6.5 years ago by
You are totally correct with your initial assumption. This question is similar to choosing between Spanish and English, which language to choose? Well if you go to Spain,...
All (programming) languages are equal, in the sense of that you can solve the same class of problems with them. Once you know one language, you can easily learn all imperative languages.
Use the language that you already master or that suits your style. Both (Perl & Python) are interpreted languages and have their merits. Both have extensive Bio-libraries, and both have large archives of contributed packages.
An important criterion to decide is the availability of rich, stable, and well maintained libraries. Choose the language that provides the library you need. For example, if you want to program web-services (using SOAP not web-sites), you better use Java or maybe C#.
Conclusion: it does no harm to learn new languages.
And no flame wars please.