Listening to a lecture — given either to a small audience such as in a typical classroom, or to a large audience such as in a public lecture — at best, one learns the opinions of the lecturer; but one does not learn the merits of such opinions unless they are subject to criticism by a person of at least equal competence. I, therefore, recommend that all controversial matters taught in schools be conducted by two competent persons with incompatible positions.
Historically, such an approach was dramatically illustrated by Plato’s dialogues, as well as by Aristotle in some of his writings, and more so by Aquinas in his Summa Theologiae. But these are imaginary or opinionated dialogues. What is needed is to witness real disputes.
As illustrations, let me offer the following debates available on the internet as examples.
The first one is a BBC radio debate between Bertrand Russell and Frederick Copleston in 1948:
Here is a transcript of the debate: A Debate on the Argument from Contingency
The second debate is between Norman Finkelstein and Alan Dershowitz at Democracy Now in 2003 on the Palestine-Israel conflict:
Here is my take on this debate and its aftermath: Andrew Chrucky, Norman Finkelstein, DePaul, and U.S. Academia: Reductio Ad Absurdum of Centralized Universities, 2007.
The third debate is between Richard Wolff and Gene Epstein on Socialism vs Capitalism in 2019.
Here is my partial commentary: Richard Wolff’s failed definition of capitalism
The fourth debate is between Tucker Carlson and Cenk Uygur on immigration in 2018.
The fifth: Sir Roger Penrose and William Lane Craig: How to combine the physical realm, the mental realm, and the abstract realm?
My last illustration is the debate between Stefan Molyneux and Peter Joseph on the merits of capitalism: Andrew Chrucky’s annotated commentary on the debate between Stefan Molyneux and Peter Joseph of the Zeitgeist Movement about the free market system, which took place on September 23, 2013.