It has, and that is why that permanent stickie post is at the top of the forum. WHat the best camera will be will depend a whole lot on what kind of photography you are planning to do with it, where you are going to go with it, what you are going to do with the photos, whether you are a pro, a dedicated amateur, a snapshooter and so on. If you had just asked which is the best, nobody could answer your question truthfully.
However, you have mentioned vacations, artwork and sculptures, and macro. If you are not going to be hanging art in galleries, a good 12+ mp compact camera can do all that. The one exception to "the no such thing as a best camera" rule is when it comes to compact cameras. Canon makes the best; period. Sony is not too far behind. I wouldn't even think of getting anything else. Other compact cameras have issues with fragile moving parts and overall durability. Canon and Sony compacts are pretty rugged, will last a while unless you beat the hell out of them, and the quality is high. Don't get the one with the highest number of megapixels, but get a camera with a medium or high medium number. The ones with the highest number of megapixels are kind of stretching the limits of current technology and can have issues with noise, fringing, photosite overlap and so on.
If you DO plan on hanging photos as artwork in galleries and art shows, then you will want (and probably need) a DSLR. Canon, Nikon and Pentax make good DSLRs.
Ha, well don't feel too bad, to be fair to you, the post he refers to really wouldn't help you answer your question remotely, it is a long prose talking about the details of the various types of cameras focusing on film with a little paragraph at the end that briefly mentions how he feels digital photography is only useful for small printing and screen display. Which of course has nothing really to do with answering you question of "what is the best beginner DSLR?"
My best advice is to purchase an entry level DSLR from either Nikon or Canon. It will run you about $600 brand new with a kit lens. Buy whichever it more common among people you know. Quality wise they are functionally the same so having the same brand as your friends will help you learn from them and share gear.
Also on a side note, it might be worth looking into mirror-less cameras as well depending on what your goals are. For vacations and trips a smaller interchangable mirrorless camera like the Nikon 1 or even a Lumix GH2 will produce comparable to entry level DSLR quality of images in a smaller package.
To answer your question about Macro, you either need a close up filter (crappy quality), a macro lens (great quality) or an extension tube for your existing lens ( mediocre quality)