To some extent I agree with you. If you're thoroughly accustomed to a bike seat, little or no additional padding is really needed. For whatever reason, most of my winter tights are unpadded while my summer shorts are padded, and by and large I'm perfectly happy with the tights (true, winter rides typically are shorter, too). I have a pair of Pearl Izumi Microsensor shorts ($120; www.pearlizumi.com) that have what feels like panels of body armor welded into the butt area. I've had them for a month now, and I'm still trying to decide if I like them or not. To some extent I prefer the lesser-padded Pearl Izumi Ultrasensor, which is $80. But either way, I haven't had a problem with saddle sores or excessive wetnessthe shorts perform well and keep me dry even on 80- to 90-mile rides. But then, I don't bicycle in Texas, which in some ways must be analogous to bicycling in hell, from a temperature standpoint.
So, you might try Pearl Izumi's Ultrasensors, which I think are a very good short. Or the Giordana Pro CP-4 ($60), another short with fairly lightweight padding. You might also experiment with a different saddle, to see if you can find the right short/saddle combo.