For example, if you think a law is prescriptive you might think a law somehow has an influence in how matter interacts. The statement “a law governs” is taken literally whereby the law has some effect on the things it governs.
If, on the other hand, you think a law is descriptive, then a law is merely a descriptive term to describe how matter regularly interacts with each other. The statement “a law governs” is used figuratively in this sense.
To put it another way.
1) The law of gravity has an influence on how matter interacts (prescriptive). A law on this view has some sort of power to control matter.
2) The law of gravity describes the regular interactions of matter (descriptive). A law on this view is just a description of observations, it has no power to affect anything.
I don't think many people would argue for a prescriptive view as if laws exist in some Platonic Realm that governs how the physical world should be, but there are some that do.
If we accept that laws are only descriptive, ask yourself whether there is "a natural necessary connection between cause and effect.”
I would argue that there is and perhaps you may agree. But let's look at what happens when you deny this simple principle.
The philosopher David Hume famously argued that "Effects are distinct events from their causes". In other words, there is no necessary connection between cause and effect. Hume argued that "we can always conceive of one such event occurring and the other not". In effect, Hume denied the first principle that here is a natural necessary connection between cause and effect.
Such a denial has interesting epistemological consequences for the empirical sciences and empirical observations. The first is the problem of induction. The problem is a fundamental problem with regards to observation and then generalization about observations. It is especially relevant with people's views about the Laws of Nature. The problem in its earliest form argues “A universal rule could not be established from an incomplete set of particular instances.
“Laws of Nature (or the laws of physics ) are just one type of "universal rule" that are established from particular and incomplete empirical observations. If the problem is not solved, it would imply that no amount of empirical observations can establish any universal rule, including laws of nature. It is important to understand that this problem does not pose a problem for the scientific method or scientific research and the practical benefits stemming from it. Rather the problem is related to the more fundamental claims that are made as a result of empirical inquiry.
The problem of induction is a direct result of the denial of the first principle related to the necessary connection between cause and effect. It would imply that no amount of empirical observations can in principle establish any universal rule, including laws of nature, as we can always conceive of causes that are not followed by their natural effects. You can also see how the problem of induction leads one to take a view with regards to laws of nature whereby they are statements of the uniformity or regularities in nature and mere descriptions of the way the world is.
It leads to a view of science whereby science discovers regularities in nature but these observations of regularities will never be complete (since things change, we observe ever more regularities and can conceive of causes not followed by their effects etc.). Thus, no law of nature can be established that can be a "principle" that governs "natural phenomena of the world".
This of course has a direct impact on the importance of common sense as well. Common sense just is knowledge gained from observation (be it empirically scientific or not) and observations will be always be incomplete and thus no "universal rule" or "principles that govern reality" can be gained from common sense (or empirical science for that matter). Any appeal to common sense or empirical science would thus be incomplete and with regards to trying to set up universal rules, i.e. common sense and empirical science would be worthless in trying to argue for laws of nature.
So that is why the problem of induction and the relationship between cause and effect are relevant to your claims about laws of nature "not being debatable".
However, I actually agree with the view that empirical science can discover universal laws, I reject Hume's view. I think there is a necessary connection between cause and effect and I think there are good arguments to support this view and deny Hume's take on things.
By affirming the first principle of there being a necessary connection between cause and effect, a different scientific world view emerges. By accepting that there is a necessary connection between cause and effect the following follows:
1) There is something in the nature of a cause that results in it having necessary connection to its effect. Aristotelian essentialism follows.
2) Science is thus in the business of trying to discover the natures of things.
3) Laws of nature are thus discovered and are truths about how objects behave. Therefore, how an object behaves depends wholly on what kind of thing it is and what nature it has as an objective fact. In short "the laws of nature are the laws of natures".
So in essence, I support your take on "laws of nature" but I would argue that the best way to hold such a view is by being an Aristotelian .