I’ve been bitten by dogs. Not once, and not twice. I did my best not to take offence and indeed; for most part, the dogs were just either mistaking my hand (or leg) for food, or too fearful. Have you been bitten recently? Maybe not by dogs but someone’s views?
If there’s been something that’s chewing us all up, it’s increasing intolerance, and there had been research shown that more educated people actually hold more extreme views. And it is apparently due mainly to the fact that they are able to practice extreme confirmation bias in seeking out the information that confirms their views. And here is when it becomes increasingly important actually that there’s openness to new ideas, and the ability to voice them.
The reason why science, mathematics and mostly academic discourses have for centuries allowed the improvement of these subjects and topics is only because of free and open discussion. And these discussion will of course need to address differences. Being able to address them agreeably is ideal but there will be times to push the envelope without being offensive. Yet people can be offended.
People can feel chewed up. And it is important as a society to learn to cope with being comfortable with the disagreement, and knowing it is not supposed to be personal. We can be better by learning graciousness and not hiding disagreements. And being able to share openly about our ideas and disagreements without fear of persecution is important. On this note, I thought this speech by Rowan Atkinson on the reform section 5 movement years ago was quite funny and moving.