A debate is a formal verbal battle between two sides in 180° opposition.Since the Rhetorical Devices, and structure techniques do not require this Either/Or position.
I of course also have my issues with the WIki's Entry Debate since it lists in it's opening gambits
. Debate is a broader form of argument than logical argument, since it includes persuasion which appeals to the emotional responses of an audience...which is assert a central part of the problem - namely the Illogical and/or simply classical logical falacies that are utilized in 'debate' which would be rejected out of hand in a formal logical argument.
So I find the point not as well nailed down as many would like to presume it to be...
What is really messy in the problem here is sorting out the "good Faith Actors", from the simple Anti-thesis, The Bad Faith Actors... And the greyish ones, where they may not yet be able to speak openly to the problems that prevent them from arguing In Good Faith... This becomes a very obvious problem when the discussion is about 'faith', specifically the presumption that one needs some anti-material supernatural space, so that one can have "spirituality" and hence a Moral High Ground that is not merely reductionist reasonings.
As many of the commentators to the thread have noted, amongst the problems is that most people are not always aware of where they got their apriori positions that define and frame all of the follow on discussions and/or debate.
As I come to the close of Dennett's Breaking The Spell it is painfully clearer to me how many of the, uh, interesting leaps of faith have occured in many of the 'controversial debates' of our age. This is as true of the 'secularists' as the 'religious', with some of the, for me, silliest comedies being the Bone Headed Academics, who as he lovingly notes about "the society of science" brought all of the silliest of Cultural Anthropological Analysis Methods to study the 'scientific community'.... Oh dear, Oh dear!!!
One could assert that they had Tried, in good faith, to do the right thing, but they clearly stepped off the deap end.... Having looked at that part of the fiasco of the 'squishy sciences' there is the less friendly space, where folks are attempting to protect their academic fiefs, and in some cases, their ability to be the 'true believers' about their untested theories of religion.
So as generalized warm fuzzy, I think tongodeon has done a good job of attempting to get folks to at least talk openly and candidly, without the need for any of the falteral formalism that make a 'debate' a 'debate' and not merely the sort of concurrent press conference that the american political 'debates' have so degenerated into.... In like manner, while we are still working on the problems of sorting out the 'grey' and the 'bad' faith actors, we are still not all that gooder on the 'good faith' ones.