This is a must read column in my opinion concerning how we understand and respond to science and to how facts are presented.
Anyone considering a field in science policy or politics in general should take this lesson to heart. Know who you are speaking to and gauge your discussion to appeal to their own cultural values.
Some may think that massaging one's argument to win your opponent over is a needless exercise, but an argument for argument's sake is just noise and convinces no one. In fact, it will likely harden their attitude both towards you and towards the facts.
How can this be done? First you must understand what motivates others and be able to empathize with them and their point of view, even if you disagree with it.