About the IIG Awards
In 2005, the Independent Investigations Group (IIG) approved the creation of an awards program to recognize the promotion of Scientific and Critical Thinking in mainstream entertainment, i.e. movies and television. The awards are presented annually. They are presented to those movies or television programs providing the best and worst examples of scientific and critical thinking during the previous year, as nominated and voted by the members of the IIG. The ‘good’ award is presented to the production(s) which had the most positive presentation of scientific, rational, and critical thinking during the previous year. The ‘bad’ award is presented to the worst example. These awards are now affectionately referred to as the "Iggies".
This award program is intended to recognize material in the popular, mainstream media, i.e. "Hollywood" dramatic titles. Productions aimed at a skeptical or scientific audience are normally exempt from consideration, although there have been exceptions. An educational or science-related production is always eligible for the appropriate award, should it fail to deliver good science according to its mandate.
The Houdini Hall of Honor
There is another, special category of award, which is the induction of an individual into the IIG "Houdini Hall of Honor," named after Harry Houdini, the role model for the IIG and all other investigators of the supernatural, and the first inductee. Houdini was really a major force attempting to educate the public about phony psychic mediums through his entertainment, completing the prerequisite for inclusion in these awards. Inductees are listed on a perpetual plaque which is displayed on the wall at the headquarters of the IIG in Los Angeles. The other inaugural member, along with Houdini, is Carl Sagan. The inscription on the plaque reads as follows:
"For their commitment to educating the public
in skeptical thinking through entertainment,
these individuals are inducted into the
IIG Hall of Honor"
There are three (and sometimes four) categories of award recognition:
- Induction into Houdini’s Hall of Honor as mentioned above. Recognizes a substantial career devotion by an individual to the Scope of the awards.
- The ‘Iggie’ trophy. Recognizes a significant contribution for a specific project (movie, TV episode, article, book, etc.) related to the scope of the awards over the preceding 12 months (roughly). It’s usually given to the people responsible for producing the item (producer, director, writers, and so on).
- The Truly Terrible Television, and its counterpart, the Mostly Miserable Movie certificate.
- Special. Occasionally we add a special category to recognize science shows, documentaries, educational material, or some other type of award. If it doesn’t appear in a given year below, it means the special category wasn’t awarded that year.
Besides the award winners and members of the IIG, the press and various local dignitaries are also invited to be present when the awards are presented at the Center for Inquiry in Hollywood, California. The awards are hosted by the chair of the IIG, with guest presenters for each category, including IIG members and occasional celebrities. The award ceremony is open to the public and is one way to help raise funds for our investigations and raise awareness about the IIG to the general public.
The first Award ceremony took place in 2007, honoring (or poking fun of) shows from 2006. All ceremonies take place in the Steve Allen Theater at the Center for Inquiry in Hollywood, California.
- Harry Houdini (Ehrich Weiss) for 2006
- James "Amazing" Randi
James Randi accepted his award in person, and performed a little magic as well.
Appearances on video congratulating Randi:
Penn & Teller
- Joe Nickell
Joe Nickell accepted his award in person
Appearances on video congratulating Nickell:
- Martin Gardner
- Isaac Asimov and Ray Hyman
Ray Hyman accepted via prerecorded video
- Neil deGrasse Tyson
- TV series “Psych”, Episode: Pilot. (USA Network)
Accepting for Psych: Daniel Hsia, staff writer
TV Series “The Simpsons”, Episode: “The Monkey Suit” (Fox Network)
Accepting for the Simpsons: J. Stewart Burns, writer
- "In the Shadow of the Moon" (Discovery Films)
Accepting for "Shadow of the Moon": Duncan Copp, Producer
"Phenomenon" (NBC, Granada Entertainment)
Accepting for "Phenomenon": Dwight Smith and Michael Agbabian, Producers
- "Lewis Black’s Root of All Evil" (Comedy Central) episode: Disney vs. Scientology
"Religulous" (Lion’s Gate)
- "Eureka" (SyFy/NBC Universal)
- Dr. Dean Edell (for his many contributions in radio, TV, and publishing)
Phil Plait’s "Bad Universe" (Discovery Channel)
Phil Plait accepted via prerecorded video
- Tim Minchin International live performer
"Big Bang Theory" (CBS)
"Through the Wormhole" (Science Channel)
"South Park" (Comedy Central)
Snopes.com Informational website
- "The Montel Williams Show" for episodes featuring Sylvia Browne (CBS)
“Psychic Detectives” (Courtroom TV channel)
- "Ghosthunters" (SyFy)
- "Psychic Kids, Children of the Paranormal" (A&E)
"Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" (Premise Media Corp)
Michael Shermer and Eugenie Scott appeared in a video clip to explain ‘their side’ of the interviews they did for "Expelled"
Special appearance by Ron Lynch as Ben Stein
- No award in this category this year. Concentrated on the positive shows instead.
- "Oprah Winfrey Show"
Special appearance by Emery Emery as the Dr. Oz / Oprah producer.
- "Ancient Aliens" History Channel
- "Penn & Teller’s Bullshit!" (Showtime)
"Is It Real" (National Geographic)
Accepting for "Is it real": French Horwitz via prerecorded video clip
- "Mythbusters" (Discovery Channel)
Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman accepted via by prerecorded video
Actress Amanda Peet (for her appearances promoting vaccination)
Here are pages with additional information or media about past award ceremonies.
- 2007 Took place August 18, 2007
- Presenters/hosts: David Richards, Owen Hammer. MC: James Underdown.
- 2008 Took place June 23, 2008 with special guest James Randi!
- Presenters/hosts: Paul Provenza, Julia Sweeney. MC: James Underdown.
- 2009 Took place April 29, 2009
- Presenters/hosts: Paul Provenza, Kathleen Madigan, Frank Conniff, Dana Gould, Andy Kindler. MC: James Underdown.
- 2010 Took place August 21, 2010. Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the IIG!
- MC: James Underdown Special guests include Michael Shermer, Eugenie Scott, Harriet Hall, Brian Dunning, Carol Tavris, Brian Keith Dalton (Mr. Deity) and Amy Rohren (Lucy).
- 2011 Took place September 30, 2011
- Presenters/hosts: Ron Lynch, Stevie Ray Fromstein. MC: James Underdown
- 2012 Took place September 10, 2012
- Presenters/Hosts: Matt Kirshen, Kelly Carlin, Ron Lynch, Emery Emery, Frank Conniff.
Music provided by Gary Stockdale with Scott Breadman. MC: James Underdown
The Independent Investigations Group meets every month
The Center for Inquiry - West
4773 Hollywood Blvd
Hollywood CA 90027
(323) 666-9797, ext. 101