Gentoo - I think you will find that most people who buy SLR's just want a camera with no shutter-lag, decent low light performance, and possibly the ability to make some cool home movies of the kids. I'd actually be surprised if more than half of the D90's sold ever make it into the semi-manual modes... Just like most people tend not to tweak their PC's, their cars, or really anything that lies outside of their core interests.
Your point about the D700 is much more valid. The D700 is actually an inferior choice for casual shooting. The only reasons to own a D700, which has none of the full auto or scene modes, is to extend your capabilities as a photographer. D700's are for getting wide, and being able to really explore the ambient light.
I'm actually shocked that Nikon hasn't released a consumer FX body. To me, its the most obvious way for them to re-sell to their current installed base. I'm sure its coming, but I figured it would be here by now.
EDIT: BTW, that sony DSC-H1 was an excellent camera. Probably the best point & shoot of its time (although not very compact).
I'd have to say that you're probably right. I know a few D90 users who use it exactly as you said.
That Sony was a really good camera in it's time for a P&S. I still have a few pics on my gallery taken with it: