From Book One of Lucretius' The Nature of Things in Frank Copley's very readable translation (try saying the lines aloud):
But since I've shown that nothing can be created
from nothing, nor, once in being, brought to nothing,
there must be atoms made of deathless stuff
to which all things may finally be reduced
that matter may be on hand to build new things.
Atoms, then, are of solid single substance;
no other way would they have been preserved
till now, through endless time, to build new things.
The conservation of matter was something arrived at by the early atomicists through inference and reason; quite a contrast to those who approach things from a different perspective.Posted by Ideofact at July 3, 2007 11:49 PM