Firstly, a theory is an established scientific model. What you're referring to is a hypothesis.
Science doesn't "debunk" new ideas. It rejects them until there is enough evidence to form a solid theory. This has to be the way - if any zany new idea was given the same consideration as an established theory, then all progress would grind to a halt.
A hypothesis has to do its time. It has to be tested, pulled apart, and trialed to within an inch of its life. It has to be supported by multiple bodies of evidence; it has to be falsifiable (ie there has to be a way of proving it wrong); and it has to be subject to repeatable experiments.
Another mistake people make is thinking that science is all about final, established, proven and correct facts. It isn't. Science is built on the process of proving established theories wrong. That's how science works.
Actually it was the press that ridiculed Goddard, not the scientific establishment.
The press has never done science any favors. It mis-reports stories, blows findings out of proportion, and is the first to lay the blame when these findings don't come to anything (as is usually the case) - leaving the general public with, at best, a dim view of scientists and absolutely no awareness of the scientific process.
At the end of the day - if the scientific establishment doesn't take something seriously, whether its alternative medicine or UFOs, there is one reason and one reason only - there is not enough evidence.
I still think science needs to change their mindset and give a new theory the benefit of the doubt rather then totally reject it until
one or a few open minded scientist prove it's worth.