just see the obituaries and tweets from his friends, colleagues and admirers and you will know that atheists are not above hero worship. another thing we see is that they are all using the language which believers use, they somehow want hawking to know that they admire, love and respect him. They don't want him to be utterly dead but to have some perception left. This is what NASA says: Remembering Stephen Hawking, a renowned physicist and ambassador of science. His theories unlocked a universe of possibilities that we & the world are exploring. May you keep flying like superman in microgravity, as you said to astronauts on @Space_Station in 2014 pic.twitter.com/FeR4fd2zZ5— NASA (@NASA) March 14, 2018 Now, this is what Hawking himself said about humans: ❝We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special❞ - Interview, Der Spiegel, October 1988 So why don't these people say: "A monkey has died - he was just a complex chemical structure that resulted by accident of the laws of physics and is now dead as the laws of physics mandate and will soon dissolve into original elements and shall be nothing. Nature is like that so let's not get all senti and send love-bites to a decaying heap of flesh and bones. Remarkable? Intelligent? Oh, that's just a play of chemicals and physics. There's nothing to more to that. Humans are an advanced breed of monkeys who happen by chance, live by chance and die by chance. And the great cosmos and the stars and black holes shall outlive him by billions of years and then the great crunch shall destroy space and time and nothing will return to being nothing and no harm done. So whats the big deal?" Of-course they won't say that about one of their own idols. But that urge to see one's loved ones live beyond physical death, is some sense, is irrepressible for many of even the most die-hard atheists. And why should that not be when the ruh continually makes it's present felt - even in the bodies of "monkey-brains".