Partly true. My wife uses a high end point & shoot. She is not interested in my dSLR's, they are too big, too heavy and have too many options. Her camera is still 14 bits and makes raw files. It will out perform a Canon F1 and film, and all the dSLR's I have tried will out perform it.
The build quality of the kit 50 mm lens that came with my FTb was better than the kit 18-55 mm that came with my 30D, but the image quality from the 30D is better than I got from film, and except for my 50 mm f/1.8, all my other lenses are of better build quality and better optically than anything I used with my F1 or FTb. Relative to film bodies, digital bodies are heavy, and get much worse battery mileage, but digital does not spoil like film. In some ways the new digital bodies are only incrementally better than those from several years ago, but for some kinds of photography that makes a big difference. For someone who just wants a few photos of a birthday party, it is irrelevant.
David, good question. It's not the camera but the person using it. If you know how to use a camera, then everything else is a moot point. When upgrading one should consider the facts of where they're at to where they wish to be and then decide if the upgrade is the right choice. I have seen some excellent images created with a Canon 10D while those with a 5D or 1D spent so much time fiddling with their camera they couldn't get the same image.
"New isn't always better!"
I began my photographic career with a light meter hanging from my neck. It took me a long time to begin to see the quantity of light without the aid of a light meter. Now we have the digital which allows us to "Fine tune" our exposure right down to a bugs hair (a polite syntax), folks just starting out are thinking that cameras are fool proof and they're a one size fits all commodity. Someone will recommend brand ABC model 123 to a friend who then buys that brand and model who then in turns recommends the same to the next person and so on. As anthony has so well said, no real consideration for the person buying the camera is thought about. I think if people really want to be helped they should make three lists, one - all the things they think they want in a camera, and two - all those things they don't want, and three their ways of using it hence output - business - pleasure - etc. Once this list is completed they then have a much clearer picture (sorry for the pun) of what they need to purchase.
On another note, I truly believe that people are basically sweet and want to help others which gives them a sense of belonging to a group. Maybe that's what these forums produce, a sense of community to which one can say their piece and hopefully give advice that's healthy and appropriate.