Stephen...I think you got some 'splainin' to do
Despite the media pomp and praise for him over the years, Stephen Hawking refused to contemplate anything that could not be described by conventional physical laws. He refused to think about the conditions that preceded the Big Bang, and he refused to contemplate conditions beyond a Black Hole's singularity.
Hawking had a closed, finite understanding of the universe: If he couldn't explain it, it didn't exist. In other words, he couldn't and wouldn't think outside the box. Which made him peculiarly narrow-minded.
There are a dozen other theoretical physicists in the world today who are not only FAR more intelligent than Stephen Hawking, but they have PROVEN him WRONG on about 50% of his theories over the decades. Which is a fact that Hawking hated bitterly.
While Hawking only occasionally hinted that he thought of himself as a genius, he was very well known for not admitting when he was wrong (which was about half the time) and for mocking and deriding those who dared to prove him wrong and DID prove him wrong. Which made him quite petty, as well.
In the end, suffice to say that Stephen Hawking became a media darling for over 40 years because, quite simply, he was an atheist oyster in a high-tech wheelchair with a built-in synthetic voice, a poster child for the empowerment of the weakest of the weak.
Indeed, Hawking's adoring (if equally petty) fan base never cheered him more than when he was mocking and deriding spirituality...that transcendent human quality he could never comprehend and never explain because he just wouldn't open his mind and step out of the box.
-- Zesko Whirligan