I think it is simple values. You get more of what you reward, less of what you punish. This is hard when the majority has turned. Originally “honor” was sufficient. If you could show someone being cowardly or shallow, they would be embarrassed enough to at least reconsider. Now the response is typically to allege abuse - but the truth hurts, or to obfuscate. Or worse, just more “Bulverism”.
Other than continually trying to get someone to be embarrassed that they have no idea how to argue (in the sense of rhetoric or dialectic, not quarrel) - much like you sometimes have to keep pointing out to an alcoholic when they are drunk that something is wrong, I don’t know how to get people to value reason. But there are some that just don’t know, and they want to be intellectual, but have tried the quick way that only results in the facade. They might be persuaded the real thing is preferable.
This will be difficult. One book I have is basically coverage of creationist-evolutionist debates. The striking thing about is that the creationists were the only ones to talk actual science and reasoning. Mathematics, complexity, probability, entropy. The Atheists were derisive and talked about imposing religion. Yet almost everyone says that the evolutionists are the more rational. Occasionally there will be a debate with the actual science talked about. But more typically, the actual structure of the debates are ignored. The first question should be “who is making the better arguments”? Often the audience would side with the creationists to the surprise of the evolutionists.
The basic thing would be to teach everyone from the earliest what proper arguments are and what they are not. You may like, tolerate, or be friends (or the reverse) with people you agree with or disagree with, but that does not change whether their arguments are clear, reasonable, and consistent. Dialectic literacy, for the lack of a better word. Let those who can only dispense talking points instead of thinking through a subject be treated like those who cannot do sums and make proper change without a calculator (Oh, never mind).
There is also the can’t v.s. won’t. Some of the worst offenders have the mental muscle to do the heavy lifting, but instead shout “Aristotle! A is A, the law of non-contradiction” and use rhetoric, turning reason itself into a cult, and techniques of dialectic into talking points.
Many on this board are coders. Logic should be second nature, and many want more people to get into the STEM fields. But I think this should be turned around in that reason needs to be a way of life. Look at nature, at politics, at everything, and see if the results are consistent with the experiment. And if not, admit the theory is wrong.
An example - the central banks are holding interest low, but unemployment is stuck at high levels, there is inflation (at least with food, and until recently energy), and the top of the 1% are getting richer. If this is the desired outcome, the politicians are knaves. If they desire to persist with something which fails, they are fools. In either case, the policy or the politicians need changing or the outcome won’t change. (See “Japan’s lost decade” which we are repeating). We can talk about the alternatives, but there is no point until we admit the failure of the status quo.
Another example, sometimes we need to check our premises - “Gay Marriage” is controversial, but few ask “Why is marriage a state matter instead of a church matter?”. If we the assumption of the second question is wrong, then the whole controversy is wrong. I can’t think of one public figure (other than Ron Paul) who as asked the question. My point is the question should be asked and answered satisfactorily.
Finally, I think blogs and comments can be a great platform. Check the discussions at http://voxday.blogspot.com/ - even if you disagree with them. They are discussed and many commenters come from opposite sides and make very good points.
Or as I pointed out above, it is easy to be labeled a troll for being extremely shallow and just hurtling insults, but when regurgitating talking points and ignoring direct questions (one of the rules of voxpopoli), is also considered the behavior of a troll, the proper discussions can and will take place.
In our quest to be “nice”, we have turned tolerance of ignorance, foolishness, and stupidity into acceptance if not celebration.
One thing the internet has going for it is that the accidents of personhood are generally hidden. If I can’t tell if the person making the point is young or old, male or female, gay, straight, or whatever, disabled, etc. I can only see their words. And if they make sense. Because “Bulverism” can be made far more difficult. Or impossible - often the “you’re just saying that because you’re a straight-white-cis-male” is met with #NotYourShield.
This ought to be true of coding as well - I may have to tolerate profane v.s. strait-laced, but either the code is bug-free and clear and of high quality, or it is not. And to quote Martin Luther King Jr, we should judge people on the content of their character. But that equally means defining character up, not lowering the standard so that anyone can meet it.
We are reaping the results of lowering the standard of rational discourse to include the irrational. In this the answer is to raise the standards to their old level, and then only let those remain who will abide by it.
When places are created where “You can’t be a troll - overt or subtle - even if you agree with me” is enforced, then things will work. When sycophants are hated more than (reasonable) dissenters.