Non-airline Definitions of ‘Virgin’:
a woman who has had no sexual relations with a man;
a female insect that reproduces without fertilization;
a member of an order of women under vows of chastity;
a madonna (The Virgin Mary);
a man who has had no carnal knowledge of a woman;
the constellation Virgo.
Three virgins I’ve come to know:
1: Virgin Insects:
I became fascinated by aphid reproduction as soon as I came across it in my early education as a biologist. I learned that aphids … those insects that suck sap from gardeners’ plants … are almost all female and yet they breed and breed and breed … remaining virgins throughout!
I’M HAVING BABIES … LOTS OF THEM * Images by Viktor Forgacs & Raphael Wild on Unsplash
“I’m having babies … lots … and they are all just like me!”
Female aphids reproduce asexually … i.e. without a sexual partner … through a process called parthenogenesis. Each virgin aphid gives birth to about five to ten cloned copies of herself from unfertilized eggs every day.
And each ‘copy’ continues the virgin birth sequences, exponentially!
There are males around, and their role is to reproduce with females from time to time in order to assist the production of advantageous variations in the aphid population …an aid to species survival.
If the females were simply left to procreate alone (which they do most of the time) they would be producing a population of more-or-less identical aphids ** with no significant variation-production … Not good for species survival.
So, to have the fellas around from time-to-time is a useful survival tool!
Each individual produced by parthenogenesis is more-or-less exactly like the parent … no significant mixing of DNA … unlike the variational mixing that occurs in sexual reproduction between male and female when whole ‘banks’ of DNA are mixed and recombined.
** Technical note:
Parthenogenesis would produce very minor variations in the egg-production process due to slight errors with DNA replication, but not anything like the variational mixing that occurs in sexual reproduction.
2: Virgin Mary’s Statue:
A previous story of mine … ‘Will I Go to Hell if I Trash this Statue?’, tells the true story of an apprentice carpenter who was helping to re-fit-out a church when one of his fellow workers instructed him to break up a statue of The Virgin Mary and throw it into a trash bin.
Being a Christian (though not a catholic), he was faced with a dilemma. Should he ‘obey’ this work-command? … What should he do?
To find out what he actually did do, you can read that story when you are ready with the underlined title link above, or via the box link below:
3: A Schoolboy’s Thoughts about A Virgin :
Former US Episcopalian Bishop, John Shelby Spong once told a story of how he first interpreted the name ‘Virgin Mary’ … a name that he’d kept coming across in his Sunday School classes.
He knew that the mother of Jesus was called Mary and that she was often referred to as Virgin Mary … and, like our apprentice carpenter in the statue story above, he wasn’t of the Catholic faith, but he was familiar with the Catholic use of the term ‘Virgin Mary’ and the way that Catholics seemed to particularly revere her.
So, he put his boyish brain into gear and ‘worked it out’: …
‘Mary’, he decided, was only part of her first name. His thinking went something like this:
“Many girls in America have double-barrelled first names”, like ‘Peggy-Sue’ & ‘Billy-Jean’. Even some old-fashioned names were double, like ‘Mary-Anne’ … so why not ‘Virgin-Mary’? ……….. John Shelby Spong (paraphrased)
Why not indeed, he thought … her proper name must be ‘Virgin-Mary’.
And like all clever schoolboys, he got it in one (or perhaps a double ‘one’).
I hope that you enjoyed my ‘fun with virgins’ stories.
To see my other Religion & Philosophy stories, (some serious; some fun), but all written for believers and non-believers alike, use this link.
“Having Fun with Virgins” by Fred: writer on Medium
********** © Fred Ogden 2023 **********
Email: [email protected]
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This post was previously published on MEDIUM.COM.
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