This discussion, like so many, is suffering from semantic "Jello" and the predisposition to believe the other guy is already wrong.
"Aliveness" is confusing, like the word "sparring", itself. To some sparring only means full contact free fighting. To others, it means ANY two-person contact MA activity, specifically including repetitive contact drills. I really wonder how much disagreement would remain if there were a precise and accepted language for MA.
Kimo, you nailed the need for balance, at least in my opinion.
"First you learn the drill then you apply.
Too much alive training leads to sloppy technique.
Not enough alive training leads to unexecutable technique.
Skip either one, to your peril."
But, for clarity, perhaps it could be re-worded a little to suit our less charitable brethren.
At the bottom line, people can learn effective techinques any way they want, even through a lifetime of trial and error of nothing but free sparring. That's a hard, slow way to learn, though. But if a 100 monkeys and a piano can perform Beethovan if given a hundred years, it's do-able.
An easier way is to have the short cut of a teacher who introduces techniques to you. You absorb them through drills and then apply them into the free sparring for testing and refining.
To work well, the two facets must be balanced. If there is no balance to this, you will either suffer time wasted by trying to do your Research and Development in free sparring - or be stuck always with canned solutions without fire-hardening them.
An edited version could be this:
"First you learn the techniques, then you apply and refine.
Too much free sparring slows technique development.
Too little free sparring leads to untested and possibly unexecutable techniques.
Allow either one, at your peril."