I think this would probably be a pretty destructive idea were it not for the fact that for most people who hold it, it seems to be such a far belief that they scarcely consider the consequences.

If I believe the world will be destroyed during the next year, the near reaction would be to quit the job, sell everything I can, and enjoy the money while I can. Luckily, most people who share this belief don't do that.

But there are also long-term plans, such as getting more education, protecting the nature, planning for retirement... and those need to be done in far mode, where "but the world will be destroyed this year" can be used as an excuse. -- I wonder how often people do this. Probably more often than the previous example.

Bad Concepts Repository

by moridinamael 1 min read27th Jun 2013204 comments

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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.