"Harris clearly believes that dangerous knowledge will be discovered whether we want to or not, and we need to be able to handle it. So he wants to compartmentalize. He wants to break the connection between heredity (and whatever specific information about it we will discover) and the political ideologies it’s thought to funnel power to. His (decoupling) position is that it the link can be broken by assertion, and that’s what he does, many times, in his conversations with Murray and Klein.

The contextualizing position is that you can’t just cut the link, because that creates a narrative vacuum and the link will just repair itself as soon as you look the other way. There needs to be something there to make sense of the data and integrate it into a meaning-making story.

If you want to stop certain flows of support from scientific results to narratives you can try right at the source and make everyone keep quiet — the contextualizer’s solution. Or you can try to cut if off mid-stream by loudly rejecting the validity of the implications — the decoupler’s solution. But none of those are stable. If the source claims are true shutting them down is not a workable or acceptable option, but they do have to go somewhere. Potent ideas not integrated into any ideology is the conceptual equivalent of free radicals: they’ll find something to react with. This is underappreciated by the decoupler.

A compromise is to reroute the flow towards other narratives. That takes more work and it’s harder to feel successful in the short run, but it’s a far better and more stable long term solution."