The TOE doesn't assume a teleology or a "progress" towards what we might think we desire (e.g. long life). The theory is that an organism will adapt to a niche in such a way as to successfully reproduce. If the niche doesn't change, then neither does the organism (e.g. crocodiles being an estimated 200 million years old as a species). If the niche changes, then the organism must adapt in such a way as to continue to reproduce. Long life past the reproductive age would not necessarily benefit the human species as the old folks would be eating up the resources. And a longer reproductive age would not necessarily benefit the human species as genetic disorders and difficulty with childbirth increases with age.
I do however think like Kastrup that there could be room for teleology in evolution. Mutation is a random process and random processes are a surface of the mechanism upon which Will might act. So perhaps the organisms in a species all desire something... perhaps their collective desires make the random mutation more likely to occur that results in that desire being fulfilled. So the owl's ancestors over many generations wanted to see in the dark so this made them more likely to acquire mutations that made their eyes bigger... something like that. Similar to the way RNG experiments have shown the ability for intention to slightly influence them.
Or TOE is just another hypothesis, that can't be proven, but that "science" declares as Truth.
Don't confuse adaption with evolution. Darwinian adaption can be proven. It merely states that environmental pressures will cause the expression of phenotypes already within the genetic structure. When the pressure is removed and crossbreeding made possible, the creature reverts to the old phenotype in a few generations.
That is very different from genetic mutations creating entirely creatures (i.e a new genus or family). In fact, that concept is, frankly, idiotic on its face. A bird is not a lizard whose scales have become feathers. All other systems, from the ocular to the muscular skeletal to the digestive have to change - and they pretty much have to change all at once. Lizard vision isn't going to work for a creature that makes its living in the air. Nor is lizard skeletal frame, etc etc etc.
These are incredibly complex structures each on its own, but integrating each into a holistic thriving animal is exponentially more complex. Not enough time in the universe for that to happen (i.e. monkeys banging on keyboards are creating a work of literature like War & Peace.
Fossil records tend to not show millions of years of truly in between critters. Wolves and poodles? Wooly Mammoths and Elephants? Sure. They are a different phenotypical expression of the same creature (and they can still inter-breed). That is not evidence of mutations leading to entirely new beings.
Also, mutations are almost always fatal in the nature we can observe. Why would they have been different back then?
Can scientists electrify pond scum and create life? Even supposedly knowing the necessary chemical make-up necessary? NO, of course not.
It's a stupid theory; everyone is just scared to say so.