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Chapter 49

The next morning, feeling relaxed and refreshed and eager to begin his study of the Book again, Hari asked Dors, "How old would you say the Raindrop sisters are?"
"I dont know. Twenty ... twenty-two?"
"Well, suppose they do live three or four centuries."
"Hari. Thats ridiculous."
"Im saying suppose. In mathematics, we say suppose all the time and see if we can end up with something patently untrue or self-contradictory. An extended life span would almost surely mean an extended period of development. They might seem in their early twenties and actually be in their sixties."
"You can try asking them how old they are."
"We can assume theyd lie."
"Look up their birth certificates."
Seldon smiled wryly. "Ill bet you anything you like--a roll in the hay, if youre willing--that theyll claim they dont keep records or that, if they do, they will insist those records are closed to tribespeople."
"No bet," said Dors. "And if thats true, then its useless trying to suppose anything about their age."
"Oh no. Think of it this way. If the Mycogenians are living extended life spans that are four or five times that of ordinary human beings, they cant very well give birth to very many children without expanding their population tremendously. You remember that Sunmaster said something about not having the population expand and bit off his remarks angrily at that time."
Dors said, "What are you getting at?"
"When I was with Raindrop Forty-Three, I saw no children."
"On the microfarms?"
"Yes."
"Did you expect children there? I was with Raindrop Forty-Five in the shops and on the residential levels and I assure you I saw a number of children of all ages, including infants. Quite a few of them."
"Ah." Seldon looked chagrined. "Then that would mean they cant be enjoying extended life spans."
Dors said, "By your line of argument, I should say definitely not. Did you really think they did?"
"No, not really. But then you cant close your mind either and make assumptions without testing them one way or another."
"You can waste a lot of time that way too, if you stop to chew away at things that are ridiculous on the face of it."
"Some things that seem ridiculous on the face of it arent. Thats all. Which reminds me. Youre the historian. In your work, have you ever come across objects or phenomena called robots?"
"Ah! Now youre switching to another legend and a very popular one. There are any number of worlds that imagine the existence of machines in human form in prehistoric times. These are called rob............
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