Proof That Santa Could Exist? More Rebuttals

This is a long overdue editorial response to the "Scientific Inquiry into the existance of Santa Claus" which was published in the January 1990 issue of Spy Magazine:

(Submitted to Spy Magazine, December 1994 by Thomas Graddy)

The theories outlined in the previous article, while being mathematically and scientifically correct, are somewhat limited in scope. I offer some speculations in another direction. I feel that it is necessary to offer the POSSIBILITY that Santa Claus (or some iteration of that story) exists, in opposition to the distinctly negative slant that the aforementioned source article suggests.

Consider, if Santa Clause started his operation sometime in the 1600's (as legend has it), then it's altogether likely that it is no longer THE Santa Claus that carries out this yearly responsibility. I ask for some lattitude at this point, as I am not a mathemetician, so my numbers, though close, will be approximate.

Lets examine the possibility of Claus population. At an accepted average rate of 3.5 generations per century (Population Reference Bureau), this gives us approximately 14 generations of Claus breeding to consider. At an average (taking historical references and averages as a rule) of 4 children per Claus Family (starting with Santa and Mrs. Claus), producing at least 2 males per family unit, that renders a total current possible Claus population of approximately a quarter of a BILLION Clauses (factoring in the attrition due to the harsh Arctic Circle climate, reindeer pilot training incidents, elf uprisings, sibling homicide, and other accidental deaths).

Presuming that the maintenance of the secret of the Claus "situation" is due to limitation or exclusion of outside people, this would lead us to speculate that the current Claus population is a product of rampant inbreeding. Generations and generations worth. So much so that the combination of magnified recessive gene traits, exclusion of new genetic material, and limited task training has, in all likelyhood, produced a population of Task Specific Idiot Savant Clauses who know nothing other than the functions of piloting sleighs in flight (clear point of contention with the original article), breaking and entering, gift distribution, and gorging on any exposed foodstuffs, all on one specific evening all around the world. I believe that this massive undertaking is financed by a well established fund raising program, implemented centuries ago, incorporating the street-corner and mall residing Santas.

If the idea of a multi-Claus population were proved, that would guarantee that all of the Santas would then, in fact, be THE Santa Claus (or more appropriately, _A_ Santa Claus), simplifying the explanation to children inquiring into why there are so many Caluses ringing bells, or why Santa was at THIS mall when he was just at the LAST one. That would also alleviate any guilt on the parents part stemming from feeling the need to respond to the child with either the perceived truth that there is actually NO Santa Claus (surely helping the child along to his/her specific predestined emotional dysfunction), or the creation and mainteneance of a lie ("Oh, that's because he's following us, dear", surely resulting in deep psychological scarring in the child for life, and producing an unfortunate deep seated fear of overweight people in red crushed velvet leisure suits and black patent leather boots). Of course, this also means that every city and town has a resident population of Clauses, simplifying local gift distribution.

Back to the numbers. If we do the math, we would see that the average number of "Active Delivery Units" (which we will refer to hereafter as ADU's, being described as male-Claus gift distribution usits, but not with the insensitive intent of perpetuating the sexist image of the traditional Christmas figure) is reduced to a paltry 53.5 million ADU's. Keep in mind that though there are clearly more Male Clauses alive at this point, some may be children, some in training, and some may be too old or infirm to engage in the Cristmas eve task. Using the numbers that you provided in your article, 98.1 million homes, our numbers would suggest that the average Claus would only have to deliver to and average of 1.71 homes, and they would only need to walk an average of a mile and-a-half to get there. Of course, rural ADU's might have fewer homes and further to walk, where urban Clauses might have more homes in a more compressed neighborhood, but Claus allocation would address that.

As far as Payload per household is concerned, we need to clarify that as a current societal issue. In today's society, we can no longer afford to judge a child to the extent that what they receive on Christmas morning is based on their emotional/psychological/interpersonal performance of the past year. The modern non-Claus family unit (practicing random breeding patterns, typically excluding members of their immediate family) cannot bear the responsibility or social impact of having raised a dysfunctional child. Thus, we can presume that the lumps of coal and switches are no longer gift options to be delivered by an ADU. Our point is, all Christmas participating non-Claus families with children will receive actual gifts.

Again, based on our current societal standards, the average family of three children will receive a minimum of eleven gifts (three for each of the children, and one each for the parents, regardless of whether or not they believe in Santa). I would conservatively estimate the average total weight of gifts per family to be in the 50-70 lbs range, which is no problem at all for a lumbering idiot-savant who considers the transportation of this payload to be among the chief ingredients to his happiness (the delivery of which immediately follows the most satisfying Breaking and Entering protion of the evening, and the reward of which would be the removal and consumption of any exposed baked goods). Engaging in these activities in the house/houses within his juristiction is the only thing that truly gives him pleasure (save, perhaps, producing his share of Clauses with his particular Mrs. Claus). At an average walking speed of 3 miles-per-hour, travel time would be roughly an hour, round trip, per house. using this theory, the arguments about friction, wind resistance, and centrifugal force are reduced to insignificance. The only flames that and ADU might face might be found in the dying embers in a fireplace, and then only if an ADU insisted on using the chimney as an access point (probably uncommon nowadays, and realistically unlikey).

As far as the reindeer are concerned, I think that you have not fully examined their usage from an operational standpoint. I have considered that with common herd thinning, and attrition through losses when flying over countries with sensitive military airspace, they might have phased out the usage of flying reindeer altogether. Understanding that each ADU has only to walk a couple of miles to reach a target household, the use of reindeer as transportation on Christmas Eve would be a waste of reindeer technology and resources. However, if we discount the herd thinning, and apply the same formulas to reindeer mating as we have to the Claus Principle (excepting, we hope, the incest), one would end up with an enormous herd. This would provide a wonderful stock delivery service from the manufacturing site at the North Pole (assuming that they have not followed suit with other modern manufacturing companies and either built remote manufacturing sites, or out-sourced their operations altogether) directly to the residence of each ADU. Understanding that the ground speed of a laden reindeer is approximately 15 miles-per-hour (factoring in variables in terrain, un-navigatable obstacles, and hoof soreness), we might then grant an airborne reindeer a possible forward airspeed of perhaps 75 miles per hour. At that speed, the distribution process could begin as early as August.

It is clear to me that the author of the previous article was very negative on the possibility of an actual functioning Santa (or Santas). It is evident that science has blinded that author's perspective, and it is my hope that my article might correct any damage that might have been caused to any children that might have happened upon that author's most narrow-minded opinion.

Back Up