All can be argued endlessly, but I do not think one side "wins" over the other. IMO (yeah, let's add another opinion to the debate) you can stripe down programming to 2 "big" buckets: algorithms (aka Maths, or the solution to your problem) and optimisation (aka what is the best solution to your problem) - (yes, this is very simplified).
Starting off with a "non strongly typed" language might enable you to experiment and develop the "algorithm" part first / faster. It will give the possibility to have a simple program up and rumnning fast and would be very permissive when it comes to datatypes conversion (IMO, closer to the way my poor human brain works. To me, the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything is 42, and I do not separate its written form "42" from is representation as an integer 42, a decimal 42.0 or a quarternion 42.0 0.0i 0.0j 0.0k . It is just 42).
In the other hand, stating off with ANSI C might give you a deeper understanding of the way programming "works". I had very interesting struggles wih memory violation, multithreading, padding of structures, memory management... etc. Taking the problem by this end might make a newbie very well aware of the lower level construction of the code, and be very beneficial in a optimisation / clear structured code perspective.
I went through both: I started off with microcontroller programming in the technician school (and a great pen and paper exam where the prof gave us machine code in hex printed on a A4 page, the doc of the microcontroller and 3 simple questions: 1- Reverse Engineer, 2- Identify the function, 3- Optimize). It continued with a few months of C programming for microcontrollers in the same school but it was kind of too rough / not rewarding enough for me.
Then I discoverd Python during an internship. It felt great, and I do not think I used much of my C knowledge in, I was happy to actually "break it". But I think I progressed a lot then. This is why I recommended python to start.
It also fits with what is currently my job now (mostly HR stuff: recruiting, employee development (L&D as backbone)...etc) and this word I hate in everybody's mouth (generation Y). It has some truth in its cliché though: most people I recruit / have in my team / develop / know / (add anything) in the first half of their 20s (or younger) are highly motivated, highly engaged but need reward and recognition fast. In this perspective, python is very rewarding, very fast.
In my learning journey, I did a little VHDL at school and then started learning LabVIEW professionaly. This is where I learned the most and I am currently trying to transfer this knowledge back into the "C world" (C# to be exact, which in my opinion might also be a good sarting point with the balance of the "rigidity" of the C language and the fast results with its easy event-based HMI programming and its Language Runtime taking part of the low level job away of the programmer).