I think it all boils down to people not wanting to do something they're not good at. It takes no strength to do a pulldown but takes a bit to do a bodyweight pullup. To say "I don't care about strength" just means they are side stepping the fact that they suck at them. There is nothing wrong with sucking at something and working to get better but there is something wrong with throwing something of benefit to the wayside simply because you don't care to improve on it. And even if they did improve on it, there is no pin to be placed or barbell to be loaded. They forget that bodyweight is resistance, and can even be maximal resistance. There is something to be said for being able to 'man handle' (or is that 'person handle' now, lol) your own bodyweight. Maybe they're even the people that think because they can do a few pushups that they should be able to bench their bodyweight.
For MANY people, especially the rats, the gym is all about poundages and throwing around 'big' weights. I'd rather not get into a bunch of psychology, lol, but for some reason going to the gym and just doing your thing isn't enough. Its a race to add plates to everything and get the biggest biceps. The problem is that you miss out on, I'd say, about half (maybe even 3/4s) of the experience or benefit of lifting.
I workout from 6:30am to about 8:30am. The gym is not busy. There are maybe 12-20 people lifting and about 12-20 doing cardio. There are 2 Platforms and 4 squat racks. I NEVER have a problem getting one and since I'm usually in the squat rack/platform for a good portion, if not the entire workout, I see who uses them. There are maybe 2 people at any given time using them and every damn time its for quarter squats with weights that they CANNOT handle or upright rows. I'm not talking 300lbs or 400lbs either, I'm talking 185lb 1/4 ROM back squats. That is not impressive. It is stupid. You're only short changing your own progress and gains by doing that sort of crap, and maybe even getting a nice injury for your hard work. These same people hop right onto the lead sled and load it full of plates for more reduced ROM action.
I saw a guy this very morning doing 185lbs for quarter squats and he almost lost the bar. His 'spotter' had to grab one end of the bar to keep it on his back. And no it wasn't offset, he had that sucker centred on his back at the start.
How does this tie in with pullups? Same scenario. Guys can't do pullups (just like they can't squat) to save their lives so they hop onto the pulldown because they can put the pin halfway down the stack and cheat out their reps. Why work on pullups and risk looking like you don't know what you're doing (which they don't in the first place) they hop onto something that requires nothing coming into it. AND these guys think that pulling more than half the stack is impressive! I've heard a guy give out compliments to someone because he pulled a 200lb pulldown.
It makes me want to go in tomorrow and pull the entire stack, then proclaim "Yeahhhhh budddy! Lightweight!" After which I will return to doing more pullups.