"I share the view of Pythagoras that the world is number. The ultimate substrate of the universe is math. There's no way to test that - it's pure metaphysical speculation."
As far as I know, this is the first use of the phrase, but not the concept. See the Vibranium Wall time machine from Ancestral Voices (1933) by Nat Schachner.
This is also called the "Grandfather Paradox"; probably the first (if a bit roundabout) use was in a letter in Wonder Stories October, 1932:
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'... it was the cheapest building material known.'
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'The wings were at full spread-rest, their delicate metal interleavings extended.'
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'A record that wouldn't get lost and couldn't be destroyed.'
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'LET ME TELL YOU HOW MUCH I'VE COME TO HATE YOU SINCE I BEGAN TO LIVE.'
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'What he got was indeed a kiss. It was disconcerting. No kissing lips were visible.'
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'I am the Guardian of Forever.'
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'... articulate ropes of steel dangling'
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'I shall introduce myself. I am R. Daneel Olivaw... I am a robot. Were you not told?'
Elon Musk: Production Of Robotaxis In 2024
'How about the steering wheel... I don't need one.'
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