Evolution often gets accused of being "just a theory" because of the confusion between casual and scientific uses of theory. Everyday theories are hunches and are often muttered with tongue-in-cheek to mock the likes of Sherlock Holmes. On the contrary, a scientific theory is no harebrained scheme. It is a logically self-consistent model or framework for describing the behavior of a certain natural phenomenon supported by strong experimental evidence. It is a systematic and formalized expression of all previous observations made. It is predictive, testable, and has not been falsified. Although, just like any idea in science, it is open to falsification. When bolstered with enough evidence, scientific theories, like evolution, are considered facts.
The standard expression that one "believes in evolution" is an unfortunate consequence of the shortcomings of the English language. It sets up an antagonistic dichotomy between evolution and religion, implying that evolution is something to believe in as opposed to believing in a deity. No one says that they believe in gravity or electricity, and evolution should be treated accordingly. --
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