We all know that one of Elon Musk's favorite things to do is to opine on things he has no idea about while trying to sound smart. And this weekend we found out, surprisingly, that not only is Musk not a physicist and not an engineer, but he's also not a doctor.
The internet was offered up a treat when a doctor interrupted an ongoing Twitter discussion Musk was having about health issues related to the coronavirus.
While trying to defend the idea that doctors are rushing to put patients on intubation - which is an argument Musk was seemingly making to defend his half-assed gesture of sending hospitals BiPAP machines instead of ventilators - Musk at one point said it depended on patient "lung strength".
One doctor immediately responded, tongue-in-cheek: "Please send tests for lung strength."
It was that response that went viral and drew attention to Musk's comments. So many people weighed in, in fact, that Musk actually deleted his Tweet, a rare move of acknowledging defeat from a guy that called someone else a "pedo" and then took them all the way through a trial.
Needless to say, however, doctors on social media didn't seem to enjoy Musk's take:
Hi @elonmusk. Appreciate your interest!— Vatsal Trivedi (@VatsalTrivediMD) April 17, 2020
What do you mean by "lung strength"? Diaphragm TF? Pocc? P0.1? Compliance?
What do you mean by "natural lung pressure"? PEEP? PEEPi? Pmus? Elastance? Chest wall or lung?
Not familiar with your terms.
COI: Anesthesiologist and Intensivist
A sad addition to the list of things that should never happen but are happening in #COVID19 times! @elonmusk giving advise on how to titrate PEEP! “Natural lung pressure” and “patient lung strength”? What in the actual f*** https://t.co/HQR1lSYqUg— Snigdha Jain (@snigdhajain89) April 17, 2020
Thank you. And No. It’s noninvasive positive pressure ventilation. Nor is there such a thing as “lung strength” (he prob means the dynamic compliance which he clearly doesn’t understand- and why would he?). I don’t understand how to make electric cars, and google won’t fix that.— Lara Christina Murphy MD (@DrLaraCMurphy) April 18, 2020
And others on social media went off too:
Elon Musk has started playing doctor and giving awful medicine takes and tech nerds are eating it up and this is...bad pic.twitter.com/6cdzFqU6XE— your best friend (@SortaBad) April 17, 2020
“Patient Lung Strength” is a very real thing and not something some tech bro made up to sound smart pic.twitter.com/QKFw5f8o0h— MarkLindsay MDPhD (@MarkELindsay) April 17, 2020
1/ I'm sad to learn Dr. @elonmusk deleted this tweet after his colleagues in the medical & epidemiological communities began asking that he share his insights & data. Please, give Dr. Musk some space; don't let his important voice go quiet. cc: @virenkaul @mdornic @oliverdarcy pic.twitter.com/TIWcVGa7TZ— Montanner Skeptic (@montana_skeptic) April 18, 2020
Seriously, deleting the tweet was the worst decision Musk could have made.— S & Pure 666 (@NickyTaleb) April 18, 2020
I read the tweet, made some jokes on here & to my wife & let it go.
Now I won't let it go. I can't let it go. I simply don't have the lung strength. It's beyond my natural lung pressure to let it go. pic.twitter.com/YSGVgsTNcT
Good god man will you just let the doctors do their job with out adding your virtue signaling nonsense!— Sub-Additive VaR (@blane9171) April 16, 2020
Musk's penchant for spewing bullshit in fields which he has no qualifications or know-how is why we have widely covered videos by Thunderf00t on YouTube. The name "Thunderf00t" is the alias of Phil Mason, a British chemist and video blogger who has become well-known for posting YouTube videos that criticize, among other things, pseudoscience.
But it's been a while since an expert in a field stepped in and made Musk look foolish - that's a task Musk has been performing well on his own, arguing with local officials over closing his factory, disregarding the global pandemic, insulting the frontline healthcare workers trying to save lives and trying to pass off $1,000 sleep apnea machines as $50,000 ventilators while demanding social media testimonials about how wonderful he is.
As these gems were unfolding, his brother and Tesla board member, Kimbal Musk, appeared to be bilking money from his restaurant staff.
Just another day in the life of "Dr. Musk" - which was at one point trending on Twitter.