The phony "they made me do it" defense of ID-as-science ruling
Should judges decide what science is?
DI [Discovery Institute] spokesmen and other political supporters of ID criticized the judge for overstepping his intellectual and legal bounds by ruling on whether or not ID was science. But Judge Jones literally had no choice but to rule on whether or not ID was science. The plaintiffs asked him to rule on exactly this, and so did the defence. The TMLC's chief counsel for the defence, Richard Thompson, acknowledged that, like the attorneys for the plaintiffs, the defence had asked the judge to rule on the question of whether ID was science. They staked their whole case on the notion that ID was legitimate science, and that therefore teaching it had a legitimate secular purpose and secular effect, and this outweighed any religious goals that individual board members might have had. The judge did exactly what both sides asked him to do. It is unfortunate for ID supporters that they did not take that brief more seriously. And it is important to understand that the judge did not decide what is science and what is not. Nobody inside or outside the legal profession wants judges to do that. What the judge did was to rule on what the scientific community considers science, which is quite a different thing. His path was easy in that respect, because the DI and other ID proponents had no support whatsoever from the scientific community, whereas evolution received nothing but the strongest support.
The criticism has been made by more than just "DI [Discovery Institute] spokesmen and other political supporters of ID" -- neutral people and even anti-ID people have also made the criticism  . No one has ever cited any legal authority (a constitutional provision, law, court rule, or court opinion) in support of this cockamamie idea that judges are obligated to rule on questions whenever both sides ask them to -- and the reason for that is that the very notion is absurd. Should a judge rule on the question of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin just because both sides ask him to do it? The Kitzmiller v. Dover opinion itself does not give this as one of the reasons for the judge's decision to rule on the ID-as-science question -- here are the reasons given by the opinion (pages 63-64) --
We have now found that both an objective student and an objective adult member of the Dover community would perceive Defendants' conduct to be a strong endorsement of religion pursuant to the endorsement test. Having so concluded, we find it incumbent upon the Court to further address an additional issue raised by Plaintiffs, which is whether ID is science. To be sure, our answer to this question can likely be predicted based upon the foregoing analysis. While answering this question compels us to revisit evidence that is entirely complex, if not obtuse, after a six week trial that spanned twenty-one days and included countless hours of detailed expert witness presentations, the Court is confident that no other tribunal in the United States is in a better position than are we to traipse into this controversial area. Finally, we will offer our conclusion on whether ID is science not just because it is essential to our holding that an Establishment Clause violation has occurred in this case, but also in the hope that it may prevent the obvious waste of judicial and other resources which would be occasioned by a subsequent trial involving the precise question which is before us.
It was only after release of the opinion that Judge Jones started claiming that one of his reasons for ruling on the ID as science question was that both sides asked him to do it .
Also, Judge Jones noted above that the plaintiffs raised the "additional issue" of whether "ID is science" but made no statement about the defendants raising the issue.
Also, regarding the following statement from the above quote from the Biochem Jounral:
They [the defendants] staked their whole case on the notion that ID was legitimate science, and that therefore teaching it had a legitimate secular purpose and secular effect . . . .
No, the defendants also claimed that ID encouraged critical thinking, but Judge Jones dodged that question..
And the following statement:
. . . it is important to understand that the judge did not decide what is science and what is not. Nobody inside or outside the legal profession wants judges to do that.
In some lawsuits -- e.g., in product liability lawsuits -- it is necessary for judges to decide what is science in order to decide the case. Kitzmiller v. Dover was not such a lawsuit.
And the following:
What the judge did was to rule on what the scientific community considers science, which is quite a different thing.
Wrong -- Judge Jones ruled on more than that. And what the scientific community considers science is only one of the factors judges are supposed to consider in judging scientific questions -- see Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals.