Many of the above applications of the divergence theorem are based on the assumption that matter is continuously distributed in a way that the above arguments are correct. In other words, a continuum. However, there is no such thing as a continuum. It has been known for some time now that matter is composed of atoms. It is not continuously distributed through some region of space as it is in the above. Apologists for this contradiction with reality sometimes say to consider enough of the material in question that it is reasonable to think of it as a continuum. This mystical reasoning is then violated as soon as they go from the integral form of the balance laws to the differential equations expressing the traditional formulation of these laws. See Problem 10 below, for example. However, these laws continue to be used and seem to lead to useful physical models which have value in predicting the behavior of physical systems. This is what justifies their use, not any fundamental truth.