A formal interactive discussion of opposing ideas on a specific topic is called a debate.
In science debate is a way of
discussing competing theories where both sides get to make their case. Since both
sides get to make their case it is an opportunity to learn about the other side
as well as one’s own. However it is critical that both sides are given equal
footing and respect which doses not always happen.
Because debates usually does
not settle the dispute in practice debate is only useful
as long the participants and observers learn from it. If no one learns anything
from a debate it’s a waste of time.