aren't planning to kill their poor student doesn't automatically prove that they aren't (maybe they are). Hare was of the opinion that we all have bliks, whether we're religious or not, and they're not necessarily meaningless as they form part of our worldview and the structure by which we understand the universe around us.
Personally, I believe that if you assert something to me, you're the one that has to prove your belief, rather than me having to disprove it; I believe that the burden of proof is on the one making the assertion. But then that's just my blik, right?
Do you hold any bliks?
Have you ever told someone they're talking a load of bliks?
Do please comment below.