Yeah, there are good reasons why one of the first great improvements in beer quality was the ability to chill rapidly. Right up there with temperature control in fermentation. Not going back. When I hear people say that they can do this, that and the other without affecting the quality of their beer, I have to question the baseline of quality. But if people are happy with a technique, it's their choice.
Slow chilling also maximizes DMS formation, minimizes the chance of getting an effective cold break to have clear beer, and massively oxidizes the wort. But these issues aren't important to some homebrewers. My understanding is that some people try to address the risk of infection -- which should matter to anyone -- by tightly sealing the hot wort right off the boil in a vessel that can withstand the vacuum that will occur on cooling, so the wort is supposed to be subjected to a sort of poor man's pasteurization as it begins to cool. I used to do something like this making starters. I'd boil up my DME, pour it into a Mason jar, seal it up, and make my starter the next day, to save the effort of an ice bath. I'm not dead. I also didn't expect to enjoy drinking my starter.
It's not that they're not important, it's that based on experience they appear to be canards. Unless you have tried no chill and the beer made from it, all comments need to be tempered.
Sorry but unless you've tried the technique or beer made from it, I find it hard to give your opinion credence. I was as skeptical as you, but I now have personal experience that tells me my skepticism was unfounded.
Like I said, back in my early days, I couldn't chill. Quick chilling was a big improvement IME. I've kept improving my chilling time and kept seeing benefits. Others will have to see for themselves. I did try skipping the chiller again maybe 10 years ago to see for myself the difference. It was remarkable, and that batch was a dumper. But by then, I'd also tightened up a lot more of my process and raised my expectations, which still continues and always will. So that's my experience, actually observing easily predictable effects of not chilling quickly. Science isn't a speculation or abstraction you can't readily observe, it's the result of cumulative, repeatable observations. If your observations differ from what proven science predicts, then there must be some other cause at work, which can also be scientifically identified.
I realize that there's an inclination to tell homebrewers that things don't matter, not to worry, so as to avoid overwhelming or discouraging them. But ultimately I believe that many will be more encouraged and satisfied by learning how to improve their outcomes. If chilling isn't making a noticeable impact, then there must be other things that could be improved that are obscuring other faults.
And I would hope that this forum, and the AHA in general, might aspire to be good resources for educating those who want to learn, not just an echo chamber for what a few have already decided is comforting and want to keep hearing. I've learned a lot from them past, but there seems to be a chill falling on the place. Pun intended.