Tuesday, August 02, 2005


Dr. Strange-ad

Speaking of blog ads on Althouse, the current blog ad on the top of her sidebar seeks joiner-uppers for the "movement" to "draft" Condoleezza Rice to run for president in 2008. (I guess "draft" sounds better than "importune.")

The ad's heading says "Dr. Condoleezza Rice -- 2008." If Rice does run for President, I hope her campaign keeps the "Dr." It's such a great way to reach out to voters. Don't you love it when PhD's insist on being called "doctor"? I always thought it was because they couldn't get a job as a professor, but wanted some sort of title so they could put their PhD in your face. That or get a better table at a restaurant.

Everyone knew Howard Dean was a doctor (a real doctor), but I don't recall his campaign literature referring to him as "Dr. Dean." Not only is it both insecure and pompous to parade the "Dr." title, but when that's done by (or on behalf of) a National Security Advisor, one is put in mind of Dr. Henry Kissenger (who like Rice also became Secretary of State, of course, and who would have made a very popular presidential candidate -- in fact, why not draft him?* He's still alive, right?) Not to mention Dr. Strangelove.

TOTALLY BESIDE THE POINT: A very bright friend and classmate of mine in eigth grade thought that the movie was called "Dr. Strangleglove." I guess he was such a nerd that he'd read about, but never seen, the film. It was one of the few times I was ever able to correct him on anything. "Strangleglove" is a great name though, isn't it? I wonder where my friend is now.

*Answer: because he was not born in the U.S. See U.S. Constitution, Art. II, sec. 1, cl. 5.


This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
first, apologies for those who had to slog through the original version of this comment; my cut and paste from a web site resulted in all the embedded links being spelled out in the main (and now interminable) text.

in any event, having just this morning had to correct someone and tell her NOT to call me doctor despite the D in JD, i was intrigued by Oscar's rant, and then amused to discover that it is the physicians who are the pretenders and that it is the PhD's who are the original and more authentic holders of the doctor title. check the encyclopedia at nationmaster.com for this:

Doctor means teacher in Latin. It has been used continuously as an honored academic title for over a millennium in Europe, where it dates back to the rise of the university. This use spread to the Americas, former European colonies, and is now prevalent in most of the world.

However, in the last two centuries of popular use in English-speaking and many other countries, the noun doctor has come to be used widely to refer to physicians (medical doctors), who are also granted use of the prefix as a courtesy title, whether or not they hold doctorates. In United States and Canadian parlance, the noun doctor is most often used for all forms of physicians and surgeons, including internists, pediatricians, gynecologists, and all other surgical and nonsurgical specialists who hold M.D. degrees and practice medicine of any form. It is also used in this sense for osteopathic physicians (whose medical degree is D.O.). In a specific context or setting that does not include physicians, doctor is sometimes used as a noun to refer to a chiropractor, veterinarian, dentist, optometrist, podiatrist, pharmacist, or clinical psychologist (whose degrees are usually D.C., D.V.M., D.D.S., O.D., D.P.M., PharmD, Ph.D.).
In the United Kingdom, Australia, and other areas whose culture was more recently linked to the United Kingdom, within medical circles the title Doctor generally applies to medically qualified individuals. However, those who are Members or Fellows of the Royal College of Surgeons for historic reasons prefer to be addressed as Mr, Mrs, Ms or Miss. There are many other countries, such as France, where doctor nearly always is synonymous with medical doctor.

Although medical doctors and some other health professionals with the above medical degrees are addressed as Doctor (e.g., Doctor Smith or Dr Smith), medical degrees are not usually doctorates, except in the USA, where they are considered first-professional (as opposed to research-oriented) doctorates.

The most advanced academic degrees in any discipline, including the medical disciplines, are referred to as doctorates and represent the highest earned degree in a given area of the sciences or humanities. The most common of these is the Ph.D., but there are many other research-oriented doctorates with different designations. In much of the world, holders of doctoral degrees are generally addressed as Doctor. In the USA, however, while the Juris Doctor or J.D. is indeed a professional doctorate, by custom and legal convention lawyers do not use the title of doctor. Lawyers who hold another doctorate such as the J.S.D. (Doctor of Juristic Science), L.Sc.D. (Doctor of the Science of Law), Th.D. (Doctor of Theology, or the LL.D. (Doctor of Laws) may use the title of doctor. In an academic setting, where the educational background of the individual is of course salient, doctor is the term of address and title used by holders of a doctoral degree; however, the rank of professor often takes precedence and may be used as a title. Academics below the rank of professor who do not hold a doctoral degree are referred to as Mr, Mrs, Miss or Ms.

It is also true, however, that the usage of doctor as a title also varies by country and culture. While the title Doctor (abbreviated Dr) is used in the United States, the UK and Germany for most people holding a doctorate, in some other countries, such as France, it is generally not used except for physicians and thus has become a synonym for "physician". In certain countries, for members of certain professions, the title of doctor may be used even when the academic qualification of doctorate is not held: for instance, in Italy, for holders of a Laurea.
I seem to recall Howard Dean using the Dr. title quite a lot. There were campaign stickers all over Madison that said things like "The Doctor is in: Dean for President." He is a "real" doctor though.

My favorite fake doctor is "Dr." Kent Hovind. He is the founder of "Creation Science Evangelism." The website is here:

If you've never caught one of his shows on the religious networks, I highly reccomend them. He's as slick as any used car salesman and uses the Dr. title very liberally. But he is absolutely insane.

He recieved his "PhD" in "Christian Education" from Patriot Bible University, which is a split level ranch house in Colorado. Here is a picture of PU:

His disertation contained no new or original data or ideas but did contain pictures that he cut out of time magazine and scotch taped into the thesis. Here is a review of his disertation:

The unintentional comedy of Dr. Hovind is amazing. I think he has to be the extreme example of using the "Dr." title when you really shouldn't.
... and then there's that kid in the comic 'Jump Start' whose parents gave him the name, Doctor.
Why not rip Dr. Martin Luther King while you're at it? There's a racial angle to this that you are missing.
My uncle and aunt (both professors with doctorates in non-medical fields) used the title "Dr." until the day they were drafted (importuned) to come to the aid of a person having a heart attack.

After that, they stopped using titles altogether.
"Why not rip Dr. Martin Luther King while you're at it? There's a racial angle to this that you are missing."

Would you really see it as a rip on MLK to say he wasn't a Doctor? MLK's greatness had nothing to do with medicine and little to do with a doctorate degree of any kind. He was a great man, not a great title. I see your comment as a rip on Dr. King. Although I am curious about what the racial angle might be.
You should show some sensitivity for what seems to be a traditional or cultural preference among at least some black people to use the honorific Dr. for a person with a doctorate degree. Contemplate why this preference may have developed.
I didn't mean to be insensitive. I guess I see this type of label as practical or informative rather than honorary.
BEN-VENISTE: Isn't it a fact, Dr. Rice, that the August 6 PDB warned against possible attacks in this country? And I ask you whether you recall the title of that PDB?

RICE: I believe the title was, "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States."

What a great job she did as National Security Advisor. Let's give her a promotion. Oh, will you look at that. Secretary of State. How about we make her president. What a GREAT idea!

Sorry. Too much sarcasm?
Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you! I have a united health care directory
site/blog. It pretty much covers united health care directory
related stuff.
And on a lighter note than pure new jersey accident lawyer , check out the funniest trial transcript ever! If it's not serious enough of a topic, well, just pretend it's the Brit's version of new jersey accident lawyer !
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