SETI and SETI@Home are two different things.
The SETI Institutude does not support SETI@Home. Some people working at UC Berkley support the SETI@Home project which is now bundled with something called BIONIC which does number crunching for more down-to-earth projects.
Also, the SETI Insitute's web site does not even promote finding Intelligent life as one of its goals right there on its home page showing its list of goals. Life is one thing. Intelligent Life is a whole different bunch of statistics. There was life on Earth for hundreds of millions of years before "intelligent" live came about.
I have emailed some key players in the SETI organization asking them if the popularity and hope is fadeing. The very fact that they read and answered my email right away suggests to me that they WANT to believe but it also tells me they are desperate.
Anyway, I decided to post on this dicussion thread because I had an idea and a question. Imagine if the MythBusters got in volved. Imagine that The Myth was "we are alone for all practical purposes".
Would the result be "Busted" "Confirmed" or "Plausable"?
Now, just be be clear, we are talking about Intelligent life somewhat like us so that we could actually communicate with them in a meaningful way. We are also talking about intelligent life reasonably close so that communication is even possible and reasonable.