gone are the days of just Pointing and Shooting and accepting what the camera chooses...
I'm not sure I remember those days (outside of my 110 camera at the local zoo). Skipping any of the critical steps in photography can result in mediocre images (which is a large portion of the images coming out of DSLR cameras these days, from what I can see). Exposure, composition, compression, DOF and now post processing are just a few of the critical steps required to break past the so-so looking images.
Others have given great advice and I agree that you need to learn several techniques that work with DSLR cameras and use the method that renders the best results for your type of subject matter and shooting style. Ignoring it and using an Auto mode may work sometimes, but it won't work all of the time and more often than not will result in those less than professional looking images.
Personally, I shoot to the right most of the time and zone it some of the time. My 1DX is different than my 1Ds3 and 1D4 which has caused me to slightly change the way I shoot just like using slide vs film caused us to expose completely differently based on which one you were using.