This is a question argued by seo professionals day in and day out. How relivant are backward links or back links? Are they relivant at all? Do they help with page rank or search engine positioning?
I am a search engine optimizer and have been involved with optimizing web sites for over 10 years. The fact of the matter is, back links are good for your site. In Check out what Google has to say about the issue. There are certain conditions that should be met with backward links. Not all back links are good for your search positioning. I also agree that inappropriate links can be detremantal to your ranking.
The most harmful links to your site are links from link farms. Sites that just do nothing but link back to every site they can get there hands on. The best links are those that are linking back to your site because the site owner linking back felt the information on your site would be beneficial to his/her readers. If a webmaster or website owner feels the information contained in the link is beneficial then it is more than likley going to be relevant to the site the link is being put on.
In conclusion, yes, inbound links are good & important and will help your page rank and search positioning but be sure you take into account where the links are coming from.