Opinions

Is There Really a Santa Claus? A panel discussion (Sponsored by yet another Eastern Task Force)*

Santa Exists…Duh

by Madeleine Harris

     To be honest, the fact that it is even necessary for me to write this article is an outrage and a disgrace. There has truly never been a doubt in my mind as to the existence of Santa Claus. He has brought me gifts and Christmas cheer for 20 years now, and that seems to be a pretty good track record. Just to be sure, and to assuage any doubt from my skeptical readers, I asked my mom, “Does Santa exist?” and she responded, “Yes.” That’s all I needed to hear. With this assurance, I will go on to explain why necessarily Santa must exist.

     As a philosophy major, I have become accustomed to dealing with arguments regarding existence, and I believe a particular one will be helpful for our present cause. Allow me to elaborate. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz tells us that we must live in the best of all possible worlds because everything is determined down to its core—meaning that nothing has happened without sufficient reason. Therefore, as God chose the best of all possible worlds at the outset of creation, whatever is better to be than not to be must necessarily exist if God is to be who He says He is. Therefore, as it is abundantly clear that it is better for Santa to exist than not to exist, it must necessarily be so. Furthermore, as nothing happens without sufficient reason, we might ask ourselves the cause of the abundant laughter and cheeriness emanating from so many homes on the morning of December 25 each year. The only sufficient cause for this kind of atmosphere, it seems to me, is a jolly old man driving a sleigh pulled by reindeer with a bag full of toys for every child in the entire world.

     To me, this seems intuitive. Einstein once said that good theories are elegant, meaning that simplicity is a virtue of the theoretical. This too is applicable to our current conundrum. What could be a more elegant explanation for the gifts that appear under the tree that chilly winter morning other than flying reindeer (one of which has a glowing red nose) pulling a glamorous sleigh driven by a round rosy-cheeked man eager to grant everyone’s Christmas wishes? To me, there are none as simple and none as elegant. Along this same vein, it is better for things to exist this way; therefore they must.

     #BelieveWithMe

     Sources: Renee Harris, “Essays on the Goodness of God, the Freedom of Man and the Origin of Evil” by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

Anti-Santa

by Micah Skinner

     One cold November day, my good friend Anthony asked me if I’d be able to write a section on why Santa Claus does not exist. This question, to put it lightly, struck me to the core. During many sleepless nights, the existential dread would consume me. As a Jewish boy, Santa had never come to visit me. Was I not nice enough to make it onto his list? Or was it about me at all? Did the light of the Hanukkah candles act as a 21st-century “blood-on-the-doorposts,” causing Claus to passover us? Did the scent of latkes revolt the angel of gift-giving? Did the sound of spinning dreidels agitate his reindeer? There were so many questions, and so little time.

     After sufficient research into the supposed nature and character of Santa, I concluded that flagrant anti-Semitism (and racism—it’s 2016, why do we always have to dream of a “White Christmas?”) is contradictory with his jolly and holiday cheer. Therefore, the only other solution I found was groundbreaking: Santa simply can’t exist. I put on my journalist hat (also known as Googling topics and then pretentiously calling it “research” on your résumé) and got to work. Here are my findings:

     There are 14 recognized subspecies of reindeer or caribou, two of which have gone extinct. Of the 14, zero have been observed flying, gliding or participating in any sort of air travel. Not to mention, a cursory glance at a sleigh will reveal extremely insufficient aerodynamic potential for generating lift. No glowing red noses recorded either, although I must admit that it’s an ingenious biological safety mechanism for air-traffic control.

     The Population Reference Bureau reports that children (ages 0-14) are approximately 25 percent of the world population. With a total world population of 7.5 billion, that takes us to about 1.875 billion children (minus approximately 15 million Jews.) If we assume there are three children per household, and that there is at least one “nice” child in each, that’s 625 million homes. With 24 hours on the clock, that nets Santa 0.00013824 seconds for each household. That’s quicker than you can say, “I can’t believe I’m still reading this stupid article!”

     How Santa is capable of traveling almost at the speed of light around the world with his payload of gifts, organize which gifts go to which child, all without interfering with any aircraft is truly beyond me. Therefore, the only reasonable solution is that Santa Claus does not exist.

     #MakeChristmasHanukkahAgain

     Sources: esa.un.org, Wikipedia

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