Men with PhDs took to social media to defend the application of the “Dr.” honorific to non-medical doctorate recipients after a Wall Street Journal op-ed criticized Dr. Jill Biden’s use of it.
The op-ed, written by Joseph Epstein, was criticized as a “sexist attack” by Biden’s press spokesperson and others. Entitled “Is There a Doctor in the White House? Not if You Need an M.D.,” the piece argued that while the PhD used to carry prestige, the credential has been eroded outside of the sciences due to relaxed standards. (RELATED: WSJ Editor Defends Op-Ed On Dr. Jill Biden After Receiving ‘Coordinated’ Backlash From Media, Democrats)
.@jamestaranto, you and the @WSJ should be embarrassed to print the disgusting and sexist attack on @DrBiden running on the @WSJopinion page. If you had any respect for women at all you would remove this repugnant display of chauvinism from your paper and apologize to her.
— Michael LaRosa (@MichaelLaRosaDC) December 12, 2020
“The prestige of honorary doctorates has declined even further,” Epstein wrote. “Between the honorary degrees given to billionaires, the falsely intelligent, entertainers and the politically correct, just about all the honor has been drained from honorary doctorates.”
Never in my lifetime has anyone suggested I should not claim the title of Dr., despite my PhD being in Mathematics and not baby delivery.
Which begs the question, what exactly is the difference between myself and Dr. Jill Biden?
— William J. Perry (@SecDef19) December 13, 2020
Today I feel incredibly honored to have learned and worked among so many brilliant and deservingly credentialed female doctors, each of whom have shaped my pursuit of science. Formal apology from @WSJ should be issued #DrJillBiden #PhDsAreDoctors
— Jesse DeSimone, PhD (@drjessedesimone) December 13, 2020
It’s actually very on brand for @WSJopinion: Anti-intellectual. As an MD myself, I’m not bothered in the last by Dr. Biden, or anyone else with a doctorate, calling themselves “doctor.” https://t.co/X53OAVaJRt
— David Gorski, MD, PhD (@gorskon) December 12, 2020
Dear @WSJ: I have a PhD. When people call me “doctor” should I correct them, or do I have the wrong gender for that to be necessary?
— Phil Plait (@BadAstronomer) December 12, 2020
I say this only because of my own pride in having the same degree — Dr. Biden has an EdD, not a PhD. But I didn’t go through literally 9 years of post-secondary schooling to NOT be able to use the title “Doctor.” Fuck off. #EdD https://t.co/JsLVYoJi9c
— Patrick Patterson (that’s Dr. to Epstein) (@PDPdoesTrek) December 12, 2020
Oh heavens. Briefly, the D in PhD, DPhil, EdD (et al) stands for Doctor, this qualification is a doctorate. It comes from the Latin docere – to teach. 1/n
— Dr Adam Rutherford (@AdamRutherford) December 13, 2020
The term “doctor” originated in the 14th century as a title reserved for theological scholars who were granted the right to teach. It later expanded to other fields of academia. The Latin root is docere; “to teach”.
Centuries later Medicine co-opted the title. #DrBiden
— Rich Severin DPT, PhD(c), CCS (@ptreviewer) December 12, 2020
Doctor is derived from the Latin for teacher. I have a PhD, I am a teacher, I am a doctor. Respect to all the other doctors out there. You rock! pic.twitter.com/HCygQ713AB
— Dr Ian C Elliott ???? (@ian_c_elliott) December 12, 2020
I am a Doctor that cannot help with a heart attack or broken leg, but I can help fight deadly pandemics, as well as teach those who will become physicians to practice empathy and respect to their patients, fellow citizens, and the worldwide community.#IAmADoctor
— Michael Taveirne, PhD (@ProfMicrobe) December 12, 2020
Really disappointed by the @WSJ article suggesting Dr. Jill Biden is in fact not a doctor. Social science, humanities, or other, PhDs remain hard to earn. I’m not a physician, I am a doctor. We need both.
— Peter Vollbrecht (@PJVollbrecht) December 13, 2020