" And maybe there's an overweight Nordic bloke who rides around the world in one night in a reindeer-driven sleigh. Maybe. "

You've been talking with those bad kids again, haven't you, John?

John, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe anything except what they see. They think that nothing can be which their little minds cannot comprehend. All minds, whether they be adults' or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, John, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no toys by Mattel (NYSE:MAT).

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in Mattel. You might get your papa to hire analysts to review all of Mattel's financial statements for the last five years, but even if you did not see a trend of rising profits under generally accepted accounting principles, what would that prove? Nobody on Wall Street sees the value in Mattel (where it's rated a hold or a sell by 12 or so analysts), but that is no sign that there is no value there. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor analysts can see. Did they see value in MCI (NASDAQ:MCIP) before Verizon (NYSE:VZ) and Qwest (NYSE:Q) got into their bidding war? Of course not, but that's no proof that it wasn't there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the Inside Value that is unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, John, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus? No value in Mattel? A thousand years from now, John, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, Santa Claus will continue to make glad the heart of childhood, and Mattel will still be making toys for the children and money for its owners.

Wait! You're not done. This is just a quarter of the Duel! Don't miss the Bull and Bear opening arguments and the Bear rebuttal. Even when you're done, you're still not done. You can vote and let us know who you think won this Duel.

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above. If he did, The Motley Fool would require him to tell you so . However, Motley Fool Inside Value recommended both Mattel and MCI in its inaugural September 2004 issue. Although Mattel is down a bit since then, MCI has returned better than 51%.