RAW is always better
I disagree, and that's a lousy mentality to impress upon someone just starting out. Shooting RAW for everything just wastes space; most of the "extra detail" won't even matter or be noticed (and hence, wouldn't be missed). Important shoots - say, something you're being paid for - certainly justifies the use, but if one is just out and about having fun? Hell, if I shot nothing but RAW, I'd have a terabyte of pictures by now, and for a dedicated hobbyist, that would be an absolutely ridiculous situation. The sheer amount of time spent converting that terabyte would have absolutely killed my passion for photography.
Think of it like this: with JPEG, you're getting a canvas with something already painted on it. With RAW, you're getting the canvas with paint on it, but a palette and brush to go with it.
When you have the RAW files, you get to change many aspects of the picture -- such as tone, noise, sharpness, white balance, color balance, just to name a few -- that you cannot
change as well if you work with a JPEG. It's very convenient to have JPEGs out of the camera because it makes it easier to send pics to your friends, but for anyone serious about the hobby who wants to get the most out of every picture, you need RAW. If you don't shoot in RAW, you aren't using your equipment to its full potential.
Many of my photos benefit from a little post-processing of the RAWs, especially the ones shot at high ISO. It's nearly impossible to edit a JPEG as cleanly as it is RAW. In fact, the only reason I shoot RAW+JPEG is because it's just easier to have all the JPEGs hanging around to fire off to friends and whatnot, but when I preparing photos to print or display online, I exclusively process the RAWs. JPEGs -- even high quality ones -- inherently have less detail than RAW files and allow you much less leeway in changing -- subtly or extremely -- the way the picture looks.
I have an 18MP camera, and I shoot JPEG+RAW all the time. I get over 200 photos on an 8 gig card. When I get home, I delete the photos that don't come out so they don't stack up and waste space. If space is a concern, I recommend shooting RAW, but only keeping JPEGs around for long term storage. It's important to have the RAWs there at first, though; when you get back home and check your photos, it may be possible to save a poorly-exposed photo and turn it into a keeper if you can mess with the RAW file, but with JPEG, you have to assume that you'll get every picture spot-on.
At the very least, new photographers should shoot RAW at first to learn what it's possible to do with RAW files. Then they can decide whether or not they want to shoot them.
EDIT: Shooting RAW also allows you to see, on some cameras, useful info like what part of the photo your camera focused on. This can help you learn how your camera works so you can use it more effectively in the future.