Thank you for your follow-up, Rubes! I love discussing writing and what makes better writing.
I agree with your statement (above) whole-heartedly. Nearly every time I go into my class to teach my students how to write, I give them both principle and precept. Principle: how to do it. Precept: what it looks like when it's done excellently. I frequently print out copies of essays by G. K. Chesterton, Dickens, Lewis, Virginia Woolf, etc., for them to underline, mark, and make notes on. I then have them take what they've noticed and seek to apply it in their own work. Usually this involves using more powerful or vivid verbs, using more metaphors, longer (or shorter) sentences, trying their hand at some alliteration, etc, depending on what they noticed in the other writer's writing. You're right: this is teaching them how to learn, and this is the foundation for creativity, for every creative person has to start with something they already have, and then go from there. Thus far we are in agreement.
However, my comments on your article related to copying another person's work vs. learning from another person's work, which I believe is different. Copying, though not necessarily plagiarism, saps creativity because it sets more boundaries than guidelines. It may just be my opinion, but it seemed to me that the purpose of your article was to teach how to copy without it actually being plagiarism, not to teach creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. I found it interesting that you didn't recommend great writers to study and learn from, but rather you instantly chose a piece of text that you could have gotten from anywhere, and showed how your readers could substitute key words for the nouns and verbs in that text. To me, that looks like copying, not learning how to learn. I think it would be anti-climactic to give my students so much structure and pre-written layout to work with as if writing were an algorithmic equation and not an art or an experimental science.
I enjoyed reading your hub, however much I may disagree with it! It made me think and started an interesting discussion.