My academic education effectively ended at the sixth grade. I had learned how to read and write by then, and I’ve been forever grateful for that education, but beyond that I had no academic education.
However, my sixth grade teacher convinced me to study evolution, and the year was 1950, the start of the accumulation of almost all the information we have today. At the start of that year, we didn’t know much more about the concept of evolution than we had known in 1900.
Throughout the 1930’s fossils had been dug from the most prolific mountains of geologic time that exist on earth. The fossils were diligently sent back from Patagonia to be cataloged and preserved for study.
Then WWII came about. Everything was put to rest until after. After became 1950 with the first reports.
For at least ten years information flowed almost daily, reported on by all of the newspapers and magazines, and I drank it all in. They reported that there was a surge of evolution around 350-400 MYA that lasted around 50 MY and called it the Cambrian explosion; they followed it to report on a period of 100MY or more with no noticeable evolution, then some 40 million years of evolution called the Permian die-off, then continued on with another long period with no noticeable evolution, followed by a dramatic evolutionary period of some 30 MY that they called the K/T boundary disaster, after which no worldwide evolutionary activity.
Discoveries continued on, with news that earth’s climate had gone from harshness to reasonably comfortable some 20-40 MY before the Cambrian explosion, that some sort of geologic incident happened 260 MYA that made the lowest reaches of the sea unlivable, forcing each group in the ocean to move up one layer, with the top layer going onto land to create land animals, and that an object from outer space crashed into earth 65 MYA. Those led me to my understanding that evolution is a periodic force driven by changes in the environment. By 1980 I felt secure in my understanding, ending my search, though still interested in information, all of which so far has agreed with that understanding.
In 1999 I discovered that the field of evolutionary biology maintained that evolution was the result of mistakes generated by the mother when transferring DNA to her progeny that happened to be beneficial, thus creating a progeny more fit to survive and procreate. It was held to be completely undirected and to have no relationship to environment or any other outside influence.
Having discovered that, I had to find out why. This led to my discovery of the materialist faith-based belief system, and my realization that I actually had a science-based belief system, secular spirituality.