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A number of letters to the editor lately have commented on various scientific theories. While I do not claim to be a scientist, in science the word theory has a specific meaning that is different from its popular usage. In science parlance, a theory refers to or means a confirmed explanation of something in nature of some observable, testable phenomenon, supported by peer-reviewed research and the scientific method.
A theory, in science, is not a guess. And it is not a hypothesis, it is based on evidence.
The theory of evolution, for example, is based on considerable research, facts and evidence, subject to vigorous review by people who are well-versed in the subject. Does that mean that everyone qualified to evaluate the research, facts and evidence agrees on everything? Of course not. But a scientific theory is not a wild guess or untested set of suppositions. Is a theory subject to modification based upon new facts and evidence? Yes. Is a scientific theory an untested guess? No.