## 17 March 2011

### Mommy, who's Jesus?

This is a post among an unknown number of posts to come about "unequally yoked" marriage. Googling for "unequally yoked" produces an absurd amount of hits. I've found most to be about what to do before marriage. I'd like to write a bit about what it's like from within marriage.

Here's a link to the index for this series
---

I wanted to blog a bit about my current thoughts on kids. I've mentioned this in the other posts in this series and probably elsewhere on the blog, but it's becoming more pertinent, so I thought I'd write a whole post on this. When I first began to doubt, my wife was very adamant about still wanting to raise our children to believe in Catholicism. Suddenly about two months ago, this was not the case. I was amazed! She said that she was open to only telling them about Christianity, not teaching it. I was very surprised and relieved.

Lately, however, she's back to wanting to raise them to be believers. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that the thought of not raising them to have the faith she loves so much brings her great pain and sadness.

She brought this up because our oldest, Felicity, has started asking things like, "Who is Jesus?" Or perhaps it was "Where is Jesus?" I don't remember. My wife wasn't sure what to say due to our situation, but would have wanted to "share her faith" with our daughter. I originally proposed three ways forward when I began to doubt:
• Both "preach" conflicting views (I boldly proclaim my non-belief while she boldly proclaims her belief)
• I say nothing while she raises our daughter to be a Catholic
• We educate her about all religions while teaching only that which has proven to be reliable (science, history, logic, etc.)

I think the first would be the most harmful. I'm primarily opposed to the second (though I don't know that it's not unintentionally playing out as we speak), and think the third is by far the best choice given the situation (and in general). Part of my objection to raising them as believers is that none of the later-developed "filters" and thinking mechanisms for evaluating reality are in place at their age. My daughter once stated, "Jesus is in mommy's heart" or something to that effect. She has no way of evaluating what that means. How is a person inside the functioning organ of another person? Is Jesus a person? If he is, does he have a body? Do all people have bodies? Does Jesus both have a body but also not have a body?

Also, my even larger opposition comes about due to what one desires to teach. When my wife says she wants to "share the faith that she loves so much" with our children... it means sharing all the fluffy, warm, ooey-gooey goodness that she thinks is so great. I know these things and, yes, they would have been exciting to me as a believer to instill into my children.
• God is so great!
• Do you know how very, very much god loves you, honey?
• God is the most powerful ever, and he thinks just about you all day long
• Isn't [that sunrise, baby's birth, happiness-producing-occurrence, fill-in-blank] so amazing? It's because god is so amazing and can work miracles like these whenever he wants!
• And many more...

You get the point. It's all the things you learn in Sunday school that I find parents want to "share" with their children. But why not start at the beginning? Why not teach them that god is omniscient, must have known it was likely for his beloved creatures to fall, created them anyway, let them breed in wickedness, and then killed them all off in a flood? While you're at it, teach them that god created vast amounts of water, flooded the earth with it, and then removed that extra water from existence and covered his tracks by erasing any geological sign that such a flood ever happened!

Perhaps that's a silly example as a lot of denominations don't take the flood literally. You get the point, though. No one is teaching their kids the hairy reality of the apologetical landscape. No, I think they deliberately want to use the impressionable nature of their minds to instill their beliefs into their children. This doesn't have to be malicious -- parents are just trying to share what is near and dear to their hearts and what they think is the greatest thing they can with their children. But when it comes to my current mindset, I obviously don't think this is the greatest thing one can share, nor do I think the theistic debate has reached a level of universal "resolvedness" to be teaching things like this as facts, especially when most of those around me can't defend the things they consider to be facts in the first place.

My greatest fear is that teaching Christian beliefs to a child will reduce their ability to objectively survey the theistic evidential and intellectual landscape when they grow older. I have a hunch that when someone is "raised a Christian," it severely limits their ability to ever be open to being wrong down the road. I fear that going down that road plants a seed of irrational certitude that is extremely difficult to remove. When whatever recipe came together that allowed me to actually doubt and think that I might be wrong about the very thing I'd based my entire life upon... I finally saw that I really didn't have any solid reasons for believing what I believed.

And I decided that I never wanted that to be true about anything again.

Now, surely there will forever be nooks and crannies of ignorance in my life, but I consider that awakening to be one of the best things that's ever happened to me. I'm "meta" aware. I'm more centered on careful rational analysis when presented with some new information or argument. I feel as though a switch was flipped that has allowed me to realize that I was really standing on air. I may have only reached this rare state (being able to doubt) because I only became religious at the age of 16 or so. What would I be like had I been saturated in religion-as-truth since birth?

And so, this is my fear for my children. I already know that they can take in anything -- see shameless plugs HERE and HERE for proof of my scientific indoctrination on our oldest :) I think that is combined with the fact that my own efforts in this area have continued to leave me unsure about my position. Thus, when others who I know have not put in such efforts want to proceed forward with a plan of raising a child to believe x, I'm quite opposed. At the bare minimum I want them to recognize that the subject area is quite far from a cut and dried case. When I do this with my wife, the typical response is simply that she "really, really cares about and believes in" religion. I love my wife... but that's not going to cut it!

This got a bit long... again. I'd like to end by following up on my comment above about my daughter being raised to believe perhaps occurring unintentionally as we speak. My wife stays at home while I work. I have very little "face time" with my daughter (perhaps an hour each morning and a couple of hours at night, and weekends). Combine this with the fact that non-belief really has no "outward signs." I have extremely little passive impact on this area, whereas my wife has tons. She sings praise and worship songs around the house and my daughter later will request them to be sung by name. She prays using a Bible and my daughter sees that. She prays with a rosary, which my daughter sees. My daughter the other day exclaimed, "Holy..." (and I swore she was going to finish with "crap" or something similar) and ended the phrase with "Spirit!" I wondered where in the world that came from! So... she's definitely saturated in a religious environment, but it's probably mostly because religious activity has outward, visible signs of participation. All of my "non-belief" is simply due to opting out of things. I stay home with my oldest while my wife and youngest go to Mass. I don't make the sign of the cross or pray at meal blessings anymore (I mostly try not to even bow my head). Things like that. I feel that the scales are quite tipped against me when it comes to this. Yet, even if I did have outward signs of some sort... I'd still be torn (revisit the three options above). I don't want my daughter conflicted about which parent to side with when it comes to belief. I just kind of want her to grow up as she grows up and at a later date when she has the inclination and mental capacity to dive into this mess of a field of study, she can! It's messy, ugly, and upsetting. To teach her the fluffy goodness of religion by bypassing and ignoring that fact is horrible, in my mind. It's sect-centric -- ignoring the fact that others believe wildly different conclusions just as strongly as you believe in your own! Teaching the Bible as the ultimate authority without explaining how someone across the globe has looked at it, and tossed it in the garbage in favor of his/her own holy text. Or teaching strict rules about something like contraception while leaving out the fact that the Jones' down the street, who are lively, righteous Lutherans who have "sold out" for the Lord... think contraception is perfectly permissible. These are my objections.

I know some read this blog who are in similar situations. What is your current practice in this area? This one is eating away at my wife (and therefore, me, too) and it would be fantastic to come to a resolution. How are you handling this? What do you think of my objections? Are they irrational and/or ill-founded? Should I lighten up? Should I address it more firmly? I appreciate your input!

### The argument from "anti-miracles"

The recent tsunami in Japan has sparked at least a couple of references to what it implies about god's existence (or lack thereof). I've personally seen mention of it at Debunking Christianity and He Is Sailing's blog. I absolutely understand the tempting implication from such events: with such horrors and terrors, there's no way that a loving, powerful being who has us as his primary objects of love would let us be killed and maimed by an enormous natural disaster. I've thought along these lines myself. But is this really an effective argument? I'm going to make the case that it's actually, not and will call this the "argument from anti-miracles."

## The Argument from Miracles

First, let's look at the underlying argument behind using miracles as apologetic tools. My "vernacular" summary would be something like this:
• A stance that atheism/materialism/physicalism best describes the world entails set X of all possible occurrences
• This miracle is outside of set X
• Atheism/materialism/physicalism is false since a deviation from its allowable set has occurred
• Furthermore, this miracle contains certain characteristics that make it aptly covered by theistic set Y of possible occurrences
• Therefore, it is more likely that theism is true

Hopefully that was reasonably clear. Essentially, theists point to a miracle, then illustrate how some aspect of it falls outside of what atheists/materialists/physicalists think is possible (thus attempting a refutation or challenge of said world views), and then (typically) proceed to illustrate how their particular formulation of god/theism says that such an occurrence is completely explainable (thus attempting a positive case for theism variety X).

Most atheists I know don't bite. There are plenty of ways around these types of arguments. Most miracles are poorly documented, occurred in a time and place when people still believed loads of ridiculous things, and involve being removed by several degrees from the evidence. A miracle suffering from these symptoms might be dubious already

Another area of debate centers around miracles philosophically. Are they even possible? Some might simply say that if science is that which describes the happenings we observe, and then we are faced with a well-enough documented aberration to these descriptions (a miracle), then science would simply be forced to update. So... a miracle might, by definition, be impossible. Others might take some cues from Hume and argue that the evidence provided for the miracle would need to be of such a high quantity and quality that for it not to be a miracle would become more miraculous than the miracle itself. That's a pretty darn heavy weight of evidence. Or, lastly, some point to the double burden of proof -- to claim a miracle, one needs to explain exactly how it occurred... but the more this is done, the more is understood and the less "miraculous" it becomes.

In any case, the roots of the whole argument hinge on the second point: "This occurrence falls outside of set X, what atheism/materialism/physicalism says is possible." The obvious response to this is, "Yes, what you describe is currently unexplainable. I have no idea how that's possible, but maybe we'll find out someday." I have been faced with some pretty crazy stories. For example, in listening to Gary Habermas debate, he referenced some Near Death Experiences (NDEs) and Out of Body Experiences (OBEs) that were pretty darn amazing. For example, someone almost dying from a heart attack and then waking up to provide details about a car crash blocks away that was later verified. Or someone in surgery who supposedly left their body and saw a basketball on the roof which was later found. I really have no answer for these. I haven't actually been able to find their origin in my google searching, but even if I could... my answer would simply be that I have no idea how such things happened. My trust of science would rest on its historical success and I'd have to concede that if such occurrences really occurred, then they fall outside of my "set X" at the present moment.

## The Argument from Anti-Miracles

If you're a non-believer and use any of the answers above, what do you think about using the tsunami as an example of why god's existence is improbable? In my thinking about this, I believe the argument is actually of the same form and equally flawed. Here's a similar "vernacular" summary of this argument:
• A stance that theism best describes the world entails set X of all possible occurrences
• This disaster is outside of set X
• Theism is false since a deviation from it's allowable set has occurred
• Furthermore, this disaster/tragedy contains certain characteristics that make it aptly covered by atheist/materialist/physicalist set Y of possible occurrences
• Therefore, it is more likely that atheism/materialism/physicalism is true

Look familiar?

I just recently came to think of these as pretty much equivalent. The argument is revolving around what characteristics are proposed by each belief system and then looking for ways that witnessed occurrences contradict those characteristics.

So, atheism is (mostly) said to describe a world in which nothing exists except matter and energy, governed by physical laws that do not change. Theists respond with examples of healings that contradict what we know can happen in the human body. Or someone immediately regaining sanity or mental health. Or an accident-in-progress that appears to have deviated from the laws of physics.

And theism says an omni-max being rules the entire universe and loves nothing more in creation than human beings. Atheists respond by pointing to examples of horrible things happening to these sentient beings and the apparent lack of action of this hypothetical being to prevent such occurrences or alleviate their aftermath.

The response? This is treading on problem of evil ground here, so any standard response to that probably holds here. Theists may claim that the world didn't used to contain such atrocities, but that now they are present due to our initial transgression. Or that somehow natural disasters are the result of free will. Or that god won't intervene in some cases because it would override free will. Or that god is limited in his control over the natural world.

Or... theists may ultimately simply claim that they already believe in theism for other reasons, and thus the will suppose that god has an answer to these things that they will eventually know in the afterlife.

Is this really that different from atheists who claim that they already believe science holds for other reasons and thus that it may eventually be able to explain something that is currently perplexing?

I think the two are pretty similar and thus think that, taken as an argument by itself, pointing at things the "other side's" beliefs can't currently explain isn't very effective. Perhaps it's logically coherent, but I just don't think it's effective -- there's always an "out."

## Caveats

I'll end with one disclaimer to my statement of equivalence. I think that for the equivalence to hold, a theist needs to be essentially apathetic to apparent miracles. Pretty strong claim, huh? I say this as the "out" to why god would apparently not act above probably reduces to a plea of ignorance. "We just don't know." That's my current stance with science on certain aspects, and I think it would be odd to follow up a response of "I don't know" to NDEs or OBEs and then declare that something else makes them impossible. Sure, I still think they're unlikely, but I don't think it's fair to argue from a system I just said was unable to explain a phenomenon... and then use the same system to argue that such things are impossible.

That might be confusing. What I mean is that for a theist to claim ignorance about why god would not prevent a horridly disastrous occurrence from killing his beloved children and then turn around and declare that they absolutely know that he healed such and such's hip socket at Lourdes is a bit difficult for me to swallow. One either knows how god acts... or one doesn't.

I don't really think that the arguments from miracles or anti-miracles succeed, but I do think that both limit their respective recipients to consistency. If one claims that their current world-view/explanatory-tool is limited in a given area, then live that out. Be patient and refrain from arguing from that same limitation toward declaring something else with certainty.

This is why I stand by my "anti-miracles" argument HERE. Someone claimed that god specifically healed people at Lourdes. That's claiming knowledge about why and under what circumstances god does what he does. But how does that knowledge proclamation jive with the fact that pilgrims traveling in several buses, a train, and a plane were not prevented from meeting their deaths despite their good intentions. Either god is protective and rewarding to pilgrims or he's not.

Again, to simply say, "Well, god doesn't always do this or that. We just don't know" is a plea to ignorance, which is absolutely fine. But then stick with that ignorance. It doesn't work to say that you have no idea when or why or what god does and then to immediately declare that you know specifically what and why he did in case x.

What do you think?

## 03 March 2011

### Arch linux installation guide: btrfs + encryption

I've been running Arch Linux for quite some time now, and I love it. For various reason I've been looking into disk encryption and finally took the plunge recently to get a fully encrypted system up and running. I decided to make a one-stop-shop for the process, partially to give a nice customized reference to myself, but also to help anyone else googling the subject. The Arch Wiki is great (I contribute!) but sometimes it's nice to have a separate reference. I often use the website as well as others' blog tutorials to fill in any missing pieces between one reference and another, or to see another way of doing something that might seem simpler or more appealing.

So... let's embark. I decided to give btrfs a try while I was in the business of re-installing, so that's covered here as well. It wasn't easy!

## Preparation

You've surely heard it before... but the most important thing you can do before you start tinkering is to back up your data. Seriously, if you haven't done that... just take a deep breath, resolve to abandon whatever impatient and silly motives have convinced you that you need to do this now, at 2am, and go backup your stuff. To illustrate that I practice what I preach, I created a config directory in my home folder and copied any system configs I thought would be helpful upon reinstallation (conky.conf, rc.conf, 10-synaptics.conf, 10-monitor.conf, mkinitcpio.conf, and whatever else struck me) and then rsync'd my home folder to 1) my work network share and 2) an external hard drive. I try to keep two copies of data at all time. If you're wiping your computer... that means you need two other locations for things to reside.

If that's all covered, we can have some fun. Get a decently recent copy of the Arch install ISO; I recommend the netinstall version, but you'll need internet for that to work. Just go camp out by your router. Burn that to a CD and boot from it. I had an older-ish copy laying around and had issues with btrfs and perhaps something else... though I can't recall what. I do know that the older version used kernel 2.6.30, and that was too old for what I was trying to do (should have written down the issue). Downloading a new version worked great.

Next you're going to erase your hard drive. I did a pass of zeros using:
# dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=1M

Then, you'll want to generate random data if you're encrypting. This eliminates any chance of data being recovered or being able to identify where the data resides on the disk (you're creating "background noise" to mask the encrypted data amidst the disk's free space).
# dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/urandom bs=1M

You can use /dev/random (will take muuuuch longer) or the badblocks method discussed on the wiki.

Alright. With your disk filled with random data, let's move on to partitioning and setting up encryption!

## Partitioning & Encryption

Boot up from the install disk. If you have Intel based graphics, make sure you press the tab key from the "Boot Arch" option and add this to the end of the boot options:
i915.modeset=0

Kernel mode setting was made mandatory in kernel 2.6.32, and if you don't have the right modules loaded, you'll get a black screen when you should be seeing the login screen. There maybe another way to fix this, but the solution above is what I used and is discussed on the Arch wiki. We'll also cover how to build it into your initramfs later on for proper setup.

Once booted, log into the Arch installer with "root." Run "cfdisk" and partition your disk. I'm not covering that here, since it's covered far better and more plentifully elsewhere. All I did was to create two partitions: one for /boot and one for the rest of my system. My boot partition is 128M. Set the non-boot partition (or one of them) to bootable, write the table, and exit.

Now to setup encryption. You need to format your data partition(s) as encrypted space using cryptsetup. To access the right encryption tools, run:
# modprobe dm_mod

Now run some variant of this:
# cryptsetup -c -y -s luksFormat /dev/

This formats the partition as and encrypted device. Per the Arch wiki, I used the aes-xts-plain cipher, and a 512 bit key. Thus, my command looked like this:
cryptsetup -c aes-xts-plain -y -s 512 luksFormat /dev/sda2

For reference, I'm using /dev/sda1 for boot and /dev/sda2 is the rest of the drive. Use whatever partitions make sense for you in place of my commands.

You will then be prompted for a passphrase, and then again to confirm it. There are lots of other options covered in the Arch wiki about using keyfiles (like a file on a USB drive) so that the keyfile needs to be present at boot. You can always add more passwords and keyfiles later, though (HERE).

Once the partition is setup, we need to unlock/open it to be able to do anything with it. To do that, run this:
cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/sda2 root

This uses the passphrase you enter to unlock the partition for mounting. It uses a device mapper to make the unlocked partition available at /dev/mapper/root. That "root" at the end of the above command is a label. You can use whatever you want; then just access it via /dev/mapper/whatever-label-you-used).

## Setup network

At this point you should set up your network. Plug into a router or access wireless somehow (I'm still not familiar with how to do that with protected wireless, so I always use unprotected or turn off my password temporarily on my own router and then use: ifconfig wlan0 up, iwconfig wlan0 essid router-name, dhcpcd wlan0).

## Btrfs and manual installation

Next, I made a btrfs filesystem on /dev/sda2. If you don't do this, you can skip ahead to the automatic installation part (a lot less interesting). To do this, I followed most of a blog post I found HERE. It was quite difficult to find simple, clear-cut instructions on exactly how to use btrfs and set it up for installation, but what I did worked, so here goes...

You need btrfs filesystem tools first. Sync pacman and get them like so:
# pacman -Sy btrfs-progs-unstable

If you get flagged and asked to upgrade something else first (like pacman itself), go for it and then just rerun the above command (you can run it without the y flag).

Now create a new filesystem on /dev/mapper/root:
# mkfs.btrfs -L label-you-want /dev/mapper/root

Make a directory to mount /dev/mapper/root to:
# mkdir /broot

Mount it!
# mount -o noatime,defaults /dev/mapper/root /broot

Now we want to create some btrfs subvolumes. I went with the naming convention discussed at various places in the Arch forums and wiki as well as the blog I referenced above.
# btrfs subvolume create /broot/__active

And now we mount that:
# mount -o subvol=__active /dev/mapper/root /mnt

Then we can create some sub-subvolumes which will function like separate "partitions" in our btrfs pool:
# btrfs subvolume create /broot/__active/home
# btrfs subvolume create /broot/__active/usr
# btrfs subvolume create /broot/__active/var

Subvolumes are created with default permissions of 700; you'll want them to be 755. Run:
# chmod 755 /mnt/[dir]

for __active, __active/home, __active/usr, and __active/var.

I'm still not positive on exactly how this works since (as you'll see later) they aren't explicitly mounted in fstab. The blog post I followed as well as an Arch forum post (same author, I think) mentions that with btrfs, subvolumes of a higher level subvolume get mounted automatically.

I do believe this is the case, and with our current setup, the system will look likd this:
/|-__active (main subvolume for working root)  |- /bin  |- /boot (/dev/sda1 mounted here)  |- /dev  |- /etc  |- /home (separate subvolume)  |- /lib  |- /lib64  |- /media  |- /opt  |- /proc  |- /root  |- /sbin  |- /srv  |- /sys  |- /tmp  |- /usr (separate subvolume)  |- /var (separate subvolume)

I was wondering if /home, /usr, and /var were really mounted btrfs subvolumes or if they were just directories in __active. I put this to the test and did this (from my running system):
# mount /dev/mapper/root /mnt# btrfs subvolume snapshot /home /mnt/home-snapshot# btrfs subvolume list /mnt

This showed that home-snap was, indeed, a new subvolume at the top level, which confirmed that my active /home directory was actually a snapshot (trying to snapshot non-subvolumes doesn't work). So, be confident that whatever subvolumes you create under the top-level __active subvolume will function like it's own entity and let you have control over it for snapshots, rollbacks, or whatever else you want. While I haven't tried it yet, you may be able to pass separate mount options to these sub-subvolumes as well, though I have not been successful wtih anything like this:
# mount /dev/mapper/root -o subvol=__active/home /mnt

That gives an error for me. Perhaps one can only mount top level subvolumes? Anyway, I've gotten ahead of myself. Moving on, let's actually install Arch!

Pacman will complain about not having a directory to work in, so create it:
# mkdir -p /mnt/usr/lib/pacman

Also, mount your boot partition in the right place so that when we install the kernel and grub you get the right things in there (though it's no big deal to copy them later if you forget):
# mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/boot

Now run this and relax for a while:
# pacman -r /mnt -Sy base whatever-else-you-want

This will run pacman and install the base system. I'd add on some or all of these:
- base-devel (almsot a necessity)
- wireless_tools (I booted up the first time and didn't have iwconfig. Bummer.)
- btrfs-progs-unstable (you'll need this on the new system)

Once that's one, it's time to configure things. I think it's easiest to just chroot into the new system and use it so you just edit things normally (like /etc/rc.conf instead of constantly doing /mnt/etc/rc.conf). To do that, setup sys, proc, and dev:

mkdir /mnt/sys /mnt/proc /mnt/dev
mount -t proc /proc /mnt/proc
mount -o bind /dev /mnt/dev
mount -t sysfs /mnt/sys
chroot /mnt

We need to install the grub bootloader. On my system, the proper files were not in place to run grub setup, and in looking around I found instructions on how to get the right files in place on the wiki.
cp -a /usr/lib/grub/i386-pc/* /boot/grub/

Then manually install the bootloader to the MBR:
grub

which will open a grub shell. Then you need to point grub to the bootloader files. For me, this is on disk 1, partition 1. Since numbering starts at zero, this equates to:
root (hd0,0)

If you have several hard drives, alter the hd# bit. If it's a different partition, then change the second number after the comma. Now install the bootloader:
setup (hd0)

If this runs successfully, you're all set. I had some issues the first times I tried. If you need to troubleshoot, perhaps make sure that the partition you're using as a boot partition is mounted properly (if you're in the chroot, it should be at /boot relative to the chroot environment, which is really at /mnt/boot). You can also check to make sure that /boot/grub contains files like STAGE1 and STAGE2. Other than that... google is your friend.

While we're talking grub, edit /boot/grub/menu.lst so grub knows how to mount everything at boot. This is what my section looks like:
# (0) Arch Linuxtitle Arch Linux [/boot/vmlinuz26]root (hd0,0)kernel /vmlinuz26 cryptdevice=dev/sda2:root root=/dev/mapper/root rootflags=subvol=__active roinitrd /kernel26.img

Do whatever you usually do, but make sure you have cryptdevice= and the rootflags= parts right.

Let's handle the next most important thing that's necessary to boot: building an initramfs that has the right options in it for encryption and btrfs. Edit /etc/mkinitcpio.conf:
# nano /etc/mkinitcpio.conf

For the modules section, you want to add intel_agp and i915 for the Intel kernel mode setting we talked about earlier, and crc32c for btrfs. The line should look like this now:
MODULES="intel_agp i915 crc32c"

Also, we need to add the encrypt hook to be able to mount the encrypted partition at boot. Scroll down and make the hooks section look like this:
HOOKS="base udev autodetect pata scsi sata encrypt filesystems"

Just make sure that encrypt is before filesystem. The above is just an example. I didn't do anything except add encrypt; the rest was just left alone.

We need to rebuild the initramfs with these new options now:
# mkinitcpio -k 2.6.37-ARCH -c /etc/mkinitcpio.conf -g /boot/kernel26.img

Moving on, let's edit fstab so everything gets mounted in the right place:
/dev/sda1 /boot none defaults 0 2/dev/mapper/root / btrfs noatime,defaults,subvol=__active 0 0

Alright, that should handle the important stuff. Tackling the rest:

/etc/rc.conf
- edit your timezone
- set the hostname

/etc/locale.gen
- uncomment your locales (for example, uncomment both en_US.UTF-8 UTF-8 and en_US ISO-8859-1
- run # locaele-gen

/etc/hosts
- add the hostname you set in /etc/rc.conf to the end of both lines.

/etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist
- uncomment your preferred mirror

root password
- run passwd root and enter a password twice.

At this point, you should be able to reboot and give 'er a whirl. Exit out of the chroot, unmount stuff, and reboot!
# exitumount /mnt/{dev,proc,sys}umount /mntreboot

If all goes well, the system should run through some of the boot process and you should see a line asking for a password for /dev/sda#. If that happens, you're good to go!

## Post install stuff

If you're already familiar with this stuff, you can probably go on your way. I add it here partly for myself, as having a record of my install process helps me have an all in one reference. For newer folks, it might help to have another user's process for comparison and to fill in any gaps (sometimes I just need to read something more than one way before I get it!).

Once up and running, add user for yourself. I use adduser and just follow the prompts. You probably want to add yourself to these groups: audio,lp,optical,storage,video,wheel,power.

My typical setup involves installing a whole lot of stuff and then adding various tidbits as I go. For example, I usually forget to setup alsa (sound) until I try to watch my first youtube video on a new system and don't know why I'm not hearing anything :)

In any case, I ended up installing yaourt by adding this to /etc/pacman.conf
[archlinuxfr]Server = http://repo.archlinux.fr/x86_64 -> /etc/pacman.conf

and then running
pacman -Sy yaourt

Some other stuff you might want to install:
- xorg
- xf86-video-[your driver] (I install xf86-video-intel)
- touchpad driver (xf86-input-synaptics)
- a window manager (openbox for me, along with lxappearance and obconf)
- a panel (tint2)
- office suit (libreoffice)
- a terminal (rxvt-unicode)
- fonts (ttf-bh-font, ttf-bitstream-vera

Heck, I just tossed on all of the stuff I could think of for myself (texlive, libreoffice, wicd, rxvt-unicode, openbox, xorg, lxappearance, obconf, conky, tint2, ttf-bh-font, ttf-bitstream-vera, and whatever else came to mind).

## Installing without btrfs

If you're not using btrfs and just doing encryption... just follow the the wiki and use the installer, paying attention to selecting /dev/mapper/root instead of /dev/sda2 for the root partition. The installer is quite simple, makes sure you remember what files to edit and so on. I think it's possible to do this with btrfs (by just mounting things in the right places ahead of time... but I didn't do it that way).