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this is so we have explained. The phenomenon is due to temporary

excess of rain and not to any process of becoming in which the

universe or its parts are involved. Some day the opposite will take

place and after that the earth will grow dry once again. We must

recognize that this process always goes on thus in a cycle, for that

is more satisfactory than to suppose a change in the whole world in

order to explain these facts. But we have dwelt longer on this point

than it deserves.

To return to the saltness of the sea: those who create the sea

once for all, or indeed generate it at all, cannot account for its

saltness. It makes no difference whether the sea is the residue of all

the moisture that is about the earth and has been drawn up by the sun,

or whether all the flavour existing in the whole mass of sweet water

is due to the admixture of a certain kind of earth. Since the total

volume of the sea is the same once the water that evaporated has

returned, it follows that it must either have been salt at first

too, or, if not at first, then not now either. If it was salt from the

very beginning, then we want to know why that was so; and why, if salt

water was drawn up then, that is not the case now.

Again, if it is maintained that an admixture of earth makes the

sea salt (for they say that earth has many flavours and is washed down

by the rivers and so makes the sea salt by its admixture), it is

strange that rivers should not be salt too. How can the admixture of

this earth have such a striking effect in a great quantity of water

and not in each river singly? For the sea, differing in nothing from

rivers but in being salt, is evidently simply the totality of river

water, and the rivers are the vehicle in which that earth is carried

to their common destination.

It is equally absurd to suppose that anything has been explained

by calling the sea 'the sweat of the earth', like Empedicles.

Metaphors are poetical and so that expression of his may satisfy the

requirements of a poem, but as a scientific theory it is

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