One of the casualties of the science/religion debate, especially with a question such as teleology, is the crystallization into false alternatives. The question of teleology has been vitiated by this syndrome. Religious usage has wrecked the usage of the term ‘teleology’, as Kant pointed out in his own way, attempting to rescue something with the phrase ‘natural teleology’. It is possible to forget ‘god’ for a moment, and consider ‘teleology’ in terms of naturalism. A pernicious aspect of any such discussion, however, is the way religionists try to equate any evidence of teleology with a theistic issue, and the merry-go-round begins again.
The question of convergence is difficult, and there is no general ‘teleological’ principle that is going to work on the universal and the particular at the same time, so the issues raised by Morris et al. need to stew in their various specializations. Morris does stumble on the right idea: think in terms of directionality, instead of teleology, even if they might often amount to the same thing.
But it is not true that science has banished teleology. A close look at the sequence from Newton to Kant might suggest a better historical narrative here than the current fallacy of scientism, which has snowballed into the false assumptions so evident in so much Darwinism.
Here I will stop, and simply insert a plug for a look at the eonic effect, whose demonstration summons up the empirical evidence of directionality in historical terms. One needs to stop thinking about metaphysical teleology, and look at an example of directionality. We can see one in the eonic effect, barely, and the paradox of teleology seems as if both teleology and anti-teleology were false! The contradiction reconciles itself in a particular kind of oscillating structure of alternation swinging between the extremes! Remarkable. Directionality suggests, but does not constitute quite the same thing as teleology necessarily. The study of the eonic effect is useful because it proceeds indirectly with zero discussions of teleology except in the margins, and at the end of doing something more empirical.
This remarkable character of oscillation expressing directionality, the way it reconciles two opposites, is reminiscent of the issue raised in Kant of the ‘antinomies’ of teleological judgment, which amount to saying the debate is ‘endless’, because both poles are false: the truth is something different.
In any case, natural teleology gives an avenue to bypass misleading design arguments. It is hard to think of anything more complacent, if not panglossian, than the assumption that Darwinian natural selection foots the bill for total explanation here.