hello Rhubarbcrumble,
first, thank you for contributing to a debate which is more or less eternal : "how to express visually what you feel must be expressed".
Photography is one of several techniques to present your ideas on a flat medium; oil, water colour, pencil drawing, etc., digital imaging, and analog photography are all competing, it's just that digital is brand new and so easy to access that millions (or billions) of people adopt it. I don't believe that the millions (or billions) of digital users will all produce wonders to be remembered as Nadar, Stieglitz, Strand, Man Ray, HCB etc., but maybe a few of them will and that justifies (IMHO) the technique.
This said, I definitely think there is a huge difference between a digital print and a traditional silver-based print - personally I could'nt make digitally what I want to present, therefore I continue to work in my darkroom! And there will always be some (probably quite many) who react like me, so traditional photography is in no way deemed to extinction. We are fewer than before which make it a bit more complicated to buy photo materials, but fortunately there is the internet.
Again thank you for opening this discussion, let's hope we can live peacefully forever with our neighbours, the digital crowd.
peter