More Options

Show Print-Only Articles

Jim Underdown

Jim Underdown's photo

James Underdown has been Executive Director of the Center for Inquiry-Los Angeles since 1999. He is also the Founder and Chair of the Independent Investigations Group, a team of inquirers who look into paranormal, pseudo-scientific, and extraordinary claims. He is also the creator of the Steve Allen Theater at CFI-L.A. Jim has appeared on numerous radio and TV shows including Hannity and Colmes, Penn and Teller's Bullshit, History's Mysteries, Proof Positive, and the Oprah Winfrey Show. He is a regular Skeptical Sunday guest on the SETI Institute's Are We Alone? radio show/podcast. His many pre-CFI endeavors include writing and directing short films (A Day in the Life of Frank Sinatra, The Test, Dear Father), and directing his stage play, Party of 13, a secular re-telling of the Last Supper. Jim also toured midwest comedy clubs as the Poet Laureate of Calumet City, IL.

IIG at IAC

November 26, 2014
IIG at IAC

On November 13, 2014, a few representatives from the Independent Investigations Group (IIG) in Los Angeles visited Culver City, California, one of the three U.S. locations for the International Academy of Consciousness (IAC).

“You (non-Christian) Kids Get Off My Lawn!”

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 26, 2014

Nowadays, to be intolerant is not the opposite of being Christian, it’s the essence of it!

Grand Canyon Atheists? Dear Jeffrey Kluger at Time magazine…

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 6, 2013
Grand Canyon Atheists? Dear Jeffrey Kluger at Time magazine…

What cold-hearted atheist could gaze upon such a sight and not be filled with marvel and reverence – not for some vague deity created to explain ancient mysteries, but for the barely imaginable grandeur and power of nature? We could practically hear Darwin whispering in our ears to take note of condors soaring effortlessly while we plodded, of scorpions scurrying about while we slept, and of healthy plants that thrive on less than 10 inches of rain per year. We felt God could only be superfluous to such scenery, and would unnecessarily complicate the story behind of this massive mechanism at work.

Pez, Scientologists, and Super Powers

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
November 19, 2013

I challenge your entire worldwide church to find ONE person who can pony up ONE super power and demonstrate it under scientific testing conditions.

 

You Scientologists do like science, don’t you?

Atheist Church vs The Chicago Bears

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
November 12, 2013
Atheist Church vs The Chicago Bears

If non-believers want to gather and sing and feel good about themselves, more power to them. The secular among us should find as many ways to get together and be happy as they can. Just because it’s not my cup of tea doesn’t mean others shouldn’t participate.

From Oliver Sacks’ Lips to the (ex) Pope’s Ear

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 22, 2013

 

I just wanted to drop you a quick note after I read that you had a “mystical” experience when God told you to quit your job.

 

The Joy of Sects

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
May 6, 2013
Specifically – obviously – women (who are over ½ the U.S. population) have been getting screwed by religion since well before whatever fiction writer dreamt up the story of The Fall in Genesis. (There, Eve is forever blamed for original sin because she... what now? Ate from the Tree of Knowledge? Oh, please. If God were just, he would have given her a medal instead of kicking her out of the Garden.)

Jim Underdown represents CSI at ConDor XX

March 15, 2013
Jim Underdown represents CSI at ConDor XX

From March 8 – 12, 2013, I attended and spoke at ConDor XX, a sci/fi and fantasy conference at the Town and Country Hotel in San Diego.

13 Is Their Lucky Number

February 13, 2013
13 Is Their Lucky Number

The IIG is—we believe—the largest paranormal investigations team in the world. With affiliate groups in several states and a Canadian province, we are in the process of creating an international network of trained investigators who will not only look into paranormal, fringe science, and extraordinary claims in their own regions, but also administer the IIG $50,000 Challenge.

From Dr. Who to Mr. Spock: The Perfect Humanist Day

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 6, 2012
From Dr. Who to Mr. Spock: The Perfect Humanist Day
For the third time that day, I was among people who had a deep appreciation for science, reason, and humanity in a way that did not invoke anything supernatural to gain that appreciation. We humans made that art, that child, and that spaceship. People took the risks associated with those creations and accepted those consequences.

Godless Particle

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
July 6, 2012
God Particle. Please. If anything, the new (overwhelming) evidence for this particle paints God into a tinier corner than he was already in. It answers one more question about how the universe works that God doesn’t. This evidence allows us to focus more directly on a path to more discovery about the nature of mass, time, and space.

Dr. Phil, Meet Bitter Psychic

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
May 30, 2012
Skeptics are almost always at a disadvantage when doing major media appearances. Many talk shows seem to cater to heavily believer-based audiences, and seek to entertain more than to inform — despite presenting a façade of scientific or journalistic inquiry. Such was the case with my appearance on the Dr. Phil Show on May 25th.

Available in the Print Edition. Subscribe Here.

A Droll Stroll Down Skeptical Lane

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 36.2, March/April 2012

Book Review

A review of Psychic Vibrations by Robert Sheaffer with illustrations by Rob Pudim

Bitter Psychic?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
May 24, 2012

So when the Dr. Phil Show called CFI looking for someone to represent the side skeptical of psychic claims, I was pleasantly surprised. John Edward, whom I’ve written about in Skeptical Inquirer, appeared on Dr. Phil this past January, and now they were doing another show with skepticism being represented.

Power Balance Bracelets a Bust in Tests

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 36.1, January/February 2012

Special Report
Power Balance Bracelets a Bust in Tests

Members of the Independent Investigations Group and sixteen volunteers, including former Olympic gymnast Dominique Dawes, conducted a test of Power Balance bracelets. The results will not be surprising to skeptics.

And another thing, Tebow…

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 12, 2012

Let's get something straight football fans.

A recent poll revealed that 43% of those asked thought that God helps Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow win.

He (God) does not.

God, almost certainly, does not exist.

Hold on, believers, there's another point here!

 

No Justice Scalia

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
October 5, 2011
A death-row inmate is denied an appeal because his attorneys had switched law firms. A letter the court sent to the inmate's lawyers' old firm is returned, and the deadline to file an appeal expires before they can respond.

An Atheist in Church

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 10, 2011

When I got a call from a woman named Lindsey inviting me to appear at the Moment Church during their Sunday evening service, some warning bells went off in my head. She sounded like a nice enough person, but why would they want me, a career atheist, to even be at their church, much less have a voice there?

This ain’t no UU Church, by the way. Moment’s  “what we believe” statement of faith on their website represents what I would call pretty hardcore Christianity – God is the ubiquitous, all-knowing creator of the universe; the bible is inerrant; you get to heaven through Jesus; marriage is between one man and one woman. You get the picture.

Top Ten Rapture Excuses

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
May 18, 2011
Top Ten Rapture Excuses
What lame excuse will they use this time? Let's guess...

What’s next, Moses’ Red Sea Water Park?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 1, 2010
The creationist theme park will feature a 500 foot-long replica of Noah's Ark containing live animals...

Power Balance Bracelets a Bust in IIG Test

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
November 11, 2010
Do Power Balance bracelets perform under testing conditions? The Independent Investigations Group at CFI-L.A. finds out.

IIG Visits the Wonderful World of Woo at Para-Con

November 3, 2010
IIG Visits the Wonderful World of Woo at Para-Con

Any good skeptic should touch down in an alien world like Para-Con every now and then, so there were good reasons for us to attend the convention...

An Immodest Proposal for Ground Zero

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 26, 2010
Our record in the Muslim-Christian feud is clean. We are neither Montague nor Capulet.

Matthew 7:1

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 26, 2010
A recent article in the L.A. Times reconfirms that millions of dollars from churches helped pass Proposition 8.

Pat Robertson Is a Nut

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 15, 2010
Pat Robertson Is a Nut
Pat, having buildings crush and maim thousands and thousands of human beings is never a blessing...

The Relocation of Awe

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 12, 2010
The Relocation of Awe
When asked why he attended Catholic Church during his yearly visits to France, Paul Kurtz often said that he likes to see...

To Beanie, Or Not To Beanie?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 14, 2009
To Beanie, Or Not To Beanie?
As the Chanukah season approaches, I’m reminded of my regular moments of discomfort when any Jewish holiday approaches.

State-Sponsored Quackery: Feng Shui and Snake Oil for California Nurses

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 33.6, November / December 2009

Article

The Independent Investigations Group investigates pseudoscience particularly therapeutic touch in professional nursing.

The (Even) Newer Atheist Approach: A Letter to Kirk Cameron from an Atheist and a Skeptic

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
October 29, 2009
The (Even) Newer Atheist Approach: A Letter to Kirk Cameron from an Atheist and a Skeptic
Dear Kirk, We met last night at the Beverly Hills library after I officially “responded” to David Berlinski’s talk...

Death from Faith

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
October 15, 2009
Death from Faith
We of the evidence-based community are well aware of the diversity of religious belief out there, but sometimes the contrary...

Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 >