The main objection to teleology is that the future cannot cause the past or that causes must be temporally prior to effects. A response in notes.
-The proof would be something like this: make a bullet point causal account of how some event unfolded over time. If you don’t write the causes first, then you can’t give a causal account. Contradiction.
-But what if you write a physical law first? When does PV/T=C? The only answer seems to be “whenever”. It’s odd to refer to the law as first in time when the law itself has no temporal referent and – pace Peirce and Smolin – does to appear to need one. Asking when a law is true, or even when it exists, is like asking when a Euclidean plane, Dedekind’s cuts, or pi, two, or multiplication exists; if fact, they seem to be crazy for the same reason.
-Science has to appeal to interactions between sorts of things, even if only as a convenience. But when is a sort of thing? They are somehow causal, or at least can be spoken of in causal ways (water puts out fire, gasoline vapor is volatile, etc.)
-So just to give something first does not mean that it is in time. The first thing need not be in time at all. It could be a recipe, a blueprint (in the sense we use in “genetic blueprint”), a proportion, a mathematical law, a geometrical shape or property… or yes, even a mind or a god.
-The insistence that causes are first in time cannot account for the causality of form. Mathematics, quantitative relations, shapes, blueprints, or messages – which exist either not in time or throughout the time of becoming – all have to be seen as non-causal.
-For Aristotle, the question is one of relating act to potency. To make a cause first in time is to say that all causes, as causes, are potential as opposed to actual. They are potencies without intrinsic reference and dependence on actuality. Taken as far as it can go, we get the teaching of David of Dinant, who identified God with first matter.