Evolution is a process that turns simple organisms into advanced, complex organisms over long periods of time.
This is one of the most glaring misconceptions of our day, and unlike many of the smaller misconceptions, evolution has caused a lot of strife in society in the past and today. Families have clashed, friends have argued, and entire towns have been torn apart on the basis of religion because of the misconception surrounding evolution.
I asked 30 students in the high-school biology class at Spectrum Academy where science teaches us that humans came from, and 26 of the 30 students answered that science says we evolved from monkeys, as depicted in the picture below.

A common picture representing the traditional view of "evolution". This illustrates the misconception that evolution is progressive, that is to say that evolution always leads to more complex and advanced species.

The misconception surrounding evolution began almost immediately when Darwin published his book On the Origin of Species. Many of the major Christian religions had problems with the proposed theory of Darwin, and immediately began denouncing it as false. One of their major problems with the theory was that it shattered the centuries old belief that an all-powerful God created man is his own image. While in reality the theory of natural selection does contradict this, the way in which religion interpreted evolution was false, and created the misconception surrounding evolution that exists today.

In reality, "evolution" is not a good term to use; the correct name is natural selection. Even Charles Darwin did not like the term "evolution" for his theory, because he felt that it would give the wrong message, that it implied a progressive type of change in species, which is not always what happens. The picture above is a terrible representation of evolution, because monkeys did not change into humans over millions of years. What natural selection tells us is that monkeys and humans share a common ancestor.
Natural selection is based on three things:
1-Organisms produce more offspring than can survive
2-Each of the offspring has different traits that can be passed down to the next generation through genes.
3-The offspring that have traits that best suit the environment are most likely to survive and reproduce, thus passing those particular genes to the next generation.
The process of natural selection does not always work in a progressive manner, meaning that the more "advanced" organism isn't always the most evolved. A great example of this is the comparison of different fish in a section of the amazon river. In the areas of the river closer to the ocean, there are amazingly colored, large fish with the ability to secrete chemicals into the water that can immobilize insects in the water and allow for an easy meal.
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In another section of the river, there are small, muddy brown, altogether extraordinary fish.
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Many people would say that the more colorful fish are the more advanced and evolved, however the smaller fish is just as "evolved" as the colorful one. A closer study shows that the reason that the smaller fish are brown and murky is because in that area of the river, there are predators that do not live in the area of the river with the colored fish, and that the predators can't see the little fish hidden in the mud on the bottom of the river because they blend in so well. Thus, both species have gone through the process of natural selection, but the different environments made it so that both species "evolved" to meet their environmental needs.