The Economist has a nice, short article about Galileo and the contributions he made.
… He saw mountains casting shadows on the moon and realised this body was a world, like the Earth, endowed with complicated terrain. He saw the moons of Jupiter — objects that circled another heavenly body in direct disobedience of the church’s teaching. He saw the moonlike phases of Venus, indicating that this planet circled the sun, not the Earth, in even greater disobedience of the priests. He saw sunspots, demonstrating that the sun itself was not the perfect orb demanded by the Greek cosmology that had been adopted by the church…
It was nearly 400 years ago that Galileo demonstrated his telescope for the first time.
It has only been 150 years since Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species.
Which of those scientists do you think did more damage to religious institutions and their claims to the “truth”?
Or is this not even a contest and one of them wins hands-down?
(Thanks to Todd for the link!)