TENERIFE, Canary Islands, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking doesn't believe in God, but does believe aliens and space travel are the key to the survival of the species.
In an interview with Spanish paper El Mundo, Hawking spoke on his theories behind the origin of the universe and admitted he was an atheist as his theories do not support the world being created by a deity. Hawking was attending the Starmus festival in the Canary Islands where he and his colleagues gathered for lectures and tours.
"Before we understand science, it is natural to believe that God created the universe. But now science offers a more convincing explanation. What I meant by 'we would know the mind of God' is, we would know everything that God would know, if there were a God, which there isn't. I'm an atheist," he said.
In a 2010 interview with ABC News' Diane Sawyer, he said humans created God to make sense of the universe before they knew about the science behind the phenomena of the world. He said because science is based in observation and reason rather than authority, science will eventually "win."
Hawking said exploring the universe will keep the human race alive.
"It could prevent the disappearance of humanity by colonizing other planets," he told El Mundo.
Hawking said while he doesn't believe in God, he does believe there are extra-terrestrials, but thinks humans shouldn't call too much of their attention. Hawking said a visit from galactic neighbors could be something like Christopher Columbus coming to the Americas, "which didn't turn out very well for the Native Americans."