The distinction is not at all murky to me. An engineering profession is the utilization of science for practical applications. For a Software Engineer this is the application of computer science for practical software systems. Mature engineering professions typically have well defined standards and processes and a body of knowledge, professional unions that certify engineers, and a well defined set of ethical conduct and defined liability for poor quality work. This isn’t a pipe dream. There are many defacto standards that software developers and engineers typically follow around requirements elicitation, estimation, interoperability, modularity, and other more specific standards like SOA.
I am a community moderator on a Q&A site for Software Engineering. http://www.softwareengineering.stackexchange.com where we help professionals with their questions they face as software engineers. Come visit and read our Tour to get an idea about what is involved in software engineering as a profession.