We are living in unique times, and emotions are running very hot lately. Every headline is meant to be sensational, where all ideas on a topic no matter how obscure can be found in seconds, a world where anyone’s voice can be heard equally, and a place where everyone you know has access to all of this. This is not a bad thing! It does, however, take more work on the receiver’s part to discern truth from falsehood, things that are useful and those that will mislead all while keeping your cool.
You need to train yourself not to auto-disagree, or auto-agree based upon your personal biases. When you hear or read something that treads into water you don’t know, take the time to validate it, now this goes for things that you agree or disagree with. If in a face to face conversation I usually just say, that is interesting, and look it up later. If I know the person the person likes being challenged and/or is open minded, I question and might even look it up with them.
Just because one thing is true does not make another related thing false. For instance: 1. IQ is not a complete measure of a person, it does not measure how successful a person will be; nor is it a one size fits all approach to intelligence. 2. IQ does have consequence and is one of the few ways we can quantitatively measure changes and differences to mental aptitude. Both are accurate. It is important to understand more than one side of an argument. Instead of dismissing something, read up, ask questions, maybe you will find out something you didn’t know, or at minimum better understand where someone is coming from.
Even good sources get it wrong or hold a bias. This does not mean dismiss them entirely. You should never assume any source to be 100% accurate or free of bias, to do so frankly is a bit culty. We are human; we make mistakes, we learn, we change. Listen to opposing views, draw your own conclusions, if it matters to you seek out all angles of the issue.
Do real research. This can be hard with everything that is out there. I try to preference .gov and .org over others. I like to read things on PubMed. Wikipedia can be a helpful tool to lead you to where real data might be, and a well-researched topic usually has a plentiful source list.
Everyone gets emotional, don’t dismiss a person’s feelings. I am a relatively logical person when you look at the emotional-logical balance. However, I tend to get more emotional when someone does not hear my logic or they are acting irrationally. This can be reversed for the more emotionally inclined, they just want to be heard and want their emotions validated because they are feeling bad, they don’t want to hear facts at that moment. If tempers flare, it is often best just to pause and come back to the conversation later after trying to understand their position. Also see: How to Fight Like a Pro: Conflict Resolution and Forgiveness.