I think the chapter starts out by challenges the materialistic idea that everything is made of matter and used the example of magnetic fields and gravity, where "things that doesn't exist in physical form have influence over the things that do" (page 19)
The ideas and use of science is then addresses. It is deemed that science is just observations and recording patterns. The questions of "why" is not addressed in science. The old man seems to also suggest that people are intellectually arrogant:
"Every generation of humans believed it had all the answers it needed, except for a few mysteries they assumed would be solved at any moment. And they all believed their ancestors were simplistic and deluded." (page 21)
Quarks were at one point in history just a speculative idea and then later when technology progressed, they could test out their theory. Perhaps sting theory is like that, or like a few people I talk to, it is just flat out wrong.
Science seems to be the new source of truth. We may pride ourselves on how much we can discover and invent, but no matter how much we experiment and research, we may have to come to grips that that once strongly held theories may prove to be slightly off or wrong; and that there are limits to science.