<Since it’s almost Christmas, could you calculate how fast Santa would have to go through each individual house to deposit presents and his sleigh mechanics> (Lewis Adkins, Akron, OH)>
A. Suppose there there are A million Christians in the world.
Suppose there are n persons per family.
Then there are A/n million Christian families.
Suppose that one in x of then has a Christmas tree.
That means Santa has to visit A(nx) homes.
If he takes one minute per home, he will need A/(nx) minutes for this.
This is A/3600nx hours = A/(24x3600nx) days,
This will be a more than 24 hours, because A is of the order of several million.
B. Or again, distance to be covered is about 10A/nx feet (assuming a ten feet distance between two homes). Therefore his speed must be about 10A/(5280nx) miles/24 hours.
C. It is estimated that there are more than two billion Christians.
Suppose there are four persons per family.
Then there are 500 million Christian families.
Suppose that one in five of then has a Christmas tree.
That gives means Santa has to visit 100 million homes.
If he takes one minute par home, he will need 100 million minutes for this.
This is 100,000,000/3600 = 27,777.8 hours = 1,157 days = 3.17 years.
So this can’t be done in 24 hours.
Or again, distance to be covered is about 240,000 miles very roughly (assuming a ten feet distance between two homes). Therefore his speed must be about 240,000 miles/24 hours = 10,000 mph.
[You can change the numbers and come to a different result in the end.]
C. But no matter what, from all this, one will conclude on the basis of scientific and mathematical analysis that there can be no Santa Claus bringing gifts on a sleigh to even 20% of all the Christian homes during a twenty-four hour period.
That is why Santa Claus and the his sleigh carrying gifts seem real only up to the pre-calculation stage, say age three to five.
D. This should remind us that if and when adults subject religious, cultural, traditional frameworks to scientific and mathematical analysis, they will most likely come to conclusions that would make those frameworks simply impossible in reality.
But then, traditional, religious, cultural frameworks have a great deal of charm and beauty.
They give us joy and emotional thrill.
What this mans is that if we wish to have a fulfilling life we must learn not to mix up the two: the scientific and the culturally meaningful and enjoyable dimensions of life.
Many people fail to do this for various reasons. So they lose 50% of the joy of being fully human.
25 December 2014