Ask a violinist if his fingers have anything to do with his tone, or a cellist, or any instrument where your fingers (even wind instruments, where you're using your lips) come in direct contact with the sound producing part(s) of the instrument in such an intimate way and I'd bet many of them will tell you that, yes, it does effect your tone.
Your body is in contact with the resonant parts of the instrument, therefor: unless your guitar is diamond hard, you do have an effect on the over all sound... even if it's very small and (I'll concede this) through heavy effects and/or distortion, it's almost indistinguishable. Plus: the way you pick, the pressure you put on the fretted string, how large your hands are (this changes the way you fret many chords) all effect tone.
You could play the open g-string 20 times and have it sound slightly different all 20 times depending one where and how you pick it. Some are more prone to certain techniques, therefor: yours will be ever so slightly different than mine.
I think the only reason anyone called you a 'jerk' is the simple fact that you won't even entertain, or refute the other point of view with an argument that would nullify the points that are 'pro' 'tone is in the fingers'.
You just keep saying, 'tone is in the gear', but you're not giving us a succinct argument explaining WHY we're wrong, other than 'tone = sound' but of course, we all know that.
To a point, we'll all agree with you, I believe, but the point most of us are trying to make is that you, the player, and not just with your 'style' but your physical attributes also are part of the 'gear' when playing an instrument like this and you do change the tone ever so slightly.
It starts with your body, your hands, the strings, then the wood, then the p/ups, then the cabling, the effects (if you have them in front) then the pre-amp electronics, then more effects if you have them in a loop, then the power amp, then the speakers, then, if you're playing through a PA, the PA systems electronics and effects, then the loudspeakers...
Sure, by the time you get to the end of the chain you'd think it isn't going to matter since you are such a small part of the chain, but it STARTS with you...
You can't argue that I'm wrong about where this chain of events that eventually comes out of the last speaker starts; it's with the player, what you're arguing is that the player has no effect on the overall sound... other than his 'style and technique' tell me WHY he doesn't, don't just say 'he doesn't' and then tell me I don't know the definition of 'tone' as your argument as to why I'm wrong.
WHY don't my fingers effect anything at all, as you're saying?
WHY does my body coming in contact with wood that's vibrating not make a difference in the way it vibrates?
If you can clearly and logically explain why those things are true, I'll concede the point and agree with you that 'tone isn't in the fingers', but until you can give me a succinct argument as to why I'm wrong, we'll just have to agree to disagree... I've already concluded that no amount of points of concept are going to sway your opinion on this, and yes, it is an 'opinion' until you can quantify it with facts that can't be argued to the contrary.
Just one last point: you can't compare a piano to an instrument like a guitar or violin, you don't come in direct contact with anything but the keys so, technically, the only effect you really have on the strings is how hard the hammers hit the strings, and unless you're sitting on the piano you have very little contact with the woods that are resonating. Put 500 pounds of blankets on your piano it it will sound a little different since the wood will vibrate differently, this, in an abstract way, is the point I'm trying to make about having so much of your body in contact with a guitar, or violin, or cello, or viola, or a trumpet or any instrument where so much of what's happening is because of your direct contact with the parts of the instrument that produce the sound being heard.
I know I've repeated myself, I'm trying to put this in as many ways as I can to make it understandable to everyone, regardless of their native language.