So … is evolution really true or not? Has it been proved? Most scientists say it has been proved beyond doubt and should no longer be called a theory. Creationists say there is not a shred of evidence evolution has occurred. The problem is that the same word, "evolution", is being used to mean two vastly different things.
The adaptation of populations through natural selection is well-proven. It is a fact. This is what textbooks and popular shows typically regard as synonymous with "evolution", but this phenomenon is better labeled "variation within a kind" or "adaptation". It is frequently called "micro-evolution", but this is a misnomer. Common "examples of evolution" (like Darwin's finches) fall into this category. "Speciation", the formation of non-interbreeding sub-populations, or new "species", sometimes results. However, CHANGE AT THE SPECIES LEVEL IS UNIMPORTANT in the big picture, as NO INCREASE IN COMPLEXITY (no upward evolution) is taking place.
Change beyond the species level is also popularly termed "evolution" (as well as the formation of the structures of the universe and the first life). Above species-level changes (that exhibit an increase in complexity) are better labeled "macro-evolution". Evolutionists acknowledge that macro-evolution is still a theory (actually more like a concept) without proof, requiring further research. It is still a question whether macro-evolution uses the same mechanisms as micro-evolution (mutation and natural selection), or something else. Macro-evolution has never been observed.
Understanding the difference between micro and macro-evolution is key to understanding a big part of the creation/evolution controversy. The other key is to realize that the controversy is less about scientific fact than about promotion of a theistic versus atheistic world view.