I also think it's just easier to purl than knit backwards. I am an english knitter, but tried continental just yesterday and I actually thought purling was easier!
I think the interest in knitting backwards is, for me at least, "theoretical". It is cool to think about new ways to do the same stitch! It's very mathematical. And since I'm a physicist I suppose I can't help trying to find math in everything I do.
Are there any "knitting theory" links/book out there? There is a field in mathematics called "knot theory", so I would find it logical to try to relate this to knitting!