Last week I read The Funeral of a Great Myth by C.S.Lewis in Walter Hoopers collection of Lewis' essays . It's a funeral oration by Lewis for the great myth of our age (which is an imaginative way to both do apologetics and train Christians in it). Lewis uses the term Myth positively to describe great stories. For Lewis, Christianity is the myth that became fact. He speaks at the funeral of The Myth of Evolution.
The point here isn't to speak of the scientific hypothesis of evolution - he accepts it as valid though likely in need of future adjustment, like all science. It is the connected Myth who's funeral Lewis attends. He observes that this is a story that predates Darwin's Origin of the Species by several decades, found in poets. Chronologically we have problems if we claim to derive and base The Myth from the science. We get the science we want.
The science is one of change, but in the Myth, evolution is always improvement. Scientist, Haldane is cited observing that in the science it's nine degredations for every one improvement whereas the Myth always climbs upward. Even with its origins in question, the Myth presents "one of the most moving and satisfying world dramas which have ever been imagined".
But, Lewis says this story is self-contradictory. It says reason is the unintended by-product of a mindless process and yet rests everything on reason. Proving there are no proofs. The Myth is ill-fitting with the world we experience... requiring order to come out of chaos. The defence returns - we see evolution in organisms, acorns become oaks, embryos become men. And we see it in the history of machines - technology advances. But, says Lewis, they weren't actually evolution for the acorn doesn't drop out of nowhere, but from another oak. The analogies fail because they only look at half of the picture..."all the immediate plausibility of the Myth has vanished" failing to remain plausible in the imagination.
Nonetheless it suits us because it allows us to explain love as an elaboration of lust and vice as underdeveloped virtue we are drawn to it. The Myth allows us to soothe the old wounds of our childhood, expecting our fathers and forefathers to be lesser than us. The Myth serves consumerism - telling us we need to upgrade and improve. And the Myth is required by politics to tell us that every change will be progress. The Myth of Evolution has embedded itself in our hearts and minds.For all this Lewis warns us to debunk the Myth with respect. It is a compelling story, and sadly the Christian is often a "dull dog" who does not, or dares not, see how compelling and thrilling and charming it is.