Modern transportation contributed towards physical obesity. Technology became so efficient and so cheap that we became isolated from physical reality... we have to work out in order to stay physically fit.
I propose that modern communication has had a similar impact. We've been binging on the conflict-free interactions we enjoy, but we haven't been eating our veggies or working out. This is a mental "obesity epidemic".
We drive between similarly minded social gatherings. We keep contact with similarly minded people by calling them. We're in constant communication with our social groups with little time for disruptive ideas to slip in... each of us is deeply connected to our pocket of the world, but many of us are equally disconnected from the rest of the world.
Say what you want about holiday themed drinks, but the coffee shop, bar, and church are essentially the only mass, small-town American discussion forums. And I'd say only the first tended to really breed in-depth conversations between unlikeminded neighbors.
Coffee chains could give two shits about inspiring conversation. In fact, it's downright bad for business (at best more seating requirement, at worst danger of disagreement). So it's optimized away.
The Fourth Turning -- on the patterns that generations tend to fall into -- might also be interesting.
Instead, most of it is ill-informed, without willingness to learn, and for the last 12 months or so with a good helping of death threats, at least in my interactions.
And so, yes, we start avoiding disagreement, because the pain inflicted upon us is so intense. For better or worse, the Internet is failing miserably at fostering healthy debate. We have inadvertently created the tools that allow bullies to silence on a global level.
Or maybe it's just a regression to the mean - we've been physically disconnected from the rest of the world for most of history.
I tried to explain. Edward Snowden said to ask people to give you their phones unlocked for half an hour. I extend the metaphors, I give concrete examples, but emotional bias trumps anything I bring up. I get angry, nobody wins anything.
Debating in the abstract is something you need passion or training for. Our brains aren't built for it. Logic isn't what you need to wage debate, evidence is.
Depends on your goal and your audience. When talking to people who aren't particularly interested in the logic of a given argument, evidence won't help you.
>To successfully debate people, focus on actions and consequences that are relevant to their life, and back it up with an understanding of what their life is
However, you nailed it with this!
My guess is that open-mindedness must be cultivated from a young age by exposing kids to a wide-variety of cultures/ideas.