And your answer is 'We don't understand it, it must be God'.
We do understand a lot about the probablity and at least the description of the way QM works. I don't see a requirement of postulating an 'intelligent designer' to have 'designed' the rules, since that begs the question about where that intelligent designer came from.
Even Hawkings hedges his bet on that one. It seems to me that there is different definintions of 'scientific determination' that is being used.
Popper, for example, in his book 'he Open Universe: An Argument For Indeterminism', defines determination as "any event can be rationally predicted, with any desired degree of precision, if we are given a sufficiently precise description of past events, together with all the laws of nature". This is a 'strong' definiiton for determinism.
Hawkings defines "scientific determinism" as meaning: "something that will happen in the future can be predicted." This is a much weaker version.
The ekpyrotic universe is quite distinct from the "cyclic universe" theory and neither fits Mike's description. The Big Rip is about the end of our Universe, not the beginning so it isn't like Mike's idea either..
From Paul Stienharts' web site... the pdf for 'Cosmic evoultion in a cyclic universe'.
The point is that yes, there are real scientists out there that speculate about a cyclic universe. That is not an unknown concept, and it has some basis.. although I don't know if these hypthosises are currently testable.