It is commendable and demanding of respect when a person decides to dedicate themselves to a specific art and work within that sect of the martial arts community. Yet it is deplorable when this same person scoffs and sneers at others efforts within a different sect.
While it is no doubt true that certain styles or approaches are more effective there is still validity within the practice of those so-called "less effective" styles. Each person must decide for themselves why it is they practice. After all, Bruce Lee did say that in the end all knowledge is self knowledge, including knowledge of martial arts. Upon continued dedication the practitioner learns about himself in ways of which he was previously ignorant. For example you will learn by taking just one kickboxing class how flexible / inflexible you are.
Getting back on point, when it comes to the different approaches, styles and training methods of different martial arts it is of course still another thing all together to come to blows and to fight. That is to say that there can be a big difference between what you train for and the way a fight can go, especially out in the real world where there are any number of objects within the environment let alone the possibility of concealed weapons or firearms.
Now I could go on and say how useless it is for someone to spend their life learning empty hand forms and that they should instead take krav maga or Aikido to learn about disarming and control through joint manipulation. But it would be against common sense to say that it is useless to learn a form. For it has its own beauty and use there within. Discipline, control, learning body mechanics through movement and developing strength, power, flexibility and muscle memory of technique and perhaps the public performance of this form would even inspire others to seek out and enjoy the world of martial arts.
So what is the best and most effective martial art? It is a trick question. First you must ask yourself, "What is my goal through practice?" From there you poke around and decide which art is a good fit for you. Take note now as well and don't let yourself get brainwashed as so many do within their own space. The first martial art you dive into will forever be a large part of your life but don't let it weigh you down or cloud your mind when branching out to something new or conversing with someone with background in a different style. There is much to be learned but it is difficult for that learning to occur through closed doors.
Take your knowledge from school to school always filling your cup more and more. Remember what you learn and be open to receiving more and more. Again, when two martial artists meet it is not that there is one wrong and one right. They are simply different and it is through appreciation and acceptance of this difference that both can learn and grow.