The systematic evaluation of alternative possibilities is a hallmark of scientific thinking, but it isn’t restricted to science. To arrive at the truth (in science or beyond), we generate multiple hypotheses and methodically evaluate how they fair against reason and empirical observation. We can’t learn without entertaining the possibility that our current beliefs are wrong or incomplete, and we can’t seek diagnostic evidence unless we specify the alternatives. Evaluating alternative possibilities is a basic feature of human thinking—a feature that science has successfully refined.
In a good and brief reflection Tania Lombrozo writes about the scientific history of evaluating alternative possibilities and the method's benefits outside of science. I really liked her conclusion:
What it does require is willingness to confront uncertainty, and boldly exploring the space of discarded or unformulated alternatives. That’s a kind of bravery that scientists should admire.