By devising a testable hypothesis of natural memory, Rupert Sheldrake has established himself as the world’s central figure in the evolutionary theory of existence. Heir to the lineage of Darwin, Peirce, Bergson, Elsasser and Bohm, Sheldrake bears on his shoulders the weight of their worldview. Attacks on his work amount to an offensive against any alternative to a universe under the control of eternal immutable laws.
In 1980 Bohm proposed that material events are abstracted into an “implicate” order that influences subsequent events in the everyday “explicate” realm. The following year, Sheldrake proposed that current organic events are influenced by a composite of previous, similar events. Are these different theories or just the same theory arrived at by different means? When the scientists got together to discuss their work, they weren’t sure.
Yet their books received radically different receptions. Bohm’s Wholeness and the Implicate Order was treated with the respect owing to any scientific work, while Sheldrake’s A New Science of Life evoked not just hostility but hysteria and out-of-thin-air accusations of pseudoscience.