The word “tangent” when used in a non-mathematical context means: “diverging from an original purpose or course.”
Darwinians love to try to derail debates by latching onto irrelevancies in order to push the discussion away from the issue under review. This is especially true when they are unable to counter a proposition. Rather than admit defeat, they say “let’s talk about something else!”
Here are a couple of examples.
In this post I put up a string of letters that resulted from my haphazard banging on my keyboard. I then compared that string to the first 12 lines of Hamlet’s soliloquy. The obvious purpose of the post is to demonstrate that there is a clearly perceived difference between a more or less random string of letters and a lengthy string of meaningful English text as a way to demonstrate the design inference. Notice how the Darwinian commenters latched onto an utter irrelevancy – the fact that the first string was not rigorously random – and completely ignored the point of the post.
The point of this post is that a particular Darwinian’s [i.e., ES’s] prior metaphysical commitments forced him to deny a self-evident truth. Notice Mark Frank’s attempt to derail the discussion by fussing over whether this or that proposition is really “self-evident.” MF utterly ignores the context of the OP (the self-evident difference between a pile of sand and an elaborately designed sand castle). He does not deny that there is in fact a self-evident difference between a pile of sand and an elaborately designed sand castle. Nor does he deny that ES’s prior metaphysical commitments forced him to deny this self-evident truth. Instead he tries to change the subject.
Finally, we have this post. I admitted that I incorrectly identified Dr. Feser as a materialist. Whether Dr. Feser is a materialist is neither here nor there with respect to the point of the post (that Feser’s glib attempt to dismiss the design inference is easily shown to be way off base). Notice, however, how ES fixates on that irrelevancy as a means of distracting from the point of the post.