In the background right now I'm watching the History Channel's "UFO Files". In an episode called "New UFO Revelations", they're debating whether cattle mutilations are the work of aliens visiting the earth.
Two things... first, what do UFOs have to do with history, and why does this History Channel run these things all the time? If an alien really came down and only learned about our planet by watching the History Channel, he'd think that human existence only consists of Jesus, Nazis, Engineering Disasters, UFOs and Nostradamus.
Second... how come aliens are dumb?
You'd think with all of their UFO technology, they'd find better ways to study us than go around abducting people in the middle of the night and slaughtering cattle in really weird ways and leaving the carcasses out in the open. Talk about being obvious.
Need cattle? It's not hard. Just use superior Alien technology hack into bank computers, create bank accounts with millions of dollars and buy a ranch or a meat packing plant. Then you can do whatever you want with your cattle. Need money? Alien technology could make for really great counterfeiting, I bet.
Wait.... oh my god, this cattle mutilation researcher is dragging a magnet around the ground to find "magnetite, associated with UFO activity". Now they're cutting the hide off of the cow. Does this lady just really enjoy being around rotting cow carcasses, or is this a niche job that needed to be filled by someone.
And if aliens need to study people, just bribe some doctors to run the tests. People are clueless, they won't know what the tests do or even that they're being studied. But instead, the aliens beam people out of their beds and drill into their brains. Yeah, subtle.
I think the X-Files approached this the right way... if aliens of superior intellect were here, they'd simply get a bunch of insiders with a lot of clout and bribe them into doing the dirty work. So, instead of mutilating cattle, if the conspiracy was more like aliens recruited Bill Gates to produce Windows Vista in a plot to handicap human innovation -- now there's an alien conspiracy I could understand.