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By Eric Temple Bell

The dialogue in his publication centres at the query "What is truth?" Dr. Bell strains the tale of man's look for the reply over a interval of approximately 6000 years, from the time of the early Egyptians till the current. Very early there arose "doubts which difficulty us to-day, and which, traditionally not less than, are liable for the advances of modern years . . .". mostly conversing, "we see 4 nice peaks towering above the final point of profound or lofty hypothesis at the nature of fact. the 1st of those marks historic Egypt, say 4241 B.C. to 1800 B.C.; the second one, the early Greece of Pythagoras within the 6th Century; the 3rd, the discovery in 1826 via Lobatchewsky of Non-Euclidean Geometry; and the fourth, emerging in 1930, the production, by means of Lucasiewicz and Tarski of strict deductive reasoning appreciably diverse from the conventional common sense of Aristotle . . ."

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In the fact the whole theory is obvious. A child could understand it. Mr. Wells now reminds us that he was so smitten with Dunne's theory that in 1 927 he advertised it in one or two ar­ ticles which were widely syndicated in the press of the world. That was just Mr. Wells' little j oke. His own Time Machine of 8 9 8 was a much more amusing and prophetic performance than Dunne's Experiment with Time. Good judges rate it as one of the world's great imaginative short stories, and Mr. Wells could have used it instead of the other without undue im­ modesty.

Those stairs are the steps by which our race began its ascent to the mystical heaven of Cloudcuckooland. 'hose stairs, liter­ ally, brought the Infinite into human reasoning. Let us try to remember what they look like. Before the pyramids were systematically robbed and ruined by successive hordes of archeologists, in ancient times, the steps, as everyone knows, were concealed beneath a beautifully smooth surfacing of stone. The surfacing has disappeared, and today the pyramids brood over the desert as the most enduring monuments ever raised by man to the ingenuity and gullibility of our ingenious and gullible race.

Whatever may be the fact, it is certain that extensive theories of government have been con­ structed on the first of these hypotheses, and that several thousand men lost their lives because somebody believed the second hypothesis to be true. This, however, is merely in pass­ ing. Let us take a less controversial example, to rub in the advisability of maintaining an open mind on speculations be­ yond the reach of experimental verification . The general prin­ ciple is extremely simple : Any theory which is fabricated by mathematical reasoning (or other strict deductive reasoning) from scientific (or other) hypotheses, and which produces anything more than elaborate tautologies from those hypoth­ eses, has simply blundered brilliantly, and has produced two rabbits from a hat which contained only one rabbit.

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