Whether spacetime is emergent or not is, in a sense, a red herring - there is an underlying "root of all the evil" that is fatal for theoretical physics as a whole. See comments here:
A Physicist's Physicist Ponders the Nature of Reality
jimh (comment): "...my interpretation of Special Relativity is a little different: rather than saying that the "speed" of light is constant, it says that any observer's measurement of that speed will be the same."
Yes, special relativity does say that "any observer's measurement of that speed will be the same" but even Einstein knew that this is nonsense:
John Stachel: "But this seems to be nonsense. How can it happen that the speed of light relative to an observer cannot be increased or decreased if that observer moves towards or away from a light beam? Einstein states that he wrestled with this problem over a lengthy period of time, to the point of despair." https://history.aip.org/history/exhibits/einstein/essay-einstein-relativity.htm
When you start moving towards the light source, the wavecrests start hitting you more frequently - the frequency you measure increases. This can only mean that the speed of the light relative to you increases as well - there is no other reasonable cause for the increased frequency:
"Doppler effect - when an observer moves towards a stationary source. ...the velocity of the wave relative to the observer is faster than that when it is still."
"Let's say you, the observer, now move toward the source with velocity Vo. You encounter more waves per unit time than you did before. Relative to you, the waves travel at a higher speed: V' = V+Vo. The frequency of the waves you detect is higher, and is given by: f' = V'/λ = (V+Vo)/λ." http://physics.bu.edu/~redner/211-sp06/class19/class19_doppler.html
"Vo is the velocity of an observer moving towards the source. This velocity is independent of the motion of the source. Hence, the velocity of waves relative to the observer is c + Vo. [...] The motion of an observer does not alter the wavelength. The increase in frequency is a result of the observer encountering more wavelengths in a given time." http://a-levelphysicstutor.com/wav-doppler.php
The following quotations suggest that theoretical physics is dead because it is based on Einstein's nonsense:
"The speaker Joao Magueijo, is a Reader in Theoretical Physics at Imperial College, London and author of Faster Than the Speed of Light: The Story of a Scientific Speculation. He opened by explaining how Einstein's theory of relativity is the foundation of every other theory in modern physics and that the assumption that the speed of light is constant is the foundation of that theory. Thus a constant speed of light is embedded in all of modern physics and to propose a varying speed of light (VSL) is worse than swearing! It is like proposing a language without vowels." http://www.thegreatdebate.org.uk/VSLRevPrnt.html
"...Dr. Magueijo said. "We need to drop a postulate, perhaps the constancy of the speed of light." http://www.nytimes.com/2002/12/31/science/e-and-mc2-equality-it-seems-is-relative.html
"But the researchers said they spent a lot of time working on a theory that wouldn't destabilise our understanding of physics. "The whole of physics is predicated on the constancy of the speed of light," Joao Magueijo told Motherboard. "So we had to find ways to change the speed of light without wrecking the whole thing too much." http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2016/12/06/speed-light-discovered/
Joao Magueijo, Faster Than the Speed of Light, p. 250: "Lee [Smolin] and I discussed these paradoxes at great length for many months, starting in January 2001. We would meet in cafés in South Kensington or Holland Park to mull over the problem. THE ROOT OF ALL THE EVIL WAS CLEARLY SPECIAL RELATIVITY. All these paradoxes resulted from well known effects such as length contraction, time dilation, or E=mc^2, all basic predictions of special relativity. And all denied the possibility of establishing a well-defined border, common to all observers, capable of containing new quantum gravitational effects." http://www.amazon.com/Faster-Than-Speed-Light-Speculation/dp/0738205257