This is a good example of the kind of brain damage that years of using an inferior version control system can inflict on people.
Merging and branching aren't complicated and arcane operations that only special experts can handle. They're routine operations that every software developer needs to deal with. Every company that develops software will have multiple code branches active at the same time (unless they're small enough to fit in your garage.) Every developer will need to merge his changes forwards and backwards from time to time.
Subversion and CVS have historically given you very little help doing merges (although the situation has improved slightly recently.) This led to an attitude of superstition and fear towards branches. But if you don't understand branching and merging, you *will get burned*, no matter which VCS you use. It's better to just explain to people how things really work.