Honorary Doctorate Degree and Title?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by TEKMAN, May 3, 2024.

  1. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I've been "Dr Douglas" for more than two decades. To introduce myself as that sounds....weird and self-serving.

    When I was a military officer, I used my grade and last name all the time. Why? Because it was functional. I used it with enlisted personnel, but with officers I just introduced myself as "Rich." Most of the officers I worked for did this, too. I'd call my boss "Colonel," but he'd leave me notes signed as "Bob."

    Whenever I do get introduced as "Dr Douglas," I almost always say "Just call me 'Rich.'"

    "Just because you can do something doesn't make it a good idea." -- Chris Rock, paraphrasing the Chesterton quote Steve gave us.
  2. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Right. Common translation of that phrase of Boethius': "If you'd kept your mouth shut we might have thought you were clever." :)
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  3. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    And to point out the obvious, if you follow that rule, you never need to ASK if you can "Use the title 'Doctor'".

    I was thinking about this thread this morning, Heaven knows why. Calling oneself "Doctor" in a non professional setting can only be intended to impress the listener. But will that really work?

    It being mid-Spring around here, my thoughts are naturally turning to the Xmas and New Years holidays. (Just stay with me here.) Remember the last holiday party you went to? Who got the attention (besides that lovely/handsome young creature your spouse watched like an angry hawk)?

    The doctors of course. The brain surgeons if there were any. Maybe a lawyer if she is representing Jack the Skipper over that horrific dive boat fire last September. If he's a tax lawyer, forget it unless someone is hoping for free advice.

    All the rest of the professional degree holders? Nobody knows and nobody cares.

    So if you decide to introduce yourself as "Dr." all you're likely to elicit are eye rolls. Even from that lovely young creature.
    Johann likes this.
  4. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Especially from that lovely young creature. Never fails. That person likely hears it more often than any other. :)
    nosborne48 likes this.
  5. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    The lawyers and the physicians don't hold professional doctorates. They hold first professional degrees. Physicians derive their title of "doctor" from their profession, not their degrees. American lawyers, who earn a JD, do not use the title doctor because they do not derive it from their profession, which has no history of titling its practitioners "doctor."

    My academic titles are "doctor," but I am not "a doctor."
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  6. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    Correct. In Germany there are lawyers who are called doctor but that is because they actually have the equivalent of a PhD in law.

    In the US a lawyer who wants to get a higher degree gets a master's degree in law.

    Lawyers used to earn the LLB just as clergy would get an undergraduate degree and then go on to get a first professional ministry degree (the Bachelor of Divinity). Ministry was upgraded to a Master of Divinity and law to a Doctor of Jurisprudence.

    First professional degrees include things like Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Law, Doctor of Optometry, Doctor of Physical Therapy. Generally build on undergraduate degrees.

    Professional doctorates include Doctor of Education (in some cases), Doctor of Business Administration, Doctor of Ministry, Doctor of Missiology, Doctor of Psychology, and so on. Build on graduate degrees (some like Ministry build on extensive graduate degrees).

    None of which should be confused with prestige as we know that law is considered prestigious and MD stands for major deity.
    Last edited: May 6, 2024
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  7. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    My simple take:

    We sometimes forget the origin of the word "doctor." It simply means "teacher" in Latin and, starting in the 1300s, first in Germany and England, then in other counries, it denoted someone sufficiently educated in their scholarly field that they were deemed qualified to teach it at university level. For example, "Doctor Mirabilis" - Roger Bacon, here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Bacon

    Medical schools started using “doctor” to describe graduates much later, in the 1600s to denote respect.
    Now everybody wants in.
    Last edited: May 6, 2024
  8. Important too that we remember that once upon a time, mere "surgeons" only had a warrant in the military and were of a lower class than the commissioned line officers.

    I honestly do not know when that attitude began to change on the civilian side of things, but American military "surgeons" were only replaced by degree holding "physicians" after the end of the Civil War.

    One of my former paramedic firefighter colleagues once completed a DEM (doctorate of emergency medicine) online through a British university.

    I should explain that British NHS paramedics and many Commonwealth equivalents can earn degrees and become mid-levels. Essentially functioning in the same manner as an American NP or PA.
    He got accepted based on his American Critical Care certification and a masters in EMS management... but I digress.

    While he isn't allowed mid-level privileges here in the states, he is using the degree to apply for teaching anatomy and physiology positions at US medical schools.

    Importantly, even though he is legally a doctor of emergency medicine and an American national-registry credentialed critical-care paramedic, his fire department threatened him with termination and even arrest if he ever introduced himself to a patient as Doctor Thomas.
    Other employees are required to list their highest degree on their photo IDs that get worn on duty, but not him... the department would only list it as a a PHD, even though it isn't, and he still can't say "doctor" to patients....

    What do you all think?
  9. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    I think that kind of treatment stems from the Great American Fear -- that of getting sued into oblivion. And it's a very well-grounded fear. How much good could your department do, if it were wiped out by litigation? I don't like the way your colleague was treated, but in such a litigious country, I see no prudent alternative. It is what it is -- and I'm truly sorry to have no better answer.
  10. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    I think it's unethical to buy honorary doctorates from unaccredited seminaries. Anyone can put in an application (and possibly give a small donation) to get one of these honorary doctorates.
  11. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    I don't know whether it's more unethical to buy these - or to sell them. Many such schools are set up for this very purpose. And it matters little whether the doctorate is "honorary" or supposedly"earned." Both are equally bogus in many cases.

    You sell a fake Rembrandt or Vermeer -- you go to the pokey. But you sell a bunch of fake (but "religious-exempt") degrees and you can likely buy a condo in East Hampton (Long Island NY), Shell Beach, CA., Islamorada FL.... Both sales are unethical - but what a difference! Why the hell is that allowed in 22 States -- or anywhere?

    Unethical to buy - unethical to sell. Anything can get done FOR MONEY under the guise of snake-oil "religion."
    sanantone likes this.
  12. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    One of her honorary doctorates is from Smith Christian University. They claim to be accredited by Transworld Accrediting Commission International.

    Sometimes, I randomly click on the profiles of people with doctor titles on LinkedIn. I've seen several of these honorary doctorate mills. They're popular with people who make money off of motivational speaking, MLMs, and selling courses and seminars.
  13. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

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  14. Xspect

    Xspect Member non grata

    Im fe
    Im feeling targeted Im very proud of my Abide University Honorary Doctorate
  15. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Targeted? That's silly. Proud? And so you should be. I made the exception for Abide VERY CLEAR, earlier. But you knew that, right?
    Last edited: May 10, 2024
    Xspect likes this.
  16. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Well, now wait a minute...a regular "earned" Abide degree requires no effort by definition. So how, exactly, does the Honorary degree differ?
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  17. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    deleted J.
  18. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    I don't believe Abide awards "regular earned degrees." AFAIK, all awards are honorary. So saith the blurb. It also saith this:

    "One could say that we take sort of a class-backwards approach towards the degree process: We first provide you the free degree, and then the responsibility is on you to study and contribute to our knowledge base, journal, and other publications and forums."

    It's like electronics - and the computer biz. You have to R.Y.F.M. :)
  19. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    I regret that you deleted your post, Johann, because I THINK you established what I've long suggested...Dude-ism isn't in me. Well, one can't have everything in life though I do think I'd have had at least a chance if I'd figured out how to move to LA. (Sigh.)
  20. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Sorry about that. IIRC I made some comment about how Abide's approach is perfectly OK as it follows one of the prime tenets of Dude-ism: Do not deceive or be dishonest. (And I'm positive that you, personally, have that part of Dude-ism down pat.) :)

    I think there's quite a lot of Dude-ism in me. It somehow goes along with music and some other things I enjoy. Unfortunately the expression of Dude-ism was suppressed for a long while in order to make a living etc. I think that's probably the second-biggest cause of my long (65 years) history with depression. I'll leave the biggest cause for another day.

    And yes, I can see you in LA - especially the LA of some years ago. There might have been a good spot for you on LA Law. :) I loved that show!

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