My talks in Zagreb this week

If you happen to be in Zagreb, Croatia this coming week, or live in the city, note that I’ll be giving three talks on three successive days: October 15, 16, and 17. One is on the evidence for evolution, one on free will, and the third on religion versus science. I’ll be curious to see how the last two go down in this fairly religious country.

The talks have been arranged to coincide with the publication of the Croatian translation of my book Faith Versus Fact, and the first talk, on science versus religion, will be followed by Q&A and a book signing. If you say “cat” in Croatian (look it up), I’ll draw a cat in your book.

The talks will be delivered in English but I think at least one or two will have simultaneous Croatian translation. Here is the poster giving times, dates, and locations (in Croatian). Thanks to Pavel Gregoric and his colleagues for helping arrange this visit (I’ll be gone for a week).

The first talk will be delivered in the Kino Europa, or Europa Cinema, a lovely old theater built in 1924. I’m really excited to be lecturing here:


  1. Mike
    Posted October 7, 2018 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Lovely room.

  2. Ivan Romic
    Posted October 7, 2018 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    I hope you will enjoy your time in Croatia, Professor Coyne. A few years ago, we had a a minister of science with a degree in biological engineering and a PhD in philosophy, who wrote a paper claiming the world is obviously designed and that evolution is still an open question. It is not uncommon in our elementary and high schools to have biology teachers who claim the same (I had one too). And even if biology teachers are professional, every school has religious classes held by priests or nuns who often say that things we learn in biology classes are wrong. I am really curious to see how will your talks go. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend (and say “mačka”) because I do not live in Croatia anymore, but I am looking forward to reading about it here.

    • Posted October 7, 2018 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      I’ve recently learned that religion is more pervasive in Croatia than I thought, as is creationism. And religious (Catholic) education is on tap in the public schools; although students can opt out, about 92% go to these classes, probably because of social pressure.

      • Ivan Romic
        Posted October 7, 2018 at 9:11 am | Permalink

        That is true, and things are even getting worse. Church has such a strong influence that nowadays our youth is more conservative than their parents. Also, some schools put the religious class in the middle of the schedule, so if your child opts out from the class, he/she will be left alone for 45 minutes with nothing to do while waiting for the next class. Not to mention that it automatically marks the kid as “different” and whole family as “not true Croats”. This is maybe not such a big deal in the bigger cities, but in the smaller ones everyone starts talking about it and the social pressure amounts. I went through whole high school attending such classes because I was hiding my atheism from friends and family.

        • Posted October 7, 2018 at 9:33 am | Permalink

          It takes a lot of guts to declare yourself an atheist under such circumstances. Keep the faith, brother. (Irony)

          • Ivan Romic
            Posted October 7, 2018 at 9:57 am | Permalink

            Haha good one, thanks. It got easier once I moved to the bigger city for the university and expanded my social circle. Parents also accepted it eventually, but it still created tension for the weddings and funerals since I did not want to attend the mass. Moving to Japan solved that problem too though.

            • Mark R.
              Posted October 7, 2018 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

              “Moving to Japan solved that problem too though.”

              I would love to move somewhere to solve the current problem of the impending American theocracy.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted October 7, 2018 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      Ivan, was the regime under Mr Tito not completely ‘atheist’? Or were the religious allowed to indoctrinate the children?

      • Ivan Romic
        Posted October 7, 2018 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

        They were allowed, people were mostly free to practice religion. However, members of the Communist Party had to be careful not to be seen attending religious ceremonies. So if they wanted to advance their careers, they had to keep away from the Church (today we have the opposite situation). Catholic Church was close to the Croatian nationalistic movement so there was that too. Also, muslim communities in (usually rural) Bosnia and Herzegovina had some restrictions, e.g. women were not allowed to wear hijab or burka. Muslims in BiH used to be quite secular, but after the war and especially after the September 11 attacks, they became more religious. So both Christianity (Catholic and Orthodox) and Islam had a comeback after the fall of Yugoslavia.

    • Diane G
      Posted October 7, 2018 at 9:49 pm | Permalink


  3. Hempenstein
    Posted October 7, 2018 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    From these comments it sounds like the reception should indeed be interesting.

    But even if you touch off riots, wherever you go for noms, get the mushroom soup. If it’s anything like how they make it in Slovenia (Ivan?), it’s memorable, as were the venues where I had it a decade or so ago.

    • Ivan Romic
      Posted October 7, 2018 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      I never tried Slovenia ones; ours are creamy with seasonal mushrooms (most often champignons), made on a butter and garlic base. Definitely a tasty autumn appetizer!

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted October 7, 2018 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

        Anything Croatians can do, Slovenians can do better — I have that on reliable authority from my grandparents, Ivan. 🙂

        • Ivan Romic
          Posted October 7, 2018 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

          Oh the ancient Croatia – Slovenia rivalry. 🙂 It got a bit worse recently because of the Gulf of Piran border dispute, so Slovenians got a nice new nickname (Alpine Serbs) from some obviously very creative Croatian nationalists.

  4. George
    Posted October 7, 2018 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    While a talk by PCC(e) is always something to look forward to, I saw something even better last night. Bob Odenkirk talking to Eric Idle about his new book. A great evening. Just wanted to brag about that a bit.

  5. Mark R.
    Posted October 7, 2018 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like it will be an enjoyable trip and talk. Looking forward to any accounts of your lectures and photos of sights and noms.

    Do you collect any of your books in translation? I think if I were a published author, I would. But I have a collecting glitch.

  6. rickflick
    Posted October 10, 2018 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    Best wishes. May the trip be an interesting interlude.

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