"Never mind the niceties of string theory and its implications for physics. What really got everybody aflutter was [Hawking's] contention that the Big Bang is an inevitable consequence of the laws of physics, so that 'it is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper.' The jury is still out on whether current theories really are enough to explain the origins of the universe. And the scientific method, with its laborious procedures and peer review, ensures we won't know for certain in the foreseeable future. But the proposition elicited an immediate if predictable response from another quarter."