I’m not going to clutter this up talking. I’m just going to add statements from the major scientific organizations. They pretty much all declare that evolution is a fact.
I would like to add for you creationists. You should read the source links. These statements universally have a section that condemns creationism and intelligent design as scientifically indefensible. Those statements are even more damning of it as a scientific idea than what I’m including is supportive of evolution.
Contrary to what you guys often claim, there is no controversy in science. There isn’t a single peer reviewed paper against the big idea nor is there any large group of actual researchers out there who oppose evolution. It is the strongest consensus of anything I know of in the scientific community.
Note: I’ll add to this list over time. I’m sure I’ll run into more.
The National Academy of Science – For those who don’t know, this is a group consisting of the top research scientists in the US as chosen by their peers
The theory of evolution explains how life on Earth has changed. In scientific terms, “theory” does not mean “guess” or “hunch” as it does in everyday usage. Scientific theories are explanations of natural phenomena built up logically from testable observations and hypotheses. Biological evolution is the best scientific explanation we have for the enormous range of observations about the living world.
Scientists most often use the word “fact” to describe an observation. But scientists can also use fact to mean something that has been tested or observed so many times that there is no longer a compelling reason to keep testing or looking for examples. The occurrence of evolution in this sense is a fact. Scientists no longer question whether descent with modification occurred because the evidence supporting the idea is so strong.
Side note: If you read the sources below, many of them refer back to this publication incorporating it into their position.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science,
Is evolution “just a theory?”
In detective novels, a “theory” is little more than an educated guess, often based on a few circumstantial facts. In science, the word “theory” means much more. A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment. Such fact-supported theories are not “guesses” but reliable accounts of the real world. The theory of biological evolution is more than “just a theory.” It is as factual an explanation of the universe as the atomic theory of matter or the germ theory of disease. Our understanding of gravity is still a work in progress. But the phenomenon of gravity, like evolution, is an accepted fact.
Is there “evidence against” contemporary evolutionary theory?
No. There are still many puzzles in biology about the particular pathways of the evolutionary process and how various species are related to one another. However, these puzzles neither invalidate nor challenge Darwin’s basic theory of “descent with modification” nor the theory’s present form that incorporates and is supported by the genetic sciences. Contemporary evolutionary theory provides the conceptual framework in which these puzzles can be addressed and points toward ways to solve them.
Is there a growing body of scientists who doubt that evolution happened?
No. The consensus among scientists in many fields, and especially those who study the subject, is that contemporary evolutionary theory provides a robust, well-tested explanation for the history of life on earth and for the similarity within the diversity of existing organisms. Very few scientists doubt that evolution happened, although there is lively ongoing inquiry about the details of how it happened. Of the few scientists who criticize contemporary evolutionary theory, most do no research in the field, and so their opinions have little significance for scientists who do.
Source: AAAS Evolution Resources
American Institute of Biological Sciences
The theory of evolution is the only scientifically defensible explanation for the origin of life and development of species. A theory in science, such as the atomic theory in chemistry and the Newtonian and relativity theories in physics, is not a speculative hypothesis, but a coherent body of explanatory statements supported by evidence. The theory of evolution has this status. The body of knowledge that supports the theory of evolution is ever growing: fossils continue to be discovered that fill gaps in the evolutionary tree and recent DNA sequence data provide evidence that all living organisms are related to each other and to extinct species. These data, consistent with evolution, imply a common chemical and biological heritage for all living organisms and allow scientists to map branch points in the evolutionary tree.
Botanical Society of America
Evolution represents one of the broadest, most inclusive theories used in pursuit of and in teaching this knowledge, but it is by no means the only theory involved. Scientific theories are used in two ways: to explain what we know, and to pursue new knowledge. Evolution explains observations of shared characteristics (the result of common ancestry and descent with modification) and adaptations (the result of natural selection acting to maximize reproductive success), as well as explaining pollen:ovule ratios, weeds, deceptive pollination strategies, differences in sexual expression, dioecy, and a myriad of other biological phenomena. Far from being merely a speculative notion, as implied when someone says, “evolution is just a theory,” the core concepts of evolution are well documented and well confirmed. Natural selection has been repeatedly demonstrated in both field and laboratory, and descent with modification is so well documented that scientists are justified in saying that evolution is true.
Genetics Society of America
As evolution is the only scientific theory to explain the biological history of life and as the GSA supports the education of students in genetics, the GSA hereby endorses the teaching of the facts and theory of evolution at all levels, including in elementary and secondary schools.
American Chemical Society
The American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society, is reiterating its call for evolution to be included in the K-12 science curricula at an “age-appropriate level,” because it is “central to our modern understanding of science.”
“Evolution is a well-established, central scientific concept,” said William F. Carroll, Jr., Ph.D., ACS president. “In the proper context, students should be exposed to a wide diversity of ideas to help them shape their own opinions. But they should get a solid understanding of science from their science teachers through a full and robust scientific curriculum. Evolution is the proven scientific model that we should be teaching in the science classroom.”
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Proponents for non-scientific accounts of the development of life, including creationism and intelligent design, contend that evolution alone should not be taught in science classes. Arguing that evolution is “just a theory,” rather than a fact, they insist that intelligent design should be offered as an alternative to evolution or given “equal time”, and that schools should “teach the controversy” surrounding evolutionary theory.
FASEB does not support these views. We also affirm that these positions seriously undermine science education. In science, a theory is a coherent explanation of natural phenomena based on direct observation or experimentation.
Theories are logical, predictive, and testable. They are open to criticism and when shown to be false, they are modified or dismissed. Using this definition, evolution is categorized with other scientific theories such as gravity or atomic theory, which, like evolution, are universally accepted among scientists.
Source: Evolution Statement