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Mike Sutton
Mike Sutton
Dr Mike Sutton is the author of 'Nullius in Verba: Darwin's greatest secret'.
 

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On the Origin of the Word Asteroid: Big Data Strikes Again

Jun. 15, 2014 7:17 pm
image

Trumpet form the rooftopsPublic Domain

Third Postscript (1st October 2014) A new blog post on this specific topic, which builds on research I conducted on 29th September 2014 can be found by clicking here

Second Postscript (29 September 2014).

Asteroid Etymology: Storm in a Chamomile Teacup

In light of the number of pre-1861 publications - newly re-discovered to date (currently all are botanical) with big data ID research methods - that actually include the word 'asteroid' might it not be a reasonable hypothesis that: ‘The number of earlier publications containing the word asteroid, or asteroides , (or asteroidem in Latin) exponentially increases the likelihood that the astronomy term ‘asteroid’ was actually adopted from botany rather than completely and independently coined anew by the son of Burney Jr?

Most importantly, therefore, would not the same hypothesis apply to the exponentially increased likelihood that Banks actually new that the term 'asteroid' was not coined independently of its earlier botanical use?

Note: These facts are all highly relevant since Banks and Hershel, both leading lights of the Royal Society, were at the centre of choosing and approving the astronomical term asteroid in the first half of the nineteenth century (Cunningham and Orchiston 2011 ). Does it not seem more likely than not that Banks and other botanists in the Royal Society would have informed Herschel that the word Asteroid was common parlance among botanists? This seems all the more likely since Banks knew Forster, and Forster (1771), by then despised by the Royal Society, was the first to use the word 'asteroid' in a book written in English - as opposed to Latin.

To that end I conducted a little further ID research on the word ‘asteroid’ and found it used many more times in a great number of botanical publications pre-1861 - In Latin and in English.

SAMPLE TIMELINE

What follows is a mere sample timeline of books now newly “re-discovered” to have used the words ‘asteroid’ asteroides' and 'asteroidem' 'to refer to type of flower pre-Burney Jnr’s son proposing it in 1861

1. 1588 Girolamo Brisiano. Totius philosophiae synopsis, brevi methodo comprehensa... On Page 88 [NOTE: This is APPARENTLY the first currently 're-discovered' book among others independently detected by Sutton , on 29 September 2014, with the ID method, to have used the plural word 'asteroides' prior to 1861

2. 1700 Josephi Pitton Tournefort ... Institutiones rei herbariae, Volume 1 On page 51 - uses 'asteroides' as the plural - NOTE From this date onwards ID reveals over 100 books containing the word 'asteroides' between 1700 and 1801.

3. 1754 Plantarum quae in agro Veronensi reperiuntur supplementum seu volumen tertium. Opera Jo. Francisci Seguierii On Page 308 First discovered (to date) use of the word ‘asteroid’ in Latin as the singular ‘asteroidem’ [Note: this is the first - APPARENTLY -' re-discovered' SINGULAR use of the word asteroid in any language.Discovered by Sutton with the ID method on 29 September 2014]

4. 1767 - Caroli a Linné Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, Volume 3. On page 563– Discovered by Cunningham (date of discovery unknown but is definitely prior to 17th September 2014 and is apparently cited in his PhD thesis. Date of publication of Dr Cunningham’s PhD thesis is currently unknown). This is currently the first known 're-discovered' publication of the word 'asteroid' in the singular.

5. 1771 (First currently discovered English language publication containing the word asteroid in the singular) John Forster (1771) Flora Americæ Septentrionalis; Or a Catalogue of the Plants of North America.Containing an Enumeration of the Known Herbs, Shrubs, and Trees, Many of which are But Lately Discovered; Together with Their English Names, the Places where They Grow, Their Different Uses, and the Authors who Have Described and Figured Them. B. White; and by T. Davies SOURCE: On Page 37 [ Independently discovered by Sutton using the ID method - and details published below on June 15th 2014 ].

6. 1771 Travels Through that Part of North America Formerly Called Louisiana, Volume 2 By M. Bossu. Translated by Forster and containing his earlier (above) publication of 1771. On Page 53. [ Independently discovered by Sutton using the ID method - on September 29 2014 ].

7. 1795 - Der Gartenfreund: Ein Auszug aus des Herrn D. J. G. Krünitz ökonomisch technologischen Encyklopädie. Von Aa bis Bel : Mit 3 1/8 Bogen Kupfer, Volume 1.On page 513. [ Independently discovered by Sutton using the ID method - on September 29 2014 ].

8. 1796 - Démonstrations élémentaires de botanique, contenant les principes généraux ...By François Rozier, Marc-Antoine-Louis Claret de La Tourrette. On page 516.[ Independently discovered by Sutton using the ID method on 29th September 2014 ]

Is this a Science Problem in Need of a Solution?

The big data ID method reveals that the extensive botanical literature was literally awash with the word 'asteroid' for at least 273 years before the son of Burney Jr first proposed it be used in astronomy in 1801.

As more and more pre-1861 publications containing the word 'Asteroid turn up - as they surely will as more and more books are scanned by the mighty Google Library Project - how might we calculate the probability that the son of Burney Jr, and/or Banks / Herschel knew full well that the word originated in botany and was not coined anew by Burney Jr.?

Meanwhile, intuitively, surely it is hard to believe that the members of the Royal Society, many of whom were botanists and polymaths, who sat in judgment of the choice of the world 'asteroid', who were members of various other clubs and societies founded with the sole purpose of sharing information, would have been oblivious to the fact that the word asteroid was common parlance in the field of botany. More so since Hershel's friend, Banks was a botanist and knew well the, by then, despised Forster who was, apparently, first to go into print with a botanical book written in English that contained the word 'asteroid.'

Summary and Conclusion

  1. Dr Clifford Cunningham discovered that all the astronomy textbooks are wrong to claim that Herschel coined he term 'asteroid' for space rocks. Because his expert archive research proved that the son of Burney Jr suggested it and that this suggestion was conveyed directly to Herschel, as Cunningham (2013) informs us: "Asteroid was Herschel's choice, but it was not his creation."
  2. Cunningham (2014) concludes from this that the son of Burney Jr. coined the word anew in 1801 - being a Greek scholar (Sept 19th 2014. See below in the comments section of this blog): 'Burney Sr., who began with the prefix "aster" was a musicologist, not a botanist, and would certainly have no knowledge of the use by Linne. Burney Jr., who added the suffix "oid" was a Greek scholar with no interest in or knowledge of botany. The letters of Burney Sr. make it clear what his inspiration was, and it had nothing whatever to do with Linne or any other botanist. The Burney creation of "asteroid" was as a new word in English as derived from Greek, nothing to do with botany'.
  3. An alternative explanation, discovered with ID's unique ability to search millions of forgotten - and incredibly hard to otherwise find - books, is that the word 'asteroid' would have been already well known to key members of the Royal Society in 1801. Because the word in the plural 'asteroides', and in the singular 'asteroidem' had by 1801 been used in many books on botany for 273 years to classify chamomile (yellow star wort - also known as fever wort). Between 1700 and 1801 the word 'asteroides' is used in over 100 books. Jospeh Banks of the Royal Society - was a famous botanist and he knew Herschel well, Banks, therefore, it seems highly probable, would have told Herschel that the word was very far from being new in 1801. Moreover, Banks knew the by then the much despised Forster - who had in 1771 used the word 'asteroid' in a botanical book written in English. In sum, my alternative hypothesis is that Burney Jr and his son might well have genuinely and honestly believed that they had uniquely coined a new word for space rocks, but others in the Royal Society - Herschel included - morel likely than not knew that they had coined nothing new.

First Postscript dated 18 September 2014

Example of unique strength and limitations of the IDD method kindly revealed by Dr Clifford Cunningham, who in fact found an earlier published use of the word asteroid and published it in his bound and completed final Ph.D. thesis. Presumably, by the tone and nature of his complaint, Dr Clifford's thesis was finalized, bound and finally published before the 2013 Smithsonian article, cited below, which failed to report information inside that PhD thesis and - also - it follows, before 15th June 2014 when the original blog post (see below) was first published and made the bold claim that I was first to re-discover a pre-1861 publication of the word Asteroid.

Armed with this intelligence, we know now - by combining what Cunningham found and uniquely published first with what I found and uniquely published first (see below) - that at least two famous books, published by two famous authors, contained the word asteroid before the son of Burney Jr recommended it be used in 1802.

IMPORTANT REFUTATION RESPONSE FROM

Dr. Clifford Cunningham

September 17, 2014 at 10:04 am Refutation of Your Asteroid Claim.

Since my professional research is being misrepresented in this blog, I feel compelled to respond. First, I did not claim the word asteroid was created by Burney Jr in 1801. The correct year is 1802. Second, this attack on my credibility was based entirely on a newspaper story that originally appeared in the Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel. While it covered the main points, the writer did not even know the difference between etomology and etymology, so clearly this story (which was repeated by the Smithsonian website) is not a reliable source. The actual scholarly source for my research is contained in my PhD thesis, which was rated "great" and "worthy of a gold medal" by its professional examiners. The fact that the word asteroid had been used prior to 1802 is included in my thesis, but it was deemed irrelevant to my discovery that it was coined anew to describe Ceres and Pallas. Third, the IDD method is clearly faulty as a simple search on Google books will reveal that "asteroid" was coined for botanical use by the great Carl Linnaeus himself in 1767, four years before Forster used it. It is in the incredibly famous book Systema Naturae, Tomus II, on pg. 563. Thus, your entire premise collapses like a house of cards. The "rather improbable" was in fact reality.

I would appreciate it if the author either took down this page entirely as personal embarrassment to him, or at the very least acknowledged my position as the world authority on historical asteroid research.

****

[ Please refer to comments section below for an interesting, enlightening, and important discussion -with Dr Cunningham and interim recognition of his apparently superior knowledge on the topic. Although we are awaiting routine confirmation from Dr Cunningham that his PhD thesis was successfully examined, defended, bound and published prior to June 15 2014 (when this blog was first published) so that he can be undoubtedly considered the world's leading authority on his highly specific topic.

In light of what Dr Cunningham tells us, we now know that there was not just the one book he names that was discovered by him, but at least two publications (once we add the one independently discovered and then first published here by me) that used the word 'asteroid' before the son of Charles Burney Jr suggested its use.

Mike Sutton ].

My ORGINAL 15 June 2014 - completely unedited - blog post - follows

The word asteroid is clearly one that is created from Greek asteroeidēs ‘starlike’, from astēr ‘star’ and from ‘oid’, which means like - from the Latin oides.

My Chambers Dictionary of Etymology (2012) has it that the word asteroid was first published in 1802. But it’s wrong, as is every other source including Wikipedia on 15th June 2014, which is the day I bust the Asteroid Myth.

Cunningham and Orchiston ( 2011) have the word 'asteroid' as being William Herschel’s invention in 1801 and was introduced to the Royal Society in 1802. They wrote: ‘The word “asteroid” was coined by Herschel,” But that too is wrong! Because Cunningham changed his mind two years later with new knowledge that the word ‘asteroid’ was supposedly coined by the son of Charles Burney Jr –in 1801 (Smithsonian.com).

At the time of writing, Cunningham is boldly claiming a new discovery that the son of Herschel's, Greek scholar poet friend Charles Burney Jr., originated the word asteroid in 1801 and, from that independently coined source, Burney gave it to Herschel: “It will actually cause books to be rewritten and dictionaries to be revised," said the astronomer. see here, and later: here. But, I am sorry to say that Clifford Cunningham's, revised knowledge is wrong about who actually coined the word 'asteroid', despite being most fascinating, compelling and hard won by years of expert, unique and extremely valuable research. The reason being that I achieved in five minutes what Cunningham could not have discovered in his 30 years of painstaking research into this precise topic. I expect that neither Cunningham nor any other scholar could have found out who actually coined the word 'asteroid' in 100 lifetimes with traditional expert scholarly techniques. After all, at what point would an astronomer start trawling through all the old books on plants to find the one word asteroid hidden on just one musty page in just one book?

'Big Data' 'Internet Date Detection' (IDD) analysis – the exact same new method that proved neither Darwin nor Wallace independently discovered ‘natural selection’ (Sutton 2014) - allowed me to boldly and uniquely go further than any other astronomer or etymologist to bust both the Herschel and Burney Asteroid Myths in just five minutes.

My Internet Date Detection (IDD) research method allowed me to analyse over 30 million documents in Google’s library to uniquely discover that John Reinhold Forster (1771, p. 37) used the word asteroid to name the chamomile flower fully thirty years before current knowledge has it as either Burney's or Herschel’s creation in 1801.

Using my IDD research method to search all the literature in Google's amazing Library Project, I was unable to find any other published sources of the word asteroid that came before Forster's 1771 book. Such a source might well exist, but it it does it has not yet been uploaded to the Internet. As for the existence of any other published sources between 1771 and 1801, I've not looked. If you want to find out for yourself then click here to learn how to use the IDD research method and see if you can add to our knowledge. Who knows, perhaps you will uniquely find a pre-1802 document containing the word 'asteroid' that we know, from the wider literature, was read by either Hershel or Banks.

image

Trumpet from the rooftopsPublic Domain

Earlier use of the word asteroid from 1771

Matricaria, Fever Few, Asteroid

In typical 18th century archaic fonts, the lower case s appears like a modern f. Therefore, in the above image from Forster (1771) you can see the word 'asteroid' and discern also that it is likewise an s and not an f in the abbreviation 'Penslyv.'

image

Trumpet from the rooftopsPublic Domain

Fever few - named also in 1771 as 'asteroid'

Maticaria, also known as ‘fever few’, is a daisy lookalike plant perhaps best known today as chamomile.With hindsight, unsurprisingly, in light of my discovery, it is known also as one of the Aster family of plants asteraceae.

image

Trumpet from the rooftopsPublic Domain

Forster - published the word asteroid in 1771

Unless new evidence of earlier use comes to light it appears that John Rhinehold Forster, who was born in Poland in 1729, a German pastor-naturalist of Scottish descent coined the word asteroid whilst living in England in 1771. A year later he was made a fellow of the Royal Society.

In hs youth Forster was an outstanding student of ancient languages before making his name as the first leading authority on North American botany. He famously sailed with Captain Cook on Cook's second Pacific voyage and became professor of natural history and mineralogy at the University of Halle.

The word asteroid currently appears, then, to have been coined by Forster in 1771

Asteroid was, apparently, first an obscure botanical name, coined by Forster for a star shaped flower, before it was adopted by astronomers many years later.

image

Trumpet from the rooftopsPublic Domain

Asteroid Flower

Did William Herschel or Charles Burney read Forster's famous book on North American plants before offering-up the word asteroid? Perhaps someone will soon find out. I'm not sure I've got the stomach to go looking myself - my recent research into the plagiarism by Darwin and Wallace, of another Scot - Patrick Matthew, has left me a little jaded and I'm rather tired of digging about in such foul historical matters this year. But some telling clues are present for anyone who cares to dig deeper in the hidden historical record and associated published literature. Perhaps Cunningham might use these initial clues to go deeper and tell a fuller story of the naming of the Asteroid? Firstly, Forster's associate, Joseph Banks of the Royal Society, had first been chosen for Cook's second Pacific voyage. Forster stepped into that role at Bank's recommendation, and they knew one another as fellow botanists as well as through being fellow's of the Royal Society. Of course, both Herschel (FRS) and Forster (FRS) were Royal Society fellows. But it is notable that they were also fellow Germans. These facts are all highly relevant since Banks and Hershel, both leading lights of the Royal Society, were a the centre of choosing and approving the astronomical term asteroid in the first half of the nineteenth century (see Cunningham and Orchiston 2011). Moreover, there may have been a powerfully malevolent reluctance to cite Forster because he was not well liked. In fact there would have been a great and powerful reluctance to acknowledge Forster's apparent coinage of the word asteroid since he had incurred the wroth of some of the most powerful men in England for publishing his findings separately from the official account of Cook's second Pacific voyage (see here). Forster died in 1798, three years before the word Asteroid was first proposed by Herschel. Forster has been described as '...a disagreeable sort who did not inspire trust, he soon found that professional opportunities for him in England had dried up.'

Forster is recognised as one of the earliest scholars to formally teach natural history. He knew many great men of science. For example, besides Banks he was well known to Benjamin Franklin.

Conclusion

It seems rather improbable to me that the word asteroid was coincidentally and independently coined by Burney's son and offered to Herschel given the close connections between Herschel and Forster via Banks. Most significantly, Banks recommended Forster to take his place on Cook's second Pacific voyage (see here).

Forster may well have been much despised by many members of the scientific establishment in the Royal Society, for publishing - against strict (though unfair) Admiralty prohibition - his independent account of discoveries made on the second Pacific voyage. Forster's disobedience towards the British Admiralty, a major source of scientific funding at the time, might explain the intense antipathy towards Herschel's (1802) choice of the word asteroid. If the widespread objection to the word asteroid was so politically motivated then the conventions of gentlemen of science of the Royal Society, and the British Association for Advancement of Science, would have forbidden any mention of that fact in the published scientific literature - a fact which might well explain the "asteroid-rage" displayed by members of the Royal Society who objected to Herschel's use of the word. Beyond pointing out these related facts that make Forster's and Herschel's use of the word asteroid a coincidence beyond belief, it is profitless, without more data, to construct and choose between unproven mere possibilities for any purpose other than entertaining self-excitement.

Whatever the facts of the case - which may never be known - in light of my discovery about Forster's earlier use of the word asteroid, more research is definitely needed by experts in the field.

Reflections

I recently gave my five year old daughter chamomile tea to help with symptoms of a stomach upset, and it seemed to work. She certainly got a lot of comfort from sipping it and believing it was helping. Perhaps now chamomile should be re-branded as “Asteroid Tea”?

Many years ago, I was once given a most delicious bottle of sweet home made chamomile wine when I visited someone in the French Alps. Since many more myths will be busted before the meteorological impact of big data analysis is done. I suspect that something stronger than a non-alcoholic herbal infusion will be required to comfort some of the expert authors of erroneous books and scholarly articles. Sweet soothing, delicious, aromatic, chamomile - "Asteroid Wine" - perhaps? Apparently "Asteroid Tea" is good for migraines - although nothing more than a placebo effect has been established, as far as I know..

I wonder if Asteroid Tea might ameliorate the effects of too much Asteroid Wine? Now that is one little experiment I might just conduct one day. Any chance of getting it funded do you think?

All joking and shameless trumpeting aside, I sincerely hope that Cunningham, or a similarly high-calibre expert, can utilise the discovery, uniquely revealed in this blog post, and set it in context of Cunningham's steadfast and important expert research into this particularly fascinating episode in the history of science.

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References

Cunningham, C. J. and Orchiston, W. (2011) Who invented the word asteroid: William Herschell or Stephen Weston? Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage. 14 (3). Pp. 230-211

Reinhold Forster, John (1771) Flora Americæ Septentrionalis; Or a Catalogue of the Plants of North America.Containing an Enumeration of the Known Herbs, Shrubs, and Trees, Many of which are But Lately Discovered; Together with Their English Names, the Places where They Grow, Their Different Uses, and the Authors who Have Described and Figured Them. B. White; and by T. Davies


 
Dr. Clifford Cunningham
September 17, 2014 at 10:04 am
Refutation of Your Asteroid Claim

Since my professional research is being misrepresented in this blog, I feel compelled to respond. First, I did not claim the word asteroid was created by Burney Jr in 1801. The correct year is 1802. Second, this attack on my credibility was based entirely on a newspaper story that originally appeared in the Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel. While it covered the main points, the writer did not even know the difference between etomology and etymology, so clearly this story (which was repeated by the Smithsonian website) is not a reliable source. The actual scholarly source for my research is contained in my PhD thesis, which was rated "great" and "worthy of a gold medal" by its professional examiners. The fact that the word asteroid had been used prior to 1802 is included in my thesis, but it was deemed irrelevant to my discovery that it was coined anew to describe Ceres and Pallas. Third, the IDD method is clearly faulty as a simple search on Google books will reveal that "asteroid" was coined for botanical use by the great Carl Linnaeus himself in 1767, four years before Forster used it. It is in the incredibly famous book Systema Naturae, Tomus II, on pg. 563. Thus, your entire premise collapses like a house of cards. The "rather improbable" was in fact reality.

I would appreciate it if the author either took down this page entirely as personal embarrassment to him, or at the very least acknowledged my position as the world authority on historical asteroid research.

Thinker's Post
Mike Sutton
September 18, 2014 at 6:05 am

Dear Dr Cunningham

Very many thanks for your enlightening response. I am pleased, although very personally and painfully embarrassed, to learn that the media misrepresented the depth of your knowledge in this area. And I profoundly apologise for taking the media's (and Smithsonean website's) superficial interpretation of your knowledge at face value and running with it. My only wriggling excuse (for what little it is worth) being that nowhere other than here - in your comment - have I seen your fuller explanation of the facts of this matter.

I think it would be somewhat cowardly, dishonest and unhelpful of me to remove what I have written here. Although you provide no date, I am taking it on face value that you would not be complaining here unless your PhD was finally examined, bound and published before this blog was published on 15 June 2014. That being the premise of my reply, when I am proven wrong I should admit it and provide the evidence for all to see. That is the painful price I believe we should all pay when we are proven wrong. I take your comments on the chin and would much rather add your refutation to the very top of this article as prominently as possible as a salutary reminder to myself and others not to take what we read in the press at superficial value. And I thank you for correcting the fact I have been harbouring wrong information on this topic in my brain these past few months. I am glad to have that remedied.

You are right about the limitations of the IDD method. It is only as good as what is scanned that actually exists and is only as good as what is scanned by the person doing the scanning. In which regard, if we look at the very bottom of the page to which you so rightly refer (it turns out) the "A" is missing from the word "asteroid" which is why I never detected it with IDD. This is because (it appears) the person doing the scanning missed it off their scanning of the page. I am genuinely glad to hear that you found this earlier publication of the word Asteroid and that you and cited it in your PhD. In favour of the IDD method, it does reveal that Forster published it in English before Burney used it in 1802 and so disproves the superficial information published in the newspapers and replicated (wrongly as it now turns out) on the esteemed Smithsonean website. I see now also that the full word "asteroids" also appears on p.116 of the earlier book - to which you kindly refer me - with a hyphen and the word spit on two "lines" of text.

For the record, I did try to contact you at a university in Thailand, and being unable to find an email address there or anywhere I did email a member of staff there and ask them to forward to you the information contained in this blog post - with a link to it, I can find that email if required to prove my good intentions in attempting to find out if the newspaper and Smithsonian reports were entirely representative of the depth of your knowledge on this topic..

The poorly scanned page (minus the "A" from asteroid in the word in question is to be found here: in the book and on its very page you inform me of (page 563)

For the record, I was wrong about the depth of your knowledge in this area - as you have now very kindly informed me that an earlier uniquely identified published use the word asteroid is actually contained in your PhD, which was most surely finalized. bound and published before 15 June 2014 when this blog was first published.

I have only one question: why do you reach the considered conclusion - now that we know that at least two famous books, written by two famous authors (the one you discovered plus the one that I discovered independently of you by using the ID method), contained the word 'asteroid' - that the son of Burney Jr did not read it in either book, but instead , as you write: "coined it anew"?


Sincere apologies and

Kindest regards

Mike Sutton

Dr. Clifford Cunningham
September 18, 2014 at 7:54 am

I very much appreciate your response to my message on this site. I would only add that Google Books appears to have screwed up the scan of the Linne book that you offered as a link, but they did correct this with a different scan which clearly shows the word asteroid. I give you here the full link to the page on which this appears. It is another example to those using the internet to find information to be wary of what they see on a computer screen. As an expert in manuscript research, I would caution anyone doing a serious scientific investigation to look at things in person at the archives that hold the material you are working on, as important clues are often evident there but missing on what Google or any other site actually posts for the world to see.

http://books.google.com/books?id=bPgTAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA563&dq=%22asteroid%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Eo8ZVMHaFse4ggTJtIGIBw&ved=0CBwQ6AEwADgo#v=onepage&q=%22asteroid%22&f=false

Dr. Clifford Cunningham
September 19, 2014 at 5:37 pm
Regarding the origin of the word, Linne was writing in Latin, so his use of asteroid was in that context and it never entered the English language from that source. Only dedicated botanists would have read that word on pg 563. Burney Sr., who began with the prefix "aster" was a musicologist, not a botanist, and would certainly have no knowledge of the use by Linne. Burney Jr., who added the suffix "oid" was a Greek scholar with no interest in or knowledge of botany. The letters of Burney Sr. make it clear what his inspiration was, and it had nothing whatever to do with Linne or any other botanist. The Burney creation of "asteroid" was as a new word in English as derived from Greek, nothing to do with botany or Linne. I was aware of Forster's use of the word as it is also easily found in a Google books search, but as it came after Linne's use it was of no consequence to my research so I never mentioned it. My detailed research on this matter has been accepted for publication in one of the world's leading journals, which put my work on this to the most stringent and critical examination by the two greatest authorities on etymology and Greek. It will be published in about a year.
Thinker's Post
Mike Sutton
September 24, 2014 at 4:13 am

Dear Dr Cunningham

In light of what you write at least, It is indeed most unfortunate that we are bound to take no more than your word for it that you discovered Forster's published use of the word Asteroid prior to the publication of this blog post on 15 June 2014. This reveals the importance of actually writing down and then actually publishing our discoveries in order to be awarded priority for them. Priority cannot exist inside our own brains alone.

Unfortunately, at the time of writing, you provide no publication MONTH and YEAR date for your PhD, no title for it and no name of institution that published your PhD and no page number regarding your claimed discovery that the word Asteroid had been published prior to 1801.

Moreover, naturally, I rationally assume from what you write above that your PhD theses was most surely published before the October 3rd 2013 Smithsonian publication I cited? See here. Because If not then, of course, no one other than anyone you may have shared your unpublished discoveries with, or else a believer in the supernatural, would rationally or irrationally expect anyone to know what you had not published. This is what governs the rules of priority - as classically described by Merton - in science and all academia.

Meanwhile, until dates are supplied for verification, It most certainly seems on the face value alone of it from what you write above that it is surely more likely than not, intuitively at least, that your expert conclusion appears likely to be the better bet. And we should go with that. Seeking 100% certainty in such matters is one thing. Finding it is rare.

On which note, in this very specific field, employing the guidance of the fundamental Royal Society motto of 'nullius in verba', others (not I - I assure you ) may, naturally, in the quite near future, seek, independently of you, to verify your findings, claims, and your expert conclusions on this topic, by mundanely cross-checking the contents of your published PhD with the date of its final bound publication, the 15th June 2014 publication of this blog and what is and is not actually WRITTEN in both. And that is how it should be with regard to ALL scholarly claims - as all sound scholars would most certainly agree.

Heaven forbid that the rest of us be as credulous as all those Darwinists who have been simply parroting Darwin's self-serving fallacy that no naturalist known to him had read Matthew's prior publication of natural selection 28 years before he replicated in the Origin of Species. Let me explain:

Google Books does allow us to find new "hidden evidence" as my A-Z of big data busts suggests (unless experts have been there before me and I have not found their work - as was the case in this blog post). What ID allowed me (a non-expert who had not read your PhD) to do very rapidly was to prove (albeit as it turns out not uniquely and not first) that the press and the Smithsonian website was wrong about who first "coined" the word Asteroid. I don't think, therefore, that we should so readily dismiss the power of this technology. And it will only get better, as will the standards of scanning etc. For example, the ID method has allowed me to 100% prove (Sutton 2104) - contrary to orthodox knowledge that Patrick Matthew's prior-published hypothesis of 'natural selection' was read (indeed cited) by three other naturalists known to Darwin/Wallace. Moreover, it allowed me to uniquely detect that each of the three played key roles at the epicentre of Darwin's and Wallace'- pre 1858 published work on ' natural selection.

If anyone got there before me on this "new" discovery then I shall trumpet their work from the rooftops.

I absolutely agree that the ID method is no substitute for going deeper into the literature as you have done. And, as you quite rightly point out, Google scans can be flawed and they can also be corrected, however. The technology will only improve. Eventually, all published PhD theses will be scanned....etc.

Perhaps one day all publications (including those in copyright) will be fully available at no cost to the public on Google Books. Until that happens, however, it remains more than merely possible that I have failed to find modern authors who have beaten me to the busted myths in my A-Z. If they come forward - as you so kindly have done here - I will do my utmost to publicize the facts of the matter and highlight their unique contributions to knowledge,

Sincere thanks for correcting me on the specific issue of who first (apparently first) coined the word asteroid. And thank you also for highlighting the limitations of searching the literature on Google. You will see a new postscript has been added above this blog post to explain that I carried out a little further research using ID on Google and discovered that the word 'asteroid' was in fact prolific in the botanical literature pre-1861.

I found (1) that it was used in the Latin - 'asteroidem' as early as 1754. Moreover, (2) as the plural 'asteroides' it was used extensively from as early as 1588!

I wonder, do you have these findings also in your published PhD? And, if so, how do you rule out the likelihood that Banks - a famous botanist - would have most surely known of the term, used the term in conversation with fellow botanists, and so would have most surely, therefore, have informed Herschel of its popular usage throughout the immense literature on botany? And if that is the most likely scenario - now we know the botanical literature was awash with the word 'asteroid' for 273 years - that it is surely more likely to be the case than not that the son of Burney Jr coined nothing at all that no one had not already heard said and read many times before he suggested its use in astronomy?

Kindest regards

Mke Sutton

 
 
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