It’s also MDs who avoid the “E” word. A survey of the literature found an interesting shift in usage:
The results of our survey showed a huge disparity in word use between the evolutionary biology and biomedical research literature. In research reports in journals with primarily evolutionary or genetic content, the word “evolution” was used 65.8% of the time to describe evolutionary processes (range 10%–94%, mode 50%–60%, from a total of 632 phrases referring to evolution). However, in research reports in the biomedical literature, the word “evolution” was used only 2.7% of the time (range 0%–75%, mode 0%–10%, from a total of 292 phrases referring to evolution), a highly significant difference (chi-square, p < 0.001). Indeed, whereas all the articles in the evolutionary genetics journals used the word “evolution,” ten out of 15 of the articles in the biomedical literature failed to do so completely. Instead, 60.0% of the time antimicrobial resistance was described as “emerging,” “spreading,” or “increasing” (range 0%–86%, mode 30%–40%); in contrast, these words were used only 7.5% of the time in the evolutionary literature (range 0%–25%, mode 0%–10%). Other nontechnical words describing the evolutionary process included “develop,” “acquire,” “appear,” “trend,” “become common,” “improve,” and “arise.” Inclusion of technical words relating to evolution (e.g., “selection,” “differential fitness,” “genetic change,” or “adaptation”) did not substantially alter the picture: in evolutionary journals, evolution-related words were used 79.1% of the time that there was an opportunity to use them (range 26%–98%, mode 50%–60%), whereas in biomedical journals they were used only 17.8% of the time (range 0%–92%, mode 0%–10%).
Meanwhile, the woo-woo brigade loves the word, they just mangle the meaning. Check out the
Evolutionary Leaders — it’s a rag-tag band of crackpots led by Deepak Chopra who think evolution is a property of universal consciousness, and who plan “to ignite an evolutionary leap to the next level of human consciousness” by praying/meditating/chanting at it. Or consider the cranks who preach the magical powers of DNA.
Medical science has established that we have 2 strands of DNA and 10 strands of ‘junk’ DNA, but they have not understood the purpose of that ‘junk’” DNA. Recent information has revealed its higher purpose; supporting a multidimensional consciousness, our natural state. Realigning, reconnecting and activating our 10 strands of junk DNA (aka the DNA Recoding or RRA Process) is the process by which we attain that state. When we are multidimensional, our physic abilities are reawakened and we have developed a second neural network at the etheric level. This second neural network is what allows us to live in multiple dimensions at once. We can hear, see and communicate with others in these dimensions.
So we have evolutionary biologists who are unafraid to use the word “evolution” properly; medical biologists who know what it is but avoid using the word; creationists who see it happening but don’t understand it and despise the word; and Chopralites who don’t have a clue and embrace the terminology because it makes them sound sciencey. I think that just about covers all the ways you can use or misuse “evolution”.