[ If all things (backlinks, etc) are equal, will a subdomain blog post rank higher or lower than a blog post on the root domain, or is it equal?]
This couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, subdomains tend to dominate the search results with some notable exceptions of course. The most common subdomain is www. This should be fundamental knowledge for anyone in the SEO business.
Google doesn’t treat one page differently from another based on domains, or subdomains, with the exception of country codes that triggers localization filters. Outside of country code domains, they are essentially domain (and subdomain) agnostic.
While you see a “good explanation” I see a bad explanation in that post. Funny how someone can have all the correct facts yet ignore them when they formulate a conclusion.
In short, www really is a subdomain and pointing to an inaccurate musing doesn’t change that fact. I don’t mean to belittle the author you quoted, but let’s just say that he represents the classic definition of cargo cult science.