There has been a conflict for a while between Orthodox Jews, some of them gedolim, concerning works by a certain author. One of the points of conflict is something he said about a Tosefos in Kiddushin 25b, concerning how to do a kinyan (acquisition) on very large animals.
Rav Meshulam in Tosefos suggests that an elephant (פיל) can be acquired by getting it to jump, which would count as a "hagbahah" - lifting.
This author said that Tosefos is wrong, because it is known that elephants cannot jump. They didn't know, because there were no elephants in their area. Others took strong umbrage to this suggestion.
First of all, my son suggests that an elephant probably could jump if you put it in a swimming pool, or in a liquid with even higher specific gravity (mercury? :( ). I'm assuming this kinyan would also work in a swimming pool.
But that is really beside the point. Anyone who has learned Tosefos knows that their whole presentation is to gather all the available information - gemara, Tosefta, Yerushalmi, piyutim, whatever they have - and suggest as many answers as fit with all the evidence, and try to work each of them out. They do this all the time. They don't generally concern themselves over which answer is the right one, and they are perfectly comfortable with suggesting answers that contradict one another. They find the ways to fit the information they have.
Just as one example among very many, I just did a Tosefos in Menachos Perek 6 that was trying to work out which types of grain and produce can be used for different korbonos. They quote several gemaras, and then they say, Well, if the produce of these areas (valleys, mountains,...) is better than the produce of these areas, then __ is pshat. If it's worse, then __ is pshat.
They aren't in Israel and don't claim to know which it is, and it doesn't worry them at all. Not their job.
The same is true here. It is silly to say that they're "wrong"; if their answer doesn't work for elephants, it might work for lions - "elephant" is a placeholder for "animal you can't lift".
And on the flip side, if you say, How dare you say that Tosefos is "wrong" about elephants, if Tosefos says it then it must be true! - that seems silly to me too. They are not saying anything about elephants - they don't do that, they're talking about what works in the gemara.
Could someone explain this conflict to me? It seems to have caused division and discord, and I think both sides are taking something out of Tosefos which was never there.
Addendum: As I mentioned there, I think this discussion on the Greek letter chi might be relevant.