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Oxford dictionary

From: 
I. W.
Question: 

I have just googled evolution and in the explanation it stated- organisms are believed to have developed, also it says- the theory of gradual evolution. I thought that evolution is now considered fact.
The words believed and theory to me seem to suggest that offically there is still some doubt or am I just being too perdantic.
Is the Oxford dictionary beyond reproach? Or just needs an update?
I presume that the Oxford dictioary is based on fact or am I mistaken.

Response: 

Evolution is certainly accepted as fact by the scientific community, but there is still much doubt among laypeople.  In America, almost 50% of the population believes the Earth is only 6,000 years old, for example.  If I had to guess, that is why the Oxford dictionary phrased it the way they did.  That, or the author of that particular definition had a personal bias.

The dictionary.com definition does not use that kind of language: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/evolution?s=t
Also, the American Heritage dictionary provides a more assertive definition: http://science.yourdictionary.com/evolution

Remember: dictionaries do not establish what words mean.  They only document how words are being used.  So I wouldn't take it as the authoritative source for scientific definitions, but rather a guide to point you in the right direction.  Also, remember that word choices like "believed" doesn't necessarily imply doubt.  That's just how the author chose to phrase it ;)

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