Unlike other scientists who restrict themselves to discussing only ideas in their own specific fields, Dr. Sheldrake (who has a PhD in Biochemistry) has mastered and addressed mainstream materialistic dogma in the vastly different fields of quantum physics, chemistry, biology, and even ancient philosophy where he relates the history of how humankind has not always thought that materialism was the only prevailing paradigm.
There are a lot of abstract concepts from others he cites as well as his own research which make it difficult to read, but if you make the effort, up to the very end, it's a richly rewarding read, making you question all the assumptions of mainstream science.
Before the age of quantum superstring theory with its multiuniverses which has now prevailed, 20 years ago, Dr. Sheldrake's morphic resonance theory would have been considered quackery and even I from the biology field was a bit skeptical when he first came out with it on a Noetic Institute metaphysics tv program. He would have been laughed out of my genetics class by my world renown prestigious genetics researcher professor and the class would have laughed right along with him. The problem was not that Dr. Sheldrake's ideas were quakery, but that our ideas in science were still pretty primitive. Dr. Sheldrake was AHEAD OF HIS TIME. His ideas in the biology field are still considered flakey (only because the biology field is still too buried in materialistic ideology), but if addressed from the physics standpoint of entanglement, he's right on target!!
Basically, his research states that anything that is learned or done by organisms in one species is transferred by a "morphic resonance field" to others of the same species. For example, if cats in San Francisco learn to fetch, then this becomes easier and more automatic for cats in, say Denver, to fetch, without any physical interaction by any of these cats from one city with another. Basically, distance doesn't matter. Sounds far-fetched? Yeah, that's what I thought, too, until you meld it with the physics standpoint of entanglement and consciousness.
Dr. Sheldrake's ideas inspired scientific people like me who've seen or heard things we shouldn't see nor hear - ghosts, past life deja vu's, precognitive warnings in our head to stay away from a certain area at a certain time because of danger, pet cats who know when we come home before our own family does, etc. Materialistic mainstream dogma has never been able to address these things, but Dr. Sheldrake's have.
Chapter 1 - discussion of how God and nature were viewed from Traditional Christianity times to the mechanistic age to the romantic age to now
Chapter 2 - he questions the law of conservation of matter and energy in relation to the quantum vacuum field (aka zero-point field), the Big Bang theory, dark matter, dark energy, perpetual motion, and the 2nd law of thermodynamics, citing people who survive without eating
Chapter 3 - he questions whether the laws of nature are fixed, citing "fixed constants" that are data-wise not fixed at all. He makes fun of the "mathematical formulae" that most scientists endlessly search for. He suggests that the laws of nature could be due to habit, such as his morphic resonance theory. Laws may evolve or be like a mix of habits and creativity rather than being fixed.
Chapter 4 - He suggests that subjective experience is not irrelevant, that matter may be conscious.
Chapter 5 - He suggests that nature has purpose that is unconscious, citing specific biological systems based on attractors, that humans are not unique in having purposes and goals.
Chapter 6 - He explains how DNA is overrated as being determinants. He explains the 2 camps of thinking: vitalism (the soul determines the physicality) and materialism (the DNA determines the physicality). It's funny when he describes Richard Dawkins (who popularizes the genes as being selfish, basically vested with anthropomorphic motives) using "soul" terminology to describe DNA, that he is a "vitalist in molecular clothing."
Chapter 7 - Psychic phenomena are real.
Chapter 8 Mechanistic Medicine is not the only type of medicine that is effective in the world.
Chapter 9 Illusions of Objectivity - Scientists are not without bias. Scientists practice fraud and deceit just like everyone else. "Objectivity" can be used as a weapon against other researchers, especially in the psi fields.
There are 2 more chapters and the ending summary chapter.
In one chapter, he cites the research of a scientist who found that a brain was NOT needed at all in order for there to be consciousness.
In another chapter, he makes fun of scientists' results as being objective, citing researchers who have excellent results with their research ONLY WHEN CERTAIN OTHER RESEARCHERS ARE PRESENT, that their very presence has an effect on the results.
Whereas, materialsts think that we are only the sum of our DNA, Dr. Sheldrake goes back to ancient philosophy when Forms, Ideas, Souls, basically an entire framework like building a house is needed first before we are who and what we are.
Science is about exploration and submitting evidence to support theories. Basically, Dr. Sheldrake clearly articulates and supports/defends his points that mainstream scientists use materialistic dogma against scientists who have "fringe" theories such as his and they demand overwhelming evidence in order to be believed, YET they give NO EVIDENCE for thinking materialistically the way THEY do.
I was quite entertained as well as clearly educated by reading his book and his well-defended points. His book is an excellent read for all scientists in all fields as well as for the layman.
I'd also like to come to the semi-valid points that the mainstream science establishment bases their "objective" conclusions on when they bash Dr. Sheldrake's research because they say his research has not been reviewed in a peer-review academic scientific journal. The reason?? What kind of objective mainstream science "peers" would risk their reputations, livelihoods on reviewing psi research, even if conducted by a PhD graduated Oxford scientist?? The answer is obviously zero(0). Even if you were to find them, they'd most likely negatively impact Dr. Sheldrake's research articles such that they wouldn't see the light of day! And, in fact, as has been stated in my review, just the research protocols could NEVER be the same as mainstream science protocols because the PERSON(s) involved matter, the TIME may matter, the situation, and number of times the situation occurs in the same place, may matter and so you may NOT get the same result consistently. Also, Dr. Sheldrake conducts double-blind studies even, when as he states, over half of mainstream science doesn't when they're supposed to! Dr. Sheldrake's research is not primarily to convert the mainstream scientists but to bring his research and understanding to a wider audience beyond academia.
Update Sept 3, 2013
I was conducting some personal experiments to focus sustained conscious thought like long, sustained meditation on a certain goal and while not all my detailed goals were achieved, my broader goals were. It was quite energy draining. We are more than just brains and bodies. We are conscious thought, emotions, memories, energy, and love. If more people were trained/educated in psi knowledge, we would have a much more happy, peaceful, productive goal-driven world.