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« Two Years Ago | Main | Hoist By His Own Petard »

Turning The Tables

Tim Carney takes on the ad hominem fallacy of attacking policy papers based on the funding sources of the institute that generated them.

Posted by Rand Simberg at June 22, 2006 01:46 PM
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I don't buy the who thing. The New Republic sniping does appear to be a genuine ad hominem attack, though they may elaborate on the initial accusation elsewhere. Even if Iain Murray "recycles industry talking points" doesn't mean that his arguments are incorrect.

But I consider funding sources to be relevant information because they indicate potential conflict of interest and bias of the information. Organizations can fund what they want, but an information source, funded by an organization that directly benefits from the results, should be backed up with independent sources. And anything that pretends to be unbiased with hidden fund sources is extremely unreliable IMHO.

Posted by Karl Hallowell at June 22, 2006 07:11 PM

Besides which, when an organization is funding those opposed to it, then the results must be correct or at least more credible.

Thus, if Iain Murray is getting money from Exxon and sez something pro-Exxon, that's to be dismissed. But if Easterbrook is getting money from Exxon and is saying something anti-Exxon, that makes it more credible.

Thus, 5000 military officers supporting Bush is utterly outweighed by five officers opposing Bush. Similarly, one vet saying that all his buddies are committing war crimes is to be believed over any number of soldiers/sailors/airmen/Marines who say that they have not committed, nor witnessed, any war crimes.

Posted by Lurking Observer at June 23, 2006 08:21 AM

Well, take TCSDaily, for instance. They're funded by Exxon. Yet they didn't want anybody to know that. Now isn't that relevant? Isn't it important to know that TCSDaily may have a bias because it is funded by a big oil company?

If you want full disclosure in politics, then you should support it in think tanks, media, etc, right?

Posted by Bill Gabriel at June 25, 2006 04:06 PM

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