Among the scientific community, any doubts that the Earth is a sphere were mostly dispelled in all the way back in the early 1500's...that is, for everyone but flat earthers, modern conspiracy theorists who believe the idea that the earth is round is a giant coverup perpetuated by NASA for monetary gain. Yes, many truly believe that. And one flat earther has put a new spin on their core beliefs!

Facebook user Varuag posted in the Flat Earth Society forum, a popular Facebook group among flat earthers, with a provocative question: what if the earth wasn't actually flat, but was, in fact, donut shaped?

In 2012, Varuag explained his theory with the gravitas of a true visionary:

"I was wondering how a theory like FE theory gets formed, and I came to the conclusion that someone must've thought of the original idea, and then it must've been followed by a long series of people pointing out flaws and then re-adjusting the theory (or thinking of new ideas) to iron out the flaws in the theory.
So, I thought it might be fun if we emulated that here.
I will state my theory, and then we can adjust it by pointing out flaws and seeing if we can think of arguments that will counteract these flaws.
I have a theory that the Earth is in fact shaped like a torus (a donut-shape). However, light is curved so we cannot tell."

Obviously, we all have some questions. Thankfully, Varuag prepared an FAQ. The biggest concern on most people's mind is most likely why no one has discovered the giant hold in the center of the earth-donut?

"Light bends and follows the curvature of the torus, making the hole 'unseeable'."

Why pursue this line of thinking at all?

"Logically, it is possible for a torus-shaped planet to form, so we cannot rule out the possibility that the Earth is shaped like a torus, and therefore the hypothesis must be considered as a potential model."

Ok, we can't see the hole because light curves. But why and how does it curve?

"Radio waves are reflected by the atmosphere (hence why we don't need to set up several towers to transmit radio waves across very long distances).
Light waves are also reflected in a similar way. When we look across, the light diminishes as it travels, and by the time it reaches the atmosphere, it is diminished enough to be reflected.
The light will then hit another corner of atmosphere and so on and so forth, curving every time. This gives the impression that the Earth is flat (or has a slight curvature)."

Genius. Next question: why, when you look up, do you see only the sky, and not the other side of the planet?

"When you look up, you are decreasing the amount of distance the light travels to reach the atmosphere, so it diminishes less.
In these cases, it is not diminished enough to be reflected by the atmosphere, and hence we can see the stars.
When you stand in the middle of the TE and look up, the light passes through the first atmosphere it reaches.
However, by the time it reaches the second atmosphere (the one to re-enter the atmosphere of the TE) it has diminished enough to be reflected and gets reflected into space, so you see space."

Of course, of course. Now, why haven't people fallen off the sides of the donut (gravity is one of the common troublemakers in any flat-earth theory).

"Gravity acts as it does in a RE model, and people are attracted to large masses. Imagine a donut. Imagine a jam donut. Gravity acts towards the jam."

Ok, we're not sure that's how gravity works, but let's press forward. How do night and day function when much of the world is inside the donut hole?

"Lay a torch horizontal on a table and turn it on. Now, get a donut and place it on it's side, with the hole perpendicular to the torch.
The side that is illuminated by the torch is in day. Over 24 hours, the donut performs one complete revolution.
Spin it half way around, this signifies the passing of 12 hours. Now, the side that WAS in day, is facing away from the torch and is in night.
The side that WAS in night, is now facing the torch and is in day."

.....ok. Well what about the seasons?

"In the same way that the RE does. The Earth does not follow a perfectly circular orbit, it is slightly elliptical.
Also, the ellipse is slightly shifted so that one of the shorter edges is closer to the Sun than the opposite edge.
Over 1 year, it completes one orbit. Say the Earth starts on the short side closest to the Sun.
This is summer (the hottest season for obvious reasons). 3 months later (one quarter of an orbit) it goes to one of the longer sides, and is slightly further away, entering autumn.
Another 3 months and it is at the point where it is furthest away, in the middle of winter.
Another 3 months and it's a bit closer and we're in spring. A further 3 months and we're back where we started!"

One fun feature of flat earth theory is that flat earthers believe OTHER planets are spheres, but won't accept ours is because they claim they haven't seen any convincing evidence. Which begs the question: how did a donut-shaped planet even form when all the others are spheres?

"It is possible for two objects to orbit each other (google binary stars).
This means that you have two objects moving around in an orbit, but there is nothing in the centre of the orbit (as their own masses provide the weight for the centripetal force of Gravity, which causes them to move in a circular-ish motion.
Now, it is also possible to have 3 objects orbiting each other, or 4, or 5 etc. Now, the TE was formed when a large amount of objects orbited each other like this.
As time went on, their gravity pulled in more space rocks and dust etc and the shape grew, eventually becoming a fully-formed torus."

And why are there no other donut planets?

"This is because the condition for a TE to form (several objects orbiting each other rather than a large mass in the middle) is quite unlikely to occur, and becomes much more unlikely each time more objects are required in the orbit. This makes torus-shaped planets very rare, and so far we are yet to discover another one."

Finally, with his explanation of the north and south poles, Varuag was simply embarrassing himself:

"Place your donut on it's side. The side that touches the table is the south pole, the side on the other side is the north pole."

Twitter was not only skeptical, but openly mocking of Varuag's theory. Why? Because it's pure nonsense that makes zero sense from start to finish.

So there you go! If you're looking for something to make a scientist cringe, cry, and fall into the fetal position, this might be just the thing.

H/T - Indy 100, UNILAD

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