In an interview with The Guardian (a U.K. newspaper)
It's one thing to reject a belief in God (or a god), which is something you have not always done, but quite another to resort to childish ridicule over those who do have faith in God (or a god). Equating persons of faith to those who are "afraid of the dark" was a low-blow, and Prof. Hawking - you should apologize.
Has Prof. Hawking always espoused an atheistic opinion? Let the reader decide:
On one hand, God is a gambler - leaving things to chance:
“All the evidence shows that God was actually quite a gambler, and the universe is a great casino, where dice are thrown, and roulette wheels spin on every occasion”
On the other hand, "science" has been having a gradual realization that things do NOT happen in an arbitrary/by chance manner.
“The whole history of science has been the gradual realization that events do not happen in an arbitrary manner, but that they reflect a certain underlying order, which may or may not be divinely inspired.”
So in the latter comment he does not deny that God COULD be in charge of this "order" seems to be quite the denial of the former comment, that God is a gambler. Either way, it these are not affirmations of God's existence - nor acclamations of His non-existence - but are a recognition of the possibility of God's existence.
The bottom line is, once a "scientist" goes "dogmatic" and declares that those of faith are "afraid of the dark" or "believing in fairy tales" - then he himself loses scientific credibility. Matters of faith are not necessarily provable or non-provable - that's why there's FAITH involved here! Just because something requires some amount of faith to accept it does NOT automatically mean it is not true. If Hawking stands by his statement that science is realizing a certain underlying "order" - then whom does he assume put this order to these things? Does "order" have an author? Does Dr. Hawking believe in "chaos" or "order?"