Alfred Rupert Sheldrake (born 28 June 1942) is an English author and parapsychology researcher. He worked as a biochemist at Cambridge University from 1967 to 1973 and as principal plant physiologist at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics in India until 1978. Sheldrake is known for proposing the concept of morphic resonance, which posits that “memory is inherent in nature” and that “natural systems… inherit a collective memory from all previous things of their kind.” Proposing that it is also responsible for “telepathy-type interconnections between organisms,” Sheldrake’s advocacy of the idea offers idiosyncratic explanations of standard subjects in biology such as development, inheritance, and memory.
Morphic resonance is not accepted by the scientific community and Sheldrake’s proposals relating to it have been characterized as pseudoscience. Critics cite a lack of evidence for morphic resonance and inconsistencies between its tenets and data from genetics, embryology, neuroscience, and biochemistry. They also express concern that popular attention paid to Sheldrake’s books and public appearances undermines the public’s understanding of science.Other work by Sheldrake encompasses paranormal subjects such as precognition, empirical research into telepathy and the psychic staring effect.
Sheldrake’s ideas, while lacking scientific acceptance, have found support in the New Age movement from individuals such as Deepak Chopra.