It's amazing how you automatically assume I'm using some template language or something. I'm not talking about removing PHP code completely from HTML, I'm talking about HTML that is tied directly to the core functionality. I'm talking about the separation of responsibilities. You have obviously never used an MVC framework, or this would have been quite clear to you.
When HTML is used in a core function, the display can never be altered without changing the base class. That is a HUGE no-no. The display should be separated from business logic so that it can be changed independently of it.
I too hate dedicated template languages for the same reason you do. PHP itself is a template language, and I don't use Smarty of anything else. But I DO separate the HTML/template display code - the "View" - from the business logic, and that's what I was ranting about.
I've worked on a TON of very large projects, and that's exactly why my tone is NOT a tad milder. This is a big issue that will seriously affect the flexibility of the CMS.