JPG involves compression which means you get a lot of what I call blending/melding in your photographs. Ok when viewed small, not ok when viewed large, in fact blardy ugly and horrible.
I save most of my processed photographs in JPG, there are quite a lot who prefer to save in TIFF (another lossless format).
other than that, no processing is done to RAW in-camera, and you get a lot more control about your picture in the post-processing process, whether it is White Balance, saturation control, sharpness control, blah blah blah, depending on which RAW utility you use. More control = better photographs eventually if your knowledge is a little bit more than skimpy.
You can read this interesting article for fun if you're bored. =)
There is alot of things that you can do with the latest version of Adobe Camera Raw (ACR), lots of really good stuff because of the lossless factor (already mentioned above). If you think you want to futureproof a particular image then RAW is the way to go, so at least use RAW for images that you think would be keepers. It's not what you can do now that is amazing but I think what you can do in future with image manipulation would be tremenduous (thus, you need RAW). It's better to shoot less in RAW then to shoot more in JPEG, train you to think before you shoot (of course, you shoot more but delete after). I'm thinking soon, they would have inbuilt HDR in camera's which would give a MUCH wider tonal range. I'm regreting my decision not to switch earlier. Just heard about HD Photo too.
Best way to experience it is to try a software like ACR. Also, try to find some videos on New Adobe Camera Raw 4.0 (search for Kelby or Nack or Kloskowski) that demonstrate this and you would be overwhelmed.
You do RAW for full control of how the data captured by the sensor is interpreted.
As an analogy think film photography. There when light hits the film, some certain inevitable chemistry takes over to create some "data" which is in turn undergo further chemistry in development. And at the end of these chemical processing you get to see a picture.
The only "control" you have in film photography are the choice of a few types of film, and maybe to manipulate the chemistry during development. However the latter is an option only if have access to a lab.
In digital photography all these chemistry is done digitally, either by the on-board camera processor, or off-camera in your PC.
You have no control of the on-board processor, other than some simple discreet settings, like WB, Saturation, Sharpness, etc. With off board processing the entire "chemistry" is for you to manipulate, if you want, and it tantamounts to you creating any "film" of your need or fancy.
But you can still take default settings during off-camera RAW processing. And then it will be no different from just accepting the camera's on-board processing.
And the outcome of onboard processing can be either TIFF or JPEG, ie you dont have to do RAW if all you need is a lossless master copy. You can still work your camera like in film days and treat its processor as your film.
You only ought to do RAW if and only if you want full control of the processing (or unless your camera dont offer you TIFF as an on-board output). Only then the extra effort off camera is justified and indispensable.
As to the so-called purist who shun any processing except "minor touch ups" - whatever minor touchups mean - then it is just a case of hiding your head in the sand. For with digital photography, there is processing right from the begining, even in the sensor, whcih is typically a Bayer sensor, which requires interpolation - or guessing at "reality" - even to create any image. (And for this reason sensors for scientific and technical applications dont use the Bayer sensor.)
The criteria for a good shot now is not whether you get it "good" or "right" direct out of cam, but whether you have used the camera to optimally collect data for optimal processing to give you the optimal picture.
But you need to know what this "optimal" or "right" picture is for you to work backwards to determine what is optimal capture and what is optimal processing.
And that, perhaps for some kind of pictures you take, could be JPEG - or TIFF - straight off camera, and not necessarily RAW.