Well I can't respond to everyone's questions or statements but appreciate the dialog!
As noted, I had actually never done a direct comparison between a RAW and Jpeg file. When shooting a casual occasion I would just use Jpeg, when shooting a special occasion I would use RAW for presumed greatest latitude.
If you go to Example 6 on the thread SSSC referenced here, THAT is the results I had expected and assumed I was getting.
Well I can't agree. I was purposefully going to the extreme but the image is amazingly usable as it turned out. My attempt was to clearly highlight the shortcomings of shooting in Jpeg while clearly highlighting the benefits of shooting in RAW. It didn't turn out as I had expected no matter how I processed the files.
The following is a quote from the thread SSSC referenced (ex. 6).
The above had always been my prevailing thought and what I fully expected but those are not the results that I got. As it turned out, the RAW file edit was only marginally better than the Jpeg edit. I tried various ways of editing the file but the results were always the same. I like the non-destructive nature of RAW files but I'm either going to have to get a different program or work on my skills to realize these "huge differences".
I would like to see one of you attempt a similar test so you could clearly highlight the superiority of the RAW file but do so honestly by getting the best from the Jpeg as well.