Mr. the Chemist
I've always understood organic compounds to be compounds made of carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen. Today (or more accurately, just now at 12 in the morning), I read on Wikipedia that the distinction between organic and inorganic compounds is actually arbitrary and that it includes any compounds containing carbon, excluding stuff like pencil lead and carbon monoxide. What is the meaning of this? What foul conspiracy have you chemists perpetrated upon me? I demand answers!
More specifically, where did my initial misconception come from? Did I pull it out of my ass or is there some basis for it I picked up at some point and forgot the origin of? Thanks
Clearly you weren't paying enough attention in chemistry class, when you were supposed to be adding halogens and the like onto simple alkenes.
The distinction is arbitrary now we know atomic and molecular structure, but the classifications are historical based on substances associated with life. Less arbitrary distinctions can be derived from structural qualities rather than elementary ones. So, "distinct small entities of covalently bonded carbon" would be a more apt description of organic molecules than "contains carbon", while inorganic would be split between metallic co-ordination complexes and extended crystals as studied in mineralogy. And then there's organometallics at the interface of all that.