Some of what you say is resonating with me. One of my primary objections to intelligent design is our inability to quantify or even define intelligence.
A common argument of IDists is that they're not doing anything different from what archaeologists do, which is to search for signs of intelligence. But of course that's not what archaeologists do. What archaeologists actually do is seek signs of human presence and activity. Archaeologists no more have a method for identifying intelligence than any other branch of science. No such method exists.
I think many would concede there is no scientifically precise definition of intelligence, but I also think many believe intelligence can be recognized when encountered, say in themselves or others they meet or in the things people make. I'm not so sure, but in any case it can certainly be said that this view lacks rigor, and it actually sounds a lot like IDists who claim to see evidence of the results of intelligence at work all around us.
I can go part of the way with Meyer. It makes sense to investigate whether life was designed, but to just look at it and say it has "the distinctive hallmarks of intelligently designed systems" is an opinion. Cells certainly look like nothing man has ever designed. The best ID can seem to do is to draw analogies between cells with their structures and man made systems with their components.
One of the hallmarks of human design is hard edges and corners. Here's an image of something we design that is very small, even smaller than a cell:
Now if I saw edges and corners like this in a cell, that's when I would start thinking, "By God, this was designed!"