THE insistence by Lewis Wolpert in your science column (Review, 11 October) that art does not influence science is an obvious truth, since science is based on deductions from facts, verifiable by consensus. Art is not concerned. However, while science gives means for expression in the arts and has done so throughout thousands of years in obvious examples such as painting, musical instruments, printing and so on, science itself does not contribute to art itself. Art reflects individual experience and is spiritual (not to be confused with religious). The technology Wolpert describes adds to the means of expression open to individuals with scientific training, but adds nothing to the underlying spirituality. Stressing the positive side of the contributions of science to the welfare of mankind, while leaving aside the negatives, and at the same time not doing the same for the arts, is in neither side's best interest. Art contributes vastly, where science must not tread, to morality, individual freedom and a spiritual sense of well-being. Living today needs both arts and sciences equally.
R J P WILLIAMS
University of Oxford