"People need to be aware that there is a range of models that could explain the observations. For instance, I can construct you a spherically symmetrical universe with Earth at its center, and you cannot disprove it based on observations. You can only exclude it on philosophical grounds. In my view there is absolutely nothing wrong in that. What I want to bring into the open is the fact that we are using philosophical criteria in choosing our models. A lot of cosmology tries to hide that."
Steven Hawking of course is the so-called "#1 Authority" on Cosmology now. Let's see what he thinks..
What I have done is to show that it is possible for the way the universe began to be determined by the laws of science. In that case, it would not be necessary to appeal to God to decide how the universe began. This doesn't prove that there is no God, only that God is not necessary. [Stephen W. Hawking, Der Spiegel, 1989]
"Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing."
In 2009 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States.. Surprise, Surprise !!