What's the definition of a first class scientist? I always thought it was a casual, subjective term rather than an obvious objective one. I must have been wrong though, because if this was the case, you'd be arguing a completely irrelevant point.
You state in Re: Second rate programmers and my confession:
Newton was not a nice person. He had a big ego, always tried to make him look better than his peers. He got real nasty in his long standing argument with Leibnitz, (Newton's "fluxions" vs Leibnitz' derivates), dividing the Western scientists into two camps. Newton also made his Principae (spelling?) hard to read, on purpose. He didn't want to be bothered by remarks and questions from "lesser scientists".
Now you could argue that these traits made Newton a better scientist, that the competition drove him to new discoveries. You could also argue that his big ego made him less willing to cooperate with other scientists, ultimately hurting progress. However, arguing that he was still a "first class scientist" is pointless if you don't define exactly what a "first class scientist" is.