- I don't think "evolution" is a simple word, or that it has a simple meaning. It is used in very different ways which can be confusing to our typical reader. Our Definitions of evolution article attempts to straighten out this confusion, but doesn't do so very well.
- Certainly as a general term it means any change over time. This website has "evolved", for example, since late last year. But what causes evolution is an often crucial question.
- In the origins debate, "evolution" can mean (1) how life came from inorganic matter via natural causes, (2) how forms of life changed in response to natural forces, or (3) both of these.
- To make matters worse, Old Earth creationists variously say they "believe in evolution" or "disbelieve in evolution" (using two opposite meanings of evolution).
- When they say that they believe in "evolution", they mean that they agree with mainstream geologists and biologists that the earth is billions of years old and that forms of life appeared when and where the fossil record indicates. That is, they agree that new species came into being over 100s of millions of years. On the other hand, they generally disagree with the idea that natural forces (such as mutation) caused these new species to come into being.
- When they say that the disbelieve in "evolution", they likewise mean that they agree with the authenticity and timing of the events mentioned above, and that they reject evolution because they reject the idea of purely natural causation.
- When Evolution proponents say that most Americans "believe in evolution", they are including the 12% to 15% who accept unguided evolution (aka Darwinism or "the theory of evolution"); along with the 40% of Americans who are Old Earth creationsts and who reject unguided evolution.
- (This is a distinction which Wikipedia refuses to allow. I am on probation there, on the trumped up change of "POV pushing", for trying to make the distinction I have outlined above.)
- (Evolution partisans don't want to allow clear distinctions. They want to pretend that people agree with them, so they can force their opinions on others.)
- Eventually, I hope to clarify these points. Perhaps you can help.