My excuse for taking this approach in all languages is accessibility, with accessibility applying to people who can't really code. Whatever the language you can hack a few if statements even if you don't know the language. There are people who are learning and you want to make it 'accessible' for them.
Let the compiler do the work and stay off the bleeding edge features. That includes spaceship operators in PHP. I also think it is worth keeping code a few versions old, so in the case of the spaceship operator, I can do if/then/else things for the compiler to do the work and have my code work on someone else's box that is still on PHP 5.4 because the main software they use doesn't work on PHP 7.3.
Another thing is that if I had to explain my code to someone then the nearer to natural language the better. The example ternary would require me to stop and think for a moment, if it was in boring if statements I could explain it to a not-so-technical person in terms they could understand, even if they could not write it themselves.
On the contrary, even a "not-so-technical person" is likely to be able to guess at the meaning of a question mark; and as a bonus, it's not specific to English either.