Creation story gives me many questions
ANDREW Lovell (Write Back, September 22) refers to highly qualified scientists, who present scientifically observable facts which corroborate a "special creation", and asserts that "this evidence corresponds with biblical history" and "is another proof of the divine inspiration of the Bible".
The first chapters of Genesis set out the biblical version of creation; ie by the end of the sixth day, man and woman had been created in the image of God and then He had a day's rest. Chapter 2 v 1 asserts "thus the heavens and the earth were finished and all the host of them",
However, by v 7 of the same chapter, "The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and man became a living soul."
By v 17, God had made the Garden of Eden and was telling the man that he was not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, "for in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die".
By v 18, God was saying, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him 'an help meet for him'". And by v 22, God had taken a rib from Adam and made a woman from it.
A clever (subtle), talking serpent then convinced the woman that, if she ate from the tree, she would not die, but "be as gods, knowing good and evil".
The woman did and did not die. The man ate from the tree and did not die.
Which version of the above story does the scientifically observable facts presented by these highly qualified scientists support?
Claudy, Co Londonderry
I'm appalled by plight of migrant children
I AM appalled and saddened to read about the plight of refugees, risking everything to reach Europe and escape from war and terror.
How tragic to end up in Calais, where things seem far from safe, perhaps now even worse with the claims of sexual abuse.
In all of this misery and chaos, there is one aspect I don't understand and that is how children are abandoned and alone in a camp.
I suspect that some have lost their family on the journey and perhaps some have travelled with friends.
But as a parent, I cannot conceive of sending young children, or teenagers, alone on such a perilous journey.
I don't think I could bear not knowing if they were safe. I would need to be with them.
Perhaps, throughout history, parents have been forced to make such horrific choices in the hope of saving their children? What a terrible choice.
Address with Editor
More to story of civil service absenteeism
IT was with dismay that I read Viewpoint (September 23), which discussed civil service absence figures - even resorting to the use of insensitive language of "malingerers".
Nipsa, as the leading public service trade union in Northern Ireland, representing thousands of Northern Ireland civil servants, challenges the crude and ill-informed nature of this editorial that determinedly refuses to look at the whole story within the latest NISRA report on this matter.
Even a cursory reading of the data should, in the interests of balance, have led you to move beyond the desire for a cheap headline. For example, the data shows that 50% of staff had no recorded spells of absence, 68.1% of absence spells lasted five working days or fewer, 81.2% of working days lost were covered by a medical certificate and longer-term absence accounts for more than 70% of absences.
In terms of the latter, the main reason for absence was anxiety/stress/depression/other psychiatric illnesses, which accounted for one out of every three days lost.
Just under one-third of the working days lost in this illness category were accepted as work-related stress.
Given this is the key reason for sick absence accounting for one in three working days lost, would it not be more appropriate to ask why is this the case?
As my colleague, Bumper Graham, told your paper, the Northern Ireland Civil Service voluntary exit scheme, in which almost 3,000 civil servants left in a 12-month period, has contributed to the rise in sick absence.
It is a fact that, with that reduction in staff in a 12-month period, those left behind have been left to "get on with the job" without any recognition that they are, in some cases trying to do the impossible - much more work, with much less resource. It is time that senior civil servants and Government ministers woke up to the fact that their decision to reduce the civil service by that amount over so short a period of time would inevitably have consequences, including the fact that sick absence would rise.
General secretary, Nipsa