I'm sorry, but I have yet to see one person prove the difference means anything in practice. I push/pull some of my Canon photos pretty hard, including crop sensor RAWs, without difficulty. Is there more noise then there would be on a Sony sensor while pixel peeping? Yes. Does it ruin the image when viewed normally? Can't even see it.
Sure you can underexpose a dark brick wall and shove the ACR slider to +5 and the Sony looks better. (And if you want to bias it, turn NR down or off completely.) Right up until it's compared to a properly exposed shot and you realize that A) you shouldn't rely on ACR to fix gross exposure errors, and B) if you need dramatic DR then you are best off blending exposures. Tonality is typically trashed in the dark brick wall samples people use to "prove" that Sony sensors have better DR.
Sony sensors have better DR, but not by enough to be worth the forum drama. Personally I would rather have the cleaner overall high ISO.
Oh yeah..."real photogs" do everything in their power to capture great light and/or shape their light, because light is everything. If their choice is between pushing shadow detail that has no real tonality or pushing an image that was blended or shot with a graduated ND filter, they will choose the latter if at all possible.
Hey, no need to be sorry. We can agree to disagree. From my experience, I get a lot of pattern noise when I push shadows, and they are very visible, especially if the sensor heats up (which it does quickly). This is from a 5D mk II. From the sample images I've worked with, the more recent Nikon images seem much cleaner and more workable. As for the various ways of working with light, bracketing, HDR, strobes, reflectors, scrims, etc. I think ND grads don't really apply because they are quite limited in what you can do, along with the bulk and time it takes to set up, I'd rather just bracket and manually piece the image together in PS.
A beautiful photograph is most important. I just want it to look cleaner. Pattern noise in the shadows of a 5dII image, or even 5DIII image somewhat inhibits my processing. I appreciate your perspective though. Sometimes I can be too OCD.