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Monday, October 12, 2009

Philosophy and Santa Claus explored, explained. TalkOrigins abhorred.

A few things sent to me by friends:

First, a funny!

A pictoral history of philosophy...

The Physics of Santa Claus

Second, a thoughtful look at a myth.

The Physics of Santa Claus

1) Flying Reindeer

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) Children

There are approximately two billion children (persons under 18) in the world. However, since Santa does not visit children of Muslim, Hindu, Jewish or Buddhist religions, this reduces the workload for Christmas night to 15% of the total, or 378 million (according to the Population Reference Bureau). At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that comes to 108 million homes, presuming that there is at least one good child in each.

3) Timing

Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he logically travels east to west. This works out to 822.6 visits per second, so 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, we know to be false, but for 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 assorted pit stops for relief, feeding, etc. This means Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3,000 times the speed of sound. In 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 hour.

4) Weight

The payload of the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium sized Lego set (two pounds), the sleigh is carrying over 500 thousand tons, not counting Santa himself. On land, a conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that the "flying" reindeer could pull ten times the normal amount, the job can't be done with eight or even nine of them -- Santa would need 360,000 of them. This increases the payload, not counting the weight of the sleigh, another 54,000 tons, or roughly seven times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth (the ship, not the monarch).

5) Speed

600,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance -- this would heat up the reindeer in the same fashion as a spacecraft re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer would absorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy. Per second. Each. In short, they would burst into flames almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them and creating deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team would be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second, or right about the time Santa reached the fifth house on his trip.

Not that it matters, however, since Santa, as a result of accelerating from a dead stop to 650 m.p.s. in .001 seconds, would be subjected to centrifugal forces of 17,500 g's. A 250 pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of the sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force, instantly crushing his bones and organs and reducing him to a quivering blob of pink goo.


If Santa ever DID deliver presents on Christmas Eve, he's dead now.


This inquiry is based on the premise that there is only one Santa Claus. The calculations work out more realistically if you assume some form of parallel processing. A thousand Santas (1 kilosanta) or a million Santas (a megasanta) or more, working in parallel, could perform the same number of visits in the same allotted time with less advanced technology (and fewer vaporized reindeer).

One Other Point...

Who does the air traffic control for a megasanta? A million sleighs and 12 million reindeer occupy a significant amount of airspace. If we assume that each reindeer team, sleigh and Santa needs no more than 5 feet vertical airspace (which, given that known species of reindeer with antlers are quite nearly five feet tall, leaves very little room for error), then a megasanta requires almost 947 miles of vertical airspace. This also disregards the fact that each Santa must make frequent landings. The airspace at chimney level will be in high demand and disproportionately crowded, particularly as Christmas-celebrating households tend to be densely clustered in the same geographic areas. It seems likely that a megasanta, while perhaps avoiding vaporized reindeer, would suffer huge casualties from in-air collisions.


Imagine, just imagine if people who believe in evolution looked as critically at the idea as this writer investigated the possibility of Santa Claus? They would soon dismiss the entire idea, identify Charles Darwin as a desperate and driven God-hater who was looking for some way of explaining away the obvious, that God made everything.

My commenters, you never do look under the hood, do you? Doesn't the long list of discredited missing links and IDA-is-a-miracle-oops-just-a-lemurs begin to have some effect on your brain at some point? I must admit the long silence following my helium post followed by, of all things, TALKORIGINS LINKS (gag me! They lie on purpose.) discourages me a little bit. I figure this is all worth it if I can occasionally cause people to think and maybe lure a few lemmings away from the herd. Are there any lemmings out there who are even thinking about where they are going? Anyone?

Let me give you an example. Although a few people researched the Acambaro figurines, only one source, from 1953, is listed in Talkorigins. Almost every assertion on that page is false. DiPeso was paid to go down and find out the figurines were fakes and he spent a couple of days hanging out and eating and talking to a few folks and then left. Earl Stanley Gardner, among others, found out the guy was a fake long ago:

From a long and detailed work on the subject of Acambaro figurines...

"In 1952 Charles C. Dipeso of the Amerind Foundation felt the popular accounts circulating in the newspapers and magazines (such as Fate) prevailed upon him to begin an examination of the strange collection. Samples were sent and laboratory tests of them proved nothing." Dipeso thought the tests would dismiss the collection as a hoax because they would demonstrate them to be of modern manufacture.

The figurines could not be falsified merely because of the life forms representing Mesozoic reptiles. Dipeso in June of 1952 arrived in Acambaro to examine the collection owned by Juisrud. Taking no more than four hours he claimed to have viewed 32,000 items in the mansion. In fact, he asserted his examination was very precise and thorough to the extent that he detected the figurines depressions forming eyes, mouth, scales to be sharp and new. No dirt was packed in any of the crevices.

Dipeso must have been the bionic archaeologist, handling objects at speeds that exceed those of superman's. To have achieved this Herculean feat he would have to inspect 133 artifacts per minute steadily. In reality, it would take several days to unpack the massive jumble of intact, broken, and repaired pieces from the boxes. Once the boxed pieces were disentangled and set up with those already on display in the mansion, it would take many more days to even give a cursory examination.

Charles Dipeso said that further investigation revealed that a family living in the Acambaro area made the figurines during "the winter months while their fields lie idle." Dipeso believed his family of hoaxers got their ideas from the local cinema, comic books, newspapers or books from the local library.

It appears that even Dipeso did not truly believe the Julsrud collection was a fake. Before he returned to America to write the articles denouncing the collection, Julsrud stated,. "Mr. Dipeso declared to me that he had been completely convinced of the genuineness of my discovery. He wanted to buy for his museum a certain amount of pieces of Tarascan origin." Julsrud would not sell any of the artifacts but sent Dipeso to another man who dealt in antiquities. That dealer told Dipeso that Julsrud's ceramics came from a man and his three children who lived thirty minutes outside of town near the irrigation plant of Solis. Juisrud said, "Why then didn't Dipeso go there and find out the truth? The obligation of a serious scientist is to investigate himself and not give credence to the first man who tells him something."

In the first place, it was against the archaeological code of ethics and illegal for Dipeso to be acquiring Indian artifacts to take out of the country. Secondly, the black market antiquity dealer who sold Dipeso the artifacts had obvious motivation to make sure that Dipeso didn't buy from Julsrud, so we have no difficulty understanding why the dealer made up the story of the hoaxer family.

Francisco Aguitar Sanchaz, Superintendent of the National Irrigation Plant of Solis said, "That on the basis of four years intimate knowledge of the inhabitants of the entire area and of archaeological activity there, he could positively deny that there was any such ceramic production in the vicinity."

The Municipal President of Acambaro, Juan Terrazaz Carranza, issued on July 23, 1952, an official statement No.1109 refuting Dipeso's allegation.

'This Presidency under my direction ordered that an investigation be carried out in this matter, and has arrived at the conclusion that in this municipal area there does not exist any persons who makes these kinds of objects."

There are many other problems associated with Dipeso's spurious allegations. He fails to mention that the ceramic artifacts of varying clay composition and styles had been individually and not mold-made. There were not only ceramic pieces but also stone pieces.

The ceramic collection has unsurpassed variety and beauty that has won the admiration of professional artists. No peasant family could possibly make thousands and thousands of non-duplicated sculptures with such skill and artistic finesse.

The famous Earle Stanley Gardner, whose detective mysteries became the basis for the famous Perry Mason television programs, was a forensic pathologist and attorney who served as district attorney for the city of Los Angeles for over 20. Mr. Gardner examined the collection and voiced the expert opinion of an experienced prosecuting attorney when he said that if a group of fakers had made all the pieces, their style would be recognizable on the whole collection.

"Every criminal, every criminal gang has its own method of operations. Police can often identify a criminal or gang from the method of a crime. It is obvious that no one individual or group could have made the pieces."

Charles Dipeso insisted in his insinuations that the collection was an elaborate hoax; the diggers making pits, burying the objects, and later digging them up. Dipeso finished his 1953 report with resounding confidence, "Our investigation proved conclusively that the figurines are not prehistoric and were not made by a superior prehistoric race that associated with dinosaurs."

Much of Dipeso's report was absolutely unfounded or mere conjecture. What would be the motive for faking the objects? Economically, at 12 cents a figure, for a hoaxer to manufacture the objects, to say nothing of the additional costs to bury them and then dig them up again, Tinajero, a poor Mexican farmer, could never have afforded to make 33,500 figures under these circumstances.

The collection is not only skillfully made but contains dinosaur species that only a highly educated person who had burrowed deep into the recesses of paleontological literature could have known of the rare life forms. Odilon Tinajero had neither the artistic competence or educational background to perpetuate such a hoax. Tinajero left school in the fourth grade and could barely read or write.

Acambaro is a dry, arid, and relatively treeless area, yet all the ceramic objects had been baked in open fires. This would require many truckloads of firewood which is very expensive in Acambaro. It would have been consumed consistently. The smoke rising from the fire could not have possibly gone undetected by the entire community.


I can tell you some figurines were "dated" to be very ancient by radiocarbon dating, which is valid for periods after the Flood. Charles Hapgood has written a good but short book on the subject. I have pointed out more about this subject in particularI will tell you that I pointed out the major errors and lies to the TalkOrigins staff concerning Acambaro figurines and several other subjects and yet they refuse to change what they have written despite overwhelming evidence that they are posting lies!!! Their site apparently does not care if anything they say is true, just as long as they can publish something to appease the curious but shallow mind. Please do not ever use TalkOrigins as a source for your own edification or for an argument on this site, I will know it is foolish just because of the source.


The Santa thing was sent to me by a friend and it was not attributed. But I found a link on the Google search and linked the titel. The link says Bruce Timberlake, so Bruce, whoever you are, thank you!

Here is what Smithsonian Institute thinks is a Rhino? Let's give them some crayons and a nice little gold star...


highboy said...

The whole Santa thing is a matter of perspective for me. Most kids look at him as a jolly old man who comes and gives great presents to good children. I see him as a giant fat jerk who breaks into my house and steals my cookies.

DQ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chaos Engineer said...

Highboy - You're so cynical!

Stephen J. Gould popularized an idea that he called "Non-Overlapping Magisteria." Basically he says that the Physical and Spiritual worlds are so different that we need to approach them using different "languages", different "ways of thinking".

So it's a mistake to take a spiritual-world claim like "Santa Claus exists", and ask physical-world questions like, "Isn't that breaking and entering?" or "Why is this labeled 'Made in China' if it was made at the North Pole?" or "Why do rich kids get better presents than poor kids?"

The right way of looking at it is captured in the "Yes, Virginia..." editorial: "Yes, VIRGINIA, 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. [...] Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see."

About the dinosaurs. I checked out the website and it looks like some kind of Bible-study thing. I don't think they're paleontology experts so I have to take the article with a grain of salt.

Now, paleontologists believe that mammoths and sabre-toothed tigers and giant sloths lived at the same time as humans, so I don't think they'd say that it's impossible that dinosaurs also lived at that same time. It's just that up until now they haven't found any evidence of it.

So, do we have any idea as to how they reacted to the news? Did a bunch of them go running off to Mexico, exclaiming, "What a great opportunity! If I discover a modern dinosaur fossil, then that'll be a huge boost to my career!" Or did they just sit at home, exclaiming, "What a transparent hoax!"

highboy said...

Chaos, I have to look at it as breaking and entering. I'm American.

radar said...

"Now, paleontologists believe that mammoths and sabre-toothed tigers and giant sloths lived at the same time as humans, so I don't think they'd say that it's impossible that dinosaurs also lived at that same time. It's just that up until now they haven't found any evidence of it."

Actually we have vast amounts of evidence that man lived at the same time as such creatures. We have drawings made by man of not only saber-toothed tigers and mammoths but also dinosaurs. We have carvings, we have official government documentation from all over Europe...Paleontologists are like little children covering their eyes and ears trying not to see such evidence because it upsets their evolutionary applecart. Most of them acknowledge that man lived with mammoths but cannot accept the evidence that they lived with dinosaurs even though the evidence is quite clear.

Chaos Engineer said...

Paleontologists are like little children covering their eyes and ears...

What a horrible thing to say about people whom you haven't met!

...trying not to see such evidence because it upsets their evolutionary applecart. Most of them acknowledge that man lived with mammoths but cannot accept the evidence that they lived with dinosaurs even though the evidence is quite clear.

I don't understand.

Paleontologists accept evidence that humans and mammoths lived at the same time, and they accept evidence that dinosaurs and cockroaches lived at the same time. So if there were evidence that humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time, why would they want to reject it?

Remember, no scientist ever got famous for agreeing with everybody else. The way to get famous is to discover something new, and a four-thousand-year-old dinosaur fossil would be the find of the century!

Is there any reason why someone couldn't go to Mexico, dig up some dinosaur bones, perform the standard radiometric dating tests, and get the same results that they'd get from four-thousand-year-old human bones? If it's possible to do that, I've got to wonder why nobody seems to be trying!

radar said...

I do not think what I said reaches the level of "horrible." Equating paleontologists in general with little children is descriptive of an attitude of wanton ignorance, not a charge of felonious activities. I am not calling them murderers or grifters, just pointing out that they deliberately ignore information.

I have posted so many examples of evidences of men and dinosaurs living together and you would have to be both blind and deaf and live in the world of paleontology not to have run across such things. I think the Smithsonian Institute illustrates this - - they take one carving that looks much like our childhood vision of a stegosaurus and try to convince the ill-informed that the carving is of a Rhino! In fact the carving is very accurate. This feeble attempt to mislead the reader is, to me, heinous!

Moreover, this carving from long ago is more anatomically correct than many of the 1950's artist and paleontologist renderings of stegosaurs, as are the Acambaro statues. How did ancient people know what these creatures looked like? How did they know that some had spikes on their tails and some did not?

Go to this page -

Notice that the temple has carvings of many animals, easily identifiable and in the same style of the stegosaurus. The logical conclusion is that these animals (monkeys, deer, buffalo, swans and so on) were alive and well so that the artist could view them and carve them into the temple wall. Go ahead and hide your eyes, but if you do read the information on those pages it makes the Smithsonian look like idiots.

Why do paleontologists hide from such evidence? If it is not because they do not want to know, then it must be because they do not want YOU to know. Which is more "horrible?", do you think?

radar said...

Check out this article as another example of easily seen evidence of man and dinosaur coexisting. Sorry, but the only way an ancient artist in Cambodia could carve a figure of a stegosaurus into a rock temple was to have seen one unless you believe in time machines?

Chaos Engineer said...

I do not think what I said reaches the level of "horrible."

I disagree. The people you're talking about are professionals who spend 40 hours a week doing paleontology research. It's a bit much to say that they're all incompetent at their jobs and don't understand how to evaluate evidence.

Couldn't you at least concede that they're making a very subtle error that even highly skilled professionals can fall into, and that you're only able to avoid it because of your special knowledge?

Remember, in the 19th Century, Western paleontologists were working under the assumption that the Genesis Flood had happened, and they spent a lot of time trying to interpret evidence in light of that. They only abandoned the flood model after they found a lot of evidence that seemed to contradict it.

Today, we know that their problem is that they weren't practicing the "sola scriptura" kind of Christianity. So they didn't realize that evidence which appears to contradict the Bible is necessarily false and needs to be explained away.

As to the dinosaur reminds me of Von Daniken's "Chariots of the Gods" book from the 1970's. He was trying to prove that ancient religions were all inspired by space aliens. I remember he had photos of some ancient earthworks that looked like airplane runways, and a temple sculpture that looked like a man in a spacesuit, and a wonderful Mayan artwork that looked like a stylized version of an Apollo astronaut lying on an acceleration couch and looking at an instrument panel.

But paleontologists and archeologists didn't follow up on his work by checking likely sites for alien artifacts. They mostly just called him a crackpot.

radar said...


I hate to disrupt anyone's world view...well, no I don't, actually.

Read these two articles. The evidence is overwhelming that man and dinosaur coexisted. Paleontologists just walk away from the evidence. This is no "Chariots" taking the evidence three stages past the probable. There are many carvings, drawings, writings in evidence that say that man coexisted with mammoths, apatosaurus, stegosaurus, sabre-toothed tigers and so on.

Why do Paleontologists accept the mammoth evidence and filter out the dinosaurs? It cannot be on scientific grounds, it is because they cannot accept the massive disruption of their core belief system. So they either ignore such things or try to hide them or even make up stories to dispute them. Now that seems far more "horrible" than the idea that I would call the Paleontologists of the world out for their actions!

radar said...

I would also call your attention to the series I did awhile back concerning the many official entries in town records throughout Europe about dinosaurs. Usually the beast(s)in question were found around bodies of water or were flocks of pterosaurs of some kind that flew down to take lambs or even small children up and away.

I also drew attention to various carvings found in church/city buildings/old engravings that were obviously dinosaurs. People of the first millenium were not supposed to have any familiarity with the anatomical structure of long-dead saurians and yet they depicted with great accuracy dinosaurs that we are familiar with today. In fact, only recently (since 1992) have we known about the many dorsal appendages that are depicted in carvings and statues but "modern" science never knew about. We grew up seeing most dinosaurs as having smooth backs. We were wrong. Tell me, how could the Acambaro and Ica and even European people of long ago know these things while we modern sophisticated types just found out? The obvious answer is because they OBSERVED them!

C'mon, doesn't that cry out for a DUH!?

Anonymous said...

Hi, would just like to address the stupidity of the above poster.

it's perfectly acceptable for people of the first century to be able to draw dinosaurs, all they would need to do is see a fossil.