What makes backups any different than saving a backup copy of my .dat file? Why would I want to use one over the other?
Technicaly, there's no difference in the file format between a backup file and a "regular" database.
The main idea behind making backup (and restore) explicit commands is to encourage people to actually make backups of their databases. One could also argue that it's a little bit easier than "Save As...".
Thanks for the clarification!