Why do we debate?
To check our own points of view or frames of reference.
To gather information from other points of view for consideration.
To develop better communication skills.
To develop the intellect by critical thinking and reasoning.
And sometimes...just to have some fun with information!
Side: In the spirit and pursuit of knowledge
We debate so we can make better decisions and be informed about the various viewpoints on issues that are pertinent to our lives.
I believe Joseph Joubert said it best when he said, "It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it."
Side: To make better decisions
I think the Big 4 sums it up for everybody in general. Call me egocentric, but I debate mainly to strengthen my personal beliefs by evaluating it against all possible contradictions, and maybe convince somebody else in the process. I also like to see what popular opinions are floating around, and every now and then appreciate a well-composed argument or a new perspective. I hate it when people debate simply to kill time without any other purpose, since time is about the most precious thing in the world and I'd hate to see it wasted.
Side: To evaluate your own beliefs