James Jim Underdown has been the executive director of The Center for Inquiry (CFI) Los Angeles since 1999. The Center for Inquiry is a non-profit educational organization with headquarters in Amherst, New York, whose primary mission is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. CFI Los Angeles is the largest branch in the organization outside Amherst.Underdown founded the Independent Investigations Group (IIG), a volunteer-based organization, in January 2000 at the Center for Inquiry-West (now Center for Inquiry-Los Angeles) in Hollywood, California. The IIG investigates fringe science, paranormal and extraordinary claims from a rational, scientific viewpoint, and disseminates factual information about such inquiries to the public. There are Independent Investigation Groups in Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Denver, and Alberta, Canada. Altogether, the Independent Investigations Groups are the largest paranormal investigations team in the world.The IIG offers $100,000 to anyone who can prove paranormal or supernatural ability under test conditions, and has in the past administered preliminary demonstrations for the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) $1,000,000 Paranormal Challenge.Underdown is a 1982 graduate of DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, where he received his B.A. in English with an emphasis in composition. He was also the starting defensive end for the DePauw Tiger football team which recorded a 9–1 record in 1981. Between 1982 and 1999, he worked as a school teacher, truck driver, painter, limo driver, hotel clerk, furniture mover, football coach, carpenter, and bouncer. In the late 1970s, Underdown tried to win a $500 prize by wrestling a bear .
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