Evolution Is a Theory... and a Fact

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One of the most prolific arguments used by creationists to question evolution is that Evolution, as its full name cedes, is a theory. They take this to mean that a theory is simply a supposition, an educated guess, or even "lies straight from the pit of Hell." In other words, evolution could easily be wrong.

But in science, a theory is much more than mere conjecture. (For the record, that's a hypothesis). A theory is "a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena."

"Evolution, of course, is not something that simply applies to life here on earth; it applies to the whole universe." - John Polkinghorne, theoretical physicist and theologian
A scientific theory is painstakingly built. After being born as a hypothesis, it swells in substantiation as evidence and facts are discovered. Thanks to the ever growing fossil record, in addition to the far more important evolutionary trees built from DNA sequences, evolution has millions and millions of facts on its side. Thousands more are uncovered each year, reinforcing its foundation.

"So enormous, ramifying, and consistent has the evidence for evolution

become that if anyone could now disprove it, I should have my conception

of the orderliness of the universe so shaken as to lead me to doubt

even my own existence." - Hermann Muller, geneticist and Nobel laureate


At the same time, a theory must weather a meticulously skeptical storm. If it survives, it grows stronger. Evolution has survived.

"Evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are

different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty.

Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that

explain and interpret facts. Facts do not go away when scientists debate

rival theories to explain them. Einstein's theory of gravitation

replaced Newton's, but apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air,

pending the outcome. And humans evolved from ape-like ancestors whether

they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some other yet to be

discovered." - Stephen Jay Gould, paleontologist and science historian

What's more, there's evidence for evolution all around us. As a result of industrial soot pollution in England that stained trees black, peppered moths gradually transformed from being predominantly white in color to black. Black moths were camouflaged against the trees, while white moths were easily spotted and eaten.

"As far as I'm concerned, if there is a supreme being then He chose organic evolution as a way of bringing into existence the natural world... which doesn't seem to me to be necessarily blasphemous at all." - David Attenborough, naturalist
For further evidence of evolution, you can also look in the mirror. You have a relatively useless tailbone, because your ancient ancestor had a tail. You grow pointless wisdom teeth, which was once great for grinding delicious plant matter. You also have ear muscles that once allowed you to tilt your ears to be better attuned to threats. They don't do anything now.  

"Today, the theory of evolution is an accepted fact for everyone but a fundamentalist minority, whose objections are based not on reasoning but on doctrinaire adherence to religious principles." - James Watson, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA
More proof comes from looking inside, at our genes, 65% of which we share with organisms that don't even remotely look like us: bacteria, algae, and yeast. It's because we're all composed of the same fundamental materials, belonging to the same unbelievably ancient ancestor.

"Evolution is a fact, not a theory. It really happened." - Carl Sagan, astrophysicist and science educator
Evolution has been around for billions of years. The Theory of Evolution

has been around for a much shorter time, but it's not going anywhere.

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