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The Damned Human Race by Mark Twain

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The Good Within

        In “The Damned Human Race” author Mark Twain goes on to explain why

Darwinian’s theory should be called the Descent of Man from the Higher Animals rather

than the Ascent of Man from the Lower Animals. Twain hits point after point of why the

human race is more flawed, cruel, and corrupt than other Higher Animals. Mark Twain

claims that he draws his conclusions from observations of experiments that he has done.

        For example, Twain’s first point is about how some hunters once killed

seventy-two buffalos and used but one and left the remaining seventy-one buffalos to rot

away (Twain 540). He then goes on to talk about how he experimented with an

anaconda and seven young calves. Twain says, “you would come to find that in this case

the anaconda would only kill one of those calves, eat it, and then lay back satisfied.”

(Twain 541) This can be interrupted as you may witness that animal’s kill for a purpose

of survival while humans just kill to kill. Mark Twain also says that “humans will

continue to step on others for their own self-gain while animals such as the squirrel will

only accumulate enough so they will get by in life.” (Twain 542). Then he says, “that

man, harbors insult and waits for the day when he can get revenge whereas the passion

of revenge is unknown to the higher animals.” (Twain 542) Next, he states that “man is

not the only animal that laughs, but he is the only that blushes. He will not enter a room

bare naked whereas animals hide nothing; they are not ashamed.” (Twain 543) Another

important point is that men are always engaged in warfare. Man offers oneself as

mercenaries to fight in wars that hardly matter to them where animals engage in

individual fights, but never in organized masses. Another statement is that man has

murdered innocent people because of their different religious beliefs, but have you ever

witnessed an animal killing others for religious reasons? Twain concludes his essay by

saying that the cause for man’s cruelty is “the Moral Sense.” He states that man is the

only animal that has it. It is the secret of his degradation. It is what makes him descend

to the bottom level of species. It is what enables him to do wrong. Without it, man would at once rise to the level of the Higher Animals.

                We should disagree with Twain because we can’t just base the human

race off of all the bad things, we have done but instead, take a look at the good within the

human race. There is something he missed about humans. We have to look outside of all

the bad and evil and recognize people who are becoming vegetarians to save an animal,

going green to save the planet or people who become doctors to treat sick people. If we

didn’t have a moral sense, how would we be capable of doing these things? Mark Twain is

pointing out too many of the flaws that the human race has, and not enough of the

qualities that we possess. Kindness among the human race is a quality I’ve been able to

see and experience my entire life, but one example that comes to mind when I think

about the good within people is when I was in downtown San Antonio, I saw this old



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