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The helmet thread

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The helmet thread

Old 08-24-12, 11:39 AM
  #3276  
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata
Since your the all knowing wise one here, why don't you prove which one of those studies are false reports?
TRANSLATION: "I have no idea what I'm talking about, so I'm going to duck the question and pretend that it's your responsibility to answer it."
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Old 08-24-12, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by surgeonstone
For real?
MD = a doctorate in medicine. It is a doctorate. Period. Phd's and MD's are both " first professional " degrees . That is they are conferred after college level degrees. You are kidding I hope.
Well, I hope you're not as certain of yourself as you sound, because you are incorrect. A professional degree prepares the conferee for a particular profession by emphasizing skills and practical analysis over theory and research. Most but not all of the professions associated with professional degrees are licensed professions. This includes the degrees I listed in the previous post. The MD was the first entry level professional degree to be awarded, as a matter of fact, followed closely by JD (Juris Doctor), the degree possessed by attorneys.

Doctorates, on the other hand, are awarded to those who are qualified to teach a particular discipline. Doctorate programs, leading to PhD degrees, focus on research and theory over clinical application.

I can understand your confusion, to a certain degree (heh), because in practice the functions of the two degrees overlap. As the possessor of a first professional degree, I can, and have, both taught and published research. Similarly, PhD's in psychology are often found in clinical, rather than research, settings.

However, SlackerInc was being a pedant, and there's nothing in the world worse than an ignorant pedant, so I figured I might help him from making a fool of himself again in the future.
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Old 08-24-12, 11:51 AM
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I would also like to know how the 'insurance' people threw a dog into this fight. I can't seem to find anything where they have spent a dime on bicycle helmet research. It does look good though when you're padding the claim that all these institutions can't be wrong about the need to wear a helmet.
much like the extensive list compiled to prove helmets are vital and one of the links was simply a site on how to prepare a case study and used helmets as an example.
face it helmets can help, but they don't always help and they're not always needed.
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Old 08-24-12, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by skye
SlackerInc was being a pedant, and there's nothing in the world worse than an ignorant pedant, so I figured I might help him from making a fool of himself again in the future.
Yup, looks so foolish to use the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of a word (not even one of the definitions, but the single definition). I might add, just to further rebut your allegation of ignorance, that along with the two good friends with Ph.D.s that I mentioned earlier, both my parents got Ph.D.s, from prestigious institutions, and if they wanted to refer to Ph.D.s specifically, rather than doctorates generally, they said "Ph.D.", not "doctorate".

I think your problem is that you not only rebel against authority figures (Merriam-Webster, the CDC, NIH, etc.), which is fine, but you insist that anyone else who accepts their judgment as being authoritative is foolish, ignorant, etc. and must cease and desist immediately. It's like the attitude of a cult leader (or wannabe cult leader, LOL): "Don't listen to all of them, listen to me, I am the one who knows the real truth!"

ETA: I notice none of the anti-helmet cultists have addressed the fact that the government actually tests helmets for efficacy and has done so for over a decade. Video here (skye et al, you'll enjoy the comments--congrats, you've achieved the intellectual pinnacle of sounding like a YouTube commenter!)

Last edited by SlackerInc; 08-24-12 at 12:49 PM.
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Old 08-24-12, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by telkanuru
You might find this helpful:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post_hoc_ergo_propter_hoc

"After it therefore because of it." It means one thing follows the other, therefore it was caused by the other. But it's not always true. In fact, it's hardly ever true. -The West Wing
If I hit my thumb with a hammer, and an instant later my thumb begins to hurt, is it logical fallacy to think hitting my thumb with a hammer might have been related? And does the cast of West Wing have any input?

Short version: if helmet use reduces serious head injury by 85% (as claimed by the government experts previously linked) then making every cyclist wear a helmet would at least show some kind of positive effect. And if it doesn't, then maybe we need to take a closer look at that 85% figure, regardless of whether it turns up on government websites.

Or should "Post hoc ergo propter hoc" be taken to mean that we can never learn anything about anything?
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Old 08-24-12, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by skye
Well, I hope you're not as certain of yourself as you sound, because you are incorrect. A professional degree prepares the conferee for a particular profession by emphasizing skills and practical analysis over theory and research. Most but not all of the professions associated with professional degrees are licensed professions. This includes the degrees I listed in the previous post. The MD was the first entry level professional degree to be awarded, as a matter of fact, followed closely by JD (Juris Doctor), the degree possessed by attorneys.

Doctorates, on the other hand, are awarded to those who are qualified to teach a particular discipline. Doctorate programs, leading to PhD degrees, focus on research and theory over clinical application.

I can understand your confusion, to a certain degree (heh), because in practice the functions of the two degrees overlap. As the possessor of a first professional degree, I can, and have, both taught and published research. Similarly, PhD's in psychology are often found in clinical, rather than research, settings.

However, SlackerInc was being a pedant, and there's nothing in the world worse than an ignorant pedant, so I figured I might help him from making a fool of himself again in the future.
I'm going to chose not to believe that you either taught or have published peer-reviewed research, based on your inability to correctly use the possessive apostrophe and the obvious lack of basic reasoning skills. As someone in the process of obtaining a PhD, both a PhD and an MD are doctorates.

That said, I'm not overly impressed with the thinking skills of some on either side of this thread.
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Old 08-24-12, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Six jours
If I hit my thumb with a hammer, and an instant later my thumb begins to hurt, is it logical fallacy to think hitting my thumb with a hammer might have been related? And does the cast of West Wing have any input?
False equivalence, rhetorical posturing.

Short version: if helmet use reduces serious head injury by 85% (as claimed by the government experts previously linked) then making every cyclist wear a helmet would at least show some kind of positive effect
Why would you think this? There are all sorts of reasons for it not to be true, the most obvious being that an increased cycling population without increased safety training is likely to result in more accidents. This sort of misunderstanding is pretty frequent and understandable when it comes to a layman's reading of scientific studies, but that doesn't make it any more correct.

Or should "Post hoc ergo propter hoc" be taken to mean that we can never learn anything about anything?
Given the fact that all our observations about the world are by necessity causal, on a theoretical level, yes. On a practical level, it means we need to actually look at what the data are telling us, rather than what we think the data mean.
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Old 08-24-12, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by telkanuru
As someone in the process of obtaining a PhD, both a PhD and an MD are doctorates.
Technically, both (as well as others) are "doctorates" but not really for the common usage of the term (which tends to be only used in academia anyway).

Not many people would say of an MD that he/she "had a doctorate" or even "a doctorate in medicine". It's almost always "has a medical degree". If one's interest was clear communication, it would be odd to assume that readers would see "doctorate" as referring to the MD degree (rather than something like a PhD).

(To continue the bizarro thread derail.)
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Old 08-24-12, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by telkanuru
I'm going to chose not to believe that you either taught or have published peer-reviewed research, based on your inability to correctly use the possessive apostrophe
Although I personally eschew the apostrophe for making initialisms plural (and AP and MLA style supports us), there are other style guides that support skye's usage, so it is not a settled question. For example:

https://www.unh.edu/creative/editoria...alization.html
"Plural form: B.A.’s, B.S.’s, M.A.’s, M.S.’s, Ph.D.’s, D.Ed.’s."

It does seem however that if skye wants to go with this style, s/he should probably restore the internal periods in the abbreviation:

https://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/gramm...marlogs389.htm
[TABLE="width: 88%"]
[TR]
[TD="bgcolor: white"]You might consider dropping the periods in this abbreviation, PhD, and then form the plural simply by adding an "s": PhDs. Generally, though, abbreviations that contain periods form their possessive by adding an apostrophe + "s": "We have two M.A.'s and three Ph.D.'s on our staff.Authority: Chicago Manual of Style 14th ed. U of Chicago P: Chicago. 1993. p. 198.
[/TD]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]
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Old 08-24-12, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by telkanuru
False equivalence, rhetorical posturing.
That you don't understand a thing does not necessarily make it a logical fallacy - and being as you're so up-to-speed on logical fallacy, I'll bet you even know the name for that one.

Originally Posted by telkanuru
Why would you think this? There are all sorts of reasons for it not to be true, the most obvious being that an increased cycling population without increased safety training is likely to result in more accidents. This sort of misunderstanding is pretty frequent and understandable when it comes to a layman's reading of scientific studies, but that doesn't make it any more correct.
At the very least, you need to familiarize yourself with the topic. Here's Wikipedia's take, though without any input from prime time TV... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle...s_in_Australia

Originally Posted by telkanuru
On a practical level, it means we need to actually look at what the data are telling us, rather than what we think the data mean.
Interesting observation, from somebody who hasn't looked at the data at all.
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Old 08-24-12, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker
it would be odd to assume that readers would see "doctorate" as referring to the MD degree (rather than something like a PhD).
Why does the assumption have to be one "rather" than the other? When I used it, my intention was as an umbrella term: i.e., these helmet recommendations can be taken as expert advice because their authors have Ph.D.s, M.D.s, or maybe D.O.s for that matter.

To turn this back on topic, skye insinuated that the recommendations on the websites of the CDC, NIH, WHO, etc. were written by low level flunkies and made him/her concerned as to what other information on their websites might be suspect. I'd challenge skye to provide a cite of some kind supporting the notion that the very top level scientists in any of these organisations have a different professional opinion. Put up or shut up, I say.

ETA: Since we're talking about logical fallacies, anyone get a "no true Scotsman" vibe from the anti-helmet crowd?

Last edited by SlackerInc; 08-24-12 at 01:25 PM.
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Old 08-24-12, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by SlackerInc
Why does the assumption have to be one "rather" than the other?
People generally understand that "doctorate" refers to PhD. That's just the way the world works. The fact that you don't like it doesn't change that fact.

In a particular linguistic/language sense, there are two meanings for the word "doctorate": 1) any "doctor" degree (this is a limited, technical meaning), and 2) the general meaning of "PhD". These meanings (obviously) are related but they aren't exactly the same.

Your readers here are much more likely to think of the second meaning. If you are interested in communicating clearly, you would consider what meaning your readers will use rather than the meaning you intend.

Originally Posted by SlackerInc
To turn this back on topic, skye insinuated that the recommendations on the websites of the CDC, NIH, WHO, etc. were written by low level flunkies and made him/her concerned as to what other information on their websites might be suspect. I'd challenge skye to provide a cite of some kind supporting the notion that the very top level scientists in any of these organisations have a different professional opinion. Put up or shut up, I say.
It's very amusing that skye talked about "risk compensation" as an anti-helmet argument when the "research" supporting that is also very tenuous. It goes to show that it isn't the quality of research that matters, it's the conclusions the research supports that matters!

Anyway, the problem with the "CDC, NIH, WHO" websites is that (it appears) that they are merely echoing "conventional wisdom". That is, what they are saying isn't independent.

It's extremely hard to conduct good/conclusive research on the efficacy of helmets. Data for bicycle accidents is sporadic and poor. And relying on fatalities for rare events is suspect. Often, the purported benefits of helmets appears to be overly optimistic. And the benefit is often assumed rather than established (see the first sentence in this paragraph).

Of course, the "research" done by the anti-helmet camp isn't any better (and no less "agenda driven"!).

Last edited by njkayaker; 08-24-12 at 02:44 PM.
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Old 08-24-12, 02:44 PM
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I thought this was about helmets.
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Old 08-24-12, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by tagaproject6
I thought this was about helmets.
Discussing the semantics of "doctorate" isn't any less useful.
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Old 08-24-12, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker
People generally understand that "doctorate" refers to PhD. That's just the way the world works.
So you think Merriam-Webster is that poor at their job (which is to define words as used in vivo)? (ETA: if you Ctrl-F search this Wikipedia entry for the word "doctorate", you will find it used many times to refer to the degrees physicians hold.)

The rest of your post is fairly reasonable, but I wonder why you didn't address the CPSC helmet tests.

Last edited by SlackerInc; 08-24-12 at 03:12 PM.
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Old 08-24-12, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by SlackerInc
So you think Merriam-Webster is that poor at their job (which is to define words as used in vivo)? (ETA: if you Ctrl-F search this Wikipedia entry for the word "doctorate", you will find it used many times to refer to the degrees physicians hold.)
It's well-known that dictionaries don't convey the complete usage of a word.

I saw the wikipededia entry. It's (rather obviously) using the first meaning I mentioned (the "technical" one).

No one really refers to the MD degree as a "doctorate" (in general conversation). Such usage sounds weird to me (and I spent many years in the company of many MD's and PhD's).

In general conversation, it's "he/she has a medical degree" or "he/she is a doctor". Using "doctorate" in general conversation to refer to an MD degree is likely to be unfamiliar (and confusing).


Originally Posted by SlackerInc
The rest of your post is fairly reasonable, but I wonder why you didn't address the CPSC helmet tests.
What is the correlation of what the CPSC requires and actual injury prevention/mitigation? It doesn't appear that anybody knows. It seems fairly clear that the CPSC standards are lower than certain accidents that some cyclists find themselves experiencing.

Last edited by njkayaker; 08-24-12 at 03:26 PM.
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Old 08-24-12, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Six jours
That you don't understand a thing does not necessarily make it a logical fallacy - and being as you're so up-to-speed on logical fallacy, I'll bet you even know the name for that one.
I believe it's typically referred to as ad hominem.

At the very least, you need to familiarize yourself with the topic. Here's Wikipedia's take, though without any input from prime time TV... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle...s_in_Australia

Interesting observation, from somebody who hasn't looked at the data at all.
It's really interesting when someone decides that because I haven't come to the same conclusions they have, I haven't understood (or even looked at) the problem.

Here's another one for you to read up on: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias
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Old 08-24-12, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by tagaproject6
I thought this was about helmets.
It devolved into pure politics some time ago...
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Old 08-24-12, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by telkanuru
You might find this helpful:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post_hoc_ergo_propter_hoc

"After it therefore because of it." It means one thing follows the other, therefore it was caused by the other. But it's not always true. In fact, it's hardly ever true. -The West Wing
This is more a case of non post hoc ergo forsit non propter hoc.

You're confusing yourself with a smattering of precious sciolism instead of focussing on the interesting question: why don't bicycle helmets cause as large a reduction in head injuries as their devoted proselytizers claim?
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Old 08-24-12, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by mconlonx
It devolved into pure politics some time ago...
You could say that of just about anything.
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Old 08-24-12, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by telkanuru

It's really interesting when someone decides that because I haven't come to the same conclusions they have, I haven't understood (or even looked at) the problem.

Here's another one for you to read up on: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias
It's even more "interesting" when someone that hasn't bothered to research a topic cites concepts that have been raised several times before.
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Old 08-24-12, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by tagaproject6
I thought this was about helmets.
Nobody here cares much about helmets, only whether other people wear them.
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Old 08-24-12, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by RazrSkutr
Again, which studies? You spoke of "government test studies, or the insurance studies". I'd like you to specify what you're talking about: especially the "insurance studies". Even if you just want to bicker pointlessly it would be nice to have some common reference point on which to base our petulance. Here's mine (seeing as you seem to have missed it for the last couple of hundred posts):

When bicycle helmets are worn by most of the cycling population there is no measurable decrease in serious head injuries. Therefore it's probable that helmets don't prevent serious head injuries.

References:

1. The population of Australia for the last 20 years

2. The population of New Zealand for a similar period of time.
Don't play stupid, you know darn well which studies, pick one and prove it. Our studies in the US date back much further then the Australian studies, and our studies show completely opposite results, why is that?

What's really interesting is this: Change to Bicycle Helmet Safety Standards – The original Australian consumer product safety standard for bicycle helmets of AS2063: 1996 has been updated to AS2063: 2008. It is important to note that both versions will be legal to use on or off road. For Cycling Australia sanctioned events a helmet must be undamaged and unaltered and have a certification sticker affixed showing the helmet is approved. There are a few companies approved to certify helmets to this standard so the sticker may vary in appearance but the important thing is that it has “AS 2063” marked on it.
Cycling Australia recommends that you ensure before you buy a new helmet, either through a bike shop or internet, that the helmet has the certification affixed to it. NO APPROVED HELMET = NO RIDE. The proper wearing of safety approved helmets is an Australian Road Rule enforceable by the Police.
https://www.cycling.org.au/?page=39672&format

Now why would Cycling Australia make it mandatory to wear a helmet if helmets are uneffective?

Even if the Australian study is right, and that study consist of primarily this: "Of 42 cyclists over 3 years not wearing helmets who were killed (all causes, not just head injuries), 6 may have survived if they had been wearing a helmet. For 21 of the cyclists a helmet would probably have made no difference." Wouldn't you want the odds of 6 out of 42 surviving if you had been wearing a helmet? I don't know about you, but I would rather have those odds then ZERO!! It's kind of like being forced to play Russian Roulette with a twist, you have a choice take a gun with 6 bullets loaded in it's 6 shot cylinder and spin the cylinder and pull the trigger...or 5 bullets loaded in the 6 shot cylinder and if you pull the trigger and it doesn't fire you win. I'll take the 1 empty chamber chance, you can take the fully loaded gun chance.

BUT, here in Amercia we need to make helmet manufactures go back to being certified with the Snell B95 helmet certification which is a far better certification then what we currently use.
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Old 08-24-12, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker
It's well-known that dictionaries don't convey the complete usage of a word.
You faked me out: I thought the underlined "well-known" was a link! Anyway, I would call that an argumentum ad populum, except that I'm not necessarily convinced about the "populum" part. In my experience, modern dictionaries do an excellent job of researching contemporary usage (American Heritage even has a cool Usage Panel staffed with famous and non-famous experts on language; a citation from them that "doctorate" should not be used as I used it would convince me).

And even if an entry on a word is not "complete", I'm not sure how relevant that is to your point. You are not saying Webster's definition is too narrow, but that it is not narrow enough--correct? In other words, for me to be right here, there only have to be a reasonable number of people who use the word "doctorate" in an expansive sense. It doesn't have to be used that way by everyone. For you to be right, it would have to be a rare or unheard of usage, and I think it strains credulity to say that such a quixotic and inapt usage would find its way into both the Wikipedia entry (in multiple iterations) and be the sole definition provided by the "name brand" dictionary of American English.
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Old 08-24-12, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by SlackerInc
You faked me out: I thought the underlined "well-known" was a link! Anyway, I would call that an argumentum ad populum, except that I'm not necessarily convinced about the "populum" part.
I'm not making a logical argument.

Since you are communicating to the "populum", you should choose words based on how the "populum" will (tend to) understand them.

Originally Posted by SlackerInc
And even if an entry on a word is not "complete", I'm not sure how relevant that is to your point. You are not saying Webster's definition is too narrow, but that it is not narrow enough--correct?
Very few people appear to use "doctorate" to refer to the MD degree. If that's true, then the entry misses that detail (thus, it would not be complete).

Originally Posted by SlackerInc
In other words, for me to be right here, there only have to be a reasonable number of people who use the word "doctorate" in an expansive sense. It doesn't have to be used that way by everyone.
No, ideally, you should choose the words you use to match what most of your readers will understand it as. That's your job as an author. (In very rare circumstances, you can require readers to do more work to suss out the meaning you intend but this forum really isn't one of them.)

Originally Posted by SlackerInc
For you to be right, it would have to be a rare or unheard of usage, and I think it strains credulity to say that such a quixotic and inapt usage would find its way into both the Wikipedia entry (in multiple iterations) and be the sole definition provided by the "name brand" dictionary of American English.
It is rare: no one commonly refers to the MD degree as a "doctorate". In academia and industry (pharmaceutical), most people are going to interpret "doctorate" as "PhD" (at least according to my experience).

Last edited by njkayaker; 08-24-12 at 07:39 PM.
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