Understanding the dynamics of dissent and heresy in medicine can be aided by use of suitable frameworks. The dynamics of the search for truth vary considerably depending on whether the search is competitive or cooperative and on whether truth is assumed to be unitary or plural. Insights about dissent and heresy in medicine can be gained by making comparisons to politics and religion. To explain adherence to either orthodoxy or a challenging view, partisans use a standard set of explanations; social scientists use these plus others, especially symmetrical analyses. There is a wide array of methods by which orthodoxy maintains its domination and marginalises challengers. Finally, challengers can adopt various strategies in order to gain a hearing.