Bad Concepts Repository
We recently established a successful Useful Concepts Repository. It got me thinking about all the useless or actively harmful concepts I had carried around for in some cases most of my life before seeing them for what they were. Then it occurred to me that I probably still have some poisonous concepts lurking in my mind, and I thought creating this thread might be one way to discover what they are.
I’ll start us off with one simple example: The Bohr model of the atom as it is taught in school is a dangerous thing to keep in your head for too long. I graduated from high school believing that it was basically a correct physical representation of atoms. (And I went to a *good* high school.) Some may say that the Bohr model serves a useful role as a lie-to-children to bridge understanding to the true physics, but if so, why do so many adults still think atoms look like concentric circular orbits of electrons around a nucleus?
There’s one hallmark of truly bad concepts: they actively work against correct induction. Thinking in terms of the Bohr model actively prevents you from understanding molecular bonding and, really, everything about how an atom can serve as a functional piece of a real thing like a protein or a diamond.
Bad concepts don’t have to be scientific. Religion is held to be a pretty harmful concept around here. There are certain political theories which might qualify, except I expect that one man’s harmful political concept is another man’s core value system, so as usual we should probably stay away from politics. But I welcome input as fuzzy as common folk advice you receive that turned out to be really costly.