Today, a form of intellectual self-masturbation in which one attempts to scale an ivory tower in the shortest time possible. Policy debate was founded in 1957 in an attempt to disguise the throes of the real world with dignified, "intellectual" switch-side arguments. The framers intended it to allow young people to become more active in the world around them and encourage them to do something to help the ailing world. Instead, debaters made the activity into a competition of who could spew the most statistics, impacts, horribly damnable effects/results, screaming evidence at cutthroat speed, and modern debate sprouted as a result. Debate resides close to the top of the proverbial "ivory tower", as the real world gets translated into evidence and impacts, statistics and "strats" to win tournaments. Those who participate for the fun of it are exempt from this definition; it is only applicable to debate when it is applied as a critical theory that can "benefit the world".
Debate, when converted into a social theory, becomes a laughable mockery of the suffering of the world.
Organized, formal, arguement, usually held between two or more people to make their beliefs known and convince an audience to support their beliefs. More effective than one-sided discussions because both strengths and weaknesses of the ideologies in question are revealed.
Did you listen to yesterday's debate? I wonder who won.