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Table 4 The main features of selection and design 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 designLegitimate for artifacts or organismsExample of misconceptionExample of correct conception
Design teleology (external)Something exists because of its consequences that contribute to the fulfillment of an external agent’s intention to achieve a goalYesArtifacts onlyEagles have wings in order to fly because God/Nature designed them in such a way in order to be able to use them for flyingAirplanes have wings in order to fly because humans designed them in such a way so as to be able to use them for flying
Design teleology (internal)Something exists because of its consequences that contribute to the fulfillment of its possessor’s intention to achieve a goalYesNeither artifacts, nor organismsEagles have wings in order to fly because they needed them in order to be able to use them for flying
Selection teleologySomething exists because of its consequences that contribute to the well-being of its possessorNoOrganisms onlyEagles have wings in order to fly because this feature appeared in their ancestors, provided them with an advantage and was therefore maintained in their lineage by natural selection