Purpose in Science


I’m surprised you don’t see any teleology in science. Do you see a difference between purpose and teleology? I’ve used the heart example before. Isn’t the teleology of a heart to pump blood?


I’m not sure what you mean exactly by that @Mark.

I do not think that science has the means or language within scientific discourse to see or understand divine teleology and purpose. However, scientists themselves have purposes, as do the animals that we study. So in this sense, there certainly is “purpose” in science.


Yes. Ok. We’re on the same page. Basically, there is natural purposiveness in living organisms but science can’t answer the ultimate WHY for example, does it seem, according to some like Simon Conway Morris, that humans or something very much like ourselves are an innevitabiity in the evolutionary process.


Maybe biologists sometimes use more teleological language, but physics certainly has no language or framework to accommodate teleology, not even in regular everyday phenomena. This was somewhat explored in Do Heat Seeking Missiles Have Teleology? - #172 by Eddie (especially the first 50 posts or so), where some ideas of how to mathematically define purpose were proposed but people raised several serious objections to that which were never really answered, in my opinion.

1 Like