‘The graph shows the absorption spectra of the two types of chlorophyll—an indication of how well they trap sunlight at different wave lengths. Above these is the emission spectrum of the Sun, showing how intense its light is over the same wave length range. Although both chlorophylls absorb blue and red light well, yellow and green sunlight is hardly absorbed at all. The green colour of leaves shows the light they are losing, really effective leaves would be black.’
FRED HOYLE, The Intelligent Universe, p. 126.
You are devilishly clever, Fred, as I have reason to know.
Perhaps angelic wisdom is a little beyond your scope.
I was brought up to think God created the world, and so
May I question one point as you cast its horoscope?
Evidence for the existence of God, Fred Hoyle,
(The last of the Bridgewater Treatises is now on the track.
Not that my trust in its logic brings my wits to the boil)
Simply my horror to think all leaves should be black.
But suppose that poets know things that scientists miss,
Things we know in our bones. How we know none of us know
If we trust what we see—though we know how deceptive it is.
We accept what science demonstrates, but can it show
There was not a good reason why chlorophyll failed your test?
Could whoever made my world, if it was made at all,
By any chance have listened to you protest
And agreed so that everything afterwards went to the wall.
If mind arranged it no man could possibly know
The range and reach of that cosmic consciousness
Yet we could guess from his work that even so
The beauty that marks this world must more or less
Have ranked very high among his priorities.
If you, as I say, had chanced to be standing near
When he came to designing the form of its grass and trees
He’d have smiled at the reasons you gave but I very much fear
Would have answered, ‘They say that among the blind
You will find that the one-eyed is bound to be king.
But I must keep other and higher values in mind.
Mere efficiency, my friend, is not everything.’
When I look at my garden so radiant and so green,
The trees that mount so varied against the blue,
I think how deadly and dull it would have been
If he who created it had listened to you.
But a god would have set your arguments aside
Since the cleverest men are not able to see very far.
It would not have taken him long to foresee and decide
That green leaves are quite efficient enough as they are.