I don’t really know what to think of this. Hawking talks about the universe in pure incoherent terms. The explanations he uses are usually the kinds of things you take as axiomatic in sci-fi novels as the authors way of setting up a background for a complex world.
It also reads a bit like a fanatical espousing; a dubious theory called M-Theory is put forward as being the ‘only possible’ candidate for a universal theory explaining the whole of the workings of the universe in one go.
Newtons laws are only capable of explaining reality within a certain frame. and as object get smaller and we move to the atomic level, Newtons laws crash and are replaced with what we call quantum physics. After this introduction we are taken into what are possibly groundbreaking versions of the universe that are implicated by the presence of this weirdness that perpetuates the quantum world.
Without really explaining exactly how, Hawking suddenly takes us from the somewhat understandable conclusions reached by the latest science in quantum physics through a gamut of assumptions and propositions and ‘ideas’ to the conclusion that the universe can create itself.
Plainly unconvincing and driven with ifs, even Hawking’s perceptions of God and religion seem to me to be based on some early Christian idea of it. He triumphantly exposes some of the weaknesses of the Catholic church’s version of astronomy. Somewhat akin to Galileo propounding Copernicus and sticking it to the face of the Church. He is like a physicist of the renaissance, still sticking it ti the church in a time where even the church knows that only some of what it says is probably correct.
The good: he explores creation and brings forth a powerful theory that can possibly shed light on how (and in the methodology how) it all came about. Unfortunately, by repeatedly bringing in God to the equation and by unconvincingly trying to tell his readers that he does not ‘need’ to exist, Hawking succeeds only in undermining and distorting his message.