This is a debate that I have discussed with my own Sensei who trained with Kenshiro Abbe Sensei when this master introduced Aikido to Great Britain. The problem is in the way Aikido is taught presently at certain dojos. When my Sensei originally trained in the 1950's Aikido was unknown and yet to be established as a martial art. It had to be seen to be effective. In the Abbe School of Budo (The Hut), in those days they had visits from other great teachers such as Tadashi Abe Sensei who by many accounts was one of the hardest and most spirited of O'Sensei's Uchi Deshi. Tadashi Abe always loved to test his Aikido and would challenge all comers. I'm not suggesting this is the way to go for people. My point is that the whole way of training then was focussed with full "martial intent." If people didn't think it worked they were shown if they wanted to really find out. If you were to wander into a dojo for the first time and see someone running round someones finger and then falling down, then you wouldn't probably be too impressed. This is the sort of thing that is giving Aikido a bad name and a lack of credibility as a martial art.
All the best