Re: Is there a Santa Claus?

John P. McKiness (
Wed, 25 Dec 1996 15:16:44 -0600

At 09:18 PM 12/24/96 -0800, Jason wrote:
> You'll get a kick out of this.
>keep this away from children.
> As a result of an overwhelming lack of requests, and with research help
>from that renown scientific journal SPY magazine (January, 1990) - I am
>pleased to present the annual scientific inquiry into Santa Claus.
> 1) No known species of reindeer can fly. BUT there are 300,000
> species of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of
> these are insects and germs, this does not COMPLETELY rule out flying
> reindeer which only Santa has ever seen.
> 2) There are 2 billion children (persons under 18) in the world. BUT
> since Santa doesn't (appear) to handle the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and
> Buddhist cihldren, that reduces the workload to to 15% of the total -
>378 million according to Population Reference Bureau. At an average
>(census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that's 91.8 million
>homes. One presumes there's at least one good child in each.
>3) Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the
>different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels
>east to west (which seemes logical). This works out to 822.6 visits
>per second. This is to say that for each Christian household with good
>children, Santa has 1/1000th of a second to park, hop out of the
>sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the
>remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left,
>get back up the chimney, get back into the sleigh and move on to the
>next house. Assuming that each of these 91.8 million stops are evenly
>distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false but
>for the purposes of our calculations we will accept), we are now
>talking about...78 miles per household, a total trip of 75-1/2 million
>miles, not counting stops to do what most of us must do at least once
>every 31 hours, plus feeding and etc.
>This means that Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3,000
>times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man-
>made vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4
>miles per second - a conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles per
>4) The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element.
>Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized lego set
>(2 pounds), the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa,
>who is invariably described as overweight. On land, conventional
>reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that "flying
>reindeer" (see point #1) could pull TEN TIMES the normal amount, we
>cannot do the job with eight, or even nine. We need 214,200 reindeer.
>This increases the payload - not even counting the weight of the sleigh
> - to 353,430 tons. Again, for comparison - this is four times the
>weight of the Queen Elizabeth.
>5) 353,000 tons travelling at 650 miles per second creates enourmous
>air resistance - this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as
>spacecrafts re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of
>reindeer will absorb 14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy. Per second.
>Each. In short, they will burst into flame almost instantaneously,
>exposing the reindeer behind them, and create deafening sonic booms in
>their wake. The entire reindeer team will be vaporized within 4.26
>thousandths of a second. Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to
>centrifugal forces 17,500.06 times greater than gravity. A 250-pound
>Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of his
>sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force.
>IN CONCLUSION - If Santa ever DID deliver presents on Christmas Eve,
>he's dead now.
>Merry Christmas to all from California, where we can't tell that it's winter.
>In Christ,
>Jason Alley

Jason and others on this list,

I believe that this message is a good one to use to introduce myself, I
enjoyed it and am thankful for the humor we can share with each other.

I am a Christian (Lutheran) and received academic training in History (B.A.,
1976), Geology (B.S. 1981, and M.S. 1988) and am hoping to complete my PhD.
in Geology this year. I was also a graduate student in
anthropology/archeology during the late 70's early 80's and have tried to
keep up in the area of paleoanthropology.

My geological and biological training has been in paleoenvironmental
analysis, botany, and ecology. I am more of a "Quaternary scientist" than
a geologist and botanist.

I came from a YEC background, and seriously began my search for a solution
between my faith and the science I was being taught in 1973. I was alone in
my search for a solution (did not hear of the ASA, or other Christians who
were biologist, geologist, anthropologists until about 1977).

The book which had the biggest impact on me was J.B. Phillips' _Your God Is
To Small_ . Through it God convicted me and my "creationist" beliefs; I
found that I was limiting Him in how He could create and sustain His
creation, and in how He could work in and through it.

In answer to Jason message above, I can only say it proves nothing to one
who has a child-like faith and in the end it is only such faith which counts.

In Christ's Peace


John P. McKiness
P.O. Box 5666
Coralville, Iowa (U.S.A.) 52241