'Debate' and 'Discuss' are often designated as synonyms in dictionaries. However on examining the roots of both, the two words reveal very distinct and different natures. Debate is formed from the root battre' - to beat. Discuss comes from discutere' - to break apart, or disquatere' - to shake.
Debate carries the connotation of arguing something in which one has a vested interest, and the importance is placed on winning the point and beating the opponent. To discuss, however, is a closer examination of the subject and incorporates differences of opinion. It is to take the data apart, scrutinize the facts and shake up conventional beliefs.