You seem to be conflating the idea of what a magazine should do to review equipment and what "science" or "engineering" broadly speaking "should do" to establish design criteria for equipment. Clearly it is in my view beyond the scope to a magazine to establish definitive design criteria. However, they could usefully establish that design criteria other than accuracy are important, or that certain types of accuracy are more important than others.
IMO this is critically important because years ago accuracy was deemed THE design criteria per se. Engineering and technology responded with equipment with increasing numbers of zeros to the right of the decimal point for very low prices in today's marketplace.
Thus one might conclude that if the highest of high enders can be specific (in terms of measured performance) about what they want, that engineering and technology can similarily provide that at very low prices. Yet no one seems to be able to do this. I don't understand why.
Years ago Bob Carver challenged the high end to the effect that he could make his el cheapo (relatively speaking) power amp sound like any mega buck of choice with similar design limits. As I recollect, Sterophile took him up on it, and Bob seemed to succeed aping a 15 or 20 times more expensive CJ. I never understood why the whole discussion faded away. The only "refutation" of Bob's achievement I read was that he couldn't do that with production equipment at his price point. That may well be so, but that's hardly a dismissal, since achieving the same at double or triple his price point was still a bargain. (Another rather silly point was made to the effect that Bob was "stealing" someone else's sound; his response was to design a super tube amp that remains the reference for some to this day, I think.)
I'm agnostic about whether the highest high enders are right, but I find it curious that many of their claims are unfazed by vast improvement in technology, and find their unwillingness or inability to state specificly what they want to be very puzzling.