I don't know if not having the specific worker automation you want is dumbing down the game. I think people use that phrase far too often. That's a bad UI design, but it has nothing to do with the intelligence of the game (in fact, I would argue that a game that wants you to play smarter wouldn't have automated workers, since it's always more effective to do things yourself).
I find the game to actually be far less forgiving than Civ4. In Civ4, you could sacrifice one thing if you screwed up in something else and then flip it back later. In Civ5, everything involves a permanent change of some kind. The removal of the slider is the big one, it really forces you to plan ahead. Social Policies are another (I would always play religious in Civ4 and Civ3 in order to switch gov'ts on a whim). I've also seen vigorous debates about the way to play (Civil Service and farms vs. Trading Posts and Maritime City States are the big debate at the moment).
Now there are certainly flaws with the game and I feel the removal of many active things to do during peacetime, certain races towards techs, and a general weakening of world wonders have simplified the game in some areas. But it's also more complicated in others. Do they balance out? I don't quite think they do, but it's not too different from Civ4 vanilla, to be honest.