Evolutionary biologist Allen MacNeill, who appears frequently in the comments sections of our posts, makes the following comment to my previous post:
Teleology must exist in any functional relationship, including those in biology. The question is not “is there teleology in biology”; no less an authority on evolutionary biology than the late Ernst Mayr (not to mention Franciso Ayala) emphatically stated “yes”! The real question (and the real focus of the dispute between EBers and IDers) is the answer to the question, “where does the teleology manifest in biology come from”? EBers such as Ernst Mayr assert that it is an emergent property of natural selection, whereas IDers assert that it comes from an “intelligent designer”. It has never been clear to me how one would distinguish between these two assertions, at least insofar as they can be empirically tested. Rather, the choice of one or the other seems to me to be a choice between competing metaphysical world views, which are not empirically verifiable by definition.
Is Allen correct?