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Table 2 The main features of design and selection teleology

From: Students’ “teleological misconceptions” in evolution education: why the underlying design stance, not teleology per se, is the problem

Types of teleologyConsequence etiologyAssumption of designExamples
Design teleology (external)Something exists because of its consequences that contribute to the fulfillment of an external agent’s intention to achieve a goalYes (it is explicit as there is reference to the intentions of an external agent)Green beetles mutated to become brown in order to conceal themselves, thus fulfilling the intention of an external agent (such as Nature, or God)
Design teleology (internal)Something exists because of its consequences that fulfill the intentions/needs of its possessorYes (it is implicit as there is reference to the intentions/needs of the organism itself)Green beetles mutated to become brown in order to conceal themselves, thus fulfilling their intentions/needs
Selection teleologySomething exists because of its consequences that contribute to the well-being of its possessor, and is thus favored by natural selectionNoBrown beetles had a concealment advantage compared to green beetles, which eventually died out due to predation, and thus only brown beetles survived and reproduced