God, Evolution, and Morality

During a dinner with some friends recently, a woman asked me if I believed in God. Since we were all a bit buzzed, I dodged the question as best I could. But she seemed quite surprised that my answer was basically “no”.
I used to spend a great deal of time on religious activities, discussions, and the like. But at heart I’m a pragmatist, and I eventually realized that I didn’t believe what most Christians believe. Specifically, I don’t believe that there is a supernatural force which intervenes in the affairs of the universe. While I’m not ruling out something along the lines of deism, I don’t really consider the question to be of great import.
I’m not sure I can fully explain why, but let me take a shot by examining another question. Namely, “Is evolution true?” People in fundamentalist Christian religions can spend all night arguing the fine points of evolution science because many of them believe it fundamentally undermines the basis for morality. The extremely simplified version of their argument is “If evolution is true, we’re nothing be animals, and morality loses all importance.” (I know this is vastly [over]simplified. Please don’t send me email about evolution and how to fix my straw man argument.) I view these conversations with disinterest for one reason: If evolution were unequivocally proven true or false tomorrow, either way, I would not live my life differently.
This is the essentially pragmatic part of me, I guess. I don’t understand how people can waste hours and hours debating something that has no impact on their lives. So like I said above, please don’t send me emails talking about evolution. It’s not that I’m such a pig headed, die hard evolutionist that you’d never change my mind. It’s that I really don’t give a shit about it. The theory of evolution is valuable for the same reason as any other scientific theory: predictive power. So for those who use evolution in their work or life to make predictions and get stuff done (like, say, genetic engineers), I’m sure they care. I don’t use evolution for any routine purpose, so I don’t.
So, getting back to the original point: God. After a reasonable period of observation during my life, I’ve not seen evidence that belief in God provides the ability to predict anything. Or, put another way, I have not seen that life is better explained by the “hand of God” than by the “hand of science”. Before you send me comments about “science can’t explain everything. we don’t know how to explain [fill in the blank]”; stop. The point is not that science can explain everything. The point is that science is better at predicting, and is thus a more reliable source of information for making decisions.
So, where does this leave me with morality? Well, I don’t believe God is necessary for morality. But I don’t have an off-the-cuff moral theory available. So maybe I’ll work on that here.
Let’s start with “Mutual respect is the foundation for moral behavior” and see where that takes me. But more will have to wait until after I’ve had some sleep.

Don’t Just Do Something…

Don’t Just Do Something… Sit There!
That aphorism goes a long way towards explaining the problems with our current project at work. Schedule slips, lack of communication, and midstream course changes have all boiled down to people feeling the pressure to do something instead of think things through.
It boggles my mind that a project to engineer a technical solution is being completed with so little focus on documentation and process. An outsider might (correctly) conclude that the majority of the work is being performed by operations people, instead of engineering people.