16. And as there are difficulties in both cases.
Earth has the qualities of smell, taste, colour, and touch, and is gross; water has colour, taste, and touch, and is fine; fire has colour and touch, and is finer yet; air is finest of all, and has the quality of touch only. The question now arises whether the atoms constituting the four elements are to be assumed to possess the same greater or smaller
number of qualities as the respective elements.--Either assumption leads to unacceptable consequences. For if we assume that some kinds of atoms have more numerous qualities, it follows that their solid size (mûrti) will be increased thereby, and that implies their being atoms no longer. That an increase of qualities cannot take place without a simultaneous increase of size we infer from our observations concerning effected material bodies.--If, on the other hand, we assume, in order to save the equality of atoms of all kinds, that there is no difference in the number of their qualities, we must either suppose that they have all one quality only; but in that case we should not perceive touch in fire nor colour and touch in water, nor taste, colour, and touch in earth, since the qualities of the effects have for their antecedents the qualities of the causes. Or else we must suppose all atoms to have all the four qualities; but in that case we should necessarily perceive what we actually do not perceive, viz. smell in water, smell and taste in fire, smell, taste, and colour in air.--Hence on this account also the atomic doctrine shows itself to be unacceptable.