To be fair, I decided to go back and re-read Smirky's original post. I think the key difference in viewpoints can be found in the conclusion he draws after his first statement:
I'm pretty sure this crop/full frame debate is soon to go the way of the blue ray vs. hd dvd debate... it will be made irrelevant by the advancement of technology.
No disagreement there.
But then that segues to this:
The D800 has pretty much shown us the future. If you have a high megapixel camera, crop becomes irrelevant. The D800 switches between 1.0, 1.2 and 1.5 crops effortlessly with 36/26/16 MP files respectively. A 50MP camera gets us to almost 20MP at a 1.6 crop.
That's where I disagree.
Let's go back to the "blue ray vs. HD DVD debate." The debate has become irrelevant not because a technology that offers superior image quality has won out. It is irrelevant because a "good enough" technology (high speed video streaming) is winning out. I can't remember the last DVD I bought and I've never bought a Blue Ray disc. No need to. I simply stream the movies to my television through Netflix or On Demand. Yes, the quality isn't as good and yes, it really annoys me when it stutters and shuts down in the middle of a show, but it is "good enough" and so it wins.
That is the mistake we make on this forum. Too many times we assume that pure quality wins. But quality only wins for a tiny, tiny percentage of the market. We also make the false assumption that quality matters more in the professional market when just the opposite is true. A professional has to always balance out the investment of time and effort against the marginal profit. No professional can afford to spend as much time on an image as an unpaid amateur. So instead, pros are always producing products that are "good enough," even though to the customer they may appear to be "perfect."
So, here's the heart of the debate: Does the path to "good enough" go through higher and higher megapixel counts on large sensors? Does it go through better and better image quality on smaller sensors? Does it go through some new hybrid technology (such as the Fuji organic sensor)? Is there a single path or multiple paths?
I don't know, but I do see enough practical problems with high megapixel full-frame sensors to suggest that the path may not be as clear as Smirky opined. I won't repeat my original post on this thread, but I will reference it.
The presumption that full frame will somehow "win out" over other formats is not supported by any objective evidence. The cost differential between the two most popular formats is real and instead of shrinking, it grew in the most recent releases by both Nikon and Canon. (At this point speculation about "entry level" full frame cameras is just that: speculation.) The quality difference between the two formats is converging. Full frame continues to excel in the margins, but those margins are shrinking. Bigger may always be better, but the cost-benefit scale is tipping toward the smaller formats.
Companies make products in order to sell them and are unlikely to abandon any market that earns them a profit.
Finally, and most importantly, the way in which we all view photographs is undergoing a revolution that makes the move to digital cameras seem insignificant. It's too early in the game to know exactly how it will all play out, but it does seem as though high-megapixel, super-high quality imagery seems to be swimming upstream against the flood of tablets, phones and social media.
I've tried to look at this without drama or throwing out red meat. But, I simply disagree with the original post that somehow one high-megapixel camera demonstrates a clearly defined single path.