I think this is a lot like the story where a daughter asks her mom why she cuts the ends off the roast before she cooks it. Her mom says that grandma used to do it that way, so she did as well. When grandma is asked by the daughter, she says that she did it because the roast was too big for her small pan...
Honestly, this style of programming came out of necessity. We used it back in the old C/C++ days because the tooling and testing support just wasn't mature compared to today. I remember the first time we upgraded the compiler to a version that would detect this condition. We had all sorts of hidden bugs instantly visible.
I think the reason this style has persisted so long, is that older developers have passed it down due to the development scars we carry from years ago. I do find myself writing this type of code, for the very reason that it's just the way I have always done it. It is good to see these beliefs being questioned, and it will probably change the way I code from here on, just due to it being pointed out. It you have the tooling and testing support, there is just no valid reason to drop in a Yoda condition anymore.
Nice story, didn't know that one, but it's definitely similar!