Nearly all creative work is delta improvements on remembering and accounting previous sources of knowledge.
>>What separates the best programmers from the herd is thinking, and it's not embodied in an IDE.
What makes you think there are hundreds and thousands of best programmers?
> What makes you think there are hundreds and thousands of best programmers?
There must be hundreds of thousands very good to pretty good programmers out there. To some extent what they do involves real thinking, though not necessarily all of it. Only the dimmest programmers are replaceable by a monkey with an IDE.
IDEs are to programmers as circular saws are to carpenters. The tools an automate a lot of work, but what distinguishes good from bad and the very best from the merely good is genuine skill and knowledge. Idiots will be quite capable of hurting themselves and incurring great expense to their employers.