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The Evolution of Evolution takes a multi-layered approach to history, moving from discussing an important predecessor to Darwin's "Origin of Species", "The Vestiges of Creation" by the Scot Robert Chambers, to analysing episodes from Darwin's life and questioning his motives. Stephen also discusses the contribution other people made to Darwin's theories, both in person and through their own works, finishing by discussing interpretations and developments of Darwin's ideas after his death.
By discussing social factors as well as academic or scientific influences, Stephen combines biography with scientific development and shows that understanding the man and the culture in which he lived is vitally important to understanding Darwin's theory. Stephen also highlights the many Scottish scientists and their ideas which have been overlooked by previous commentators, but who were an essential influence on Darwin.