“Fire Science” graduate tries science, hilarity ensues

Maybe I’ve written about him, maybe I haven’t. But “Sid Offit” (as he likes to be called on the blogs he trolls) is quite the interesting fellow. He tries to come off as an expert on vaccine science, though, by his own admission, all the science he ever got was in the way of a degree in “Fire Science”. He even managed to get interviewed by BBC about vaccines:

“Campaigner Robert Schecter, who runs the Facebook group Proud Parents of Unvaccinated Children, claims the pharmaceutical industry is a key driving force behind the growth in childhood immunisation in the US.

“By no means is it a conspiracy, but there are vested interests working together,” he says.

A self-styled libertarian, who ensured his own daughter did not receive any vaccinations, he dismisses public health officials as “paternalistic do-gooders” who “get satisfaction out of what they believe to be helping people” when in fact they are doing no such thing.”

By no means a conspiracy? That’s funny. “Sid Offit” runs a blog called “The Vaccine Machine”, and conspiracy is pretty much the order of the day, but only if you manage to decipher Sid’s writings. (He misspells “McCarthy”, as in Jenny McCarthy, rambles on without making a point, has very poor grammar and punctuation, and seems to have a weird obsession with Amanda Peet.)

Perhaps the most troubling thing about Sid is the medical advice given out on his Facebook page. Mind you, he makes it very clear that he is not the one giving medical advice. Oh, no, he does not. He only posts questions from people about different medical topics and lets his followers give the medical advice. He’s just a communicator, an intermediary, if you will, between the non-physicians giving medical advice and the fools who consult them.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit Number One

Click to enlarge

I really mean it when I state that people are fools going to a Facebook page and asking what to do with regards to vaccination while there is a whooping cough outbreak going on around them.

Exhibit B:

Exhibit B

If you read the comments after this “innocent” question about polio, you get nothing but an echo chamber about how polio is not a big deal anymore. No one mentions that it’s not a big deal anymore because of vaccines. In fact, any pro-vaccine comments are quickly deleted by Sid, the author of such posts banned, and the full information not given to the person asking the question.

Exhibit C:

Exhibit C

Yeah, I would suggest that you thank your physician if they did vaccinate her against a deadly disease. Also, quit being so paranoid.

And Exhibit D:

Exhibit D

Too bad Dr. Bob Sears and Dr. Jay Gordon are in California, huh?

I could spend the rest of the post giving you more examples of the “innocent questions” being asked and posted on “The Vaccine Machine” Facebook page. But you get the gist of it, and you can go over and read the rest of them.

In the field of ethics, there’s this thing called “respect for persons” in which people in science and healthcare are ethically mandated to fully inform the people they deal with of all the risks and benefits of their decisions. Robert Schecter, aka “Sid Offit”, aka “The Vaccine Machine”, does not allow any pro-vaccine posts on his page in response to the question being posted by parents and others seeking information about vaccines. Par for the course for anti-vaccine activists to be unethical and misinform their public.

Then again, a degree in fire science probably didn’t include ethics in it curriculum.

8 thoughts on ““Fire Science” graduate tries science, hilarity ensues

  1. I would really hope the someone who takes his vaccine “advice” sues him into oblivion–except that would mean a child was hurt.

  2. I listened to that BBC broadcast, where the subject was the mailing of lollipops which were partially consumed by a child with chicken pox, to a mommy who wanted her child to contract “natural” varicella. (The mommies meet online on anti-vaccine social networks, to arrange for the mailings of contaminated material).

    Schecter is in his own world and children dying from vaccine preventable diseases in other countries does not bother him. He had a post up on his own blog (since removed), about the ten California infants who died from pertussis during 2010. Those babies were all HIspanic heritage; Schecter minimized their deaths, because they were not part of his lily white world.

    A few years back, a science blogger posted about smallpox and the extraordinary efforts to finally eradicate this scourge from the face of the earth. There was a picture of the very last smallpox case up on the blog…a beautiful, but horribly disfigured by poxes, Somali girl. Schecter commented…


  3. I wasn’t aware Mr. Schechter was involved with Proud Parents of Unvaccinated Children.

  4. One ponders his quality of advice in fire science.
    To judge from his medical advice that he supports, it would be a fire alarmless, sprinklerless and extinguisherless environment.
    With plenty of hazmat and inflammable storage in unventilated internal rooms that have multiple ignition sources for any vapors.

      • Sid Offit/Bob Schecter occasionally posts on Respectful Insolence to “enlighten” us about his libertarian views. He doesn’t like to pay taxes and is against “big gubmint”. At one time he complained that his mother, who was living in a supportive living complex was upset that she had to evacuate her room during a fire drill. He questioned why doors were automatically locked, after evacuations, during fire drills. I quickly informed him about the Federal Life Safety Codes in these facilities, in nursing homes and in hospitals, where the doors lock automatically lock during drills and during actual fires in order to contain a fire. (My degree, unlike Bob’s, is not a “Fire Science” degree from a 4th tier college).

        • Boy, did that jog some old memories. I remember working with emergency planning teams and that was brought up, ended up looking up the code as I looked up the code for my area just to see the exact requirements.
          Due to the unique nature of treatment facilities, be the facility a hospital or nursing home, containment of the fire and smoke is required.

          I also love the Libertarian, who resents paying taxes for anything, but so loves those smooth highways and superhighways, bridges and tunnels that tax dollars pay for.
          They also tend to ignore history and the horrors of unregulated markets, medicines and foods.
          Their faith that everyone will do the right thing is quite childlike.

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