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That's my current take on it.
Inktomi accounts for about 10% of my SE referrals, and assuming that it gives meta keywords a 10% weight makes them only 99.0% irrelevant :)
Even if we assume a 1% weight they are only 99.9% irrelevant.
I do use them, but do not spend much time on them.
The body copy can usually focus on 1-8 related keywords. The number of keywords a site can focus on is limited only by its size.
Is the meta keywords tag important? Debatable. For Ink yes, for AltaVista and FAST yes at least for Trusted Feed programs. To the best of my knowledge they don't even look at body copy with those programs just KW, DESC, and Title. One would hope they'd put more emphasis on the body copy for pages included the good ol' fashioned way.
For Google, not important.