PHP is like MySQL, and it appeals to the same group of people. It works, most of the time. When it's not sure what to do, it does _something_ rather than annoy the programmer, which might even be the wrong thing. When it does something that might be the wrong thing, it does it silently whenever possible so there is no "squeaking" on the outside. The result is that PHP programs work most of the time, like MySQL. That sounds great, but they also have a tendency to fail in unexpected murky ways.
BTW, there is no need to be a "guru" to write Perl programs. An understanding of the syntax, as well as basic structured programming/OO principles is all that is necessary to create fast, reusable, and reliable Perl code. The problem is that frequently people lack the latter, so they jump on a language like PHP which lets them get away with not having to know such things. Such people view PHP as superior and Perl programmers as pretentious language snobs because they can do in 5 minutes in PHP what would have taken them an hour to learn how to do in Perl. That in no way invalidates the viewpoint of the Perl snob. PHP is a half-ass hack of a language that happens to be preferred by the majority of half-ass hacks of programmers out there.
Note, this is not a flame at PHP developers. I know some really good ones. I'm flaming people who suggest that PHP is a better language because it doesn't make you learn anything about software design principles. That's precisely the reason I avoid other people's PHP code whenever possible and don't recommend its use in a business environment where software infrastructure quality counts towards the bottom line.