I wish somebody had commented on who the "sage" was you refer to. I would like more reading on this subject.
I have seen functional programming come up a few times in various forums and need to do some reading there myself.
I have spent some time myself thinking on coding style and seperation of concerns. From much I have seen so far I do not actually seem to agree with the MVC model, though I seem to agree with the intent. I say **seem** because I have a sneaking suspicion the code bases I have seen using Templates are just done badly.
However, I still have a feeling I would not like MVC because it seems to place the "emphasis" if you will in the wrong place. Too often, when working in so called MVC frameworks, I find myself "wandering" the templates to troubleshoot code. This just **feels** wrong. It seems to me there should be a more directed way to quickly trace or travel to the problem code.
I realize my commentary here is somewhat fragmented and distracted. Again, I think it is simply because my experience to date has involved only bad examples of MVC and template usage. But to waffle once again, if a design concept makes it so easy to do it wrong, is there not something about the concept itself that is flawed?
Basically, I think MVC somehow revolves too much around the user experience (screens) and thus the templates become the focus for all coding. Eventually this translates to having to "walk the screens" to troubleshoot every problem. I don't think this is inherent in MVC intent, just too easy a trap to fall into. When you use a templating system that can call other templates, the result can be downright dizzying.
To summarize, I agree with you, I feel this approach is bad, I just can't properly articulate why...