One of the more asinine comments made about the coronavirus pandemic this week unfortunately comes from the kind of person that a lot of others will listen to. Matt Birk, former professional football player and Superbowl winner, suggested that perhaps we should listen to amateur epidemiologists because amateurs built the Ark, referring of course to the likely fictional giant boat big enough to carry two of every animal species during a world-engulfing flood.

But the Titanic was built by experts, and it’s definitely the expertise that made it sink.

It’s kind of impressive to get so much wrong packed into a single tweet.

First of all, the Titanic didn’t sink because of the way it was built. It was very much a sinking-resistant ship for the time, but some of the materials used to build it may have been cheap and low-quality. Furthermore, repeated warnings by experts on sea ice were ignored because investors would have been displeased if anything had disrupted the maiden voyage. Whoops.

The second factually iffy part of Birk’s tweet is the suggestion that Noah’s Ark was built.

This would all be very funny if it weren’t for the fact that people who are not taking the advice of epidemiologists right now are contributing to the coronavirus pandemic, as states and cities opening up against expert advice have seen spikes in new cases and corresponding deaths. Former football stars encouraging people to do more of the same is not a good thing.

With expert-listeners still cooped up at home because others refuse to practice basic social distancing, there’s little to do but drag Matt Birk.


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*First Published: May 21, 2020, 11:40 am