What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again;
There is nothing new under the sun.
Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”?
It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time.
As the Ecclesiastes quote suggests, coming up with original ideas has always been hard. Whenever I research something I am thinking about writing, I inevitably find that someone has already come up with the basic idea or phrase.
More likely than not, if you think somebody took your idea, they probably just came up with it independently — or you both “borrowed” it, intentionally or not, from the actual originator. And so in general one should be very, very careful about of the word “plagiarize.”
Unless, of course, you are a global warming denier, in which case you should throw the word around casually because it is a very good way of smearing scientists, making the discussion coarser, and generally turning off the public from wanting to have anything to do with the climate issue — all key goals of the anti-scientific community. And this is all the more ironic because deniers are notorious for doing cut-and-paste jobs with the work of other deniers — see Memo to media: When the EPA ignores internal non-expert comments filled with falsehoods cut-and-paste from anti-science deniers, that isn’t “suppressing a report.” And why have you completely ignored a major scientific report revealing what a sham that “EPA report” is?
After all, there is exceedingly little original scientific research that supports the position that humans are not the dominant cause of current global warming. Also, the deniers understand the central principle of rhetoric that the most effective messaging strategy is to endlessly repeat a few key points (see “Why scientists aren’t more persuasive, Part 1“). So the main tactic of the deniers has been to repeat the same long-debunked arguments over and over and over again — hence there is a remarkable sameness to their attacks.
If you follow the climate blogosphere or read the comments section of this CP post, then you know that there has been a big push by the deniers and delayers to smear a couple of the climate scientists who contributes to RealClimate. RealClimate has thoroughly debunked that notion here: