SCENE: Mitch BERG is walking through the garden store looking for organic potato seeds. He spots Avery LIBRELLE, over in the tomato section. BERG turns and tries to quietly leave, but LIBRELLE turns and sees him.
LIBRELLE: Merg! (Hurries over toward BERG)
BERG: Oh – uh, hi, Avery. What’s up?
LIBRELLE: I read your stupid piece yesterday about the supposed decline of logic.
LIBRELLE: The first thing I thought was “It’s only Berg. Who cares what he has to say?”
BERG: In other words, the ad hominem…
LIBRELLE: Oh, shush with all your Greek words. It lowered my self-esteem for a bit – until I realized something; an argument can be fallacious but still be logical!
BERG: Er…sorta. You can use logic to persuade people of something that’s not true. I mean, that’s basic rhetoric. But the problem is in the audience’s ignorance, or the lack of information they have, or…
LIBRELLE: Exactly! Logic is one of those things lawyers use to hide the truth. Anyway – what I do is, at the beginning of an argument, I ask “What is the truth”.
BERG: Er…OK. So before the debate starts, you find out….what…
LIBRELLE: I find out whatthe truthis. And then I run with that.
BERG: OK…so you just ask “what is the truth, here?”
LIBRELLE: Yep! Because the truth of something isn’t related to how well it’s argued!
BERG: So you figure “I’ll just go straight for the truth”.
LIBRELLE: Yep. Truth is truth, whether people or know or discuss it or not.
BERG: Huh. And so how do you find what is “the truth”? Say we’re on a jury, and the prosecution has their version of what happened, and the defense has a different version of what happened. Do you just ask the judge “what is “the truth” here?”
LIBRELLE: Well, empirical evidence helps.
BERG: OK, now we’re onto something! Where does “empirical evidence” come from?
LIBRELLE: Western Thought! And modern western thinking started when thinkers became willing to consider the illogical!
BERG: Good lord – the process of getting “empirical evidence” is called “the scientific method”, and it is built on classical logic! And then when your evidence leads you to a conclusion, you have to convince others that your conclusion is valid! And logic is how you build a valid argument that focuses on fact!
LIBRELLE: Just like Johnny Cochrane did!
BERG: Er, “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit” was part logic, part rhetoric. It was closer to marketing than classical logic…
LIBRELLE: I demolished you with that!
BERG: Look – logic is how we convince ourselves, and others, what the truth is. For example, if I’m trying to convince you that “Stand your Ground” laws make sense, I would show you, logically, how such laws are immediately correlated with drops in unjustifiable homicide…
LIBRELLE: …and then I call you racist! Because I read something in the Daily Kos that said so!
BERG: Er… (slowly backing away) I hadn’t thought of it that way… (notices that LIBRELLE has started chewing on a tomato start. BERG slowly turns and walks away .
(AUTHOR NOTE: While the names and flow have been changed, the conversation above actually happened with a liberal on Twitter. Yes, it did. Remember; the left are the smart ones).