I agree with you, incidentally. I think it might be a better design decision to be slower (but more reliable) and to fail loudly by default (10gen has started down this path a few versions ago, by turning journaling on by default). It's messy, but messes get peoples' attention, at least.
That said, I think that people really do overblow the issue and make mountains out of that particular molehill, because all the tools are there to make it do what you want. Many times, it comes down to people expecting that MongoDB will magically conform to their assumptions at the expense of conforming to others' assumptions. Having explicit knowledge of the ground rules for any piece of technology in your stack should be the rule rather than the exception.