> "I know you won't believe me, but the highest form of Human Excellence is to question oneself and others." - Socrates
> It is good to see someone researching ways to combat group think with technology.
But that always, always starts with the guy in the mirror. First, get your own mind right (as Socrates says).
Next, most people listen to those friends whom they respect. You can challenge them to examine alternative points of view. The only thing I would ask (of everyone) is that you respect people who look at things as honestly as they know how, but reach a different conclusion from you. That's part of the human condition. The name-calling and "group think," as you call it, stops when we decide that it will stop.
I lean conservative/libertarian in philosophy, but I avoid polemics from all sides. My morning ritual nowadays consists of first checking the weather (because of my job), then heading to Real Clear Politics (www.realclearpolitics.com) to get a diversity of opinion, from Ezra Klein and Robert Kuttner to George Will and Mark Steyn. I also love a good (read: FRIENDLY) debate. If I see name-calling on either side, I lose interest in a hurry.
But have a friendly discussion with your friends. The old saying goes, "don't discuss politics or religion," but I say the opposite. If you show them respect, they'll learn to respect you, and in turn, they'll learn to respect opposing points of view. You might even learn a few things.
I certainly have.