Scientific Evidence for Santa Claus
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07-12-2015, 01:48 PM
RE: Scientific Evidence for Santa Claus
(06-12-2015 08:47 PM)Shadow Fox Wrote:  
(04-12-2015 10:07 AM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  My youngest daughter, aged 9, asked me last night if there was any scientific evidence for Santa. I asked her what she thought. She said she was pretty sure that there wasn't any.

Before I continue, let me point out that all my friends and family know me as the killjoy skeptic that always poo-poos all over the new fads and debunks the stupid hoaxes they repost on Facebook. However, my wife and one close friend are the only people that know that I am an atheist. My wife is not keen on my revealing that fact to my children just yet. So, I take every opportunity I can to give them the tools to figure it out for themselves without actually telling what I believe or not.

So, I asked her how we could know if Santa was real or not? I was impressed with her reasoning:
"If he was real we could see him. And, I have seen him before. Like at the mall. But, I am pretty sure that isn't really him. Except possibly the one at the big mall.... But, I have never actually seen a reindeer fly. WAIT! If Santa weren't real, how can the elves move every night?"

Me: "Have you seen them move?"

Her: "No. But they are in different places every morning."

Me: "Are there any other possible explanations for how they might be getting moved?"

Her: "Well, you and mommy could be moving them I guess. But, then that would mean... "

At this point, her precious little chin began to quiver and I felt really bad for her because she had just tugged on a little thread of santa's sweater and the whole damn thing unraveled. She was staring at santa's fat, hairy navel, figuratively speaking, and I am pretty sure it wasn't what she had expected.

Me: "Wait, wait, wait! Are you telling me you think it is possible that santa isn't real and I am moving the elves? If that is the case, then who is bringing the presents on Christmas night?"

Her: "You and mommy?"

Me: "Then who is eating the cookies that we leave out?"

Her: "You and mommy?"

Me: "Nope!"

Her: "Then who is eating them?"

Me: "Your sister."

Her: "WHAT? She knows too?!??!"

Me: "Yep, she caught me and your mommy wrapping easter baskets a couple of years ago."

Her: " .............. O.M.G. ........ then that means that .... and ... so you were putting money under my pillow when I lost teeth? That is pretty cool."

She paused thoughtfully.

Her: "So you brought yourself an XBox last Christmas!?!? How cool is that!"

Another pause.

Her: "Will santa still come this year even though I know he isn't real?"

Me: "Of course he is coming. He is bringing daddy a big new 55" ultra-HD curved TV for the living room."

She smiled and we sat in silence for a few minutes. Then she dropped the big bomb.

"Daddy? Do we have any evidence that Jesus was born on December 25th?"

Me: "What do you think?"


WHAAAAT?>!!!

[Image: Pinkie_Pie_and_Rarity_shocked_S2E19.png]


A 55 HD Curved T.V?!

But those are like 8k !!!!!

Nah, prices have been dropping on them. They are much more reasonable now.... Available at Best Buy for about $1K

I just wanted to let you know that I love you even though you aren't naked right now. Heart
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07-12-2015, 02:12 PM
RE: Scientific Evidence for Santa Claus
(06-12-2015 08:11 PM)t.frank.carter Wrote:  The myth of Santa Claus may seem innocent and the intention behind telling it is easy to rationalize, but a lie told with the best intentions is still a lie. I have never allowed my children to be told any of these things because I know how I felt when I discovered the truth of them myself. I refuse to be pressured by well meaning relatives and friends into lending credence to practices that I do not agree with. When questioned by my children about these things, I defer to the often uncomfortable but preferable truth as I understand it. In doing so, I also make sure that I tell them that my opinions are my own and are not above question. Children are not mature enough to make decisions about such abstract concepts as divinity and mythical stories. As much as we as adults might prefer to rationalize the seemingly innocent story of Santa Claus, I don't see any wisdom in doing so. Personally, the concept of Santa Claus never made any sense to me, it just didn't seem possible. When I finally understood the truth of it, I was very resentful of being misled by those who told me these things. My son never believed in Santa, my nine year old daughter ceased to believe when she was seven. As for believing in God, my son is an atheist, he's 25. My daughter lends very little truth to it herself, and she's nine. I've always been honest with them about my beliefs, but I have and continue to encourage them to seek the truth as they understand it themselves. It's never been an easy subject to discuss with them, but I respect them and love them too much to just go with the status quo.

Yeah, well, people lie. Kids need to learn that too, I guess.

We kept up the pretenses and prolonged the fantasy for as long as we could. But at the point where our children asked straight up if Santa was real we told them the truth. I figure if they were mature enough to ask, they were mature enough to handle the answer.

If my children invented an imaginary friend I wouldn't berate them and tell them right away they were wrong about their friend. Nor do I forbid them from reading fiction lest they imagine worlds that do not exist. Imagination and pretend are part of the development process. Helping them develop critical thinking skills to be able to tell the real from the imaginary is, to me, the most important part.

Disclaimer: I'm sure that no two parents would ever agree completely on the best way to handle raising a child. I guess a lot of it comes down to the personalities of the parents and the kids, along with the psychological baggage that we as parents bring to the process. There are a lot of things in retrospect that I'd do differently. Maybe playing the Santa myth was harmful to their development, maybe it was helpful, maybe it was a combination of both. This parenting crap is complicated.

I just wanted to let you know that I love you even though you aren't naked right now. Heart
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08-12-2015, 07:37 AM
RE: Scientific Evidence for Santa Claus
I don't see Santa as a lie at all. I see it as part role playing game, part critical thinking exercise. I've yet to have the conversation with Mr 6, but my Miss 9 figured it out years ago. We have chats at bedtime. One night she said with little prompting approximately "I don't think Santa is real. I think it's your Mum and Dad bringing you the presents". I said " Well done! You did it! Great job."

To me figuring out the literal reality behind the role playing game is a rite of passage, a marker of maturity and a victory of skepticism over vested interests. It's a maker of trust between patent and child that the game can continue even after they have seen behind the mask. I wouldn't deny my children their first major skeptical and independent critical thinking experience. May many more follow.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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08-12-2015, 08:40 AM
RE: Scientific Evidence for Santa Claus
(07-12-2015 02:12 PM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  
(06-12-2015 08:11 PM)t.frank.carter Wrote:  The myth of Santa Claus may seem innocent and the intention behind telling it is easy to rationalize, but a lie told with the best intentions is still a lie. I have never allowed my children to be told any of these things because I know how I felt when I discovered the truth of them myself. I refuse to be pressured by well meaning relatives and friends into lending credence to practices that I do not agree with. When questioned by my children about these things, I defer to the often uncomfortable but preferable truth as I understand it. In doing so, I also make sure that I tell them that my opinions are my own and are not above question. Children are not mature enough to make decisions about such abstract concepts as divinity and mythical stories. As much as we as adults might prefer to rationalize the seemingly innocent story of Santa Claus, I don't see any wisdom in doing so. Personally, the concept of Santa Claus never made any sense to me, it just didn't seem possible. When I finally understood the truth of it, I was very resentful of being misled by those who told me these things. My son never believed in Santa, my nine year old daughter ceased to believe when she was seven. As for believing in God, my son is an atheist, he's 25. My daughter lends very little truth to it herself, and she's nine. I've always been honest with them about my beliefs, but I have and continue to encourage them to seek the truth as they understand it themselves. It's never been an easy subject to discuss with them, but I respect them and love them too much to just go with the status quo.

Yeah, well, people lie. Kids need to learn that too, I guess.

We kept up the pretenses and prolonged the fantasy for as long as we could. But at the point where our children asked straight up if Santa was real we told them the truth. I figure if they were mature enough to ask, they were mature enough to handle the answer.

If my children invented an imaginary friend I wouldn't berate them and tell them right away they were wrong about their friend. Nor do I forbid them from reading fiction lest they imagine worlds that do not exist. Imagination and pretend are part of the development process. Helping them develop critical thinking skills to be able to tell the real from the imaginary is, to me, the most important part.

Disclaimer: I'm sure that no two parents would ever agree completely on the best way to handle raising a child. I guess a lot of it comes down to the personalities of the parents and the kids, along with the psychological baggage that we as parents bring to the process. There are a lot of things in retrospect that I'd do differently. Maybe playing the Santa myth was harmful to their development, maybe it was helpful, maybe it was a combination of both. This parenting crap is complicated.

To be fair. There is a big difference between reading a book and santa. That's not a very good comparison.
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08-12-2015, 10:49 AM
RE: Scientific Evidence for Santa Claus
(08-12-2015 08:40 AM)Hobbitgirl Wrote:  
(07-12-2015 02:12 PM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  Yeah, well, people lie. Kids need to learn that too, I guess.

We kept up the pretenses and prolonged the fantasy for as long as we could. But at the point where our children asked straight up if Santa was real we told them the truth. I figure if they were mature enough to ask, they were mature enough to handle the answer.

If my children invented an imaginary friend I wouldn't berate them and tell them right away they were wrong about their friend. Nor do I forbid them from reading fiction lest they imagine worlds that do not exist. Imagination and pretend are part of the development process. Helping them develop critical thinking skills to be able to tell the real from the imaginary is, to me, the most important part.

Disclaimer: I'm sure that no two parents would ever agree completely on the best way to handle raising a child. I guess a lot of it comes down to the personalities of the parents and the kids, along with the psychological baggage that we as parents bring to the process. There are a lot of things in retrospect that I'd do differently. Maybe playing the Santa myth was harmful to their development, maybe it was helpful, maybe it was a combination of both. This parenting crap is complicated.

To be fair. There is a big difference between reading a book and santa. That's not a very good comparison.

I agree. I wasn't so much trying to make a direct comparison as pointing out that there is value in exploring things that are imaginary. Children engage in role-playing and pretend play as part of their normal development. There is point in their early development where many of the fantastical things they see on TV or read (or have read to them) are indistinguishable from reality. They make up friends or invent stories around them and they can convince themselves that these things are as real as you and me. Hafnof's comment above really resonated with me. I see the Santa myth as combination of a role playing game and a critical thinking exercise. Fictional stories, whether learned through reading or role-playing, are an opportunity to both expand our imagination and learn to think critically.

Here is a different example:
Many young children see a beloved storybook character in the flesh where you, as an adult, see an actor in a costume. I read my girls the story of Cinderella from the time they were born. I never ever told them or implied that Cinderella was real or ever existed. Honestly, it never even crossed my mind to tell them one way or another. But the first time we went to DisneyWorld, my oldest was 4 years old, and she saw Cinderella and freaked out thinking she was the princess from the story. Do we avoid reading those books to prevent the idea from ever getting into their heads? Do we avoid going to DisneyWorld to expose them to someone pretending? My choice, good or bad, was to let it happen. Later, when we went to DisneyWorld and my girls were a little older, my oldest saw Cinderella and said, "Is that really Cinderella?" My response to a question like that is always the same, "What do you think?" We had a discussion, she reasoned it out herself. She was proud of herself.

What if, the first time we encountered the lovely princess, I had said "No, honey, that's not really Cinderella. It's just a cute young actress working a part-time job to put herself through college. She's really fooling all these children. Don't be a fool."

I might have taught her that the story was fiction. I might also have confused or embarrassed her. But I would also have denied her the experience of figuring it out on her own. She would have learned to see me, her parental authority as the source of what is real or imaginary, what is right and wrong. I want her to see herself as the source of that determination, not me. That's why I almost turn their childhood queries back on them with "What do you think?" I want their first reaction to a curious thought or an observation of something incongruous to be to try to reason for themselves instead of immediately going to a perceived authority and accepting their answer.

So, I choose, right or wrong, to play along until they are ready to have the discussion. At some point, if it went on too long, I would certainly intervene. Thankfully, my children have not needed my assistance in this regard.

I see absolutely no difference in the belief in God and the belief in Santa. Religion, however, is more insidious because so many of our adult peers continue to suspend their ability to separate imaginary from reality while simultaneously making decisions that affect our world based on their irrational beliefs. Our society facilitates the farce and punishes those who question it instead of encouraging rational thinking. It is my hope that having had the experience of feeling the awe and wonder of a magical Christmas morning with the knowledge that it was all an elaborate ruse will inoculate my children to the power of religion. I hope they will recognize the same patterns of wishful thinking and emotional manipulation and will be empowered with the ability to reason for themselves what is real and what is imaginary.

I can see how the Santa myth, as the cultural and commercial phenomenon that it has become, may not be one of those things that rational parents would choose to engage in. I totally respect that.

I just wanted to let you know that I love you even though you aren't naked right now. Heart
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08-12-2015, 11:44 AM
RE: Scientific Evidence for Santa Claus
(08-12-2015 10:49 AM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  
(08-12-2015 08:40 AM)Hobbitgirl Wrote:  To be fair. There is a big difference between reading a book and santa. That's not a very good comparison.

I agree. I wasn't so much trying to make a direct comparison as pointing out that there is value in exploring things that are imaginary. Children engage in role-playing and pretend play as part of their normal development. There is point in their early development where many of the fantastical things they see on TV or read (or have read to them) are indistinguishable from reality. They make up friends or invent stories around them and they can convince themselves that these things are as real as you and me. Hafnof's comment above really resonated with me. I see the Santa myth as combination of a role playing game and a critical thinking exercise. Fictional stories, whether learned through reading or role-playing, are an opportunity to both expand our imagination and learn to think critically.

Here is a different example:
Many young children see a beloved storybook character in the flesh where you, as an adult, see an actor in a costume. I read my girls the story of Cinderella from the time they were born. I never ever told them or implied that Cinderella was real or ever existed. Honestly, it never even crossed my mind to tell them one way or another. But the first time we went to DisneyWorld, my oldest was 4 years old, and she saw Cinderella and freaked out thinking she was the princess from the story. Do we avoid reading those books to prevent the idea from ever getting into their heads? Do we avoid going to DisneyWorld to expose them to someone pretending? My choice, good or bad, was to let it happen. Later, when we went to DisneyWorld and my girls were a little older, my oldest saw Cinderella and said, "Is that really Cinderella?" My response to a question like that is always the same, "What do you think?" We had a discussion, she reasoned it out herself. She was proud of herself.

What if, the first time we encountered the lovely princess, I had said "No, honey, that's not really Cinderella. It's just a cute young actress working a part-time job to put herself through college. She's really fooling all these children. Don't be a fool."

I might have taught her that the story was fiction. I might also have confused or embarrassed her. But I would also have denied her the experience of figuring it out on her own. She would have learned to see me, her parental authority as the source of what is real or imaginary, what is right and wrong. I want her to see herself as the source of that determination, not me. That's why I almost turn their childhood queries back on them with "What do you think?" I want their first reaction to a curious thought or an observation of something incongruous to be to try to reason for themselves instead of immediately going to a perceived authority and accepting their answer.

So, I choose, right or wrong, to play along until they are ready to have the discussion. At some point, if it went on too long, I would certainly intervene. Thankfully, my children have not needed my assistance in this regard.

I see absolutely no difference in the belief in God and the belief in Santa. Religion, however, is more insidious because so many of our adult peers continue to suspend their ability to separate imaginary from reality while simultaneously making decisions that affect our world based on their irrational beliefs. Our society facilitates the farce and punishes those who question it instead of encouraging rational thinking. It is my hope that having had the experience of feeling the awe and wonder of a magical Christmas morning with the knowledge that it was all an elaborate ruse will inoculate my children to the power of religion. I hope they will recognize the same patterns of wishful thinking and emotional manipulation and will be empowered with the ability to reason for themselves what is real and what is imaginary.

I can see how the Santa myth, as the cultural and commercial phenomenon that it has become, may not be one of those things that rational parents would choose to engage in. I totally respect that.

I see your point. But did you at any point when showing your daughter the Cinderella movie or book tell here that it's a true story?

I've been thinking this over a lot as my daughter is about to enter that age where I need to make these decisions. So I'm new to the whole thing.

While I like the idea of it bring a critical thinking challenge however I am uncomfortable with the thought of lying to her just to say gotcha later.

I think there will be enough chances for her to learn without me having to make things up.

But every parent can make their own decisions! Don't think I'm attacking. Lol
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08-12-2015, 01:13 PM
RE: Scientific Evidence for Santa Claus
(08-12-2015 11:44 AM)Hobbitgirl Wrote:  I see your point. But did you at any point when showing your daughter the Cinderella movie or book tell here that it's a true story?
Nope. Nor did I attempt to build up our trip to Disney by telling her we were going to see the princesses. It isn't a perfect parallel. The Santa myth is definitely the pinnacle of parental deception (excluding religion, of course).

Quote:But every parent can make their own decisions!
Thumbsup Any parent that sets out to do right by their child as best as they know how is doing it right. Plus, I have had to eat my own words about many things I said I would or wouldn't do with my own children.

Quote:Don't think I'm attacking.
Not at all. Plus, you're a hobbit. How dangerous could you be? Smile

I just wanted to let you know that I love you even though you aren't naked right now. Heart
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08-12-2015, 01:48 PM
RE: Scientific Evidence for Santa Claus
(08-12-2015 01:13 PM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  
(08-12-2015 11:44 AM)Hobbitgirl Wrote:  I see your point. But did you at any point when showing your daughter the Cinderella movie or book tell here that it's a true story?
Nope. Nor did I attempt to build up our trip to Disney by telling her we were going to see the princesses. It isn't a perfect parallel. The Santa myth is definitely the pinnacle of parental deception (excluding religion, of course).

Quote:But every parent can make their own decisions!
Thumbsup Any parent that sets out to do right by their child as best as they know how is doing it right. Plus, I have had to eat my own words about many things I said I would or wouldn't do with my own children.

Quote:Don't think I'm attacking.
Not at all. Plus, you're a hobbit. How dangerous could you be? Smile


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08-12-2015, 01:51 PM
RE: Scientific Evidence for Santa Claus
(08-12-2015 01:13 PM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  Not at all. Plus, you're a hobbit. How dangerous could you be? Smile

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"If you keep trying to better yourself that's enough for me. We don't decide which hand we are dealt in life, but we make the decision to play it or fold it" - Nishi Karano Kaze
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