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Teleonomy is a deliberately non-theistic way to describe nature in terms of purpose-driven language, with contributions[1] from Richard Dawkins, a biologist and New Atheist. Teleonomy is contrary to teleological arguments related to purpose, and seeks to be strictly scientific, while concerning goal orientation and apparent purpose with respect to organisms in nature. Teleonomy underscores that religion does not have a monopoly on purpose.

Teleonomy and evolution[edit]

Conceived by biologists Ernst MayrWikipedia and Colin Pittendrigh,Wikipedia teleonomy sought to separate biological evolution from teleology, since biologists had become overly cautious regarding the use of goal-based language; thus enabling biologists to describe species' goals and behaviours, minus the inadvertent invocation of religiosity/teleology. Explicitly, Mayr underlines that although organisms may undergo teleonomic processes, evolution itself is inevitably non-teleonomic.[2]

Teleonomy and humans[edit]

Richard Dawkins introduced "archeo purpose" and "neo purpose", in the regime of natural selection and evolution by adaptation respectively.[1] Richard Dawkins argues that "neo purpose" concerns the ability to disregard "archeo/natural purpose"; i.e. humanity's intelligence is seemingly a way to disrupt the natural/Darwinian order. This "subversion of goals", or "neo purpose", is described as purpose attributable to human-made intention, where Dawkins seems to posit that humanity, equipped with organic general intelligence, may dream up many particularly non-Darwinian goals.

Jordan Micah Bennett, an atheist/computer scientist, introduced "limited or fractional neo purpose"[3], built atop Richard Dawkins’ neo purpose. Jordan proposes that instead of actually disrupting Darwinian-like processes as Dawkins would seem to express, that humanity's likely creation of "Artificial General Intelligence" or strong AI, is reasonably yet another way to enforce a Darwinian-like cycle, with the "survival of general intelligence" via the likely emergence of said "Artificial General Intelligence", in the natural scope/limit afforded by principles related to entropy.

Jordan agrees with Dawkin's idea of "subversion of goals" in this scope, where the creation of Artificial General Intelligence, may not necessarily warrant the communication of human-aligned genes, nor ultimately value human activities that lend to the survival of the human species, as humans draw nearer and nearer to probably inventing Artificial General Intelligence. Notably Demis Hassabis (founder of Google's Deepmind[4]) and Geoffrey Hinton (referred by some in the Artificial Intelligence community as supposedly the "Godfather of Deep Learning or Deep Artificial Neural Networks"[5][6][7][8][9]), express that Human Level Artificial Intelligence is "nowhere nearby", where they seek to solve this problem by for example, combining more neuroscience research with artificial intelligence research.[10] In particular, at a recent talk, Demis Hassabis expressed that Human Level Artificial Intelligence is "several decades away".[11]