Roots A Grassroots Network of Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture


Where can I find the closest local group?

Browse the map or drop-down directory of local groups here.

How do I go about starting a new local group?

After reviewing the remaining FAQs on this page, we encourage you to apply here. You will be asked to provide your name, contact information, and a name for your group. A staff member will reach out to learn more about your interest before adding it to the directory.

You do not need to be actively meeting as a group yet in order to be listed on the map and directory, but you do need to be prepared to act as a contact person and organizer in order to field questions from those interested in joining a group in your area. Once you have a critical mass, you can decide how to best operate as a local group — when and where to meet, what goals to work towards, etc.

What should I call my local group?

Your name should reflect the independent, grassroots nature of the group. Please refrain from using terms such as “Discovery,” “Discovery Institute,” “DI,” “Center for Science & Culture,” “CSC,” or “Roots,” as these could indicate a legal affiliation with (or governance by) the Institute and its programs.

It is helpful to use descriptive terms that indicate the location and/or format of your group. For example, a group of ID enthusiasts meeting in the Dallas metroplex to read books on evolution and intelligent design may choose to name themselves the “DFW Intelligent Design Reading Group”.

Should I call my student group an “IDEA Club”?

If meeting as a student group, you are welcome (but not obligated) to use the name “IDEA Club” as described here. If using the name “IDEA Club,” a group should be familiar with the history and philosophy provided and strive to maintain a similar approach. Alternatively, your student group can be called something different and avoid the need to maintain consistency with the IDEA Club model.

Who qualifies to serve as an organizer for a local group?

While we cannot vet the leadership nor monitor the activities of each and every local group, we ask that organizers first read through the Discovering Intelligent Design textbook and complete the free online course available at DiscoveryU. This will help to ensure that concepts and terminology related to intelligent design are used in a consistent and accurate manner throughout the network. We also ask that group organizers remain actively subscribed to the quarterly Roots email as well as to other CSC subscriptions pertaining to their interests (e.g. weekly Nota Bene email, monthly Faith & Science Update, or similar).

What are the responsibilities of a local group organizer?

In addition to fielding inquiries on behalf of the group, organizers will be responsible for:

  • Updating the Roots staff regarding any changes to contact information or group format
  • Ensuring that your group meets (in-person or virtually) at least once per quarter or four times per year
  • Completing an annual survey regarding group activities in order to keep your listing in good standing
  • Joining occasional Zoom meetings for the purpose of keeping the network informed and connected

Who is responsible for oversight of this network of local groups?

Local groups recognized by the Roots program have no formal or legal affiliation with Discovery Institute and are wholly operated and overseen by independent grassroots organizers responsible for the group’s activities. Neither Discovery Institute, its Center for Science & Culture, nor the Roots program are responsible for any action taken by a group or its members.

Discovery Institute reserves the right to remove a local group from its directory at any time and for any reason, including (but not limited to) a perceived misalignment between the mission of the CSC and the mission or activities of the local group.

Can I start a local group anywhere in the world?

Yes. While most of our chapters are currently located in the U.S., we encourage groups to meet around the globe wherever it is safe to do so.

Does each group have to be tied to a specific area to join the network?

Yes. While we are pleased to see intelligent design activists networking in all sorts of ways online (including webinars, forums, email listservs, etc.), the purpose of the Roots network is to facilitate the networking and collaboration of grassroots supporters in a specific geographical area (typically a city, county, or state/province) where they will have the opportunity to meet in-person as needed and to focus on local outreach to schools, universities, churches, and other communities.

Can I start a new group if there is already one in my area?

This will depend on the format of your group and the exact location. If the existing group serves a large geographic area or population, it may be worthwhile having two groups in order to serve different cities (e.g. Dallas and Fort Worth within the larger DFW metroplex) or to have two groups that focus on different target audiences (e.g. a student outreach group and a book club for ID enthusiasts). These factors will be discussed upon receipt of your application.

How often should my local group meet?

This will depend entirely on your group since some groups will meet frequently to discuss ID books and films, while other groups will only meet periodically to discuss outreach strategies or coordinate local events. To remain in good standing, we ask that groups meet at least once per quarter or four times a year.

What kinds of activities should my group be involved in?

Again, this will depend on the composition and intentions of the group. Some suggestions are as follows:

  • Read and discuss books on intelligent design in order to increase your understanding and ability to teach others
  • Organize discussions and/or debates between ID proponents and critics
  • Host speakers at local venues (e.g. church, school, university, retirement home, etc.)
  • Collaborate on ID projects like curricula, videos, podcasts, blogs, etc.

Can my existing group be added to the Roots directory?

If your local group is already a part of another network or formally affiliated with another organization (e.g. Ratio Christi, CRU, etc.), we cannot register the group to the Roots directory since this could result in some brand/mission confusion. Similarly, if the scope of your group is much broader than that of the Center for Science & Culture (see mission statement here), it is unlikely to be a good fit.

If the primary emphasis of your local group is to advocate for intelligent design, however, then we may be able to register you upon receipt of your application form.

What happened to the “Science & Culture Network”?

The Science & Culture Network of regional chapters has been rolled into the new Roots program. While the name, branding, and website are no longer in use, most (if not all) of the former SCN chapters have continued to meet as local groups under the Roots program.