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What did this study of signs explore?

What is the Isis Thesis in a nut shell?

What is horizontal gene transfer and viral replication?

Who else knew the secret?

Where did their knowledge come from? 

Are all religions trying to tell us this same information?

Does this mean Religion is Science?

Why are we so confused?

Who are we anyway?

Is the earth a cell?

What does all this really mean?

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Secret Science Declassified: The Isis Thesis

By Judy King


When scientists go to bed at night, monstrous thoughts haunt their minds. They wonder--does consciousness exist after death? What happens inside black holes? How are matter particles related to force particles? What is the origin of the geometry of spacetime and quantum phenomena? Who am I?

Nobel Laureate Louis de Broglie once said that despite great advances, Science has never been able to lift the veil of Isis. That is, until now. The Isis Thesis is a scientific study that was unveiled at the 2005 Third International Humanities Conference at the University of Cambridge. It explains Nature’s secrets that the ancient Egyptian Pharaohs understood. The study reveals that the Pharaohs were aware of bacterial genetics, space physics, quantum physics, and microbiology, including recent research in cosmology related to String Theory and Black Hole Theory.

Over an intensive research period, a transdisciplinary approach grounded in biosemiotics (biology interpreted as sign systems) decoded the Pharaohs’ amazing Science. Equal to modern scientific research, Egyptian knowledge not only defines the birth of the universe and the origin of life, but it also reveals a survival message for humanity, a natural design for human evolution. The study shows that the Egyptian afterlife is simply the domain of quantum physics, the world of tiny living particles. Put simply, eight major Egyptian texts spanning 2000 years support that Egyptian deities represent proteins and other molecules defining a pathway for horizontal gene transfer at human death.

Viral Vibrations

Horizontal gene transfer can be described as viral sex. In their book Microcosmos, biologist Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan explain sex as the “union of genetic material from more than one source to produce a new individual.” We can easily relate this to the activity of parents producing children by passing their DNA into the new cell of human life. This is called vertical gene transfer, the DNA transfers from father and mother to the child and so on. However, DNA can also be passed into a cell from a virus, a bacterium, or other source. This type of sex is called horizontal gene transfer, an exchange or cross over of DNA between two different species.

Surprisingly, 5000 years ago the Pharaohs used the word cross over in the modern science sense, while slapping a chilling spin on its definition. Yes, it is still a DNA exchange--but one the Pharaohs claim is between our warm eukaryotic cell type and a cold virus called bacteriophage Lambda (phage for short). This idea shouldn’t really irk us, for the human genome analysis proves viruses made us what we are today with an intrusive donation from bacteria of hundreds of genes encoding at least 223 proteins.

More and more modern scientific evidence is supporting evolutionary gene shuffling through horizontal gene transfer mediated by bacteriophage or virus that infect and often kill bacterial cells. Bacteriophage are everywhere, being the most abundant group of biological viruses on earth. In our biosphere, we are surrounded by these microbes, and our bodies are composed of one hundred quadrillion (100,000,000,000,000,000) bacterial cells. Egyptian science insists that horizontal gene transfer mediated by bacteriophage Lambda is an accelerated pathway to a fitness peak, an escape from genetic confinement or an evolutionary dead end. The Pharaohs hid this survival message within their hieroglyphic sign system.

Buried Wisdom

Buried in the pyramids of the Kings and the tombs of the nobility, the wisdom remained masked in a religious literature, even though Jean-Francois Champollion cracked the code for Egyptian hieroglyphs in 1822. Since then, scholars have struggled with little success to interpret the hidden meaning of the dual-signified signs and symbols with related artwork. Many Egyptologists have dismissed the funerary corpus as confusing, unintelligible and primitive, redirecting their efforts to excavations and preservation of artifacts.

On the other hand, with the advent of twentieth century quantum physics and the research of Avery, Macleod and McCarty in 1944, scientists now understand that genetic material can be transferred from dead cells to live cells, that life from death is really possible in the quantum world. Even a recent review article by Sorensen et al. in the British journal Nature explains that significant gene shuffling by horizontal gene transfer does occur among Bacteria, Archaea and Eukarya, the domain that includes plants, fungi and human cells. Microbial history on earth spans about four billion years. In light of this observation, emerging scientific evidence suggests that horizontal gene transfer is possible for human DNA fragments in the quantum world; however, despite research in evolutionary genetics, our scientists have still not applied their emerging knowledge to human death processes. Yet, the Egyptian Pharaohs understood evolutionary genetics, explaining exactly the step-by-step horizontal gene transfer of human DNA mediated by phage Lambda in a bacterial cell.

Using an anthropomorphic viral code that represented proteins and molecules as deities, the Pharaohs’ survival message was inscribed in pyramids and buried in the nobility’s wooden coffins. The original meaning of the signs became lost as people mistook the deities for real people, rather than biological signs describing evolutionary genetics for species survival. The ensuing flood of language, misunderstood and inflated, soon swamped history as the essential truth and drowned the quiet voice of Nature. Today the crux of the issue is this: we have missed the ferryboat, for in modern society, we take signs literally and are indoctrinated with beliefs based on interpretations that take signs literally.

A Burning Inquiry

So, how would King Tut answer the first nightmarish question that keeps scientists awake at night--does consciousness exist after death? Tut would have said, “At death, the human body decomposes, releasing natural elements of hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen and oxygen that have quantum consciousness, which is the phenomenon of being conscious of an experience at the level of the simplest element or cell.”

Several modern scientists might agree with Tut. Stuart Hameroff and Roger Penrose present a model of consciousness stemming from microtubule functioning at the cellular level, inclusive of brain neurons. They suggest that consciousness involves subtle links between the brain and fundamental spacetime geometry. Henry P. Stapp of the University of California, Berkeley also proposes a theory, believing that quantum mechanics can accommodate consciousness. Similarly, physicists David Bohm and Basil Hiley suggest that our consciousness has a rudimentary mind-like quality at the level of particle physics, which becomes stronger and more developed at subtler levels. The Egyptian texts clearly reinforce this idea by describing a pathway for horizontal gene transfer of human DNA, complete with artwork that parallels modern research. Egyptian descriptions of this activity in eight major texts explain the cross over of human DNA mediated by phage Lambda in an E. coli host bacterium.

In the twenty-first century, String Theory T-Duality explains to us what the Pharaohs knew in 2520 BCE. The mathematics of T-Duality support that at tiny quantum scales, our universe looks just the same as it does at massive scales. This means that if the earth were to shrink to a size smaller than a grain of sand, it would be similar to a tiny cell. The Pharaohs believe that on the quantum level, this shrunken earth-cell operates like an E. coli bacterial cell, what they call the Duat, the place of transformation. So it is that the Pharaohs identify phage Lambda as the carrier molecule or ferryboat for the dead human genetic essence that is ferried through a bacterial cell for transformation.

Still, is there really a path in the quantum world? Physicist Niels Bohr would say no, there’s a multiplicity of routes because in the quantum world, the point particle is spread out over the nonlocality region. But Tut would say that when particles enter a specific channel, such as the phage Lambda attachment site in E. coli called the LamB porin (aka the maltose transport system), they appear to be irreversibly fixed. So even though a particle’s trajectory is random, it is modified by the dynamics of the channel and may qualify for what physicists David Bohm and Basil Hiley call a “minimum free path below which the trajectory ceases to be random.” Thus, horizontal gene transfer mediated by phage Lambda offers a path for evolvability.

Evolvability for Survival

David Earl and Michael Deem describe evolvability as the propensity to evolve and a selectable trait, that is, an object of Darwinian selection. Their computer simulations of protein evolution showed that a dramatic environmental change leads to selection for greater evolvability, specifically large-scale genetic moves such as DNA exchange or horizontal gene transfer. In evolutionary genetics, this has been called the “evolution of evolution.”

According to Egyptian biosemiotics, a dramatic spacetime environmental change, such as a human death, enables the consciousness of the deceased (defined as the remaining elements or information created by the spacetime matter DNA-text) to select evolvability in the quantum realm. The Egyptian texts explain how this can occur for our conscious genetic essence under specific environmental conditions that allow active self-maintenance or autopoiesis. Biologist Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan define autopoeisis as the ability of entities “to maintain their structural and biochemical integrity in the face of environmental threats.” Thus, the Pharaohs’ knowledge is a life insurance policy against bacteria becoming the beneficiaries of our genetic potential due to natural bacterial decomposition. So be it, we must now innovate to survive.

Nature, which scientists explore and creative artists extol, is a grand narrative of evolution--vertical and horizontal gene transfer. We are part of Nature, and many of us understand that within her heart is a haunting melody of the poet John Milton’s “Paradise Regained,” an explanation of what we can become, the scent of an origin that all creative artists and scientists crave. The poet Rainer M. Rilke called it “a trace of Eternity,” something “hostile in its sublime indifference,” the “medium of an autonomous art” that he identified with Death.

Even Nobel Laureate Werner Heisenberg wondered: “Was it utterly absurd to seek behind the ordering structures of this world a ‘consciousness’ whose ‘intentions’ were these very structures?”

Religion is Science

Actually, the godlike Lambda is a savior because it is a ferryboat for our genes, and it also can die and rise from the dead. Lambda has two lifestyles: when it chooses lysogeny, it injects its DNA into the host cell, where it falls asleep or goes dormant on the host cell’s DNA next to the lactose gene. When Lambda chooses lysis, it wakes up from the dead, activates the nutrient lactose right next door to asexually produce millions of clones that escape from the cell in a great flood. What‘s interesting is that Lambda’s lifestyles and chemical reactions mirror religious themes such as the dying/rising god, the cross, the brother rivalry over the throne, virgin birth and the great flood. For example, about 2500 BCE the Egyptian deity Osiris became the first dying/rising god, who was then dribbled down through time as Dumuzi (Sumer), Mithra (Persia), Attis (Phrygia), Adonis (Greece) and finally Jesus Christ. Osiris is the biological sign for the dormant or dead Lambda next to the lactose genes on the host cell chromosome (lysogeny). When Lambda (Osiris) chooses the lysis lifestyle, it rises from the dead, uses the lactose nutrient medium, takes over the replication machinery of the host cell and clones phage progeny, which lyse the cell to escape in a great flood. One of the novel environmental stimuli in this reaction is lactose, which the Pharaohs represented by the sign Isis, the virgin Milk-Goddess and Osiris’ sister. The virgin birth is the use of the nutrient medium lactose by Lambda for asexual reproduction of phage progeny. Until lactose is needed, the lac repressor protein binds to the DNA to tie off the lactose by looping the DNA into a conformation that looks exactly like the Egyptian ankh. This DNA conformation has also been referred to as the Isis-knot or the tiyet.

Further, the dying/rising god on the cross can be easily explained. Phage Lambda enters and leaves the bacterial host chromosome by a site-specific recombination process involving a remarkable genetic cross. This cruciform branched DNA intermediate is known as a Holliday junction that forms due to strand-swapping of DNA. Lambda DNA (Osiris) always enters the bacterial host cell chromosome through this genetic DNA cross and then dies, that is, goes dormant to be replicated with the host cell's DNA. When Lambda leaves the bacterial host cell DNA (rises from the dead), the DNA cross forms again. Thus we have the idea of the god dying and rising through the Cross. These signs or biological survival messages have migrated through history from Egypt, and they are the ground of our great religious traditions. So, while standing godlike on our perilous pinnacle of evolution, many of us unknowingly indulge in microbe-worship, oblivious to the survival message in the effaced signs. Actually, worshipping microbes seems reasonable in light of four billion years of microbial evolution on earth, which is their planet, not ours. As the French poet and dramatist Antonin Artaud said, “laugh if you like, what has been called microbes is god.”

Although we consider microbes as lower life-forms, they are DNA molecular machines with higher order than our human genome. The Isis Thesis reveals the Pharaohs’ sublime secret, explaining how viruses and bacteria can recreate us by reloading energy into our genes to defy gravity, Time and death itself. This forces the doctrine of a personal God out of the closet and into the light. As Albert Einstein said:

For a doctrine which is able to maintain itself not in clear light but only in the dark, will, of necessity, lose its effect on mankind, with incalculable harm to human progress. In their struggle for the ethical good, teachers of religion must have the stature to give up the doctrine of the personal God, that is, give up that source of fear and hope which in the past placed such vast power in the hands of the priests. In their labors, they will have to avail themselves of those forces which are capable of cultivating the Good, the True, and the Beautiful in humanity itself . . . They will surely recognize with joy that true religion has been ennobled and made more profound by scientific knowledge.

Now, in the year 2006, let us take Einstein’s advice to come out of the dark and use the Pharaohs’ knowledge to bridge the gap between science and religion by developing a global understanding of life, death and our universe. The future of modern civilization depends on humanity being freed from superstitions, myth and religious dogma that can be unveiled by understanding Nature through science and critical inquiry. The Last Judgment is this: religion is science, and anybody can go to heaven or zero time if they have scientific knowledge of the road not taken. The Isis Thesis restores meaning to long-lost signs found in myth, religion, art, literature and psychology. This biosemiosis (biological message flow) supports horizontal gene transfer mediated by phage Lambda in the archetypal prokaryote E. coli and much more.

One final thought--in 1936, Nobel Laureate Niels Bohr pointed out something interesting about atoms. The smallness of the atomic region and the strength of these interactions justify that transition processes should be described in a classical way. He has been quoted as saying, “When it comes to atoms, language can be used only as in poetry.” So it is that the hieroglyphs and art of the Pharaohs encodes an imaginative poetry of Being resonating with a classical description of atoms, DNA, bacteria, proteins, phage Lambda, matter and energy, while pregnant with the answers to most of the questions that keep twenty-first century scientists sleepless.


Artaud, Antonin. 1947. To have done with the judgment of god. banned French radio broadcast.

Avery, O. T., Macleod, C. M., and M. McCarty. 1944. Studies on the chemical nature of the substance inducing transformation of pneumococcal types. February 2. Reprint: The Oswald T. Avery Collection at National Library of Medicine

Bell, G. 2005. Evolutionary genetics: the evolution of evolution. Heredity January, 94:1-2.

Bohm, D., and B. Hiley. 1993. The undivided universe. London and New York: Routledge

Bohr, N. 1936. Neutron capture and nuclear constitution. Nature 137: 344.

Broglie, L. de. 1955. Physics and microphysics. New York: Pantheon

Bronowski, Jacob. 1973. The Ascent of Man (Boston; Little, Brown, and Company, 1973), quotes Niels Bohr, p. 340

Earl, D. J., and M. W. Deem. 2004. Evolvability is a selectable trait. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. August 10, 101 (32): 11531-11536

Gee, Henry. “A journey into the genome: what’s there.” Nature Science Update. news release, February 12, 2001.

Gopaul, D. N., Guo, F., and Van Duyne, G. D. 1998. Structure of the Holliday junction intermediate in Cre-loxP site-specific recombination. Embo Journal. 17(14): 4175-4178

Hameroff, S. and R. Penrose. 1996. Orchestrated objective reduction of quantum coherence in brain microtubules: the “Orch OR” model for consciousness. Univ. of Arizona. Toward a Science of Consciousness - The First Tucson Discussions and Debates, eds. Hameroff, S. R., Kaszniak, A. W. and Scott, A. C., Cambridge, MA:MIT Press: 507-540.

King, J.K. 2004. The Isis thesis. Gaylord: Envision Editions, Ltd.

Margulis, L. and D. Sagan, 1986. Microcosmos: four billion years of evolution from our microbial ancestors. New York: Summit Books.

Milton, John.. “Paradise Regained.” John Milton Complete Poems and Major Prose. Merritt Y. Hughes, Ed. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Educational Publishing. Copyright 1957 by The Odyssey Press, Inc.

Sorensen, S. J., Bailey, M., Hansen, L. H., Kroer, N. and S. Wuertz. 2005. Studying plasmid horizontal transfer in situ: a critical review.Nature. September. 3: 700-710.

Stapp, H. P. 1995. Why classical mechanics cannot naturally accommodate consciousness but quantum mechanics can. Theoretical Physics. Univ. of California.

Rilke, Rainer M. 1982. The selected poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke. “Duino Elegies.” New York: Vintage International.

Wilbur, Ken. 1984. Quantum questions: mystical writings of the world’s great physicists. “Heisenberg.” Boston: Shambhala Publications, Inc.

The Isis Thesis includes a study (Vol. 1) and a novel called The Road from Orion (Vol. 2), which explains the thesis in a story format. The novel was written for readers who are nonscientists and prefer information in a story format rather than a cited thesis.

For an online interview with former college English instructor Judy King, M.A., see:


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