The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum - even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there's free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.
--The Common Good, Noam Chomsky.
Chomsky's talking about the mainstream media, but his words apply even more to Orthodox Judaism. Jews are famous (at least amongst themselves) for disagreement. There's the saying, "Two Jews, three opinions," and the joke about how if you lived on a deserted island, you'd need to build two shuls, the one you go to and the one you don't go to. People constantly disagree about standards of kashrut, what kinds of clothing to wear, and how much you should spend on an etrog. The center of Orthodox study, the Talmud, is a compendium of such arguments.
But where are the meta-questions? Why don't yeshiva students study the arguments for and against God's existence? Why don't they study textual criticism? Why don't they study the great non-Jewish theologians? Why don't they read philosophy? Non-Orthodox religious scholars do all of the above. Why don't yeshiva students?
One answer is that they already agree on the fundamentals. This is true, but it's missing the point. They agree on them not because of previous study and debate, but because they aren't allowed to believe in anything else. It's not as if in elementary school or even high school, they were introduced to a lively debate about the existence of God and the historicity of the Torah.
If you study Talmud, you must believe in the importance of debate. If all that mattered were the conclusions, we wouldn't study that Bet Shamai said this and Bet Hillel said that. We would just read the final rulings of our corner of Judaism. If argumentation is so critical to understanding the narrow issues, why do the Orthodox passively accept answers to the biggest questions around and not debate them with vigor?
I think Chomsky's on to something.