We have a theory (the standard model) that explains a great deal of the physical phenomena that we perceive. Let us grant Physicists their dream, and say we have a theory that explains all physical phenomena. Surely this theory then allows evolution (which is non-teleological), but the choice of theory has to be put in 'by hand', is that not then in itself a teleological act?
the choice of theory has to be put in 'by hand', is that not then in itself a teleological act?
You're confusing the map with the territory. The choice of a theory is a motivated choice, which implies a telos--but that does not mean that the objects or processes governed by that theory are likewise teleological. The way apples fall from trees was not effected by Newton's theory of gravity.
Evolution may be seen as being non-teleological, but as a theory it has to account for something that is teleological, namely the ability of biological organisms to manifest intentions. At the quantum level there is no intentionality. The physical laws imply no intentionality and nor do they need any of that to explain the phenomena they are set of explain.
However, by going up to higher levels of organisation of matter, new phenomena emerge. At one point we observe intentional behavior that is intrinsically teleological. Maybe not always uniformly conscious (humans vs. crabs), but nevertheless intentional, thus with a specific purpose.
A cat walking to an eye of water to drink has a purpose for that action. It is not at all clear just yet if this entire process can be reductively explained by means of physical non-teleological processes. It's still very much a mystery, and still very much open for accepting dualism.