I've often wondered if RoR developers actually use scaffolding. I prefer to stay close to the evolution of systems.
So I did a little research. Thanks for this, Ben Scofield!
After a few discussions through various channels, the core team eventually settled on the latter - scaffolding was supposed to be educational, illustrating the best practices around RESTful controllers and other Rails conventions. Even with that goal, however, there's still been some difficulty around updating the scaffolded views to teach people how best to, for instance, split files into partials.