ID is intrinsically religious, it can only ever lead to either that conclusion, or something they can and will spin to that effect, and that is, well, by intelligent design.
Try a simple thought experiment. We discover some evidence that life was designed. The immediate question is, by who? Well if it’s not God or evolution it must be aliens. Okay so now we have aliens, where did they come from? Well ID says they can’t just spring into existence, and ID says evolution can’t explain it, so where did they come from? Super aliens of course. Okay so now we got super aliens, and where do they come from? Well if it’s not God or evolution it must be Giga-super aliens. Okay so now we have aliens, where did they come from? Well ID says they can’t just spring into existence, and ID says evolution can’t explain it, so where did they come from?
And we can keep going until we run into another problem, which is that aliens could not have always existed. Regardless of how old the universe ultimately is, we know now that at some point we get back to a period before stars or planets, where all the matter in the universe was in the form of extremely dense and hot ionizing radiation where nothing could live. So there can’t be an infinite chain of alien creators going back forever, and so we’re forced to pick the outside of the univers designer hypothesis.
Michael Behe essentially agrees with this type of reasoning. As he testifed in the Dover trial:
“. . . it may be that all possible natural designers require irreducibly complex structures which themselves were designed. If so, then at some point a supernatural designer must get into the picture. I myself find this line of reasoning persuasive. In my estimation, although possible in a broadly permissive sense, it is not plausible that the original intelligent agent is a natural entity. The chemistry and physics that we do know weigh heavily against it. If natural intelligence depends on physical organization, then the organization seems likely to have to be enormously complex and stable over reasonable periods of time. While simpler systems may perform the tasks that irreducibly complex systems perform a terrestrial life, they would likely perform them more slowly and less efficiently, so that the complexity required for intelligence would not ultimately be achieved. Thus, in my judgment it is implausible that the designer is a natural entity.”
It’s absurd to think ID can be somehow divorced from it’s religious underpinnings. To the extend they are claiming to merely find evidence for ID you can entertain the idea without obvious theistic implications, at least for a while. But Sooner or later we get something pretty much like God because their supposed pro-ID evidence always and only ever takes the form of anti-evolution arguments, that’s where we end up only with something “outside of nature”.
We can try to entertain a thought-experiment that the original designer was not literally an omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient supernatural mind living in the absence of a physical brain, but instead some alternative form of life living outside of the universe, and the universe is itself a sort of simulation being run on computers build by super-aliens in some super-universe. And while that’s certainly philosophically conceivable, cdesign-proponentsists would of course try to spin that as being functionally equivalent to God, which it was all intended to lead back to anyway.
That’s why in the end their supposed pro-ID “evidence” never amounts to actual theories or models of ID(how the designing takes place, what methods were used etc.) and only ever take the form of anti-evolution arguments. Because only by doing that can their endeavor lead to a theological conclusion, which is what it’s all about in the end. That’s why they’re doing ID stuff in the first place. It’s religious apologetics, nothing more.