It is interesting to see who has made it into this Atheist book. The standard people are there: Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Bertrand Russell, Richard Dawkins, Penn Jillette and Sam Harris to name a few, but some other names I find a bit curious.
Thomas Hobbes: Hitchens says "Hobbes ridicules religion by supposedly defending true faith against paganism." I'm not so sure. Hobbes was tried for heresy but maintained that in his book Leviathan (which Hitchens grabs a section from) does not contradict the Nicene Creed. Hobbes says in the appendix to Leviathan:
...the proposition ‘God is’ means the same as ‘God exists.’ The substantive verb can be analysed as ‘God is a being’ (or ho on, in Greek) — that is, something real, and not a mere phantasm, like what we call a ‘ghost’...
...it is explicitly stated in Holy Scripture that everything was made out of nothing. Even Aristotle contradicts himself when he says that the world is eternal, since matter is defined as that out of which something is made. So this article of the creed says that God is the maker of all things out of nothing. It follows that he owes his existence to his own power, and not to anything else; and further that he exists from eternity, and since there was nothing which gave God his existence, that there also will be nothing which can make him cease to exist.
That doesn't sound too Atheistic to me... (Part III of Leviathan also doesn't sound to be denying God).
Benedict De Spinoza: Hitchens struggled a bit with this inclusion saying: "There are those who argue that he [Spinoza] was not really an atheist because he never formally renounced the idea of a Supreme Being... the general climate of persecution makes it difficult to be certain of his innermost convictions." Spinoza says in part 1 of his book Ethics:
Proposition XI: God, or substance, consisting of infinite attributes, of which each expresses eternal and infinite essentiality, necessarily exists.
Proof: If this be denied, conceive, if possible, that God does not exist: then his essence does not involve existence. But this (by Prop. vii.) is absurd. Therefore God necessarily exists.
Proposition XIV: Besides God no substance can be granted or conceived.
Proof: As God is a being absolutely infinite, of whom no attribute that expresses the essence of substance can be denied (by Def. vi.), and he necessarily exists (by Prop. xi.); if any substance besides God were granted it would have to be explained by some attribute of God, and thus two substances with the same attribute would exist, which (by Prop. v.) is absurd; therefore, besides God no substance can be granted, or consequently, be conceived. If it could be conceived, it would necessarily have to be conceived as existent; but this (by the first part of this proof) is absurd. Therefore, besides God no substance can be granted or conceived. Q.E.D.
Proposition XXV. God is the efficient cause not only of the existence of things, but also of their essence.
Proof: If this be denied, then God is not the cause of the essence of things; and therefore the essence of things can (by Ax. iv.) be conceived without God. This (by Prop. xv.) is absurd. Therefore, God is the cause of the essence of things. Q.E.D.
Spinoza has a whole heap of these propositions and proofs about God and none of them are about him not existing, in fact to Spinoza it is necessary that God exists. Hitchens agrees that Spinoza was a pantheists and gives this great insight: "Moreover, it can be doubted that whether a pantheist is truly a theist..." Of cause there is a differences between a pantheist and a theist, but the thing they have in common is that they believe in a Supreme Being, which is something I thought atheists denied.
Albert Einstein: Everyone wants Einstein on their team. Einstein didn't believe in a personal god but I thought he believed in Spinoza's God. I didn't think that is much of a case for saying God does not exist.
I find it surprising that you can be an atheist and also be a pantheist and/or believe that God created the universe and/or not deny the Nicene Creed. I have heard a criticism of Christianity that goes something like: "I'll start listening to them, when they start agreeing on something." Compared to this spectrum of beliefs, I think there is more agreement in Christianity than between these selected atheists authors.
It also a shame that Antony Flew's writings aren't in there due to his turning to be a deist. Also I noticed that Madalyn O'Hair's writings were not included even though she founded the American Athiests. I guess background information about the authors are important after all.