If the audience is sufficiently large there’s a good chance the answer is “yes.” And one would expect the respondent to be trained in the medical arts.
That’s what we think of, isn’t it, when the word “doctor” is mentioned?
Suppose instead there’s a meteor heading toward earth. Would you call your primary care physician for advice on how to deflect it? I sure wouldn’t. I’d want someone like a physicist with extensive training, someone who in the past had demonstrated innovative thinking, someone who’d earned a doctorate. If that person happened to be good old Jim Brown, I’d call him Dr. Brown.
If the problem was one related to education, I’d want an expert in that area. Someone like Dr. Jill Biden, wife of the man who today will be inaugurated as our president.
I am ashamed to admit that, when I first heard her called doctor, I assumed she was of the medical variety. I should have known better.
Her degree is in education and she continues to work in that area. This is a significant achievement involving years of advanced study and an original contribution to her field.
But it didn’t impress Joseph Epstein (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Epstein_(writer) ), a competent writer with a B.A. He took it upon himself to create an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal (see https://www.wsj.com/articles/is-there-a-doctor-in-the-white-house-not-if-you-need-an-m-d-11607727380 if it will allow you to view the entire story without subscribing) suggesting strongly that Doctor Biden shuck her title while living in the White House and be satisfied with First Lady.
We are in the midst of a pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands in our nation alone. We have endured a brutal political four years ending with a deranged president who is unwilling to accept loss but is willing to destroy the country to maintain power. We live in partisan times in which the ability to cross bridges is scorned. We are threatened with seditious acts in attempts to overthrow the government. We have alienated allies and cozied up to tyrants.
And amidst all this horror, what major crisis bothers Epstein and, apparently, the Wall Street Journal? The fact that President Biden’s wife has a doctorate in education and isn’t ashamed of it.
According to Wikipedia, Epstein had another article of note, published in Harper’s Magazine in 1970. He was a young man of 34 then. Yes, that makes him 84 now. Again, according to Wikipedia, Epstein wrote at that time that homosexuality is "a curse, in a literal sense" and that his sons could do nothing to make him sadder than "if any of them were to become homosexual." This is the man opining for the Journal!
The number of years it takes to become a practicing physician is extensive and may or may not be more than what is required to earn a doctorate in an alternate area. Both are major achievements. One difference is, unlike medical doctorates, a significant original research contribution is required when pursuing a doctoral degree in other fields.
So honor what medical doctors have achieved. It’s tough training and should be respected. But don’t let anyone say about someone else, “Oh, she’s not a real doctor.”
Yes, she is. And beginning today she’ll be a doctor in the house—the White House.