Over at Fr. Stephen's blog, I suggested that a scientific view of humanity would incorporate the notion of teleology, rather than causality. Here's part of what I said:
Just for clarification, you may want to differentiate between causation, which pertains to non-human entities and objects, and teleology, which encompasses humans’ purposeful behavior. The element of purpose is missing from all natural phenomena, except man. Purposeful behavior–action–is the fundamental datum of social sciences, and any social science paradigm that ignores human action in an attempt to unthinkingly ape the natural sciences is completely devoid of meaning.
The notion of teleology, however, is more commonly used in connection with God's actions and purposes. For the Orthodox, divine teleology isn't open to question.
That the notion of human teleology isn't widely employed attests to the captivity of our scientific method to a more materialistic perspective that discards introspective evidence.
Since man is created in the image and likeness of God, the idea of human teleology isn't much of a stretch. The stretch emerges, however, in the intersection of divine and human teleology.
Man investigates creation and uses hypotheses to succeed materially. How far can man exercise his teleology before he exalts himself above God?