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I believe OpenCSG can't render 0 thickness shape. Or maybe it's to prevent having 2D geometry laying around. That would produce a none manifold STL file. OpenSCAD is pretty good at producing manifold STL file, and I think it does everything it can to enforce it.

Note that OpenSCAD won't render anything if you write something like this:

linear_extrude(0) {
    circle(r = 10);
}

I'm not sure why they chose 1 as default value. They could have chose a smaller value, something like 0.00001, but that would not have changed the number of geometry. That would have just make the side triangles very small.