Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

Patrick H

Stephen Hawking Eliminates God
Physics super-brain Stephen Hawking does not believe in God. Even more importantly, he sees no need for an intelligent force that has made some or all of what is in the universe.


Energy is the power of doing work.  Science finds that energy has to be detectable in principle to be able to do anything.  The idea that God is an energy outside of all that is anti-science.  Why not say that electricity exists instead of God but a spiritual type?  You may as well say that.  That is why supposing a spiritual or non-material realm is antiscience.  It attacks the credibility of science.
Stephen Hawking said there is a way that you can deny that the universe had a beginning. He agrees with the Big Bang theory of the origin of all things but holds that something was there to explode in the first place. He thinks that in the moments before the big bang, time rounded off. He used Einstein's equations to work this out and added in numbers that made the result of the equations verify this (page 77, Is God a Human Invention?). The Christians respond that he admitted that the numbers were imaginary ones so they say his argument doesn't work. They say it does not fit the facts. But the mere fact that the equations show that the universe might not have had a beginning in the sense of being made from nothing proves that there is nothing illogical about saying the universe or whatever it was "before" the big bang always existed.
According to Hawking in 2010 "spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist". He added, "Because there is a law like gravity the Universe can and will create itself from nothing". This information is from his book, The Grand Design.
Christians have downplayed this declaration from one of the greatest minds of all time. They seem to think they know more than he does. How dare they? They are theologians not physicists. Hawking unlike Christian doctors of theology deserves his academic accreditation. Christians steal theirs. For example, they know fine well that a Muslim who becomes a doctor of a theology that denies that Jesus died on the cross should not receive recognition for his learning is not learning. But he does even though the Christian will get that too for completing a course that teaches the opposite! What next? Accredited PhD's in astrology or palmistry? Why not?
You can speculate rationally about how things came to be and what they are. But looking is better. That is what physicists do. Thus we should listen to Hawking before listening to any metaphysician or supernaturalist.
The following is a reply to Christian refutations of Hawking. The relevant refutations can be found in a book by John Lennox called God and Stephen Hawking . The relevant pages of this book will be referred to.
# Believers in God say Hawking was only giving an opinion.
If it is an opinion then why do Hawking's explanations from physics about how things have come into being and why there is something instead of nothing proceed as if there were no God? Atheism runs right through his science in the sense that God is conspicuous by his absence.
Why is there a God rather than no God? Christians answer that God didn't make himself but he just is. He is just there. His existence then is a brute fact (ie it's a fact and we will never understand it any better) and there is no need to say any more.
So all one could say then to why is there something and not nothing could be that whatever exists is just a brute fact and there is no answer.
The Christians say the universe is not a brute fact for it is full of things that don't need to exist. Eg, what is the point of having all those empty galaxies? They think that brute facts need to be the reason for their own existence.
But all things could be the manifestation of a form of energy that is a brute fact and which is able to keep itself in existence. Imagine carbon was a brute fact. Creatures made of carbon could be done without but that does not mean the carbon can be done without.
The only thing that can be a brute fact is some kind of energy - an essence without any intelligence or anything. God cannot be a brute fact. If you can imagine a spirit with intelligence and consciousness you can imagine one without. That would be an essence like God but it would not be God.
There are simpler and more likely explanations for how things have come to be - apart from God.
# They say Hawking believes in the big bang which means he believes that the universe was created.
Lie. The big bang idea says that something exploded and became the universe. It is not a creation out of nothing because nothing cannot explode. Some Christians believe that there was something made from nothing that exploded and became the universe. This is absurd as having a non-existent wife. But at least they deny that the big bang in itself is not the same thing as creation.
# Hawking believes people must choose between God and science because God is only a god of the gaps in science so the more science the less God (page 36).
The God of the gaps is really based on the following kind of stupid thinking. "We cannot explain this. Let us make something up to explain it. Then we won't have to worry about it any more." Its the lazy way out. It leads to complacency. It is about people being interested in pleasing themselves and not in learning and promoting the truth. It makes them deceivers for if the explanation is wrong then it is not the right explanation. An incorrect explanation makes us feel better but is really useless. Fundamentalists always claim to be rational and scientific when in fact they are just inventing explanations. The Fundamentalists suffer more than most from the power of the human mind to protect itself from seeing and believing truths that it fears. For example, the evil person will think he is a good and fair person if he fears seeing how evil he is. The protection inflicts delusion. The evil person for example knows on some level what the truth is and his mind plays tricks to pretend that it does not know it. The more a person wants and takes a crutch the more fake that person is.
The God of the gaps idea is totally wrong. Even if there is a creator it does not follow that it is a personal being or alive or conscious. Thus it could be described as the Infinite but not as God. God means the supreme good being. The Intelligent Designer of the Gaps is preferable to the idea of the God of the Gaps.
God could be a life-force that behaves intelligently but which is not conscious. God doesn't need to be conscious to do what he does.
It is very strange to argue that God has to be conscious in order to make us as conscious beings. Christians say that reason shows that consciousness cannot come out of unconsciousness so consciousness must have been made by a conscious God. But they cannot understand all about consciousness - it is a mystery so they cannot argue as they do. Plus if only a conscious God can make conscious beings then what made unconscious beings - a God without consciousness perhaps?
If consciousness cannot come out of unconsciousness then how can something be caused to come out of nothing? It should be easier for consciousness to come out of unconsciousness than it should be for nothing to be transformed into something. If consciousness cannot come from unconsciousness then something cannot come from nothing.
The Christians might say they do not mean that nothing is transformed into something but that something merely appears or exists where there was nothing. But that is still transforming nothing into something. A change from nothing to something has taken place.
God did not make consciousness from himself according to the doctrine of creation. He only commanded it to exist. He doesn't need to be conscious to do that. It is like saying that a computer cannot look after a plant just because it is not alive.
A God who makes creation from himself is giving better evidence of his existence than a God who makes creation separate from himself. Why? Because we cannot understand how nothing can become something. It is a contradiction to our minds.
We cannot learn much about the potter from the pottery because the two are separate entities and different. If the potter makes things from his own body - say from his hair and nails we will know far more about him.
The difference between creation and God is absolute. If something can come from nothing, then maybe impersonal forces made things come to be. Maybe it was a God who is impersonal. Maybe it it was a good God. Maybe it was a good God who is too different from us to be relevant to us. There is an infinity of possibilities.
Some say that God needs to be conscious to be perfect. But believers in God do not think that a perfect God means that God has to be perfect in every way. He is perfect in all that makes him the kind of being he is. He is perfectly good but he does not need to be the perfect athlete. If he did, he would become man and win all the sports in the world. Thus the creator can be perfect without being personal or conscious. But this creator then would not be the God of Christianity with whom relationships are possible.
The perfect painting is perfect as a painting. It would be a mistake to think it should be perfectly edible as well. Thus a perfect creator need not even be conscious. It can be an impersonal intelligence. Or it can have the power to act perfectly. This power would not require intelligence at all.
Hawking may use God in the popular sense which means creator and only that. If so then he escapes the absurdities. For Hawking then it may be choosing between science and a creator and the more you learn about the universe the less room there is for a creator of any kind.
# They say Hawking rejected philosophy.
This is a lie. Philosophy is in principle if not in practice based on reason and Hawking uses reason to work out his system and mathematics involves thinking and reasoning. Hawking rejected philosophy only in relation to the following questions:
How can we understand the world in which we find ourselves?
How does the universe behave?
What is the nature of reality?
Where did all this come from?
Why do things behave as they do?
Did the universe need a creator?
The Christians want to present Hawking as ignoring reason and philosophy to justify his non-belief in God. But Hawking explained that his problem with philosophy was that it was out of touch with the discoveries of modern science. It was really incorrect and uninformed philosophy he was and is against. He rejects philosophical arguments for God as unnecessary in the light of the discoveries of the laws of physics.
Philosophy is the search for wisdom and the study of wisdom. Wisdom is based on truth. Physics is practically a branch of philosophy that uses logic and experimentation to get at the truth. Physics is a search for wisdom about how all things came to be and how they work. Hawking rejected philosophy for the philosophy of experimentation, mathematics and physics. That's all he did.
Christians think about how things came to exist and conclude that a totally simple being made all things. This being is so simple that he didn't need any being to make him. For them, God is essence that has no components or parts. God is real but is not a material thing or material substance. They offer the analogy of our thoughts. They are real but they are not made up of material things. For example, a thought has no parts. It is quite a leap to assume that our thoughts have no parts! Memories are stored in our brains meaning they feel ghostly to us when we have them but that is just our experience and the way we perceive them. In reality they are not that ghostly.
The believers think they see intelligent design in the universe. So they reason that the simple being who designs must be intelligent. But that is the wrong way to go about it. It is like, "I see a beautiful landscape painting. Somebody painted it for it couldn't have been painted by accident. Somebody also must have designed the landscape in the painting."
A totally simple being cannot be a mind or have one. Unless the believers can explain how a simple being can be a mind they should not argue the way they do. We cannot explain our own minds or how to make them or how they work. We know what they do but we don't fully know what they are. We only understand a bit. We know we are beings made of parts and that indicates that the mind is made of parts too.
Suppose the simple being can be a mind. Suppose there is another simple being that is not a mind. Because they have no parts we will see no difference between them. We can never know if a simple being is or has a mind. If we look into somebody's brain and see nothing there but silver then clearly that person does not have a mind.
God can be a life force but not a conscious being. A God who is really an impersonal mechanical intelligence makes more sense than a God who actually is a mind. Its less complicated. The Christian personal God is not simple.
# Hawking has rejected an incorrect view of God. He doesn't know of the correct view thus his arguments do not refute the Christian God.
They note that Hawking said that there was no need "to invoke God to light the blue torch paper to set the universe going" (page 44). Christians say God did more than that and actually creates the universe anew every moment of time to keep it in constant existence. But they say he did start the universe. And Hawking only said that there was no need for a God to start it meaning there is no need for a God to keep the universe in being either. The Christians are exaggerating and distorting things to suit themselves.
Hawking never propounded a wrong idea of God. Even if he did, he got the doctrine that God creates out of nothing right. And it is that very basic doctrine he rejects as absurd and incorrect. Hawking's understanding of God is actually beside the point. What matters is his understanding that creation means something being made out of nothing. Christians and their damn red herrings!
# They say that Hawking is contradicting himself for he once wrote of a theory of everything that clues us into the "mind of God."
But he never defined what he meant by God. For many Pantheists and for Einstein, nature was God. Being was God. They thought of God at most as an impersonal mind or intelligence. Hawking could be following that thinking. It is very devious of Christians to make the uninformed think that the mind of God refers to the Christian concept and version of God.
# Hawking says there was a law of gravity so he is showing despite himself that God exists for only law makers make laws and if there is a law of gravity then there is a God to make that law.
Christians themselves believe that there are laws in eternity that God did not make. As God did not make himself it follows that he did not create the law that God exists and cannot go out of existence. Eternity is timelessness. Both atheists and believers have to concede that there are eternal laws which means that laws do not necessarily imply a lawgiver or lawmaker. If a lawmaker cannot be a lawmaker unless laws allow him to be. But who made those laws? And who is the lawmaker of these laws? And who is the lawmaker that set up the laws that allow him to make laws? It goes on and on ad infinitum. If there is no lawmaker or God, and suppose there is nothing at all. It follows that the law that a non-existent man cannot become an accountant is still true. It is still law.
And atheists and believers have to concede that the answer to, "Why these laws and not others?" at least with regard to some laws is simply that they are just there and that is that.
Christians say there is no intellectual problem with the idea of an entity that has never had a cause. It's just there. They say that God, and only God, is this being. It follows then that if there is a God you could speak of a law that there is to be a God. God didn't make that law for he didn't make himself. You can't make yourself for you need to exist before yourself to make yourself.
No matter what you do, you cannot avoid the idea that there are laws that are independent of God. For example, if there was nothing at all, it would be law that nothing exists.
Laws do not imply that there needs to be a maker of those laws. Laws are not necessarily rules set up by anyone. We use the word law to describe the way things are. It is a metaphor we use to describe what happens with regularity. If rain fails regularly in October and in no other month we use the figure of speech that it is law that it happens in October. Instead of law, physicists should use the term "observed regularity".
Even if nothing at all existed, it would be law that 1 apple and 1 apple make 2 apples. Such law does not need to be made. It just is. There doesn't have to be an agent to make it. Law does not do anything. It just is. It is not an agent. That is the reply to Christians who claim that atheists are saying that laws make all things and if they do then there must be a God to make the laws!
Lennox argues that if laws of gravity made all things then there must have been someone to make the laws. A computer is able to make laws. If a man designs a computer and it does things he never intended then the computer is making these laws not him. The view that there must be a person to make laws is nonsense.
# Are the "laws" of nature actually something? Perhaps they are deductive principles put together. Maybe they are descriptions of what to expect rather than things. The laws have no objective existence. Hawking then is mad to suggest that laws that aren't real but just a figure of speech can create.
By stating that the law of gravity made all things, Hawking meant that gravity made all things. That's all. It would have been clearer had he written that because gravity is a brute fact, it leads to the conditions for the universe to appear from nothing. Better to do that than to talk in terms of laws. The problem is with the wording used not the meaning.
# Hawking says that the universe seems to be fine-tuned and designed. He states that this "design" is entirely natural and there is no need to surmise that there must be a designer God because there is an infinity of universes. This view says that there are so many universes that by pure chance one would appear designed though it is not. This is the concept of the multiverse.
The multiverse cannot be verified. Physics can only show that it is possibly true. The theory of the multiverse states that there are 10500 universes which explains seeming design in this universe. This is based on the notion that if there are enough universes chances are one will come out all organised but just by chance. The theory makes out that the seeming design we see is a coincidence.
Christians say that instead of developing the multiverse theory it is better to suppose that there is a designer God who made this universe and there is no need to assume that any other universe exists. They think the multiverse is too complicated and its better to stick to simpler theories. But this ignores the fact that nobody can prove it is really possible for the supernatural to exist. In other words, nobody can prove it is possible for the God with magic powers to exist. God cannot be proven to be coherent. The multiverse theory makes sense logically and mathematically. Choose the theory with the less magic in it.


Max Tegmark author of Our Mathematical Universe:My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality Tegmark, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2014) says that the multiverse model solves some terrible problems in the Big Bang Theory and helps science predict phenomena. For him, the number of events is countless so it stands to reason that unlikely things have to happen sometime. The sheer luck that leads to you and be being here and alive proves that! For him, the you that exists in another universe is not you but just a person very like you. Thus the idea that there may be several mes may be wrong. But not all thinkers suppose that it is wrong. The objection is that the usefulness of the multiverse cannot beat verification and testing. True but that is problem not an objection.  It seems the multiverse model contradicts probability for it means in the parallel universe by pure chance the history played out exactly is it did here but there may have only been a minor difference that does not even register Perhaps a grain of sand a millimeter away from where it is in ours.
The Christians say the multiverse does not rule out the possibility that there is a God (page 49, God and Stephen Hawking).  It does not rule out there being a tooth fairy either.  It is a theory about how randomness works - it is not related to God at all.
# M-theory is neither refutable or irrefutable because it is not testable (page 53). Irrefutability is a vice. Many stances and beliefs are irrefutable even though they disagree with one another. This does them no good whatsoever because they can't all be true. It is better to believe that God made the universe than to believe that m-theory explains how the universe came to exist without God. God is irrefutable so why not believe? Hawking needs to realise that believers in God are rational because God has never been refuted.
But M-theory is understandable, God is not. There is no mathematician who can explain the maths of God. Religion describes God as incomprehensible. Without being able to prove that a spirit can be a mind, religionists simply assume that God is a mind. And they have the nerve to call that philosophy and reason.
It is not true that God is irrefutable.
People think they are rational when they believe something just because it is irrefutable. The first problem is that just because something cannot be disproven that does not mean it is sensible to believe it. Evidence should be presented. Only that justifies belief.
Irrefutability is only good when the thing that cannot be refuted is the truth. Otherwise it is dangerous. Irrefutability does not help you when you have several statements and all of them are believable but only one of them is the truth. It is not truth's friend then.
Irrefutability makes it harder to get at the truth. If something is refutable then you know its not the truth.
Irrefutability is a vice because it robs people of the respect due to them. People have a right to the truth.
Irrefutability is a vice because it leads people astray logically and misleads them in matters of truth. People who have false dangerous beliefs are content when the beliefs are irrefutable and that is a harmful attitude to have.
Irrefutability is bad generally. But it is made worse by positing a belief in God. That is to say, to have irrefutable supernatural beliefs is worse than to have irrefutable natural beliefs. Why? You may say it is irrefutable that such and such was Jack the Ripper. But that points the finger of suspicion at many innocent men. That is awful and hideous enough. But if you start introducing the agency of the supernatural it gets worse. Suppose Ripper suspect Kosminski was too insane to have attacked the women. Perhaps he was a screaming lunatic. That should eliminate him as a suspect for the Ripper worked quietly. Then maybe some psychic ability calmed him down enough for him to go and commit the crimes. Thus a person that could be eliminated from suspicion is not eliminated. All the while we get further from the truth and more people are made suspects.
Belief in the supernatural worsens the vice of irrefutability. For example, say there are only two suspects for a murder. Say the role of neither of them can be refuted. This irrefutability is bad for it does not defend the innocent person and in addition does not demonstrate the guilt of the murderer. That is all terrible enough. But if you decide that the devil might have committed the murder or some witch did it at a distance with occult powers that makes it worse. Such suggestions are wicked. But if they are beliefs and not suggestions again the evil is multiplied. The believer in miracles is not a good person even if they intend to be good. Is a bad doctor who means well a good doctor? No.
If God exists, then God asks us to make him the centre of our lives and hearts and to make him our only real concern. Thus God should be the most irrefutable idea ever. But it is not ...
God not being irrefutable enough indicates that there is no God. No indicates isn't the right word. The right word is proves. God not being irrefutable enough proves that there is no God.
Hawking stated that the M theory model is a good one because it is elegant, has few arbitrary or adjustable elements, it is not contradicted by anything we know or observe, it helps us make predictions and if they come true they will help show the theory to be correct (page 56, God and Stephen Hawking). What more then should we ask for? You cannot make predictions based on the God concept. For example, people pray for things and do not get what they asked for. Trying to make predictions is even described as the sin of putting God to the test. God then cannot ever be a scientific theory. Yet the idea of God poses as one so it cheats us.
# Hawking says the reason there is something rather than nothing is because there is something. That is not an answer.
What he meant was that the reason there is something rather than nothing is because there is something that came about by spontaneous creation.
If you are asked why is there something rather than nothing and you reply, "Because there is!" then are you trying to pass off a non-answer as an answer? Not necessarily. To answer, that way is to indicate that, "I don't know and all that I can say is that there is something." That is far from dishonest. Indeed it is laudable.
What about the idea that God can use spontaneous creation to produce the universe?
If God uses this method to make all things then it is clear then that creation does not prove the existence of God. Creation being spontaneous means that whether God is involved or not God is not necessary.
If we say that nothing happens spontaneously or by chance then we are saying that all things are controlled by fate or destiny. If that is true, then why bother gambling? Why speak of taking chances? Or risks? We wouldn't enjoy life if we didn't believe that the forces of chance existed. If we believe in God then we have to want to believe in a God who refuses to control everything - a God who lets things happen randomly. He makes the powers that cause things to happen by chance. If God can do that then creation can be random and spontaneous too.
A God that can't set up things to run by themselves is not perfect. Reason says things can be left to chance. If God is unable to set this up then he is not all-powerful. It would mean we don't really have free will for free will implies the power to be independent of God if one so chooses.
To teach the concept of God when it undermines free will is far more serious than to deny free will on the basis that there is no evidence for it like Hawking would. Its a stronger denial. It shows that Hawking's views are a bit more palatable for the general public than the religious views.
If creation is spontaneous it might be caused by God or not. A God who sets up spontaneous creation is a God who hides himself. It would mean we can never tell from creation if he exists or not. It cannot count as evidence for God.
# Hawking stated that we have no direct perception of anything in the universe.
The book God and Stephen Hawking states that when we look at a tree we see an image of it fed to our brains. Our senses do not give us direct perception or knowledge (page 61). It says we use memory and reason in addition to the sense perceptions to be able to tell that what we sense is there. What the book does not tell us is that if miracles happen and if God exists then the supernatural exists then all this is undermined.
Suppose you see a tree. If we accept that nature will not change we can assume that the tree we see is not a vision or a miracle image but is there. But once we start thinking nature can be overridden by the supernatural we feel less sure and mentally become less sure.
Belief in the supernatural increases our scepticism. It is a pity we have to have a level of scepticism at all - and so to embrace belief in the supernatural turns it from a pity into a disgrace.
# Page 65 speaks of the subjective element in science and states that the independent observer who is free from all prejudices and preconceived ideas does not exist.
So whatever we believe, that belief is not based solely on evidence. We believe and accept things partly because we are biased and want them to be true. It follows then that to believe that a good God inflicts suffering on people is evil. The more better off you are the worse it is. The belief merits revulsion.
# Hawking would say that M theory made gravity and gravity made the universe out of nothing but we know a theory cannot make anything!
The religionists are just making a caricature of Hawking. Believers in the theory of evolution do not believe that the theory made life progress as it has but that the theory describes the process. Hawking is not saying that M theory makes anything. What he is saying that M theory describes how things can come to be. He is not saying its proven but that it is a possible and or believable model.
Page 43 mentions with approval the point made by Wittgenstein when he said that it is wrong to hold than the laws of nature explain the world and the universe to us when all they do is to describe the regularity and structure of the world and universe. For example, to say that the sun rises in the east is to describe something that happens regularly. Nobody can explain exactly how it happens because nobody can understand even a small grain of sand. You can't know how to make it from nothing or exactly what it is. Again, Lennox wants to refute Hawking for allegedly teaching that laws make things. We have dealt with that accusation and exposed it for the falsehood it is.
# Hawking is saying that the universe was made from nothing and he contradicts this by saying that it came out of gravity.
He is saying that the universe and gravity are two separate things and gravity made the universe from nothing. Christians say that God made the universe and it is separate from him. If so why can't gravity do the same?
# Hawking rejects free will. Thus he declares himself to be a machine. So why should we believe in his book if it is the product of a machine?
What is wrong with the idea that our beliefs about the world and ourselves work and who cares what mechanism causes them? Free will does not necessarily mean we will be able to learn about the universe. People seem to think that if you don't have free will then you are a machine and your learning is a delusion for what you think you know comes from programming. But even if you have free will your intellect could still be programmed. Why? Because the faculty of free will uses the intellect but is a distinct power. So the doctrine of free will makes no improvement.
If you have free will but if you can't feel hot or cold then you will never learn about them. See the point? Our knowledge doesn't mean that we need free will to have knowledge.
We refuse then to care how we get our knowledge and settle for saying we have it and that is all there is to it. Christianity opposes this view because it implies that we have it independent of God. It implies that God is not God for us for we are independent of God and indeed need to be. Atheism is the true upholder of human dignity.
# Hawking says miracles don't happen yet he believes in the multiverse theory which alleges that there are universe in which anything can happen including water transmuting into wine (page 92, 93).
He does not. There could be another universe just slightly different from this one. Perhaps there is an infinitesimally small difference in time and neither universe can be told apart. The multiverse idea does not require that we think there is such a thing as a universe where water can turn into wine.
# Hawking needs to be reminded that as a scientist, he should neither affirm the existence of God or deny it. This is because science cannot show if God exists or not.
This is really saying that science can do without belief in God! It would be an admission that there is no evidence for God. Most atheists would be happy enough with that! The rule is really saying, "Science must not disprove the likelihood of the existence of God." Science has proven that suffering exists. If suffering contradicts the existence of a good God then science has disproved God. It is unscientific to declare certain ideas too sacred for examination. It is also saying, "Science must not prove the existence of God or that it is likely that he does exist." That is not a scientific attitude either.



Stephen Hawking met Pope John Paul II at Vatican cosmology conference in 1981.  Hawking tells us some interesting things about this intercourse: "He [the pope] told us that it was all right to study the evolution of the universe after the big bang, but we should not inquire into the big bang itself because that was the moment of Creation  and therefore the work of God. I was glad then that he did not know the subject of the talk I had just given at the conference - the possibility that space-time was finite but had no boundary, which means that it had no beginning, no moment of Creation. I had no desire to share the fate of Galileo, with whom I feel a strong sense of identity, partly because of the coincidence of having been born exactly 300 years after his death!" Brief History of Time (page 116).

The Pope was trying to engage in damage limitation for Hawking was clear that there was no big bang at all and thus the universe is just a brute fact meaning not only was a God not needed to explain it but is an “is”.  For religion the “is” is God alone.  So it is both a dismissal of the need for a God and a refutation of God.

And it should be.

Hawking's logic is impeccable! Science does not need the God hypothesis. God by definition is that which is so perfect that anybody that doesn't have him is deprived. If there is no evidence for God, or if the evidence isn't good enough, then God cannot exist for the notion of a good God who makes us but who does not make us need him is contradictory.
NOTE: Christians are so anxious to promote the idea of God because it empowers them. When you obey God, you objectively really obey the Christians you consider authoritative. That is because it is they you have to go to to learn the supposed will of God. To obey the manager is not the same as obeying the boss. It may be thought that you mean to subjectively obey God and not those who reign in his place though you do obey them. But when we consider the fact that we always deceive ourselves when we think we are completely objective then we do mean to serve the men of God rather than God. The extent differs from person to person.
Books Consulted
Is God a Human Invention? And Seventeen Other Questions Raised by the New Atheists, Sean McDowell and Jonathan Morrow, Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2010
God and Stephen Hawking, Whose Design is it Anyway? John C Lennox, Lion, Oxford, 2010