I've been a perl programmer for decades, and the number of hours I've spent debugging issues with automatic type conversion are in the single digits, and the number of problems I've encountered with string-to-numeric conversion is literally zero
How nice for you. You must not be writing very interesting or complex software.
On more complex software you tend to use an object system that
does additional type-checking for you (usually "Moose", "MooX" or
possibly "Mouse"... like I said about lack of standardization...).
But I'm completely serious about this point: the perl culture has never been
fanatic about the way it does things, and there are any number of
issues where it was decided that things were too loose and needed
to be tightened up: string-to-number conversions are emphatically
*not one of them*. They don't even throw a warning, not even
running with "use warnings" on (you heard of strict and warnings,
right? In your 20 years of experience?).
There's something profoundly weird about the
strong-typing-or-death fanatics... they've got a bad case of
obsessive compulsive disorder and using a string as a number
drives them up the wall, even though it *never* causes any
problems. Verily, not even you in your 20 years of experience can
cite a case where it caused any problems for you.