I think the take home from all of these posts is that:
a. You have to evaluate your own skills, comfort levels, experience, etc.; and
b. You need to evaluate the particulars of your trip: climate, forecast, exposure, tree cover, back-up plans, duration, etc.
Based on your conclusions from these factors, you can then decide whether to bring a rain jacket or not, or any other particular piece of gear for that matter.
For me personally, yes, there are plenty of trips that I do without a rain jacket when I'm confident about the particulars of my trip. If I'm feeling unsure about myself or my trip, I bring it or something that could fulfill the same role.
I always bring at least my windshirt. On 90% of my trips, this is all I end up needing or wanting.
I probably bring actual rain protection on something like 40-50% of my trips (I do about 12-15 trips per year ranging typically from 1 night to about a week out). More often than not anymore, it's just my Zpacks Groundsheet Poncho, sometimes though, if I'm in more wintery conditions or doing a lot of bushwhacking or ridgeline traverses, I'll bring a real jacket.
I don't bother with rain pants. Wind pants or just hiking in my running shorts is sufficient for me.
Have I ever been caught by surprise by unexpected weather? You bet. But I made do with what I had and used skills/experience to stay safe and comfortable. Sometimes that's meant waiting out the worst of the weather under heavy tree cover or setting up my shelter for a bit. Sometimes it's meant having to call a trip off early and retreating, or conversely, staying out a little longer than initially planned to work around weather delays. Sometimes it's meant taking advantage of what gear I have and just continuing on, perhaps a little wetter than planned for but making do.