American media have tended to uncritical worship before Stephen Hawking and his new tome, a rebuke of The Grand Design. The Wall Street Journal has had three articles on it, one by Hawking.
On CNN, Larry King was like a flustered peasant bowing before an oracle: he reads a question, the oracle speaks, he reads the next question...
The English themselves are not in such awe. There has been a small parade of dismissive reviews, including some by bored scientists who found nothing new in Hawking's argument that natural laws are sufficient to explain the universe. In The Daily Mail, Oxford mathematician John Lennox writes, "(T)he beauty of the scientific laws only reinforces my faith in an intelligent, divine creative force at work. The more I understand science, the more I believe in God because of my wonder at the breadth, sophistication and integrity of his creation.
"The very reason science flourished so vigorously in the 16th and 17th centuries was precisely because of the belief that the laws of nature which were then being discovered and defined reflected the influence of a divine law-giver."
Among the eyes-open reviews is that of The Economist.
"Despite much talk of the universe appearing to be 'fine-tuned' for human existence, the authors do not in fact think that it was in any sense designed. And once more we are told that we are on the brink of understanding everything.
"The authors may be in this enviable state of enlightenment, but most readers will not have a clue what they are on about."
Their claims, says The Economist, are only "another tease".