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    • I don't have a position on this question nor am I trying to prove any point other than my opposition to a rush to judgement approach to scientific theory.

      The accumulated data regarding the binary star system known as Polaris (of which the brighter is also called the North Star) doesn't fit prevalent theory.

      If one starts with one theory, one gets the idea that the North Star is seven times the mass of the sun but if one starts with the data concerning the orbit of the dimmer star around the bright star then prevalent theory concerning stellar orbits the data seems to indicate that the North Star is about half the mass suggested by the other theory.

      So some possibilities are:

      one or both of the theories may be wrong.

      there may be a problem with the data record's accuracy

      there may be some unknown factor which is causing a seeming contradiction but which is not really a contradiction.

      The point I am seeking to make, which I have discussed on Cake in the past, is that often prevalent opinion is given more weight than the process of acquiring objective knowledge. The fact is we don't know the reason for this seeming discrepancy and it cannot be determined by a democratic decision of the "greatest astrophysicist," instead we should leave such things as unsettled and continue collecting information. Sometimes "theorizing" is premature and basing science on majority opinion is fallible.

    • Great find. 😃 I love the unsettled sciences where new data is flowing in to challenge the theory or shed light on gaps in our knowledge.

      My advisor, Allan Cox, was one of the best scientists of the last century, and his belief was it’s the data point that doesn’t fit the theory that causes the greatest breakthroughs. We certainly have dramatic examples of that.

      It seems to me deep space is one of those areas and personally I can’t get enough of learning about the evolution of native Americans. With each new skeleton we end up learning things we never knew. Who knew Australian aborigines settled in Brazil perhaps 10,000 years ago?! That didn’t fit the theory and it has proven to be good data.