Eventually Einstein's theories will be called Einstein's laws.
Any future physics will have to incorporate the insights of his discoveries, just as his incorporated Newtonian physics.
“Actually, a theory does not become a law and a law does not become a theory”
Probably a good idea to first ask, what is a law? It’s a pretty archaic idea, and it seems that we prefer to just call things phenomena and theories now. Hubble’s discoveries, despite very poor measurement accuracy got called laws, whereas the observations of the accelerating universe aren’t going to be called Perlmutter (et al.’s) laws any time soon, despite being measured more accurately.
And this is fine, b/c calling something a law is a rather fraught and inconsistent process, and it doesn’t do anything in itself to advance knowledge.
But there is reason to think that ‘theory’ can become law in a strict sense.
For example, Einstein used theory to discover that objects that move faster experience time more slowly, and they get heavier; and that energy and mass are equivalent.
Einstein’s “theories” about these phenomena were later observed and shown to be real. These phenomena might be called laws because they ought to apply throughout the universe. Perhaps the only reason not to do so would be that there are deeper organizing principles at play, but even that probably doesn’t preclude it. For example, the gas laws, Boyle’s law, Charles’s law, Avogadro’s law, are all special cases of the ideal gas law. But those special cases still get their “lawful” nomenclature.
So, yes, theories themselves do not become laws, but theories can be used to discover laws, and then describe them with mathematical elegance.
You further argue that “Natural laws such as Newton's laws are descriptive but not explanatory. Natural laws describe how nature behaves but do not provide a mechanism as to why nature behaves that way. ”
I see the “description/explanation” as a false distinction; description and explanation are one and the same.
Explanations emerge from from descriptions based on simple assumptions, and those only emerge because it turns out there is evidence for the predictions that come out of those descriptions.
We can describe (with great precision) how planets and galaxies behave, how stars explode, how fundamental particles behave. It is not as if we have something else that is substantive that we can point to and say “and there’s the explanation”.
All we can be tempted to say is that the “explanation” exists because there are humans who have a sense of satisfaction that something ‘makes good sense’.
When we see something like a planetary system behaving following Kepler's laws, we think “oh that's a beautiful mechanism that explains it.” And it does, but only because it describes its behavior and leads to predictions. No more.
I think the reason we are tempted to say "ah ha, we have explained it", is because the mathematical description of the behavior is satisfyingly intuitive to our silly ape brains.
But this is not always true. Once we get into the realm of really small stuff (quantum effects), and stuff that moves really quickly (relativity), we have exactly the same scientific approach--we describe the behavior of things using simplifying mathematics. But the things we are describing are utterly screwy and intuitively unappealing. Very unsatisfactory. But that is how nature works, and we just have to put up with it.
Things can be in the same place at the same time. Things moving faster experience less time. What??!!
When this happens we are tempted to ask “but what explains why this happens?” Well, there are equations, with assumptions, and that’s it. There is of course the ability to comprehend the equations, but again, the explanation is the equations which describe reality.
So as I see it, explanation in science is ultimately description. The better the theory, the more tight the relationship between description and behavior. The end.
What were we talking about?