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"Oh, it's just a theory"
This is the typical reaction by those who do not know how the scientific community defines the word "theory".
It's MORE than "just a theory".
In laymans terms, "theory, usually means that it is a mere guess, or is unproved. It lacks credibility.
In science, a theory implies that something has been proven and is accepted as being true.
A theory is an explanation of a set of related observations or events based upon proven hypotheses and verified multiple times by detached groups of researchers. One scientist cannot create a theory; he can only create a hypothesis.
A theory is developed only through the scientific method, meaning it is the final result of a series of rigorous processes. All scientific theories are well documented and proved beyond reasonable doubt
Real scientific theories must be falsifiable. That is, there must be something that if found, discovered, invented, etc., would show that tthe theory is invalid; i.e. falsified. It should be easy to find one little fact that would falsify evolution. For example, the development of genetics as a new field of study in 1950, had the potential to show that evolution was false by showing that genetics did not support the idea that we genetically evolved. Instead, all of molecular biology confirms what evolution had predicted.
Not falsified yet! after 150 years of opportunity to do so!
Not a single observation, not a single experimental result has emerged in over 150 years that contradicts the general outlines of evolution theory. Any theory that can stand up to 150 years of contentious testing is a pretty good theory.
There hasn't been a single discovery in the relevant areas, i.e. Geology, Botany, Biology, Physics, Chemistry. Paleontology, and Cosmology , that doesn't support, reinforce or extend the Theory of Evolution
There are no legitimate scientists (i.e. those who publish in legitimate peer reviewed journals) in the appropriate disciplines (e.g. geology, biology, paletiology, zoology, botany, astronomy, cell biology, pharmacology) who do not treat evolution as fact.
There isn't a single peer-reviewed article that demonstrates that evolution is wrong.
Every involved discipline uses the theory of evolution and "old earth" to make predictions.
Just what is supposed to happen with true theories.
Theory VS Fact
A theory is MUCH more powerful than a fact. The biggest difference between a fact and a theory is that a theory is much more complex and dynamic. A fact governs a single action, whereas a theory explains an entire group of related phenomena using relevant facts.
Evolution is an elegant theory that explains the history of life through geologic time; the diversity of living organisms, including their genetic, molecular, and physical similarities and differences; and the geographic distribution of organisms.
"In the century and a half since Darwin, scientists have uncovered exquisite details about many of the mechanisms that underlie biological variation, inheritance, and natural selection, and they have shown how these mechanisms lead to biological change over time.
Because of this immense body of evidence, scientists treat the occurrence of evolution as one of the most securely established of all scientific theories.
"Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution,"
geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky titled a famous essay in 1973.
"It's an explanatory framework within which all the rest of biology fits.
It is used in practical biological applications: medicine, agriculture, flu vaxcine.
Today scientists have as much confidence in evolution theory as they do in the existence of atoms, or in microisms as the cause of infectious disease. "