Probably one of the biggest sources of confusion when discussing science with a lay person is today’s constant back and forth about the word “theory”. In my opinion, there has been a concerted effort by some special interest groups to purposely blur the lines between the common usage and the scientific usage. There appears to me to be an attempt to diminish the intellectual authority of scientific research so that others who lack the accreditation can place their opinions on an even keel. I feel that the more this topic is discussed, the more articles that are available to the public, the less prevalent this misunderstanding will be.
Webster’s dictionary defines the word “theory” three different ways.
The second definition is the one used most often by people in everyday discourse. The problem usually occurs when folks try to conflate that definition with the scientific one. Now the first and third ones on the list is close to the one most scientists use, but for a more detailed understanding, I would suggest you go consult the one used by the National Academy of Sciences:
I sincerely hope this helps. Once we can get people to understand this, hopefully they will start to focus more on the evidence that is being presented. Of course it would be great if it causes them to look with more scrutiny at the people who misuse this term when trying to dispute established science.