Just my personal opinion but... I think you should cut Redbeard a break. At least he's speaking what he thinks, and I detect no overt malice.
I'd rather someone tell me what they think than have them talk behind my back or joke about what really is a serious issue.
Again, just my opinion - subject to disagreement. I don't have a dog in this fight.
Ian wrote:It was a lot of those hardships that made me the hardworking, decisive, resilient person I am.
But is it the hardship or the specific trait - or perhaps both - that make you whom you are?
Back to biology... One can make all kinds of statements about what is "natural" and "unnatural" along those lines. But one thing that biology favors for DNA survival is genetic diversity. What is a "flaw" under one set of conditions may be an advantage under others. Sickle cell (vs. Malaria) comes to mind. Population health depends on all these genetic and social hiccups for changing times. But that translates to hardship when a specific trait within a group isn't particularly an "advantage" at any one point in time.
Then again... Even at any one point in time, "the mix" can prove to be useful. For example, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy is a bit of an interesting metaphor. Does the "queer brain" think differently enough to consider it an advantage in some circumstances? When you look at works like the Sistine Chapel, it really makes you wonder.
Is that kind of thinking too insensitive? I hope not.