If I may ask, what was your issue with Westergaard?

(As a polyglot composer, I agree that there is an analogy of language proficiency to musical composition, but would draw a different conclusion: harmonic theory is like a phrasebook, whereas Westergaardian theory is like a grammar text. The former may seem more convenient for certain ad hoc purposes, but is hopelessly inferior for actually learning to speak the language.)

I don't have any particular issue with Westergaard, I just couldn't make it through the book. Perhaps with more more effort I could but I'm lacking motivation due to low expectancy. It was a long time ago that I attempted the book, but If I had to pinpoint why, there are few things I stumbled over:

The biggest problem was that I have poor aural skills. I cannot look at two lines and imagine what they sound like so I have to play them on a piano. Add in more lines and I am quickly overwhelmed.

A second problem was the abstractness of the first half of the boo... (read more)

Bad Concepts Repository

by moridinamael 1 min read27th Jun 2013204 comments


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.