Science is a process of constructive disagreement. Alternative hypotheses make different predictions about the world, which can be tested against empirical evidence. The results inform a new round of alternative hypotheses, resulting in an accumulation of knowledge durable enough to be called “facts” – at least until the next turn of the scientific wheel.
— David Sloan Wilson DSW David Sloan Wilson , Evolution Institute Website
The scientific method and the academic peer review process are excellent examples of how disagreement can be built into processes. The scientific method is an empirical method of acquiring knowledge by testing hypotheses in experiments.
How the scientific method works:
- Observe and question
- Form a falsifiable hypothesis
- Analyze and conclude
Falsifiability is a key factor, as illustrated by the example of the black swan. All adult swans were believed to be white. This hypothesis was supported by the empiric evidence until a black swan was discovered in Australia.