Locked History Attachments



<Comment about biotech or other area where large corporations dominate>

Statist: <Person> is basically an uninformed apologist for big agro-business. I would not be surprised if he is pulling a salary from Monsanto or Cargill. … “To feed a growing population …” This is an argument used by corporations such as Monsanto.


It’s my favorite new logical fallacy, the “Appeal to Monsanto”, the world’s largest producer of biotech agriculture seeds. This is the logic that compels many anti-GMO activists to reply to any argument in support of biotech crops with “So you love Monsanto?”

It’s so wonderful because it combines many other logical fallacies into one, and is thus a great time saver. For example:

  • It poisons the well (cloaks a viewpoint with negative weasel words) by associating the scary, evil word Monsanto.

  • It’s a non-sequitur (a logical association that does not follow). If (a) therefore (b). If (genes can be used to confer traits such as drought resistance) therefore (I love Monsanto).

  • It’s a straw man (misrepresenting what I said into something that’s easy to argue against). If I had actually said “I love Monsanto”, then plenty of rational arguments are available to show that’s a bad idea.

  • It’s an ad hominem attack on my argument (the argument is wrong because of who the person is that made it). Whatever I said about biotech must be wrong since “I love Monsanto”.

  • It’s a red herring (an irrelevancy to distract from the subject under discussion). Monsanto does not necessarily have anything to do with any given science-based discussion of the merits of what can and should be done with direct genetic manipulation.

(From "Argumentum ad Monsantium", Brian Dunning, Skepticblog)

It would also appear to be, in certain cases, a guilt by association fallacy: claiming something is helpful to feed a growing population "is an argument used by corporations such as Monsanto."

There is also a larger class of companies and fallacies, e.g., if you are for privatizing defense then Haliburton and Blackwater get trotted out (slightly different since they are corporations with effectively one customer, the state, and they rely very much on state regulations and barriers to entry), or private prisons (which are, again, part of the state system and without being fed money and victims by the state, could not operate); Monsanto, too, depends on the state to defends its patents and enforce its ridiculous lawsuits. (DBR)

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