Each side of this debate has some validity to their beliefs. Obviously nobody wants a rod that has bad joinery because the blade of a beveling machine ripped gouges into the bamboo strip, for whatever reason. Likewise a bamboo fly rod that cast like a dream & has perfect joinery between the strips but is finished out with poor wraps, varnish runs, cheap hardware, etc. won’t ever command high prices or respect, I'm sorry to say. Are rod makers that use machines to split, bevel, & taper their bamboo strips cheating or taking a short cut? Do the rod makers who split & plane by hand with an old fashioned block plane & form produce a better rod? The answer in both cases, I feel, is no.
Any experienced machinist will tell you that every piece of equipment has its own intricacies & tendencies that need to be addressed. Each machine is a little different & a good machine operator is both aware of this & compensates for it. A machine is a tool & anyone using it will need to be very skilled in its use to get the best results from it. Some machines are so complicated that it takes years of practice to master, while others are simple (think: toaster vs metal lathe). So when a rod maker uses, say, a beveller to shape their bamboo strips into triangles it takes a certain level of skill & working knowledge to get good results with the beveling machine. When you add in the fact that the rod maker might have designed & built the beveling machine themselves, that level of competence is even higher.
Some rod makers straddle the argument by using machines to split &/or bevel the bamboo strips, but finish the process of tapering the strips by hand with a block plane. That's not a bad idea as planning by hand is a slower process which allows you to see & address problems before (or as) they arise. You have more time to correct a piece of bamboo that might be inclined to grain lift, or see a node that needs to be straightened-out again. All of this can save material & give the rod maker a tactile feel & knowledge of the bamboo in the rod.
Myself, I do all the work by hand the old fashioned way. I don't use bevellers or milling machines to shape the bamboo. All my strips are split by hand on my work bench. I hand plane every strip from start to finish. That doesn't mean that I wouldn't use a machine to help in my work if I felt it was absolutely necessary. Personally, as a rod maker, I'm stuck in a loop where I have work enough to keep me too busy to have the time to design & build a machine, but I'm not so busy that my operation is going to crumble without the aid of machines to speed up the process. Some rod makers are that busy though. Their work & reputation is such that they have a lot of rod orders - more than they could fill in a timely manner doing all the work by hand. In most cases these rod makers are very skilled & so their attention to detail & experience with the machines they use is not a factor in the quality of the rods they produce.
The skill & the high attention to detail it takes to make a good split-bamboo fly rod is the point, no matter if a machine is used to help make it or not. An inexperienced rod maker is not going to consistently make excellent fly rods even if they had an unlimited budget & all the equipment imaginable. However, a skilled & competent rod maker could probably make do with the simplest of tools. It keeps coming back to that, doesn't it, - the rod maker's abilities? That's the answer to the debate for me. Besides, that's what you're buying when you purchase a rod: the rod maker’s skill, not the method they used to make the rod, but the end product. For me, I'll keep doing the work by hand because I work better that way & think that some folks appreciate that I do everything by hand, especially in this day & age. Ultimately though, in the end, it's the rod maker's level of skill that will make for a good all-around fly rod.