exactly. here comes the car analogy....why learn to drive a manual shift car, since an automatic transmission is "out there" and "done it better"?
I think having an understanding of something at a lower level, lets you use it at a higher level better. For example with math, I'm very much a fan of initially teaching it without the use of a calculator. In university calculus we were not allowed to use calculators on exams. The coefficients were such that you didn't need a calculator, but you really had to know your shit. Once you actually understand what a derivative is, use MATLAB for real world problems with crazy coeeficents, and large data sets. By comparison for statics we used the program "TKSolver". No one in the class really understood statics, you just kept throwing equations at it till it gave a solution.
With programming, having a sense of how something works in assembly, and how data structures and sorts work, will then let you make better use of it in a higher level language.
On the transmission, whether or not you drive it daily, driving a manual forces the driver to understand the concept of multiple gears, where the car generates power, where it runs fuel efficiently, engine braking, etc. While it doesn't have to be done on manual (playing around with manumatic modes can accomplish the same), it's amazing how many drivers don't have the first clue of how their transmission operates (I'm not talking how the solenoids are activated, or how planetary gears work, just the basic relationship of gear ratios, and engine speed). Look at the concept of "Passing gear". WTF? There's no specific designated "passing gear", the car just downshifts into the lowest allowable gear at the current road speed. It could be first, it could be third. Are you going 15MPH or are you going 65MPH? Somehow even though they drove multiple gears on a pedal bike, they didn't make the connection in a car.
Even driving an automatic, I might kick it over into manumatic and override it if I'm towing a trailer, or if it kicks down I might hold it in the lower gear so I can let up on the gas, then press down again without making it hunt.