Mike Gene has a great article on assessing all the heated arguments between now and election dayor anytime. Here are excerpts and main points from The 10 Signs of Intellectual Honesty:
When it comes to just about any topic, it seems as if the public discourse on the internet is dominated by rhetoric and propaganda. People are either selling products or ideology. In fact, just because someone may come across as calm and knowledgeable does not mean you should let your guard down and trust what they say. What you need to look for is a track record of intellectual honesty. Let me therefore propose 10 signs of intellectual honesty.
1. Do not overstate the power of your argument. One’s sense of conviction should be in proportion to the level of clear evidence assessable by most. If someone portrays their opponents as being either stupid or dishonest for disagreeing, intellectual dishonesty is probably in play. Intellectual honesty is most often associated with humility, not arrogance.
2. Show a willingness to publicly acknowledge that reasonable alternative viewpoints exist.
3. Be willing to publicly acknowledge and question one’s own assumptions and biases.
4. Be willing to publicly acknowledge where your argument is weak.
5. Be willing to publicly acknowledge when you are wrong.
6. Demonstrate consistency.
7. Address the argument instead of attacking the person making the argument. Ad hominem arguments are a clear sign of intellectual dishonesty. However, often times, the dishonesty is more subtle. For example, someone might make a token effort at debunking an argument and then turn significant attention to the person making the argument, relying on stereotypes, guilt-by-association, and innocent-sounding gotcha questions.
8. When addressing an argument, do not misrepresent it.
9. Show a commitment to critical thinking.
10. Be willing to publicly acknowledge when a point or criticism is good.